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Title: Freaks of Fanaticism - and Other Strange Events
Author: Baring-Gould, S. (Sabine), 1834-1924
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Methuen & Co.



This Volume, that originally appeared as a Second Series to
"Historic Oddities and Strange Events," is now issued under a new
title which describes the peculiar nature of the majority of its
contents. Several of the articles are concerned with the history of
mysticism, a phase of human nature that deserves careful and close
study. Mysticism is the outbreak in man of a spiritual element
which cannot be ignored, cannot be wholly suppressed, and is man's
noblest element when rightly directed and balanced. It is capable
of regulation, but unregulated, it may become even a mischievous

When the Jews are being expelled from Russia, and are regarded with
bitter hostility in other parts of Eastern Europe, the article on
the accusations brought against them may prove not uninstructive

There is political as well as religious and racial fanaticism, and
the story of the "Poisoned Parsnips" illustrates the readiness
with which false accusations against political enemies are made
and accepted without examination. "Jean Aymon" exhibits the same
unscrupulousness where religious passions are concerned. The curious
episode to "The Northern Raphael" shows the craving after notoriety
that characterises so much of sentimental, hysterical piety.


  _September 1st, 1891_.



  A SWISS PASSION PLAY                          1

  A NORTHERN RAPHAEL                           39

  THE POISONED PARSNIPS                        67



  THE COBURG MAUSOLEUM                        120

  JEAN AYMON                                  129

  THE PATARINES OF MILAN                      146

  THE ANABAPTISTS OF MÜNSTER                  195


A Swiss Passion Play.

We are a little surprised, and perhaps a little shocked, at the
illiberality of the Swiss Government, in even such Protestant
cantons as Geneva, Zürich, and Berne, in forbidding the performances
on their ground of the "Salvation Army," and think that such
conduct is not in accordance with Protestant liberty of judgment
and democratic independence. But the experiences gone through in
Switzerland as in Germany of the confusion and mischief sometimes
wrought by fanaticism, we will not say justify, but in a measure
explain, the objection the Government has to a recrudescence of
religious mysticism in its more flagrant forms. The following story
exemplifies the extravagance to which such spiritual exaltation runs
occasionally--fortunately only occasionally.

About eight miles from Schaffhausen, a little way on one side of
the road to Winterthür, in a valley, lies the insignificant hamlet
of Wildisbuch, its meadows overshadowed by leafy walnut trees. The
hamlet is in the parish of Trüllikon. Here, at the beginning of this
century, in a farmhouse, standing by itself, lived John Peter, a
widower, with several of his children. He had but one son, Caspar,
married in 1812, and divorced from his wife; he was, however,
blessed with five daughters--Barbara, married to a blacksmith in
Trüllikon; Susanna, Elizabeth, Magdalena married to John Moser, a
shoemaker; and Margaretta, born in 1794, his youngest, and favourite
child. Not long after the birth of Margaretta, her mother died,
and thenceforth the child was the object of the tenderest and most
devoted solicitude to her sisters and to her father. Margaretta grew
up to be a remarkable child. At school she distinguished herself by
her aptitude in learning, and in church by the devotion with which
she followed the tedious Zwinglian service. The pastor who prepared
her for confirmation was struck by her enthusiasm and eagerness to
know about religion. She was clearly an imaginative person, and to
one constituted as she was, the barnlike church, destitute of every
element of beauty, studiously made as hideous as a perverse fancy
could scheme, and the sacred functions reduced to utter dreariness,
with every element of devotion bled out of them, were incapable of
satisfying the internal spiritual fire that consumed her.

There is in every human soul a divine aspiration, a tension after
the invisible and spiritual, in some more developed than in others,
in certain souls existing only in that rudimentary condition in
which, it is said, feet are found in the eel, and eyes in the
oyster, but in others it is a predominating faculty, a veritable
passion. Unless this faculty be given legitimate scope, be
disciplined and guided, it breaks forth in abnormal and unhealthy
manifestations. We know what is the result when the regular action
of the pores of the skin is prevented, or the circulation of the
blood is impeded. Fever and hallucination ensue. So is it with the
spiritual life in man. If that be not given free passage for healthy
discharge of its activity, it will resolve itself into fanaticism,
that is to say it will assume a diseased form of manifestation.

Margaretta was far ahead of her father, brother and sisters in
intellectual culture, and in moral force of character. Susanna,
the second daughter of John Peter, was an amiable, industrious,
young woman, without independence of character. The third daughter,
Elizabeth, was a quiet girl, rather dull in brain; Barbara was
married when Margaretta was only nine, and Magdalena not long after;
neither of them, however, escaped the influence of their youngest
sister, who dominated over their wills almost as completely as she
did over those of her two unmarried sisters, with whom she consorted

How great her power over her sisters was may be judged from what
they declared in after years in prison, and from what they endured
for her sake.

Barbara, the eldest, professed to the prison chaplain in Zürich, in
1823, "I am satisfied that God worked in mighty power, and in grace
through Margaret, up to the hour of her death." The father himself
declared after the ruin of his family and the death of two of his
daughters, "I am assured that my youngest daughter was set apart by
God for some extraordinary purpose."

When Margaret was six, she was able to read her Bible, and would
summon the family about her to listen to her lectures out of the
sacred volume. She would also at the same time pray with great
ardour, and exhort her father and sisters to lead God-fearing
lives. When she read the narrative of the Passion, she was unable
to refrain from tears; her emotion communicated itself to all
assembled round her, and the whole family sobbed and prayed aloud.
She was a veritable "ministering child" to her household in all
things spiritual. As she had been born at Christmas, it was thought
that this very fact indicated some special privilege and grace
accorded to her. In 1811, when aged seventeen, she received her
first communion and edified all the church with the unction and
exaltation of soul with which she presented herself at the table.
In after years the pastor of Trüllikon said of her, "Unquestionably
Margaretta was the cleverest of the family. She often came to thank
me for the instructions I had given her in spiritual things. Her
promises to observe all I had taught her were most fervent. I had
the best hopes for her, although I observed somewhat of extravagance
in her. Margaretta speedily obtained an absolute supremacy in her
father's house. All must do what she ordered. Her will expressed by
word of mouth, or by letter when absent, was obeyed as the will of

In personal appearance Margaretta was engaging. She was finely
moulded, had a well-proportioned body, a long neck on which her head
was held very upright; large, grey-blue eyes, fair hair, a lofty,
well-arched brow. The nose was well-shaped, but the chin and mouth
were somewhat coarse.

In 1816, her mother's brother, a small farmer at Rudolfingen,
invited her to come and manage his house for him. She went, and was
of the utmost assistance. Everything prospered under her hand. Her
uncle thought that she had brought the blessing of the Almighty on
both his house and his land.

Whilst at Rudolfingen, the holy maiden was brought in contact with
the Pietists of Schaffhausen. She attended their prayer-meetings and
expositions of Scripture. This deepened her religious convictions,
and produced a depression in her manner that struck her sisters
when she visited them. In answer to their inquiries why she was
reserved and melancholy, she replied that God was revealing Himself
to her more and more every day, so that she became daily more
conscious of her own sinfulness. If this had really been the case
it would have saved her from what ensued, but this sense of her own
sinfulness was a mere phrase, that meant actually an overweening
self-consciousness. She endured only about a twelve month of the
pietistic exercises at Schaffhausen, and then felt a call to preach,
testify and prophesy herself, instead of sitting at the feet of
others. Accordingly, she threw up her place with her uncle, and
returned to Wildisbuch, in March, 1817, when she began operations as
a revivalist.

The paternal household was now somewhat enlarged. The old farmer had
taken on a hand to help him in field and stable, called Heinrich
Ernst, and a young woman as maid called Margaret Jäggli. Ernst was a
faithful, amiable young fellow whom old Peters thoroughly trusted,
and he became devoted heart and soul to the family. Margaret
Jäggli was a person of very indifferent character, who, for her
immoralities, had been turned out of her native village. She was
subject to epileptic fits, which she supposed were possession by the
devil, and she came to the farm of the Peter's family in hopes of
being there cured by the prayers of the saintly Margaretta.

Another inmate of the house was Ursula Kündig, who entered it at the
age of nineteen, and lived there as a veritable maid-of-all-work,
though paid no wages. This damsel was of the sweetest, gentlest
disposition. Her parish pastor gave testimony to her, "She was
always so good that even scandal-mongers were unable to find
occasion for slander in her conduct." Her countenance was full of
intelligence, purity, and had in it a nobility above her birth and
education. Her home had been unhappy; she had been engaged to be
married to a young man, but finding that he did not care for her,
and sought only her small property, she broke off the engagement,
to her father's great annoyance. It was owing to a quarrel at home
relative to this, that she went to Wildisbuch to entreat Margaretta
Peter to be "her spiritual guide through life into eternity."
Ursula had at first only paid occasional visits to Wildisbuch, but
gradually these visits became long, and finally she took up her
residence in the house. The soul of the unhappy girl was as wax in
the hands of the saint, whom she venerated with intensest admiration
as the Elect of the Lord; and she professed her unshaken conviction
"that Christ revealed Himself in the flesh through her, and that
through her many thousands of souls were saved." The house at
Wildisbuch became thenceforth a great gathering place for all the
spiritually-minded in the neighbourhood, who desired instruction,
guidance, enlightenment, and Margaretta, the high priestess of
mysticism to all such as could find no satisfaction for the deepest
hunger of their souls in the Zwinglian services of their parish

Man is composed of two parts; he has a spiritual nature which he
shares with the angels, and an animal nature that he possesses in
common with the beasts. There is in him, consequently, a double
tendency, one to the indefinite, unconfined, spiritual; the other
to the limited, sensible and material. The religious history of
all times shows us this higher nature striving after emancipation
from the law of the body, and never succeeding in accomplishing
the escape, always falling back, like Dædalus, into destruction,
when attempting to defy the laws of nature and soar too near to
the ineffable light. The mysticism of the old heathen world, the
mysticism of the Gnostic sects, the mysticism of mediæval heretics,
almost invariably resolved itself into orgies of licentiousness. God
has bound soul and body together, and an attempt to dissociate them
in religion is fatally doomed to ruin.

The incarnation of the Son of God was the indissoluble union of
Spirit with form as the basis of true religion. Thenceforth, Spirit
was no more to be dissociated from matter, authority from a visible
Church, grace from a sacramental sign, morality from a fixed law.
All the great revolts against Catholicism in the middle-ages, were
more or less revolts against this principle and were reversions to
pure spiritualism. The Reformation was taken advantage of for the
mystic aspirations of men to run riot. Individual emotion became
the supreme and sole criticism of right and wrong, of truth and
falsehood, and sole authority to which submission must be tendered.

In the autumn of 1817, Margaretta of Wildisbuch met a woman who
was also remarkable in her way, and the head of another revivalist
movement. This was Julianne von Krüdner; about whom a word must now
be said.

Julianne was born in 1766, at Riga, the daughter of a noble and
wealthy family. Her father visited Paris and took the child with
him, where she made the acquaintance of the rationalistic and
speculative spirits of French society, before the Revolution.
In a Voltairean atmosphere, the little Julianne grew up without
religious faith or moral principle. At the age of fourteen she was
married to a man much older than herself, the Baron von Krüdner,
Russian Ambassador at Venice. There her notorious immoralities
resulted in a separation, and Julianne was obliged to return to her
father's house at Riga. This did not satisfy her love of pleasure
and vanity, and she went to St. Petersburg and then to Paris,
where she threw herself into every sort of dissipation. She wrote
a novel, "Valérie," in which she frankly admitted that woman, when
young, must give herself up to pleasure, then take up with art, and
finally, when nothing else was left her, devote herself to religion.
At the age of forty she had already entered on this final phase.
She went to Berlin, was admitted to companionship with the Queen,
Louise, and endeavoured to "convert" her. The sweet, holy queen
required no conversion, and the Baroness von Krüdner was obliged to
leave Berlin. She wandered thenceforth from place to place, was now
in Paris, then in Geneva, and then in Germany. At Karlsruhe she met
Jung-Stilling; and thenceforth threw herself heart and soul into the
pietistic revival. Her mission now was--so she conceived--to preach
the Gospel to the poor. In 1814 she obtained access to the Russian
Court, where her prophecies and exhortations produced such an effect
on the spirit of the Czar, Alexander I., that he entreated her to
accompany him to Paris. She did so, and held spiritual conferences
and prayer meetings in the French capital. Alexander soon tired of
her, and she departed to Basel, where she won to her the Genevan
Pastor Empeytaz and the Basel Professor Lachenal. Her meetings for
revival, which were largely attended, caused general excitement,
but led to many domestic quarrels, so that the city council gave
her notice to leave the town. She then made a pilgrimage along the
Rhine, but her proceedings were everywhere objected to by the police
and town authorities, and she was sent back under police supervision
first to Leipzig, and thence into Russia.

Thence in 1824 she departed for the Crimea, where she had resolved
to start a colony on the plan of the Moravian settlements, and there
died before accomplishing her intention.

It was in 1817, when she was conducting her apostolic progress along
the Rhine, that she and Margaretta of Wildisbuch met. Apparently the
latter made a deeper impression on the excitable baroness than had
the holy Julianne on Margaretta. The two aruspices did not laugh
when they met, for they were both in deadly earnest, and had not
the smallest suspicion that they were deluding themselves first, and
then others.

The meeting with the Krüdner had a double effect. In the first
place, the holy Julianne, when forced to leave the neighbourhood
by the unregenerate police, commended her disciples to the blessed
Margaret; and, in the second place, the latter had the shrewdness
to perceive, that, if she was to play anything like the part of
her fellow-apostle, she must acquire a little more education.
Consequently Margaret took pains to write grammatically, and to
spell correctly.

The result of the commendation by Saint Julianne of her disciples
to Margaret was that thenceforth a regular pilgrimage set in to
Wildisbuch of devout persons in landaus and buggies, on horse and on

Some additional actors in the drama must now be introduced.

Magdalena Peter, the fourth daughter of John Peter, was married to
the cobbler, John Moser. The influence of Margaret speedily made
itself felt in their house. At first Moser's old mother lived with
the couple, along with Conrad, John Moser's younger brother. The
first token of the conversion of Moser and his wife was that they
kicked the old mother out of the house, because she was worldly and
void of "saving grace." Conrad was a plodding, hard-working lad,
very useful, and therefore not to be dispensed with. The chosen
vessels finding he did not sympathise with them, and finding him too
valuable to be done without, starved him till he yielded to their
fancies, saw visions, and professed himself "saved." Barbara, also,
married to the blacksmith Baumann, was next converted, and brought
all her spiritual artillery to bear on the blacksmith, but in vain.
He let her go her own way, but he would have nothing himself to say
to the great spiritual revival in the house of the Peters. Barbara,
not finding a kindred soul in her husband, had taken up with a man
of like soaring piety, a tailor, named Hablützel.

Another person who comes into this story is Jacob Ganz, a tailor,
who had been mixed up with the movement at Basel under Julianne the

Margaret's brother Caspar was a man of infamous character; he was
separated from his wife, whom he had treated with brutality; had
become the father of an illegitimate child, and now loafed about the
country preaching the Gospel.

Ganz, the tailor, had thrown aside his shears, and constituted
himself a roving preacher. In one of his apostolic tours he had made
the acquaintance of Saint Margaret, and had been deeply impressed by
her. He had an elect disciple at Illnau, in the Kempthal, south of
Winterthür. This was a shoemaker named Jacob Morf, a married man,
aged thirty; small, with a head like a pumpkin. To this shoemaker
Ganz spoke with enthusiasm of the spiritual elevation of the holy
Margaret, and Morf was filled with a lively desire of seeing and
hearing her.

Margaretta seems after a while to have wearied of the monotony of
life in her father's house, or else the spirit within her drove her
abroad to carry her light into the many dark corners of her native
canton. She resolved to be like Ganz, a roving apostle. Sometimes
she started on her missionary journeys alone, sometimes along with
her sister Elizabeth, who submitted to her with blind and stanch
obedience, or else with Ursula Kündig. These journeys began in 1820,
and extended as far Zürich and along the shores of that lovely lake.
In May of the same year she visited Illnau, where she was received
with enthusiasm by the faithful, who assembled in the house of a
certain Ruegg, and there for the first time she met with Jacob Morf.
The acquaintance then begun soon quickened into friendship. When
a few weeks later he went to Schaffhausen to purchase leather, he
turned aside to Wildisbuch. After this his visits there became not
only frequent, but were protracted.

Margaret was the greatest comfort to him in his troubled state of
soul. She described to him the searchings and anxieties she had
undergone, so that he cried "for very joy that he had encountered
one who had gone through the same experience as himself."

In November, 1820, Margaret took up her abode for some time in the
house of a disciple, Caspar Notz, near Zürich, and made it the
centre whence she started on a series of missionary excursions. Here
also gathered the elect out of Zürich to hear her expound Scripture,
and pray. And hither also came the cobbler Morf seeking ease for his
troubled soul, and on occasions stayed in the house there with her
for a week at a time. At last his wife, the worthy Regula Morf, came
from Illnau to find her husband, and persuaded him to return with
her to his cobbling at home.

At the end of January in 1821, Margaret visited Illnau again, and
drew away after her the bewitched Jacob, who followed her all the
way home, to Wildisbuch, and remained at her father's house ten days

On Ascension Day following, he was again with her, and then she
revealed to him that it was the will of heaven that they should
ascend together, without tasting death, into the mansions of the
blessed, and were to occupy one throne together for all eternity.
Throughout this year, when the cobbler, Jacob, was not at
Wildisbuch, or Saint Margaretta at Illnau, the pair were writing
incessantly to each other, and their correspondence is still
preserved in the archives of Zürich. Here is a specimen of the style
of the holy Margaret. "My dear child! your dear letter filled me
with joy. O, my dear child, how gladly would I tell you how it fares
with me! When we parted, I was forced to go aside where none might
see, to relieve my heart with tears. O, my heart, I cannot describe
to you the distress into which I fell. I lay as one senseless for
an hour. For anguish of heart I could not go home, such unspeakable
pains did I suffer! My former separation from you was but a shadow
of this parting. O, why are you so unutterably dear to me, &c.," and
then a flow of sickly, pious twaddle that makes the gorge rise.

Regula Morf read this letter and shook her head over it. She had
shaken her head over another letter received by her husband a month
earlier, in which the holy damsel had written: "O, how great is my
love! It is stronger than death. O, how dear are you to me. I could
hug you to my heart a thousand times." And had scribbled on the
margin, "These words are for your eye alone." However, Regula saw
them, shook her head and told her husband that the letter seemed
to her unenlightened mind to be very much like a love-letter.
"Nothing of the sort," answered the cobbler, "it speaks of spiritual
affection only."

We must now pass over a trait in the life of the holy maid which
is to the last degree unedifying, but which is merely another
exemplification of that truth which the history of mysticism
enforces in every age, that spiritual exaltation runs naturally,
inevitably, into licentiousness, unless held in the iron bands of
discipline to the moral law. A mystic is a law to himself. He bows
before no exterior authority. However much he may transgress the
code laid down by religion, he feels no compunction, no scruples,
for his heart condemns him not. It was so with the holy Margaret.
Her lapse or lapses in no way roused her to a sense of sin, but
served only to drive her further forward on the mad career of
self-righteous exaltation.

She had disappeared for many months from her father's house, along
with her sister Elizabeth. The police had inquired as to their
whereabouts of old John Peter, but he had given them no information
as to where his daughters were. He professed not to know. He was
threatened unless they were produced by a certain day that he would
be fined. The police were sent in search in every direction but the
right one.

Suddenly in the night of January 11th, 1823, the sisters
re-appeared, Margaret, white, weak, and prostrate with sickness.

A fortnight after her return, Jacob Morf was again at Wildisbuch,
as he said afterwards before court, "led thither because assured by
Margaret that they were to ascend together to heaven without dying."

From this time forward, Margaretta's conduct went into another
phase. Instead of resuming her pilgrim's staff and travelling round
the country preaching the Gospel, she remained all day in one room
with her sister Elizabeth, the shutters closed, reading the Bible,
meditating, and praying, and writing letters to her "dear child"
Jacob. The transgressions she had committed were crosses laid on her
shoulder by God. "Oh! why," she wrote in one of her epistles, "did
my Heavenly Father choose _that_ from all eternity in His providence
for me? There were thousands upon thousands of other crosses He
might have laid on me. But He elected that one which would be
heaviest for me, heavier than all the persecutions to which I am
subjected by the devil, and which all but overthrow me. From the
foundation of the world He has never so tried any of His saints as
He has us. It gives joy to all the host of heaven when we suffer to
the end." Again, "the greater the humiliation and shame we undergo,
and have to endure from our enemies here below"--consider, brought
on herself by her own scandalous conduct--"the more unspeakable our
glorification in heaven."

In the evening, Margaretta would come downstairs and receive
visitors, and preach and prophesy to them. The entire house
was given over to religious ecstasy that intensified as Easter
approached. Every now and then the saint assembled the household
and exhorted them to watch and pray, for a great trial of their
faith was at hand. Once she asked them whether they were ready to
lay down their lives for Christ. One day she said, in the spirit of
prophecy, "Behold! I see the host of Satan drawing nearer and nearer
to encompass me. He strives to overcome me. Let me alone that I may
fight him." Then she flung her arms about and struck in the air with
her open hands.

The idea grew in her that the world was in danger, that the devil
was gaining supremacy over it, and would carry all souls into
captivity once more, and that she--and almost only she--stood in his
way and was protecting the world of men against his power.

For years she had exercised her authority, that grew with every
year, over everyone in the house, and not a soul there had thought
of resisting her, of evading the commands she laid on them, of
questioning her word.

The house was closed against all but the very elect. The pastor of
the parish, as "worldly," was not suffered to cross the threshold.
At a tap, the door was opened, and those deemed worthy were
admitted, and the door hastily barred and bolted behind them.
Everything was viewed in a spiritual light. One evening Ursula
Kündig and Margaretta Jäggli were sitting spinning near the stove.
Suddenly there was a pop. A knot in the pine-logs in the stove had
exploded. But up sprang Jäggli, threw over her spinning-wheel, and
shrieked out--"Hearken! Satan is banging at the window. He wants
me. He will fetch me!" She fell convulsed on the floor, foaming
at the mouth. Margaret, the saint, was summoned. The writhing
girl shrieked out, "Pray for me! Save me! Fight for my soul!" and
Margaretta at once began her spiritual exercises to ban the evil
spirit from the afflicted and possessed servant maid. She beat with
her hands in the air, cried out, "Depart, thou murderer of souls,
accursed one, to hell-fire. Wilt thou try to rob me of my sheep that
was lost? My sheep--whom I have pledged myself to save?"

One day, the maid had a specially bad epileptic fit. Around her bed
stood old John Peter, Elizabeth and Susanna, Ursula Kündig, and John
Moser, as well as the saint. Margaret was fighting with the Evil One
with her fists and her cries, when John Moser fell into ecstasy and
saw a vision. His account shall be given in his own words: "I saw
Christ and Satan, and the latter held a book open before Christ and
bade Him see how many claims he had on the soul of Jäggli. The book
was scored diagonally with red lines on all the pages. I saw this
distinctly, and therefore concluded that the account was cancelled.
Then I saw all the saints in heaven snatch the book away, and tear
it into a thousand pieces that fell down in a rain."

But Satan was not to be defeated and driven away so easily. He
had made himself a nest, so Margaret stated, under the roof of
the house, and only a desperate effort of faith and contest with
spiritual arms could expel him. For this Armageddon she bade all
prepare. It is hardly necessary to add that it could not be fought
without the presence of the dearly beloved Jacob. She wrote to him
and invited him to come to the great and final struggle with the
devil and all his host, and the obedient cobbler girded his loins
and hastened to Wildisbuch, where he arrived on Saturday the 8th
March, 1823.

On Monday, in answer, probably, to her summons, came also John Moser
and his brother Conrad. Then also Margaret's own and only brother,

Before proceeding to the climax of this story we may well pause to
ask whether the heroine was in her senses or not; whether she set
the avalanche in motion that overwhelmed herself and her house,
with deliberation and consciousness as to the end to which she was
aiming. The woman was no vulgar impostor; she deceived herself to
her own destruction. In her senses, so far, she had set plainly
before her the object to which she was about to hurry her dupes, but
her reason and intelligence were smothered under her overweening
self-esteem, that had grown like a great spiritual cancer, till
it had sapped common-sense, and all natural affection, even the
very instinct of self-preservation. Before her diseased eyes, the
salvation of the whole world depended on herself. If she failed in
her struggle with the evil principle, all mankind fell under the
bondage of Satan; but she could not fail--she was all-powerful,
exalted above every chance of failure in the battle, just as she was
exalted above every lapse in virtue, do what she might, which to
the ordinary sense of mankind is immoral. Every mystic does not go
as far as Margaret Peter, happily, but all take some strides along
that road that leads to self-deification and _anomia_. In Margaret's
conduct, in preparation for the final tragedy, there was a good
deal of shrewd calculation; she led up to it by a long isolation
and envelopment of herself and her doings in mystery; and she
called her chosen disciples to witness it. Each stage in the drama
was calculated to produce a certain effect, and she measured her
influence over her creatures before she advanced another step. On
Monday all were assembled and in expectation; Armageddon was to be
fought, but when the battle would begin, and how it would be carried
through, were unknown. Tuesday arrived; some of the household went
about their daily work, the rest were gathered together in the room
where Margaret was, lost in silent prayer. Every now and then the
hush in the darkened room was broken by a wail of the saint: "I am
sore straitened! I am in anguish!--but I refresh my soul at the
prospect of the coming exaltation!" or, "My struggle with Satan is
severe. He strives to retain the souls which I will wrest from his
hold; some have been for two hundred, even three hundred years in
his power."

One can imagine the scene--the effect produced on those assembled
about the pale, striving ecstatic. All who were present afterwards
testified that on the Tuesday and the following days they hardly
left the room, hardly allowed themselves time to snatch a hasty
meal, so full of expectation were they that some great and awful
event was about to take place. The holy enthusiasm was general, and
if one or two, such as old Peter and his son, Caspar, were less
magnetised than the rest, they were far removed from the thought
of in any way contesting the will of the prophetess, or putting
the smallest impediment in the way of her accomplishing what she

When evening came, she ascended to an upper room, followed by the
whole company, and there she declared, "Lo! I see Satan and his
first-born floating in the air. They are dispersing their emissaries
to all corners of the earth to summon their armies together."
Elizabeth, somewhat tired of playing a passive part, added, "Yes--I
see them also." Then the holy maid relapsed into her mysterious
silence. After waiting another hour, all went to bed, seeing that
nothing further would happen that night. Next day, Wednesday, she
summoned the household into her bedroom; seated on her bed, she bade
them all kneel down and pray to the Lord to strengthen her hands for
the great contest. They continued striving in prayer till noon, and
then, feeling hungry, all went downstairs to get some food. When
they had stilled their appetites, Margaret was again seized by the
spirit of prophecy, and declared, "The Lord has revealed to me what
will happen in the latter days. The son of Napoleon" (that poor,
feeble mortal the Duke of Reichstadt) "will appear before the world
as anti-Christ, and will strive to bring the world over to his side.
He will undergo a great conflict; but what will be the result is
not shown me at the present moment; but I am promised a spiritual
token of this revelation." And the token followed. The dearly-loved
Jacob, John Moser, and Ursula Kündig cried out that they saw two
evil spirits, one in the form of Napoleon, pass into Margaret
Jäggli, and the other, in that of his son, enter into Elizabeth.
Whereupon Elizabeth, possessed by the spirit of that poor, little,
sickly Duke of Reichstadt, began to march about the room and assume
a haughty, military air. Thereupon the prophetess wrestled in spirit
and overcame these devils and expelled them. Thereat Elizabeth gave
up her military flourishes.

From daybreak on the following day the blessed Margaret "had
again a desperate struggle," but without the assistance of the
household, which was summoned to take their share in the battle in
the afternoon only. She bade them follow her to the upper chamber,
and a procession ascended the steep stairs, consisting of Margaret,
followed by Elizabeth and Susanna Peter, Ursula Kündig and Jäggli,
the old father and his son, Caspar, the serving-man, Heinrich Ernst,
then Jacob Morf, John Moser, and the rear was brought up by the
young Conrad. As soon as the prophetess had taken her seat on the
bed, she declared, "Last night it was revealed to me that you are
all of you to unite with me in the battle with the devil, lest he
should conquer Christ. I must strive, lest your souls and those
of so many, many others should be lost. Come, then! strive with
me; but first of all, kneel down, lay your faces in the dust and
pray." Thereupon, all prostrated themselves on the floor and prayed
in silence. Presently the prophetess exclaimed from her throne on
the bed, "The hour is come in which the conflict must take place,
so that Christ may gather together His Church, and contend with
anti-Christ. After Christ has assembled His Church, 1260 days will
elapse, and then anti-Christ will appear in human form, and with
sweet and enticing words will strive to seduce the elect; but all
true Christians will hold aloof." After a pause, she said solemnly,
"In verity, anti-Christ is already among us."

Then with a leap she was off the bed, turning her eyes about,
throwing up her hands, rushing about the room, striking the chairs
and clothes-boxes with her fists, crying, "The scoundrel, the
murderer of souls!" And, finding a hammer, she began to beat the
wall with it.

The company looked on in breathless amaze. But the epileptic Jäggli
went into convulsions, writhed on the ground, groaned, shrieked and
wrung her hands. Then the holy Margaretta cried, "I see in spirit
the old Napoleon gathering a mighty host, and marching against me.
The contest will be terrible. You must wrestle unto blood. Go! fly!
fetch me axes, clubs, whatever you can find. Bar the doors, curtain
all the windows in the house, and close every shutter."

Whilst her commands were being fulfilled in all haste, and the
required weapons were sought out, John Moser, who remained behind,
saw the room "filled with a dazzling glory, such as no tongue could
describe," and wept for joy. The excitement had already mounted to
visionary ecstasy. It was five o'clock when the weapons were brought
upstairs. The holy Margaretta was then seated on her bed, wringing
her hands, and crying to all to pray, "Help! help! all of you, that
Christ may not be overcome in me. Strike, smite, cleave--everywhere,
on all sides--the floor, the walls! It is the will of God! smite on
till I bid you stay. Smite and lose your lives if need be."

It was a wonder that lives were not lost in the extraordinary scene
that ensued; the room was full of men and women; there were ten of
them armed with hatchets, crowbars, clubs, pick-axes, raining blows
on walls and floors, on chairs, tables, cupboards and chests. This
lasted for three hours. Margaret remained on the bed, encouraging
the party to continue; when any arm flagged she singled out the
weary person, and exhorted him, as he loved his soul, to fight more
valiantly and utterly defeat and destroy the devil. "Strike him!
cut him down! the old adversary! the arch-fiend! whoso loseth his
life shall find it. Fear nothing! smite till your blood runs down
as sweat. There he is in yonder corner; now at him," and Elizabeth
served as her echo, "Smite! strike on! He is a murderer, he is the
young Napoleon, the coming anti-Christ, who entered into me and
almost destroyed me."

This lasted, as already said, for three hours. The room was full
of dust. The warriors steamed with their exertions, and the sweat
rolled off them. Never had men and women fought with greater
enthusiasm. The battle of Don Quixote against the wind-mills was
nothing to this. What blows and wounds the devil and the young
Duke of Reichstadt obtained is unrecorded, but walls and floor and
furniture in the room were wrecked; indeed pitchfork and axe had
broken down one wall of the house and exposed what went on inside to
the eyes of a gaping crowd that had assembled without, amazed at the
riot that went on in the house that was regarded as a very sanctuary
of religion.

No sooner did the saint behold the faces of the crowd outside than
she shrieked forth, "Behold them! the enemies of God! the host of
Satan, coming on! But fear them not, we shall overcome."

At last the combatants were no longer able to raise their arms or
maintain themselves on their feet. Then Margaret exclaimed, "The
victory is won! follow me!" She led them downstairs into the common
sitting-room, where close-drawn curtains and fastened shutters
excluded the rude gaze of the profane. Here a rushlight was kindled,
and by its light the battle continued with an alteration in the

In complete indifference to the mob that surrounded the house and
clamoured at the door for admission, the saint ordered all to throw
themselves on the ground and thank heaven for the victory they had
won. Then, after a pause of more than an hour the same scene began
again, and that it could recommence is evidence how much a man can
do and endure, when possessed by a holy craze.

It was afterwards supposed that the whole pious community was drunk
with schnaps; but with injustice. Their stomachs were empty; it was
their brains that were drunk.

The holy Margaret, standing in the midst of the prostrate
worshippers, now ordered them to beat themselves with their fists
on their heads and breasts, and they obeyed. Elizabeth yelled, "O,
Margaret! Do thou strike me! Let me die for Christ."

Thereupon the holy one struck her sister repeatedly with her
fists, so that Elizabeth cried out with pain, "Bear it!" exclaimed
Margaret; "It is the wrath of God!"

The prima-donna of the whole comedy in the meanwhile looked well
about her to see that none of the actors spared themselves. When
she saw anyone slack in his self-chastisement, she called to him to
redouble his blows. As the old man did not exhibit quite sufficient
enthusiasm in self-torture, she cried, "Father, you do not beat
yourself sufficiently!" and then began to batter him with her own
fists. The ill-treated old man groaned under her blows, but she
cheered him with, "I am only driving out the old Adam, father! It
does not hurt you," and redoubled her pommelling of his head and
back. Then out went the light.

All this while the crowd listened and passed remarks outside. No
one would interfere, as it was no one's duty to interfere. Tidings
of what was going on did, however, reach the amtmann of the parish,
but he was an underling, and did not care to meddle without higher
authority, so sent word to the amtmann of the district. This latter
called to him his secretary, his constable and a policeman, and
reached the house of the Peter's family at ten o'clock. In his
report to the police at Zürich he says: "On the 13th about 10
o'clock at night I reached Wildisbuch, and then heard that the noise
in the house of the Peter's family had ceased, that all lights were
out, and that no one was stirring. I thought it advisable not to
disturb this tranquillity, so left orders that the house should
be watched," and then he went into the house of a neighbour. At
midnight, the policeman who had been left on guard came to announce
that there was a renewal of disturbance in the house of the Peters.
The amtmann went to the spot and heard muffled cries of "Save us!
have mercy on us! Strike away! he is a murderer! spare him not!"
and a trampling, and a sound of blows, "as though falling on soft
bodies." The amtmann knocked at the window and ordered those within
to admit him. As no attention was paid to his commands, he bade
the constable break open the house door. This was done, but the
sitting-room door was now found to be fast barred. The constable
then ascended to the upper room and saw in what a condition of
wreckage it was. He descended and informed the amtmann of what he
had seen. Again the window was knocked at, and orders were repeated
that the door should be opened. No notice was taken of this;
whereupon the worthy magistrate broke in a pane of glass, and thrust
a candle through the window into the room.

"I now went to the opened window, and observed four or five men
standing with their backs against the door. Another lay as dead on
the floor. At a little distance was a coil of human beings, men and
women, lying in a heap on the floor, beside them a woman on her
knees beating the rest, and crying out at every blow, 'Lord, have
mercy!' Finally, near the stove was another similar group."

The amtmann now ordered the sitting-room door to be broken open.
Conrad Moser, who had offered to open to the magistrate, was rebuked
by the saint, who cried out to him: "What, will you give admission
to the devil?"

"The men," says the magistrate in his report, "offered resistance
excited thereto by the women, who continued screaming. The holy
Margaret especially distinguished herself, and was on her knees
vigorously beating another woman who lay flat on the floor on her
face. A second group consisted of a coil of two men and two women
lying on the floor, the head of one woman on the body of a man,
and the head of a man on that of a girl. The rest staggered to
their feet one after another. I tried remonstrances, but they were
unavailing in the hubbub. Then I ordered the old Peter to be removed
from the room. Thereupon men and women flung themselves upon him,
in spite of all our assurances that no harm would be done him. With
difficulty we got him out of the room, with all the rest hanging
on him, so that he was thrown on the floor, and the rest clinging
to him tumbled over him in a heap. I repeated my remonstrance, and
insisted on silence, but without avail. When old Peter prepared to
answer, the holy Margaret stayed him with, 'Father, make no reply.
Pray!' All then recommenced the uproar. Margaret cried out: 'Let us
all die! I will die for Christ!' Others called out, 'Lord, save us!'
and others, 'Have mercy on us!'"

The amtmann gave orders that the police were to divide the party
and keep guard over some in the kitchen, and the rest in the
sitting-room, through the night, and not to allow them to speak to
each other. The latter order was, however, more than the police
could execute. In spite of all their efforts, Margaretta and the
others continued to exhort and comfort one another through the night.

Next morning each was brought before the magistrate and subjected
to examination. All were sullen, resolute, and convinced that they
were doing God's will. As the holy Margaretta was led away from
examination, she said to Ursula and the servant Heinrich, "The world
opposes, but can not frustrate my work."

Her words came true, the world was too slow in its movements. The
amtmann did not send in his report to the authorities of Zürich till
the 16th, whereupon it was taken into consideration, and orders were
transmitted to him that Margaret and Elizabeth were to be sent to an
asylum. It was then too late.

After the investigation, the amtmann required the cobbler, John
Morf, to march home to Illnau, John and Conrad Moser to return to
their home, and Ursula Kündig to be sent back to her father. This
command was not properly executed. Ursula remained, and though
John Moser obeyed, he was prepared to return to the holy Margaret
directly he was summoned.

As soon as the high priestess had come out of the room where she had
been examined by the amtmann, she went to her own bed-chamber, where
boards had been laid over the gaps between the rafters broken by the
axes and picks, during the night. Elizabeth, Susanna, Ursula, and
the maid sat or stood round her and prayed.

At eight o'clock, the father and his son, Caspar, rejoined her, also
her eldest sister, Barbara, arrived from Trüllikon. The servant,
Heinrich, formed one more in the re-assembled community, and the
ensuing night was passed in prayer and spiritual exercises. These
were not conducted in quiet. To the exhortations of Margaret,
both Elizabeth and the housemaid entreated that the devil might be
beaten out of them. But now Ursula interfered, as the poor girl
Elizabeth had been badly bruised in her bosom by the blows she had
received on the preceding night. When the Saturday morning dawned,
Margaret stood up on her bed and said, "I see the many souls seeking
salvation through me. They must be assisted; would that a sword were
in my hand that I might fight for them." A little later she said,
with a sigh of relief, "The Lamb has conquered. Go to your work."

Tranquillity lasted for but a few hours. Magdalena, Moser's wife,
had arrived, together with her husband and Conrad. The only one
missing was the dearly beloved Jacob, who was far on his way
homeward to Illnau and his hardly used wife, Regula.

At ten o'clock, the old father, his five daughters, his son, the two
brothers, John and Conrad Moser, Ursula Kündig, the maid Jäggli, and
the man Heinrich Ernst, twelve in all, were assembled in the upper

Margaret and Elizabeth sat side by side on the bed, the latter
half stupified, looking fixedly before her, Margaret, however, in
a condition of violent nervous surrexitation. Many of the weapons
used in wrecking the furniture lay about; among these were the
large hammer, and an iron wedge used for splitting wood. All there
assembled felt that something extraordinary was about to happen.
They had everyone passed the line that divides healthy common-sense
from mania.

Margaretta now solemnly announced, "I have given a pledge for many
souls that Satan may not have them. Among these is the soul of my
brother Caspar. But I cannot conquer in the strife for him without
the shedding of blood." Thereupon she bade all present recommence
beating themselves with their fists, so as to expel the devil, and
they executed her orders with wildest fanaticism.

The holy maid now laid hold of the iron wedge, drew her brother
Caspar to her, and said, "Behold, the Evil One is striving to
possess thy soul!" and thereupon she began to strike him on head
and breast with the wedge. Caspar staggered back; she pursued him,
striking him and cutting his head open, so that he was covered with
blood. As he afterwards declared, he had not the smallest thought of
resistance; the power to oppose her seemed to be taken from him. At
length, half stunned, he fell to the ground, and was carried to his
bed by his father and the maid Jäggli. The old man no more returned
upstairs, consequently he was not present at the terrible scene
that ensued. But he took no steps to prevent it. Not only so, but
he warded off all interruption from without. Whilst he was below,
someone knocked at the door. At that moment Susanna was in the room
with him, and he bade her inquire who was without. The man gave his
name as Elias Vogal, a mason, and asked leave to come in. Old Peter
refused, as he said the surgeon was within. Elias endeavoured to
push his way in but was resisted, and the door barred against him.
Vogel went away, and meeting a policeman told him what had taken
place, and added that he had noticed blood-stains on the sleeves of
both old Peter and Susanna. The policeman, thinking that Peter's
lie was truth, and that the surgeon was really in the house, and had
been bleeding the half-crazy people there, took no further notice of
what he had heard, and went his way.

Meanwhile, in the upper room the comedy had been changed into a
ghastly tragedy. As soon as the wounded Caspar had been removed, the
three sisters, Barbara, Magdalena, and Susanna left the room, the
two latter, however, only for a short while. Then the holy Margaret
said to those who remained with her, "To-day is a day of great
events. The contest has been long and must now be decided. Blood
must flow. I see the spirit of my mother calling to me to offer up
my life." After a pause she said, "And you--all--are you ready to
give your lives?" They all responded eagerly that they were. Then
said Margaret, "No, no; I see you will not readily die. But I--I
must die."

Thereupon Elizabeth exclaimed, "I will gladly die for the saving of
the souls of my brother and father. Strike me dead, strike me dead!"
Then she threw herself on the bed and began to batter her head with
a wooden mallet.

"It has been revealed to me," said Margaret, "that Elizabeth will
sacrifice herself." Then taking up the iron hammer, she struck her
sister on the head. At once a spiritual fury seized on all the
elect souls, and seizing weapons they began to beat the poor girl
to death. Margaret in her mania struck at random about her, and
wounded both John Moser and Ursula Kündig. Then she suddenly caught
the latter by the wrist and bade her kill Elizabeth with the iron
wedge. Ursula shrank back, "I cannot! I love her too dearly!" "You
must," screamed the saint; "it is ordained." "I am ready to die"
moaned Elizabeth. "I cannot! I cannot!" cried Ursula. "You must,"
shouted Margaret. "I will raise my sister again, and I also will
rise again after three days. May God strengthen your arm."

As though a demoniacal influence flowed out of the holy maid, and
maddened those about her, all were again seized with frenzy. John
Moser snatched the hammer out of her hand, and smote the prostrate
girl with it again, and yet again, on head and bosom and shoulders.
Susanna brought down a crow-bar across her body, the servant-man
Heinrich belaboured her with a fragment of the floor planking,
and Ursula, swept away by the current, beat in her skull with the
wedge. Throughout the turmoil, the holy maid yelled: "God strengthen
your arms! Ursula, strike home! Die for Christ, Elizabeth!" The
last words heard from the martyred girl were an exclamation of
resignation to the will of God, as expressed by her sister.

One would have supposed that when the life was thus battered out
of the unfortunate victim, the murderers would have come to their
senses and been filled with terror and remorse. But it was not so.
Margaret sat beside the body of her murdered sister, the blaze of
spiritual ecstasy in her eyes, the blood-stained hammer in her
right hand, terrible in her inflexible determination, and in the
demoniacal energy which was to possess her to the last breath she
drew. Her bosom heaved, her body quivered, but her voice was firm
and her tone authoritative, as she said, "More blood must flow. I
have pledged myself for the saving of many souls. I must die now.
You must crucify me." John Moser and Ursula, shivering with horror,
entreated, "O do not demand that of us." She replied, "It is better
that I should die than that thousands of souls should perish."

So saying she struck herself with the hammer on the left temple.
Then she held out the weapon to John Moser, and ordered him and
Ursula to batter her with it. Both hesitated for a moment.

"What!" cried Margaret turning to her favourite disciple, "will you
not do this? Strike and may God brace your arm!" Moser and Ursula
now struck her with the hammer, but not so as to stun her.

"And now," said she with raised voice, "crucify me! You, Ursula,
must do the deed."

"I cannot! I cannot!" sobbed the wretched girl.

"What! will you withdraw your hand from the work of God, now the
hour approaches? You will be responsible for all the souls that will
be lost, unless you fulfil what I have appointed you to do."

"But O! not I--!" pleaded Ursula.

"Yes--you. If the police authorities had executed me, it would not
have fallen to you to do this, but now it is for you to accomplish
the work. Go, Susan, and fetch nails, and the rest of you make ready
the cross."

In the meantime, Heinrich, the man-servant, frightened at what had
taken place, and not wishing to have anything more to do with the
horrible scene in the upper chamber, had gone quietly down into
the wood-house, and was making stakes for the vines. There Susanna
found him, and asked him for nails, telling him for what they were
designed. He composedly picked her out nails of suitable length, and
then resumed his work of making vine stakes. Susanna re-ascended to
the upper room, and found Margaret extended on the bed beside the
body of Elizabeth, with the arms, breast, and feet resting on blocks
of wood, arranged, whilst Susanna was absent, by John Moser and
Ursula, under her in the fashion of a cross.

Then began the horrible act of crucifixion, which is only
conceivable as an outburst of religious mania, depriving all who
took part in it of every feeling of humanity, and degrading them
to the level of beasts of prey. At the subsequent trial, both
Ursula and John Moser described their condition as one of spiritual

The hands and feet of the victim were nailed to the blocks of wood.
Then Ursula's head swam, and she drew back. Again Margaret called
her to continue her horrible work. "Go on! go on! God strengthen
your arm. I will raise Elizabeth from the dead, and rise myself in
three days." Nails were driven through both elbows and also through
the breasts of Margaret; not for one moment did the victim express
pain, nor did her courage fail her. No Indian at the stake endured
the cruel ingenuity of his tormentors with more stoicism than did
this young woman bear the martyrdom she had invoked for herself.
She impressed her murderers with the idea that she was endowed with
supernatural strength. It could not be otherwise, for what she
endured was beyond the measure of human strength. That in the place
of human endurance she was possessed with the Berserker strength
of the _furor religiosus_, was what these ignorant peasants could
not possibly know. Conrad Moser could barely support himself from
fainting, sick and horror-struck at the scene. He exclaimed, "Is
not this enough?" His brother, John, standing at the foot of the
bed, looked into space with glassy eyes. Ursula, bathed in tears,
was bowed over the victim. Magdalena Moser had taken no active part
in the crucifixion; she remained the whole time, weeping, leaning
against a chest.

The dying woman smiled. "I feel no pain. Be yourselves strong," she
whispered. "Now, drive a nail or a knife through my heart."

Ursula endeavoured to do as bidden, but her hand shook and the knife
was bent. "Beat in my skull!" this was the last word spoken by
Margaret. In their madness Conrad Moser and Ursula Kündig obeyed,
one with the crowbar, the other with the hammer.

It was noon when the sacrifice was accomplished--dinner-time.
Accordingly, all descended to the sitting-room, where the meal that
Margaret Jäggli had been in the meantime preparing was served and

They had scarce finished before a policeman entered with a paper for
old Peter to sign, in which he made himself answerable to produce
his daughters before the magistrates when and where required.
He signed it with composure, "I declare that I will cause my
daughters, if in good health, to appear before the Upper Amtsmann in
Andelfingen when so required." Then the policeman departed without
a suspicion that the two girls were lying dead in the room above.
On Sunday the 16th, the servant Heinrich was sent on horseback to
Illnau to summon Jacob Morf to come to Wildisbuch and witness a
great miracle. Jacob came there with Heinrich, but was not told the
circumstances of the crucifixion till he reached the house. When he
heard what had happened, he was frightened almost out of his few
wits, and when taken upstairs to see the bodies, he fainted away.
Nothing--no representations would induce him to remain for the
miraculous resurrection, and he hastened back to Illnau, where he
took to his bed. In his alarm and horror he sent for the pastor, and
told him what he had seen.

But the rest of the holy community remained stead-fast in their
faith. On the night of Sunday before Monday morning broke, Ursula
Kündig and the servant man Heinrich went upstairs with pincers and
drew out the nails that transfixed Margaretta. When asked their
reason for so doing, at the subsequent trial, they said that they
supposed this would facilitate Margaretta's resurrection. _Sanctus
furor_ had made way for _sancta simplicitas_.

The night of Monday to Tuesday was spent in prayer and
Scripture-reading in the upper chamber, and eager expectation of the
promised miracle, which never took place. The catastrophe could no
longer be concealed. Something must be done. On Tuesday, old John
Peter pulled on his jacket and walked to Trüllikon to inform the
pastor that his daughter Elizabeth had died on the Saturday at 10
a.m., and his daughter Margaretta at noon of the same day.

We need say little more. On Dec. 3rd, 1823, the trial of all
incriminated in this frightful tragedy took place at Zürich and
sentence was pronounced on the following day. Ursula Kündig was
sentenced to sixteen years' imprisonment, Conrad Moser and John
Peter to eight years, Susanna Peter and John Moser to six years,
Heinrich Ernst to four years, Jacob Morf to three, Margaret Jäggli
to two years, Barbara Baumann and Casper Peter to one year, and
Magdalena Moser to six months with hard labour. The house at
Wildisbuch was ordered to be levelled with the dust, the plough
drawn over the foundation, and that no house should again be erected
on the spot.

Before the destruction, however, a pilgrimage of Pietists and
believers in Margaret Peter had visited the scene of her death, and
many had been the exclamations of admiration at her conduct. "Oh,
that it had been I who had died!" "Oh, how many souls must she have
delivered!" and the like. _Magna est stultitia et prævalebit._

At a time like the present, when there is a wave of warm, mystic
fever sweeping over the country, and carrying away with it
thousands of ignorant and impetuous souls, it is well that the
story--repulsive though it be--should be brought into notice, as
a warning of what this spiritual excitement may lead to--not,
indeed, again, maybe, into bloodshed. It is far more likely to lead
to, as it has persistently, in every similar outbreak, into moral
disorders, the record of which, in the case of Margaretta Peter, we
have passed over almost without a word.

     Authority: Die Gekreuzigte von Wildisbuch, von J. Scherr, 2nd
     Edit., St. Gall. 1867. Scherr visited the spot, collected
     information from eye-witnesses, and made copious extracts from
     the records of the trial in the Zürich archives, where they are
     contained in Vol. 166, folio 1044, under the heading: "Akten
     betreffened die Gräuel--Scenen in Wildisbuch."

A Northern Raphael.

Here and there in the galleries of North Germany and Russia may
be seen paintings of delicacy and purity, delicacy of colour and
purity of design, the author of which was Gerhard von Kügelgen.
The majority of his paintings are in private hands; but an Apollo,
holding the dying Hyacinthus in his arms, is in the possession of
the German Emperor; Moses on Horeb is in the gallery of the Academy
of Fine Arts at Dresden; a St. Cæcilia and an Adonis, painted in
1794 and 1795, were purchased by the Earl of Bristol; a Holy Family
is in the Gallery at Cassel; and some of the sacred subjects have
found their way into churches.

In 1772, the wife of Franz Kügelgen, a merchant of Bacharach on the
Rhine, presented her husband with twin sons, the elder of whom by
fifteen minutes is the subject of this notice. His brother was named
Karl. Their resemblance was so great that even their mother found a
difficulty in their early childhood in distinguishing one from the

Bacharach was in the Electorate of Cologne, and when the
Archbishop-Elector, Maximilian Franz, learned that the twins were
fond of art, in 1791 he very liberally gave them a handsome sum
of money to enable them to visit Rome and there prosecute their

Gerhard was at once fascinated by the statuary in the Vatican, and
by the pictures of Raphael. The ambition of his life thenceforward
was to combine the beauty of modelling of the human form that he
saw in the Græco-Roman statues with the beauty of colour that he
recognised in Raphael's canvases. Karl, on the other hand, devoted
himself to landscapes.

In 1795 the brothers separated, Gerhard that he might visit Munich.
Thence, in the autumn, he went to Riga with a friend, and there he
remained rather over two years, and painted and disposed of some
fifty-four pictures. Then he painted in St. Petersburg and Revel,
and finally settled into married life and regular work at Dresden
in 1806. There he became a general favourite, not only on account
of his artistic genius, but also because of the fascination of
his modest and genial manner. He was honoured by the Court, and
respected by everyone for his virtues. Orders flowed in on him, and
his paintings commanded good prices. The king of Saxony ennobled
him, that is to say, raised him out of the bürger-stand, by giving
him the privilege of writing a _Von_ before his patronymic.

Having received an order from Riga for a large altar picture, he
bought a vineyard on the banks of the Elbe, commanding a charming
prospect of the river and the distant blue Bohemian mountains. Here
he resolved to erect a country house for the summer, with a large
studio lighted from the north. The construction of this residence
was to him a great pleasure and occupation. In November, 1819,
he wrote to his brother, "My house shall be to us a veritable
fairy palace, in which to dwell till the time comes, when through
a little, narrow and dark door we pass through into that great
habitation of the Heavenly Father in which are many mansions, and
where our whole family will be re-united. Should it please God to
call me away, then Lily (his wife) will find this an agreeable
dower-house, in which she can supervise the education of the
children, as the distance from the town is only an hour's walk."

The words were written, perhaps, without much thought, but they
foreshadowed a terrible catastrophe. Kügelgen would pass, before his
fairy palace was ready to receive him, through that little, narrow
door into the heavenly mansions.

The holy week of 1820 found him in a condition of singularly deep
religious emotion. He was a Catholic, but had, nevertheless, allowed
his son to be confirmed by a Protestant pastor. The ceremony had
greatly affected him, and he said to a friend, who was struck at the
intensity of his feeling, "I know I shall never be as happy again
till I reach Heaven."

On March 27th, on the very day of the confirmation, he went in
the afternoon a walk by himself to his vineyard, to look at his
buildings. He invited one of his pupils to accompany him, but the
young man had some engagement and declined.

At 5 p.m. he was at the new house, where he paid the workmen, gave
some instructions, and pointed out where he would do some planting,
so as to enchance the picturesqueness of the spot. At some time
between six and seven he left, to walk back to Dresden, along the
road from Bautzen.

Every one who has been at the Saxon capital knows that road. The
right bank of the Elbe above Dresden rises in picturesque heights
covered with gardens and vineyards, from the river, and about a
mile from the bridge is the Linkes Bad, with its pleasant gardens,
theatre, music and baths. That road is one of the most charming,
and, therefore, the most frequented outside the capital. On the
evening in question the Easter moon was shining.

Kügelgen did not return home. His wife sent his son, the just
confirmed boy, aged 17 years, to the new house, to inquire for her
husband. The boy learned there that he had left some hours before.
He returned home, and found that still his father had not come
in. The police were communicated with, and the night was spent in
inquiries and search, but all in vain. On the following morning,
at 9 a.m., as the boy was traversing the same road, along with a
gensdarme, he deemed it well to explore a footpath beside the river,
which was overflown by the Elbe, and there, finally, amongst some
reeds they discovered the dead body of the artist, stripped of his
clothes to his shirt and drawers, lying on his face.

Gerhard von Kügelgen had been murdered. His features were cut and
bruised, his left temple and jaw were broken. Footsteps, as of two
persons, were traceable through the river mud and across a field
to the highway. Apparently the artist had been murdered on the
road, then carried or dragged to the path, stripped there, and then
cast among the rushes. About twenty-four paces from where he lay,
between him and the highway, his cap was found.

The excitement, the alarm, aroused in Dresden was immense. Not only
was Kügelgen universally respected, but everyone was in dismay at
the thought that his own safety was jeopardised, if a murder such as
this could be perpetrated on the open road, within a few paces of
the gates. Indeed, the place where the crime was committed was but a
hundred strides from the Linkes Bad, one of the most popular resorts
of the Dresdeners.

It was now remembered that only a few months before, near the
same spot, another murder had been committed, that had remained
undiscovered. In that case the victim had been a poor carpenter's

On the same day as the body of Kügelgen was found, the Government
offered a sum equal to £150 for the discovery of the murderer. A
little later, some children found among the rubbish, outside the
Black Gate of the Dresdener Vorstadt, a blue cloth cloak, folded
up and buried under some stones. It was recognised as having
belonged to Kügelgen. Moreover, in the pocket was the little
"Thomas-à-Kempis" he always carried about with him.

It was concluded that the murderer had not ventured to bring all
the clothing of Kügelgen into the town, through the gate, and had,
therefore, hidden portions in places whence he could remove them one
by one, unobserved. The murderer was, undoubtedly, an inhabitant of
the city.

From March 29th to April 4th the police remained without any clue,
although a description of the garments worn by the murdered man, and
of his watch, was posted up at every corner, and sent round to the
nearest towns and villages.

The workmen who had been engaged on Kügelgen's house were brought
before the police. They had left after his departure, and had
received money from him; but they were discharged, as there was no
evidence against them.

As no light seemed to fall on this mysterious case, the police
looked up the circumstances of the previous murder. On December
29th, 1819, a carrier on the highroad had found a body on the way.
It was ascertained to be that of a carpenter's apprentice, named
Winter. His skull had been broken in. Not a trace of the murderer
was found; not even footprints had been observed. However, it was
learned that the wife of a labourer had been attacked almost at the
same spot, on the 28th December, by a man wearing a military cap and
cloak; and she had only escaped him by the approach of a carriage,
the sound of the wheels having alarmed him, and induced him to fly.
He had fled in the direction of the Black Gate and the barracks.

The anxiety of the Dresdeners seemed justified. There was some
murderous ruffian inhabiting the Vorstadt, who hovered about the
gates, waylaying, not wealthy men only, but poor charwomen and

The military cloak and cap, the direction taken by the assailant in
his flight, gave a sort of clue--and the police suspected that the
murderer must be sought among the soldiers.

On April 4th two Jewish pawnbrokers appeared before the police, and
handed over a silver watch which had been left with them at 9 a.m.
on the 20th March--that is to say on the morning after the murder
of Kügelgen--and which agreed with the advertised description of
the artist's lost watch. It was identified at once. The man who had
pawned it, the Jews said, wore the uniform of an artillery soldier.

At the request of the civil authorities, the military officers held
an inquisition in the barracks. All the artillery soldiers were made
to pass before the Jew brokers, but they were unable to identify the
man who had deposited the watch with them. Somewhat later in the day
one of these Jews, as he was going through the street, saw a man in
civil dress, whom he thought he recognised as the fellow who had
given him the watch. He went up to him at once and spoke about the
watch. The man at first acknowledged that he had pawned one, then
denied, and threatened the Jew when he persevered in clinging to
him. A gendarme came up, and hearing what the controversy was about,
arrested the man, who gave his name as Fischer, a gunner.

Fischer was at once examined, and he doggedly refused to allow that
he had given up a watch to the Jew.

Suspicion against him was deepened by his declaring that he
had heard nothing of the murder--a matter of general talk in
Dresden--and that he had not seen the notices with the offer of
reward for the discovery of the murderer. On the following day,
April 5th, however, he admitted having pawned the watch, which he
pretended to have found outside the Black Gate. A few hours later he
withdrew this confession, saying that he was so bewildered with the
questions put to him, and so alarmed at his arrest, that he did not
well know what he said. It was observed that Fischer was a man of
very low intellectual power.

The same day he was invested in his uniform, and presented before
the pawnbrokers. Both unanimously declared that he was _not_ the man
who had entered their shop and deposited the watch with them. They
both declared that though Fischer had the same height and general
build as the man in question, and the same fair hair, yet that the
face was different.

With this, the case against Fischer broke down; nevertheless, though
he had been handed over by the military authorities to the civil
power, he remained under arrest. The public was convinced of his
guilt, and the police hoped by keeping him in prison to draw from
him later some information which might prove serviceable.

And, in fact, after he had been a fortnight under arrest, he
volunteered a statement. He was conducted at once before the
magistrate, and confessed that he had murdered Von Kügelgen. He,
however, stoutly denied having laid hands on the carpenter Winter.
Nevertheless, on the way back to his cell he told his gaoler that
he had committed this murder as well. Next day he was again brought
before the magistrate, and confessed to both murders. He was taken
to the spots where the two corpses had been found, and there he
renewed his confession, though without entering into any details.

But on the next morning, April 21, he begged to be again heard, and
he then asserted that his former confessions were false. He had
confessed merely because he was weary of his imprisonment and the
poor food he was given, and decided to die. When spoken to by the
magistrates seriously, and remonstrated with for his contradictions,
he cried out that he was innocent. Let them torture him as much as
they pleased, he wished to die.

But hardly was he back in his prison than he told the gaoler that it
was true that he was the murderer of both Kügelgen and Winter. Again
he confessed before the magistrate, and again, on the 27th, withdrew
his confession and protested his innocence.

On the 21st April a new element in the case came to light, that
perplexed the question not a little.

A Jewish pawnbroker, Löbel Graff, announced that on February 3,
1820, he had received from the gunner Kaltofen, a green coat, and
on the 4th April a dark-blue cloth coat, stained with spots of
oil, also a pair of cloth trousers. As both coats seemed to him
suspicious, and to resemble those described in the advertisements,
he had questioned Kaltofen about them, but had received equivocal
answers, and Kaltofen at last admitted that he had bought them from
the gunner Fischer.

John Gottfried Kaltofen was a young man of 24 years, servant to
one of the officers, and therefore did not live in the barracks.
He was now taken up. His manner and appearance were in his favour.
He was frank, and at once admitted that he had disposed of the
two coats to Graff, and that he had bought them of Fischer. On
confrontation with the latter he repeated what he had said. Fischer
fell into confusion, denied all knowledge of Kaltofen, protested his
innocence, and denied the sale of the coats, one of which had in the
meantime been identified as having belonged to Winter, and the other
to Kügelgen.

On April 27th a search was made in the lodgings of Kaltofen, and
three keys were found there, hidden away, and these proved to have
belonged to Kügelgen. At first Kaltofen declared that he knew
nothing of these keys, but afterwards said that he remembered on
consideration that he had found them in the pocket of the blue
coat he had purchased from Fischer, and had put them away before
disposing of the coat, and had given them no further thought. Not
many minutes after Fischer had been sent back to prison, he begged
to be brought before the magistrate again, and now admitted that it
was quite true that he had sold both coats to Kaltofen.

Whilst this confession was being taken down, however, he again
hesitated, broke down, and denied having sold them to Kaltofen, or
any one else. "I can't say anything more," he cried out; "my head is

By this statement he remained, protesting his innocence, and he
declared that he had only confessed his guilt because he was
afraid of ill-treatment in the prison if he continued to assert
his innocence. It must be remembered that the gaolers were as
convinced of his guilt as were the public of Dresden; and it is
noticeable that under pressure from them Fischer always acknowledged
his guilt; whereas, when before the magistrates he was ready to
proclaim that he was innocent. At this time it was part of the duty
of a gaoler, or was supposed to be such, to use every possible
effort to bring a prisoner to confession. And now, on April 27th,
a third gunner appeared on the scene. His name was Kiessling, and
he asked the magistrate to take down his statement, which was to
the effect that Kaltofen, who had been discharged, had admitted
to him that he had murdered Kügelgen with a cudgel, and that he
had still got some of his garments hidden in his lodgings. But--so
said Kiessling--Kaltofen had jauntily said he would lay it all on
Fischer. Kiessling, moreover, produced a pair of boots, that he said
Kaltofen had left with him to be re-soled, as he was regimental
shoemaker. And these boots were at once recognised as having been
those worn by Kügelgen when he was murdered.

Kaltofen was at once re-arrested, and brought into confrontation
with Kiessling. He retained his composure, and said that it was
quite true that he had given a pair of boots to Kiessling to
re-sole, but they were a pair that he had bought in the market. But,
in the meantime, another investigation of his lodgings had been
made, and a number of articles found that had certainly belonged
to the murdered men, Winter and Kügelgen. They were ranged on the
table, together with the pair of boots confided to Kiessling, and
Kaltofen was shown them. Hitherto, the young man had displayed
phlegmatic composure, and an openness of manner that had impressed
all who saw him in his favour. His intelligence, had, moreover,
contrasted favourably with that of Fischer. But the sight of all
these articles, produced before him, staggered Kaltofen, and, losing
his presence of mind, he turned in a fury upon his comrade, the
shoemaker, and swore at him for having betrayed his confidence. Only
after he had poured forth a torrent of abuse, could the magistrate
bring him to say anything about the charge, and then--still hot
and panting from his onslaught on Kiessling--he admitted that he,
not Fischer, was the murderer in both cases. Fischer, he said, was
wholly innocent, not only of participation in, but of knowledge of
the crimes. The summary of his confession, oft repeated and never
withdrawn, was as follows:--Being in need of money, he had gone
outside the town thrice in one week, at the end of December, 1819,
with the intent of murdering and robbing the first person he could
attack with security. For this purpose, he had provided himself
with a cudgel under his cloak. On the 29th December he selected
Winter as his first victim. He allowed him to pass, then stole
after him, and suddenly dealt him a blow on the back of his head,
before the young man turned to see who was following him. Winter
dropped, whereupon he, Kaltofen, had struck him twice again on the
head. Then he divested his victim of collar, coat, hat, kerchief,
watch, and a little money--not more than four shillings in English
coins, and a few tools. He was engaged on pulling off his boots and
trousers, when he was alarmed by hearing the tramp of horses and the
sound of wheels, and he ran off across the fields with his spoil.
He got Kiessling to dispose of the hat for him, the other articles
he himself sold to Jews. Whether it was he also who assaulted the
poor woman we are not informed. In like manner Kaltofen proceeded
with Kügelgen. He was again in want of money. He had been gambling,
and had lost what little he had. On the Monday in Holy Week, 1820,
he took his cudgel again and went out along the Bautzen Road. The
moon shone brightly, and he met a gentleman walking slowly towards
Dresden, in a blue cloak. He allowed him to pass, then followed
him. As a woman was walking in the same direction, but at a quicker
rate, he delayed his purpose till she had disappeared behind the
first houses of the suburb. Then he hastened on, walking lightly,
and springing up behind Kügelgen, struck him on the right temple
with his cudgel from behind. Kügelgen fell without uttering a
cry. Kaltofen at once seized him by the collar and dragged him
across a field to the edge of the river. There he dealt him
several additional blows, and then proceeded to strip him. Whilst
thus engaged, he remembered that the dead man had dropped his
walking-stick on the high road when first struck. Kaltofen at once
desisted from what he was about, to return to the road and recover
the walking-stick. On coming back to his victim, he thought there
was still life in him; Kügelgen was moving and endeavouring to rise.
Whereupon, with his cudgel, Kaltofen repeatedly struck him, till all
signs of life disappeared. He now completed his work of spoliation,
pulled off the boots, untied the neckerchief, and ransacked the
pockets. He found in addition to the watch the sum of about
half-a-guinea. He then stole away among the rushes till he reached
the Linkes Bad, where he returned to the main road. He concealed
the cloak at the Black Gate, but carried the rest of his plunder to
his lodgings.

His confession was confirmed by several circumstances. Kiessling was
again required to repeat what he had heard from Kaltofen, and the
story as told by him agreed exactly with that now confessed by the
murderer. Kiessling added that Kaltofen had told him he was puzzled
to account for Fischer's self-examination, as he knew that the man
had nothing to do with the murder. A third examination of Kaltofen's
lodgings resulted in the discovery of all the rest of the murdered
man's effects. Moreover, when Kaltofen was confronted with the two
Jews who had taken the silver watch on the 24th, they immediately
recognised him as the man who had disposed of it to them.

Finally, he confessed to having been associated with Kiessling in
two robberies, one of which was a burglarious attack on his own

The case was made out clearly enough against Kaltofen, and it
seemed equally clear that Fischer was innocent. Moreover, from the
24th April onwards, Fischer never swerved from his protestation of
complete innocence. When questioned why he had confessed himself
guilty, he said that he had been pressed to do so by the gaoler, who
had several times fastened him for a whole night into the stocks,
and had threatened him with severer measures unless he admitted
his guilt. The gaoler admitted having so treated Fischer once, but
Fischer insisted that he had been thus tortured on two consecutive

It was ascertained that Fischer had not only known about the murder
of Kügelgen, but had attended his funeral, and yet he had pretended
entire, or almost entire, ignorance when first arrested. When asked
to explain this, he replied that he was so frightened that he took
refuge in lies. That he was a dull-minded, extremely ignorant man,
was obvious to the judges and to all who had to do with him; he was
aged thirty, and had spent thirteen years in the army, had conducted
himself well, but had never been trusted with any important duties
on account of his stupidity. He had a dull eye, and a heavy
countenance. Kaltofen, on the other hand, was a good-looking,
well-built young fellow, of twenty-four, with a bright, intelligent
face; his education was above what was ordinary in his class. It
was precisely this that had excited in him vanity, and craving for
pleasures and amusements which he could not afford. His obliging
manners, his trimness, and cheerfulness, had made him a favourite
with the officers.

As already intimated, he was fond of play, and it was this that had
induced him to commit his murders. He admitted that he had felt
little or no compunction, and he said frankly that it was as well
for society that he was taken, otherwise the death of Kügelgen
would have been followed by others. He spoke of the crimes he had
committed with openness and indifference, and maintained this
condition of callousness to the end. It seems to have been customary
on several occasions for the Lutheran pastors who attended the last
hours of criminals to publish their opinions as to the manner in
which they prepared for death, and their ideas as to the motives
for the crimes committed, an eminently indecent proceeding to
our notions. In this case, the chaplain who attended on Kaltofen
rushed into the priest after the execution. He said, "Play may have
occasioned that want of feeling which will commit the most atrocious
crime, without compunction, for the gratification of a temporary
requirement. Kaltofen, without being rude and rough towards his
fellows, but on the contrary obliging and courteous, came to regard
them with brutal indifference." Only twice did he feel any twinge
of conscience, he said, once before his first murder, and again at
the funeral of his second victim, which he attended. The criminal
was now known, had confessed, and had confessed that he had no
accomplice. Moreover, he declared that Fischer was wholly innocent.
Not a single particle of evidence was forthcoming to incriminate
Fischer, apart from his own retracted confessions. Nevertheless he
was not liberated.

The police could not believe that Kaltofen had been without an
accomplice. There were stabs in the face and body of Kügelgen, and
Kaltofen had professed to have used no other weapon than a cudgel.
The murderer said that he had dragged the body over the field to
the rushes, and it was agreed that there must have been evidence of
this dragging. Some witnesses had, indeed, said they had seen such,
but others protested that there were footprints as of two men. This,
however, could be explained by Kaltofen's admission that he had gone
back to the road for the walking-stick.

Then, again, Fischer, when interrogated, had given particulars which
agreed with the circumstances in a remarkable manner. He was asked
to explain this. "Well," said he, "he had heard a good deal of talk
about the murders, and he was miserable at the thought of spending
long years in prison, and so had confessed." When asked how he knew
the particulars of the murder of Winter, he said that he had been
helped to it by the gaoler. He had said first, "I went to his left
side"--whereupon the gaoler had said, "Surely you are wrong, it was
on the right," thereat Fischer had corrected himself and said, "Yes,
of course--on the right."

The case was now ready for final sentence, and for this purpose
all the depositions were forwarded on September 12th to the
Judicial Court at Leipzig. But, before judgment was pronounced,
the depositions were hastily sent for back to Dresden--for, in the
meantime, the case had passed into a new phase. On October 5th,
the gaoler--the same man who had brought about the confession of
Fischer--announced that Kaltofen had confided to him that Fischer
really had been his accomplice in both the murders. Kaltofen at
once was summoned before the magistrate, and he calmly, and with
emphasis, declared that Fischer had assisted him on both occasions,
and that he had not allowed this before, because he and Fischer
had sworn that neither would betray the other. Fischer had never
mentioned his name, and he had accordingly done his utmost to
exculpate Fischer.

According to his account, he and Fischer had been walking together
on the morning of March 26th, between 9 and 10, when they planned a
murder together for the following day. However, there was rebutting
evidence to the effect that on the morning in question Fischer had
been on guard, at the hour named, before the powder magazine; he had
not been released till noon. Other statements of Kaltofen proved to
be equally untrue.

What could have induced Kaltofen to deliberately charge a comrade in
arms with participation in the crime, if he were guiltless? There
was no apparent motive. He could gain no reprieve by it. It did not
greatly diminish his own guilt.

It was necessary to enter into as close investigation as was
possible into the whereabouts of Fischer at the time of the two
murders. It was not found possible to determine where he was at
the time when Winter was killed, but some of his comrades swore
that on March 27th he had been present at the roll-call at 6 p.m.,
and had come into barrack before the second roll-call at half-past
eight. The murder of Kügelgen had taken place at eight o'clock, and
the distance between the barrack and the spot where it had been
committed was 3487 paces, which would take a man about 25 minutes to
traverse. If, as his comrades asserted, Fischer had come in shortly
after eight, then it was quite impossible that he could have been
present when Kügelgen was murdered; but not great reliance can
be placed on the testimony of soldiers as to the hour at which a
comrade came into barrack just seven months before on a given day.

The case was perplexing. The counsel for Fischer--his name was
Eisenstück--took a bold line of defence. He charged the gaoler
with having manipulated Kaltofen, as he had Fischer. This gaoler's
self-esteem was wounded by the discovery that Kaltofen and not
Fischer was the murderer, and his credit was damaged by the
proceedings which showed that he had goaded an unhappy man, confided
to his care, into charging himself with a crime he had never
committed. Eisenstück asserted that this new charge was fabricated
in the prison by the gaoler in concert with Kaltofen for his own
justification. But, whatever may be thought of the character and
conduct of this turnkey, it is difficult to understand how he could
prevail on a cool-headed man like Kaltofen thus to take on himself
the additional guilt of perjury, and such perjury as risked the life
of an innocent man. Kaltofen never withdrew this assertion that
Fischer was an accomplice. He persisted in it to his last breath.

The depositions were again sent to the faculty at Leipzig, on Dec.
18th, to give judgment on the following points.

     1. The examination of the body of Kügelgen had
        revealed stabs made with a sharp, two-edged instrument, as well
        as blows dealt by a blunt weapon. Kaltofen would admit that he
        had used no other instrument than a cudgel.

     2. It would have been a difficult matter for one man to drag a
        dead body from the road to the bed of rushes, without leaving
        unmistakable traces on the field traversed; and such were not,
        for certain, found. It was therefore more probable that the
        dead man had been carried by two persons to the place where

It must be observed that crowds poured out of Dresden to see the
place where the body lay as soon as it was known that Kügelgen had
been discovered, and consequently no accurate and early examination
of tracks across the field had been made.

     3. That it would have been difficult for Kaltofen alone to strip
        the body. This may be doubted; it would be difficult possibly,
        but not impossible, whilst the body was flexible.

     4. A witness had said that she had met two men outside the Black
        Gate on the evening of the 27th March, of whom one was wrapped
        in a cloak and seemed to be carrying something under it. We
        should much like to know when the woman gave this evidence.
        Unfortunately, that is what is not told us.

     5. Kaltofen, in a letter to his parents, had stated that he had
        an accomplice, but had not named him.

These were the points that made it appear that Kaltofen had an
accomplice. An accomplice in some of his crimes he had--Kiessling.

There were other points that made it appear that Fischer had
assisted him in the murders.

     6. Fischer's denial that he knew anything about the murder of
        Kügelgen when he was arrested, whereas it was established that
        he had attended the funeral of the murdered man.

     7. His repeated confessions that he had assisted at the
        murders, and his acquaintance with the particulars and with the

     8. Kaltofen's asseverations that Fischer was his associate in
        the murders.

In favour of Fischer it may be said that his conduct in the army had
for thirteen years been uniformly good, and there was no evidence
that he had been in any way guilty of dishonesty. Nor was he a
man of extravagant habits like Kaltofen, needing money for his
pleasures. He was a simple, inoffensive, and very stupid man. His
confessions lose all their effect when we consider how they were
extorted from him by undue influence.

Against Kaltofen's later accusation must be set his repeated
declaration, during six months, that Fischer was innocent. Not
only this, but his assertion in confidence to Kiessling that he
was puzzled what could have induced Fischer to avow himself guilty
of a crime, of which he--Kaltofen--knew him to be innocent. When
Kiessling gave this evidence on April 24th, Kaltofen did not deny
that he had said this, but flew into a paroxysm of fury with his
comrade for betraying their private conversation.

Again, not a single article appertaining to either of the murdered
men was found with Fischer. All had been traced, without exception,
to Kaltofen. It was the latter who had concealed Kügelgen's coat,
and had given his watch to the Jews. It was he who had got Kiessling
to dispose of Winter's hat for him, and had given the boots of the
last victim to Kiessling to be repaired.

On January 4th, 1821, the Court at Leipzig issued its judgment;
that Kaltofen, on account of two murders committed and confessed,
was to be put to death on the wheel; "but that John George Fischer
be discharged on account of lack of evidence of complicity in the
murders." The gaoler was discharged his office.

Kaltofen appealed against the sentence, but in vain. The sentence
was confirmed. The ground of his appeal was, that he was not alone
guilty. The King commuted the penalty of the wheel into execution by
the sword.

The sentence of the court produced the liveliest commotion in
Dresden. The feeling against Fischer was strong and general; the
gaoler had but represented the universal opinion. Fischer--who
had confessed to the murder--Fischer, whom Kaltofen protested was
as deeply stained in crime as himself, was to go scot free. The
police authorities did not carry out the sentence of discharge in
its integrity; they indeed released him from prison, but placed him
under police supervision, and he was discharged from the Artillery
on the plea that he had forsworn himself. The pastor Jaspis was
entrusted with the preparation of Kaltofen for death; and we
know pretty well what passed between him and the condemned man,
as he had the indecency to publish it to the world. Jaspis had,
indeed, visited him in prison when he was first arrested, and then
Kaltofen had asserted that he had committed the murders entirely
unassisted. On Jaspis remarking to him in April, 1820, that there
were circumstances that rendered this eminently improbable, Kaltofen
cut him short with the answer, "I was by myself." Afterwards,
when he had changed his note, Jaspis reminded him of his previous
declaration, but Kaltofen pretended not to remember ever having
made it.

Towards the end of his days, Kaltofen was profoundly agitated,
and was very restless. When Jaspis gave him a book of prayers and
meditations for such as were in trouble, he put it from him, and
said the book was unsuitable, and was adapted only to the innocent.
He had visitors who combined piety with inquisitiveness, and came
to discuss with him the state of his soul. Kaltofen's vanity was
inflamed, and he was delighted to pose before these zealots. When he
heard that Jaspis had preached about him in the Kreuz Kirche on the
Sunday before his execution, he was greatly gratified, and said, "He
would really like to hear what had been said about him."

Jaspis thereupon produced his sermon, and read it over to the
wretched man--but tells us that even the most touching portions of
the address failed to awake any genuine compunction in his soul.
Unless he could play the saint, before company, he was cold and
indifferent. His great vanity, however, was hurt at the thought that
his assertion was disbelieved, that Fischer was his associate in his
crimes. He was always eager and inquisitive to know what rumours
circulated in the town concerning him, and was gratified to think
that he was the topic of the general conversation.

On the night before his execution he slept soundly for five
hours, and then lit his pipe and smoked composedly. His condition
was, however, not one of bluntness of sense, for he manifested
considerable readiness and consciousness up to the last. He had
drawn up a dying address which he handed to pastor Jaspis, and on
which he evidently placed great importance, as when his first copy
had caught fire when he was drying it, he set to work to compose a
second. He knew his man--Jaspis--and was sure he would publish it
after the execution. The paper was a rigmarole in which he posed to
the world.

On reaching the market-place where the execution was to take place,
he repeated his confession, but on this occasion without mention
of a confederate. His composure gave way, and he began to sob.
On reaching the scaffold, however, the sight of the vast crowd
assembled to see him die restored to him some of his composure,
as it pleased his vanity; but he again broke down, as he made his
last confession to the Lutheran pastor. His voice trembled, and the
sweat broke out on his brow. Then he sprang up and shouted, so that
all could hear--"Gentlemen, Fischer deserved the same punishment as
myself." In another moment his head fell from his body.

The words had been audible throughout the market-place by everyone.
Who could doubt that his last words were true?

Fischer happened that very day (July 12th) to be in Dresden. He had
been seen, and had been recognised.

He had come to Dresden to see his counsel, and ask him to use his
influence to obtain his complete discharge from police supervision,
and restoration to his rights as an honest man and a soldier, with a
claim to a pension.

A vast crowd of people rolled from the place of execution to the
house of Eisenstück, shouting, and threatening to tear Fischer to

But Eisenstück was not the man to be terrified. He summoned a
carriage, entered it along with Fischer, and drove slowly, with the
utmost composure, through the angry crowd.

On August 26th, 1822, by command of the king, Fischer's name was
replaced in the army list, and he received his complete discharge
from all the consequences of the accusations made against him. He
was guaranteed his pension for his "faithful services through 16
years, and in the campaigns of 1813, 1814, and 1815, in which he had
conducted himself to the approval of all his officers."

How are we to explain the conduct of Kaltofen? The simplest way is
to admit that he spoke the truth; but against this is to be opposed
his denial that Fischer was guilty during the first six months
that he was under arrest. And it is impossible to believe that
Fischer was guilty, on the sole testimony of Kaltofen, without any
confirmatory evidence.

It is rather to be supposed that the inordinate vanity of the young
culprit induced him to persist in denouncing his innocent brother
gunner, so as to throw off his own shoulders some of the burden
of that crime, which, he felt, made him hateful in the eyes of
his fellow-citizens, and perhaps to induce them to regard him as
misled by an older man, more hardened and experienced in crime, thus
arousing their pity and sympathy in place of their disgust.

Jaspis, the pastor, did not himself believe in the criminality of
Fischer, and proposes a solution which he gives conjecturally only.
He suggests that Kaltofen was misled by the confession of Fischer
into the belief that he really had committed a murder or two,
though not those of Winter and Kügelgen, and that when he declared
on the scaffold that "Fischer deserved to die as much as himself,"
he spoke under this conviction. This explanation is untenable, for
the miserable man had repeatedly charged Fischer with assisting
him in committing these two particular crimes. The explanation
must be found in his self-conceit and eagerness to present himself
in the best and most affecting light before the public. And he
gained his point to some extent. The mob believed him, pitied him,
became sentimental over him, wept tears at his death, and cursed
the unfortunate Fischer. The apparent piety, the mock heroics, the
graceful attitudes, and the good looks of the murderer had won their
sympathies, and the general opinion of the vulgar was that they had
assisted at the sublimation of a saint to the seventh heaven, and
not at the well-deserved execution of a peculiarly heartless and
brutal murderer.

A month had hardly passed since Kaltofen's execution before Dresden
was shocked to hear of another murder--on this occasion by a young
woman. On August 12th, 1821, this person, who had been in a state
of excitement ever since the edifying death of Kaltofen, invited to
her house a young girl, just engaged to be married, and deliberately
murdered her; then marched off to the police and confessed her
crime--the nature of which she did not disguise. She desired to make
the same affecting and edifying end as Kaltofen. Above all, she
wanted to get herself talked about by all the mouths in Dresden. The
police on visiting her house found the murdered girl lying on the
bed. On the door in large letters the murderer had inscribed the
date of Kaltofen's martyrdom, July 12th, and she had committed her
crime on the same day one month after, desirous to share his glory.

Such was one consequence of this execution. A small farce also
succeeded it. Influenced by the general excitement provoked by the
murder of Kügelgen, the Jews had assembled and agreed, should any
of them be able to discover the murderer, that they would decline
the £150 offered by Government for information that might lead to
the apprehension of the guilty. But Hirschel Mendel, the Jew who had
produced the watch, put in his claim; whereupon Löbel Graff, who had
produced the coat, put in a counter claim. This occasioned a lawsuit
between the two Jews for the money. A compromise was finally patched
up, by which each received half.

Gerhard von Kügelgen had been buried in the Catholic cemetery at
Dresden on Maundy Thursday evening by moonlight. A great procession
of art students attended the funeral cortège with lighted torches,
and an oration was pronounced over his grave by his friend
Councillor Böttiger.

His tomb may still be seen in the cemetery; on it is inscribed:--

      Born 6 Feb., 1772.
     Died 27 March, 1820.

On the other side is the text, St. John xiv. 27.

Kügelgen left behind him two sons and a daughter. The eldest son,
Wilhelm, pursued his father's profession as an artist, and the
Emperor of Russia sent an annual grant of money to assist him in his
studies. There is a pleasant book, published anonymously by him, "An
Old Man's Youthful Reminiscences," the first edition of which was
issued in 1870, and which had reached its eighth edition in 1876.

Kügelgen's twin brother, Karl Ferdinand, after spending some years
in St. Petersburg and in Livonia, settled at Reval, and died in
1832. He was the author of a "Picturesque Journey in the Crimea,"
published in 1823.

     Authority:--F. Ch. A. Hasse: Das Leben Gerhards von Kügelgen.
     Leipzig, 1824. He gives in the Supplement an excerpt from the
     records of the trial. As frontispiece is a portrait of the
     artist by himself, very Raphaelesque.

The Poisoned Parsnips.

At the time when the banished Bourbons were wandering about
Europe seeking temporary asylums, during the period of Napoleon's
supremacy, a story circulated in 1804 relative to an attempt made
in Warsaw, which then belonged to Prussia, upon the life of the
Royal Family then residing there. It was said that a plot had been
formed, that was well nigh successful, to kill Louis XVIII., his
wife, the Duke and Duchess of Angoulême, and such of the Court as
sat at the Royal table, with a dish of poisoned parsnips. It was,
moreover, whispered that at the bottom of the plot was no other than
Napoleon himself, who sought to remove out of his way the legitimate
claimants to the Gallic throne.

The article in which the account of the attempt was made public was
in the _London Courier_ for August 20th, 1804, from which we will
now take the leading facts.

The Royal Family was living in Warsaw. Napoleon Bonaparte employed
an agent of the name of Galon Boyer at Warsaw to keep an eye on
them, and this man, it was reported, had engaged assassins at the
instigation of Napoleon to poison Louis XVIII. and the rest of
the Royal Family. The _Courier_ of August 21st, 1804, says: "Some
of the daily papers, which were not over anxious to discredit the
conspiracy imputed to Mr. Drake,[1] affect to throw some doubt
upon the account of the attempt upon the lives of the Royal Family
at Warsaw. They seem to think that had Bonaparte desired such a
plan, he could have executed it with more secrecy and effect.
Undoubtedly his plans of assassination have hitherto been more
successful, because his hapless victims were within his power--his
wounded soldiers at Jaffa, Toussaint L'Ouverture, Pichegru, and
the Duke D'Enghien. He could send his bloodhounds into Germany to
seize his prey; but Warsaw was too remote for him; he was under
the necessity of having recourse to less open means of sending his
assassins to act secretly. But it is deemed extraordinary that the
diabolical attempt should have failed. Why is it extraordinary that
a beneficent Providence should interpose to save the life of a just
prince? Have we not had signal instances of that interposition
in this country? For the accuracy of the account we published
yesterday, we pledge ourselves[2] that the fullest details,
authenticated by all Louis XVIII.'s Ministers--by the venerable
Archbishop of Rheims--by the Abbé Edgeworth, who administered the
last consolation of religion to Louis the XVI., have been received
in this country. All those persons were present when the poisoned
preparation was analysed by very eminent physicians, _who are the
subjects of the King of Prussia_.

  [1] Drake was envoy of the British Government at Munich; he and
  Spencer Smith, Chargé d'Affaires at Würtemberg, were accused by
  Napoleon of being at the bottom of a counter revolution, and an
  attempt to obtain his assassination. It was true that Drake and
  Smith were in correspondence with parties in France with the
  object of securing Hagenau and Strassburgo and throwing discord
  among the troops of the Republic, but they never for a moment
  thought of obtaining the assassination of the First Consul, as
  far as we can judge from their correspondence that fell into the
  hands of the French police.

  [2] Unfortunately the British Museum file is imperfect, and does
  not contain the Number for August 20th.

"The two wretches who attempted to corrupt the poor Frenchman were
openly protected by the French Consul or Commercial Agent.

"The Prussian Governor would not suffer them to be arrested in order
that their guilt or innocence might be legally investigated. Is it
to be believed that had there been no foundation for the charge
against them, the French agent would have afforded them less open
protection, and thereby strengthened the charge brought against
them? If they were protected and paid by the French agent, is it
probable that he paid them out of his own pocket, employed them in
such a plot of his own accord, and without order and instructions
from his own Government, from Bonaparte? Besides, did not the
President Hoym acknowledge his fears that some attempt would be made
upon the life of Louis the XVIII.?

"The accounts transmitted to this country were sent from Warsaw one
hour after the king had set out for Grodno."

The _Courier_ for August 24th, 1804, has the following note:--"We
have another strong fact which is no slight evidence in our minds
of Bonaparte's guilt. The plot against Louis the XVIII. was to be
executed at the end of July--it would be known about the beginning
of August. At that very period Bonaparte prohibits the importation
of all foreign journals without exception--that is, of all the means
by which the people could be informed of the diabolical deed. Why
does he issue this prohibition at the present moment, or why does
he issue it at all? Fouché says in his justification of it that it
is to prevent our knowing when the expedition sails. Have we ever
received any news about the expedition from the French papers? No,
no! the prohibition was with a view to the bloody scene to be acted
at Warsaw."

The _Courier_ of August 22nd contained full particulars. We will now
tell the whole story, from beginning to end, first of all as dressed
out by the fancy of Legitimists, and then according to the real
facts of the case as far as known.

Napoleon, it will be remembered, had been appointed First Consul for
life on August 2nd, 1802, but the Republic came to an end, and the
French Empire was established by the Senate on May 18th, 1804.

It was supposed--and we can excuse the excitement and intoxication
of wrath in the minds of all adherents of the Bourbons which could
suppose it--that Napoleon, who was thus refounding the Empire of
Charlemagne, desired to secure the stability of this new throne by
sweeping out of his way the legitimate claimants to that of France.
The whole legend of the attempt to assassinate Louis XVIII. by means
of a dish of poisoned parsnips is given us in complete form by the
author of a life of that prince twenty years after the event.[3] It
is to this effect:

When the King (Louis XVIII.) was preparing for his journey from
Warsaw to Grodno an atrocious attempt to assassinate him was brought
to light, which leaves no manner of doubt that it was the purpose
of those who were the secret movers in the plot to remove by poison
both the King and Queen and also the Duke of Angoulême and his wife.
Two delegates of Napoleon had been in Warsaw seeking for a man who
could execute the plan. A certain Coulon appeared most adapted to
their purpose, a man indigent and eager for money. He had previously
been in the service of one of the emigré nobles, and had access to
the kitchen of the Royal Family.

  [3] A. de Beauchamp, Vie de Louis XVIII. Paris, 1824.

The agents of Napoleon gave Coulon drink, and as he became friendly
and lively under the influence of punch, they communicated to him
their scheme, and promised him money, the payment of his debts, and
to effect his escape if he would be their faithful servant in the
intrigue. Coulon pretended to yield to their solicitations, and a
rendezvous was appointed where the plans were to be matured. But
no sooner was Coulon at liberty than he went to his former master,
the Baron de Milleville, master of horse to the Queen, and told him
all. The Baron sought the Duc de Pienne, first gentleman of the
Royal household, and he on receiving the information communicated
it to the Count d'Avaray, Minister of Louis XVIII. Coulon received
orders to pretend to be ready to carry on the plot. He did this
with reluctance, but he did it. He told the agents of Napoleon that
he was in their hands and would blindly execute their orders. They
treated him now to champagne, and revealed to him the details of
the attempt. He was to get into the kitchen of the Royal household,
and was to pour the contents of a packet they gave him into one of
the pots in which the dinner for the Royal table was being cooked.
Coulon then demanded an instalment of his pay, and asked to be given
400 louis d'or. One of the agents then turned to the other and asked
if he thought Boyer would be disposed to advance so much--this was
Galon Boyer, the head agent sent purposely to Warsaw as spy on the
Royal Family, and the principal mover in the attempt.

The other agent replied that Boyer was not at the moment in Warsaw,
but he would be back in a couple of days. Coulon stuck to his point,
like a clever rascal, and refused to do anything till he felt gold
in his palm, and he was bidden wait till Boyer had been communicated
with. He was appointed another meeting on the moors at Novawies
outside the city.

As, next evening, Coulon was on his way to the place named, he
observed that he was followed by a man. Suddenly out of the corn
growing beside the road started a second. They were the agents.
They paid him a few dollars, promised to provide handsomely for
him in France, by giving him 400 louis d'or and a situation under
Government; and handed him a bottle of liquor that was to stimulate
his courage at the crucial moment, and also a paper packet that
contained three parsnips, that had been scooped out and filled with
poison. These he was to insinuate into one of the pots cooking for
dinner, and induce the cook to overlook what he had done, and serve
them up to the Royal Family.

The King then lived in a chateau at Lazienki, about a mile out of
Warsaw. Thither hastened Coulon as fast as his legs could carry
him, and he committed the parsnips to the Baron de Milleville. The
Count d'Avaray and the Archbishop of Rheims put their seals on the
parcel; after that the parsnips had first been shown to the Prussian
authorities, and they had been asked in all form to attest the
production of the poisoned roots, and to order the arrest of the
two agents of Napoleon, and to confront them with Coulon--and had
declined. Louis, when informed of the attempt, showed his wonted
composure. He wrote immediately to the Prussian President, Von Hoym,
and requested him to visit him at Lazienki, and consult what was to
be done.

Herr Von Hoym did not answer; nor did he go to the King, but
communicated with his superiors. Finally there arrived a diplomatic
reply declining to interfere in the matter, as it was the concern
of the police to investigate it, and it should be taken up in the
ordinary way.

Thereupon the King requested that Coulon and his wife should be
secured, and that specialists should be appointed who, along with
the Royal physician, might examine the parsnips alleged to be

But the Prussian Courts declined again to take any steps. The policy
of the Prussian Cabinet under Count Haugwitz was favourable to a
French alliance, and the King of Prussia was among the first of the
greater Powers which had formally recognised the French Emperor.
On condition that the French troops occupying Hanover should not
be augmented, and that war, if it broke out with Russia, should
be so carried on as not to inconvenience and sweep over Prussian
territory, Prussia had undertaken to observe a strict neutrality.
In return for these concessions, which were of great moment to
Napoleon, he openly proclaimed his intention to augment the strength
of Prussia, and it was hoped at Berlin that the price paid would be
the incorporation of Hanover with Prussia.

At this moment, consequently, the Prussian Government was most
unwilling to meddle in an investigation which threatened to lead to
revelations most compromising to the character of Napoleon, and most
inconvenient for itself.

As the Prussian courts would not take up the matter of the parsnips,
a private investigation was made by the Count d'Avaray, with
the Royal physician, Dr. Lefèvre, and the Warsaw physician, Dr.
Gagatkiewicz, together with the Apothecary Guidel and a certain Dr.
Bergozoni. The seals were broken in their presence, and the three
roots were examined. It was ascertained that they were stuffed
with a mixture of white, yellow, and red arsenic. This having been
ascertained, and a statement of the fact duly drawn up, and signed,
the president of the police, Herr von Tilly, was communicated with.
He, however, declined to interfere, as had the President von Hoym.
"Thus," says M. Beauchamp, "one court shuffled the matter off on
another, backwards and forwards, so as not to have to decide on the
matter, a specimen of the results of the system adopted at this time
by the Prussian Cabinet."

No other means of investigation remained but for Count d'Avaray
to have the matter gone into by the court of the exiled King. They
examined Coulon, who held firmly to his story as told to the Baron
de Milleville, and all present were convinced that he spoke the

As the King could obtain no justice from the hands of Prussia, he
suffered the story to be made public in order that the opinion of
all honourable men in Europe might be expressed on the conduct of
both Napoleon and of the Prussian Ministry. "The impression made,"
says M. Beauchamp, "especially in England, was deep. Men recalled
Bonaparte's former crimes that had been proved--the poisoning at
Jaffa, the--at the time--very fresh indignation provoked by the
murder of the Count de Frotté, of Pichegru, of Captain Wright, of
the Duke d'Enghien, of Toussaint l'Ouverture; they recalled the lack
of success he had experienced in demanding of Louis XVIII. a formal
renunciation of his claims, and weighed well the determination of
his character. Even the refusal of the Prussian courts to go into
the charge (for if it had been investigated they must needs have
pronounced judgment on it)--encouraged suspicion. Hardly an English
newspaper did not condemn Napoleon as the instigator of an attempt
that providentially failed."

Such is the legend as formulated by M. de Beauchamp. Fortunately
there exists documentary evidence in the archives of the courts at
Berlin that gives an altogether different complexion to the story,
and entirely clears the name of Napoleon from stain of complicity in
this matter. It throws, moreover, a light, by no means favourable,
on those of the Legitimist party clustered about the fallen monarch.

Louis XVIII., obliged to fly from one land to another before the
forces of Napoleon, was staying for a while at Warsaw, in the year
1804, under the incognito of the Count de l'Isle. His misfortunes
had not broken his spirit or diminished his pretensions. He was
surrounded by a little court in spite of his incognito; and as
this little court had no affairs of State to transact, it played a
niggling game at petty intrigue. This court consisted of the Count
d'Avaray, the Archbishop of Rheims, the Duke de Pienne, the Marquis
de Bonney, the Duke d'Avré de Croy, the Count de la Chapelle, the
Counts Damas Crux and Stephen de Damas, and the Abbés Edgeworth and
Frimont. Louis had assured Napoleon he would rather eat black bread
than resign his pretensions. At Warsaw he maintained his pretensions
to the full, but did not eat black bread; he kept a very respectable
kitchen. The close alliance between Prussia and France forced him to
leave Warsaw and migrate into Russia.

At this time there lived in Warsaw a certain Jean Coulon, son of
a small shopkeeper at Lyons, who had led an adventurous life. At
the age of nine he had run away from home and attached himself
to a wandering dramatic company; then had gone into service to
a wigmaker, and had lived for three years at Barcelona at his
handicraft. But wigs were going out of fashion, and he threw up an
unprofitable trade, and enlisted in a legion of emigrés, but in
consequence of some quarrel with a Spaniard was handed over to the
Spanish authorities. He purchased his pardon by enlisting in the
Spanish army, but deserted and joined the French Republican troops,
was in the battle of Novi, ran away, and joined the corps raised at
Naples by Cardinal Ruffo. When this corps was dispersed, he went
back to Spain, again enlisted, and was shipped for St. Lucia. The
vessel in which he was, was captured by an English cruiser, and
he was taken into Plymouth and sent up to Dartmoor as prisoner of
war. After two years he was exchanged and was shipped to Cuxhaven.
Thence he went to Altona, where he asked the intervention of the
Duke d'Avré in his favour. The Duke recommended him to the Countess
de l'Isle, and he was taken into the service of her master of horse,
the Baron de Milleville, and came to Warsaw in September, 1803.
There he married, left his service and set up a café and billiard
room that was frequented by the retainers and servants of the emigré
nobility that hovered about the King and Queen. He was then aged
32, could speak Italian and Spanish as well as French, and was a
thorough soldier of fortune, impecunious, loving pleasure, and
wholly without principles, political or religious.

The French Chargé d'Affaires at Warsaw was Galon Boyer; he does
not appear in the documents relative to the _Affaire Coulon_, not
because the Prussian Government shirked its duty, but because he
was in no way mixed up with the matter of the parsnips. It is quite
true that, as M. de Beauchamp asserts, the Court of Louis XVIII. did
endeavour to involve the Prussian authorities in the investigation,
but it was in such a manner that it was not possible for them to
act. On July 23rd, when the Count de l'Isle was determined to leave
Warsaw, Count d'Avaray called on the President von Hoym, and told
him in mysterious language that he was aware of a conspiracy in
which were involved several Frenchmen and as many as a dozen Poles
that sought the life of his august master. Herr von Hoym doubted.
He asked for the grounds of this assertion, and was promised
full particulars that same evening at eight o'clock. At the hour
appointed, the Count appeared breathless before him, and declared
that now he was prepared with a complete disclosure. However, he
told nothing, and postponed the revelation to 10 o'clock. Then
Avaray informed him that the keeper of the Café Coulon had been
hired by some strangers to meet him that same night on the road
to Novawies, to plan with him the murder, by poison, of the Count
de l'Isle. The whole story seemed suspicious to von Hoym. It was
now too late for him to send police to watch the spot where the
meeting was to take place, which he might have done had d'Avaray
condescended to tell him in time, two hours earlier. He asked
d'Avaray where Coulon lived that he might send for him, and the
Count professed he did not know the address.

Next day Count d'Avaray read to the President von Hoym a document,
which he said had been drawn up by members of the court of the Count
de l'Isle, showed him a paper that contained twelve small parsnips,
and requested him to subscribe the document and seal the parcel of
parsnips. Naturally, the President declined to do this. He had not
seen Coulon, he did not know from whom Coulon had received the
parcel, and he mistrusted the whole story. However, he requested
that he might be furnished with an exact description of the two
mysterious strangers, and when he had received it, communicated with
the police, and had inquiry made for them in and about Warsaw. No
one had seen or heard of any persons answering to the description.

Presently the Marquis de Bonney arrived to request the President, in
the name of the Count de l'Isle, to have the parsnips examined by
specialists. He declined to do so.

On July 26th, the Count d'Avaray appeared before the head of the
Police, the President von Tilly, and showed him an attestation
made by several doctors that they had examined three parsnips that
had been shown them, and they had found in them a paste composed
of arsenic and orpiment. Von Tilly thought the whole story so
questionable that he refused to meddle with it. Moreover, a notary
of Warsaw, who had been requested to take down Coulon's statement,
had declined to testify to the genuineness of the confession,
probably because, as Coulon afterwards insinuated, he had been
helped to make it consistent by those who questioned him.

Louis XVIII. left Warsaw on July 30, and as the rumour spread
that Coulon's wife had bought some arsenic a week before at an
apothecary's shop in the place, the police inspector ordered her
arrest. She was questioned and declared that she had, indeed, bought
some rat poison, without the knowledge of her husband. Coulon was
now taken up and questioned, and he pretended that he had given
his wife orders to buy the rat poison, because he was plagued with
vermin in the house.

Then the authorities in Warsaw sent all the documents relating to
this matter, including the _procès verbal_ drawn up by the courtiers
of Louis XVIII., to Berlin, and asked for further instructions.

According to this _procès verbal_ Coulon had confessed as follows:
On the 20th July two strangers had entered his billiard room, and
had assured him that, if he were disposed to make his fortune, they
could help him to it. They made him promise silence, and threatened
him with death if he disclosed what they said. After he had sworn
fidelity and secrecy, they told him that he was required to throw
something into the pot in which the soup was being prepared for
the King's table. For so doing they would pay him 400 louis d'or.
Coulon considered a moment; then the strangers promised they would
provide a situation for his wife in France. After that one of them
said to his fellow in Italian, "We must be off. We have no time
to lose." Next day, in the evening, a third stranger appeared at
his door, called him forth into the street, walked about with him
through the streets of old and new Warsaw, till he was thoroughly
bewildered, and did not know where he was, and, finally, entered
with him a house, where he saw the two strangers who had been with
him previously. Champagne was brought on the table, and they all
drank, and one of the strangers became tipsy. When Coulon promised
to do what was required of him, he was told to secure some of the
mutton-chops that were being prepared for the Royal table, and to
manipulate them with the powder that was to be given him. That the
cook might not notice what he was about, he was to treat him to
large draughts of brandy. Coulon agreed, but asked first to touch
the 400 louis d'or. Then the tipsy man shouted out, "That is all
right, but will Boyer consent to it?" The other stranger tried to
check him, and said, "What are you saying? Boyer is not here, he has
gone out of town and will not be back for a couple of days." After
Coulon had insisted on prepayment, he had been put off till the next
evening, when he was to meet the strangers at 11 o'clock on the road
to Novawies. There he was to receive money, and the powder for the
King. He was then given one ducat, and led home at one o'clock in
the morning. On the following night, at 11 o'clock, he went on the
way to Novawies, and then followed what we have already given from
the story of the man, as recorded by M. de Beauchamp. He received
from the men a packet containing the parsnips, and some money--only
six dollars. They put a kerchief under the earth beneath a tree,
and bade him, if he had accomplished his task, come to the tree and
remove the kerchief, as a token to them; if, however, he failed,
the kerchief was to be left undisturbed. The tree he had marked
well, it was the forty-fifth along the road to Novawies. A small end
of the kerchief peeped out from under the soil. The strangers had
then given him a bottle of liqueur to stimulate his courage for the

After that Coulon was left alone, he said that he staggered
homewards, but felt so faint that he would have fallen to the ground
had not a Prussian officer, who came by, noticed his condition and
helped him home. At the conclusion of the _procès verbal_ came
an exact description of the conspirators. Such was the document
produced originally by the Count d'Avaray, and we can hardly wonder
that, on hearing it, the Prussian civil and police authorities had
hesitated about taking action. The so-called confession of Coulon
seemed to them to be a rhodomontade got up for the purpose of
obtaining money out of the ex-King and his Court.

From Berlin orders were sent to Warsaw to have the matter thoroughly
sifted. Coulon and his wife were now again subjected to examination.
He adhered at first to his story, but when he endeavoured to explain
the purchase of the arsenic, and to fit it into his previous tale,
he involved himself in contradictions.

The President at this point addressed him gravely, and warned
him of the consequences. His story compromised the French chargé
d'affaires, M. Galon Boyer, and this could not be allowed to
be passed over without a very searching examination that must
inevitably reveal the truth. Coulon was staggered, and hastily
asked how matters would stand with him if he told the truth. Then,
after a little hesitation, he admitted that "he thought before the
departure of the Count de l'Isle he would obtain for himself a sum
of money, with which to escape out of his difficulties. He had
reckoned on making 100 ducats out of this affair." He now told quite
a different tale. With the departure of the court of the emigrés,
he would lose his clientelle, and he was concerned because he owed
money for the café and billiard table. He had therefore invented
the whole story in hopes of imposing on the court and getting from
them a little subvention. But he said he had been dragged on further
than he intended by the Count d'Avaray, who had swallowed his lie
with avidity, and had urged him to go on with the intrigue so as to
produce evidence against the conspirators.

That was why he had made up the figment of the meeting with the
strangers on the road and their gift to him of the parsnips, which
he admitted that he had himself scooped out and filled with the rat
poison paste he had bought at the apothecary's.

So far so good. What he now said was precisely what the cool heads
of the Prussian authorities had believed from the first. But Coulon
did not adhere to this second confession. After a few days in prison
he professed his desire to make another. He was brought before the
magistrate, and now he said that the whole story was got up by the
Count d'Avaray, M. de Milleville, and others of the surroundings
of the exiled King, for the purpose of creating an outbreak of
disgust in Europe against Napoleon, and of bringing about a revolt
in France. He declared that he had been promised a pension of six
ducats monthly, that when he gave his evidence M. de Milleville had
paid him 35 ducats, and that he had been taken into the service,
along with his wife, of the ex-Queen, as reward for what he had done.

There were several particulars which gave colour to this last
version of Coulon's story. It was true that he had been given some
money by Milleville; it was perhaps true that in their eagerness to
prove a case of attempted assassination, some of those who conducted
the inquiry had helped him to correct certain discrepancies in his
narrative. Then, again, it was remarkable that, although the Count
d'Avaray knew about the projected murder, he would not tell the
Prussian President the facts till 10 o'clock at night, when it was
too late to send the police to observe the pretended meeting on the
Novawies road; and when Herr von Hoym asked for directions as to
where Coulon lived that the police might be sent to arrest him on
his return, and during his absence to search the house, the Count
had pretended to be unable to say where Coulon lived. It was also
true that de Milleville had repeatedly visited Coulon's house during
the course of the intrigue, and that it was immediately after Coulon
had been at Milleville's house that his wife was sent to buy the rat

Coulon pretended to have heard M. de Milleville say that "This
affair might cause a complete change in the situation in France,
when tidings of what had been done were published." Moreover, he
said that he had been despatched to the Archbishop of Rheim's with
the message "Le coup est manqué."

But it is impossible to believe that the emigré court can have
fabricated such a plot by which to cast on the name of Napoleon the
stain of attempted assassination. The whole story reads like the
clumsy invention of a vulgar adventurer. Coulon's second confession
is obviously that of his true motives. He was in debt, he was losing
his clientelle by the departure of the Count, and it is precisely
what such a scoundrel would do, to invent a lie whereby to enlist
their sympathies for himself, and obtain from them some pecuniary
acknowledgment for services he pretended to have rendered. The
little court was to blame in its gullibility. Its blind hatred of
Napoleon led it to believe such a gross and palpable lie, and, if
doubts arose in any of their minds as to the verity of the tale told
them, they suppressed them.

Coulon was found guilty by the court and was sentenced to five
years' imprisonment. The judgment of the court was that he had acted
in concert with certain members of the retinue of the Count de
l'Isle, but it refrained from naming them.

The Murder of Father Thomas in Damascus.

The remarkable case we are about to relate awoke great interest
and excitement throughout three quarters of the world, and stirred
up that hatred of the Jews which had been laid asleep after the
persecutions of the Middle Ages, just at the time when in all
European lands the emancipation of the Jew was being recognised as
an act of justice. At the time the circumstances were imperfectly
known, or were laid before the public in such a partial light that
it was difficult to form a correct judgment upon them. Since then,
a good deal of light has been thrown on the incident, and it is
possible to arrive at a conclusion concerning the murder with more
unbiased mind and with fuller information than was possible at the

The Latin convents of Syria stand under the immediate jurisdiction
of the Pope, and are, for the most part, supplied with recruits
from Italy. They are very serviceable to travellers, whom they
receive with genial hospitality, and without distinction of creed.
They are nurseries of culture and of industry. Every monk and friar
is required to exercise a profession or trade, and the old charge
against monks of being drones is in no way applicable to the busy
members of the religious orders in Palestine.

In the Capuchin Convent at Damascus dwelt, in 1840, a friar named
Father Thomas, a Sardinian by birth. For thirty-three years he had
lived there, and had acted as physician and surgeon, attending to
whoever called for his services, Mussulman or Christian, Turk, Jew
or Frank alike. He set limbs, dosed with quinine for fever, and
vaccinated against smallpox. Being well known and trusted, he was
in constant practice, and his practice brought him, or, at all
events, his order, a handsome annual income. His manners were,
unfortunately, not amiable. He was curt, even rude, and somewhat
dictatorial; his manners impressed as authoritative in the sickroom,
but were resented in the market-place as insolent.

On February 5th, 1840, Father Thomas disappeared, together with his
servant, a lay brother who always attended him. This disappearance
caused great commotion in Damascus.

France has been considered in the East as the protector of
Christians of the Latin confession. The French Consul, the Count
Ratti-Menton, considered it his duty to investigate the matter.

Father Thomas had been seen to enter the Jews' quarter. Several
Israelites admitted having seen him there. No one saw him leave it:
consequently, it was concluded he had disappeared, been made away
with, there. As none but Jews occupied the Ghetto, it was argued
that Father Thomas had been murdered by Israelites. That was settled
as a preliminary. But in the meantime the Austrian Consul had been
making investigation as well as the Count Ratti-Menton, and he had
obtained information that Father Thomas and his servant had been
noticed engaged in a violent quarrel and contest of words with some
Mohammedans of the lowest class, in the market-place. No weight was
attached to this, and the French Consul pursued his investigations
in the Jews' quarter, and in that quarter alone.

Sheriff Pacha was Governor of Syria, and Count Ratti-Menton required
him to allow of his using every means at his disposal for the
discovery of the criminal. He also requested the Austrian Consul to
allow a domiciliary visitation of all the Jews' houses, the Austrian
Government being regarded as the protector of the Hebrews. In both
cases consent was given, and the search was begun with zeal.

Then a Turk, named Mohammed-el-Telli, who was in prison for
non-payment of taxes, sent word to the French Consul that, if he
would obtain his release, he would give such information as would
lead to the discovery of the murderer or murderers. He received
his freedom, and denounced, in return, several Jews' houses as
suspicious. Count Ratti-Menton at the head of a troop of soldiers
and workmen, and a rabble assembled in the street, invaded all these
houses, and explored them from attic to cellar.

One of the first names given by Mohammed-el-Telli was that of a
Jewish barber, Negrin. He gave a confused and contradictory account
of himself, but absolutely denied having any knowledge of the
murder. In vain were every means used during three days at the
French Consulate to bring him to a confession; after that he was
handed over to the Turkish authorities. They had him bastinadoed,
then tortured. During his torture, Mohammed-el-Telli was at his
side urging him to make a clean breast. Unable to endure his
sufferings longer, the barbar declared his readiness to tell all.
Whether what he said was based on reports circulating in the town,
or was put into his mouth by his tormentors, we cannot tell.
According to his story, on the evening of February the 5th a servant
of David Arari summoned him into his house. He found the master of
the house along with six other Israelitish rabbis and merchants, to
wit, Aaron and Isaac Arari, Mussa Abul Afia, Moses Salonichi, and
Joseph Laniado. In a corner of the room lay or leaned against the
wall Father Thomas, gagged and bound hand and foot. The merchants
urged Negrin to murder the Capuchin in their presence, but he
stedfastly refused to do so. Finally finding him inflexible, they
bought his silence with 600 piastres (hardly £6) and dismissed him.

Thereupon, the governor ordered the arrest of David Arari and the
other Jews named, all of whom were the richest merchants in the
town--at all events the richest Jewish merchants. They, with one
consent, solemnly protested their innocence. They, also, were
subjected to the bastinado; but as most of them were aged men, and
it was feared that they might succumb under the blows, after a few
lashes had been administered, they were raised from the ground and
subjected to other tortures. For thirty-six hours the unhappy men
were forced to stand upright, and were prevented from sleeping. They
still persisted in denial, whereupon some of them were again beaten.
At the twentieth blow they fainted. The French Consul complained
that the beating was inefficient--so the Austrian Consul reported,
and at his instigation they were again bastinadoed, but again
without bringing them to confession.

In the meantime, David Arari's servant, Murad-el-Fallat, was
arrested, the man who was said to have been sent for the barber.
He was dealt with more sharply than the others. He was beaten most
cruelly, and to heighten his pain cold water was poured over his
bruised and mangled flesh. Under the anguish he confessed that he
had indeed been sent for the barber.

That was an insufficient confession. He was threatened with the
bastinado again, and promised his release if he would reveal all he
knew. Thereupon he repeated the story of the barber, with additions
of his own. He and Negrin, said he, had by command of the seven rich
merchants put the Father to death, and had then cut up the body and
hidden the remains in a remote water conduit.

The barber, threatened with fresh tortures, confessed to the murder.

Count Ratti-Menton explored the conduit where the two men pretended
the mutilated body was concealed, in the presence of the servant and
barber, both of whom were in such a condition through the barbarous
treatment to which they had been subjected, that they could not
walk, and had to be carried to the spot. And actually there some
bones were found, together with a cap. A surgeon pronounced that
these were human bones. It was at once concluded that these were the
remains of Father Thomas, and as such were solemnly buried in the
cemetery of the Capuchin Convent.

David Arari's servant. Murad-el-Fallet, had related that the blood
of Father Thomas had been collected in a copper vessel and drawn
off and distributed among the Jews for religious purposes. It was
an old and favourite belief among the ignorant that the Jews drank
the blood of Christians at Easter, or mingled it with the Paschal
unleavened dough. At the same time the rumour spread that the rich
Hebrew Picciotto, a young man, nephew of the Austrian Consul at
Aleppo, had sent his uncle a bottle of blood.

The seven merchants were led before the bones that had been
discovered. They persisted in the declaration of their innocence.
From this time forward, all scruple as to their treatment vanished,
and they were tortured with diabolical barbarity. They received the
bastinado again, they were burned where their flesh was tenderest
with red hot pincers. Red hot wires were passed through their flesh.
A German traveller, present at the time, declares that the first
to acknowledge the truth of the charge was brought to do so by
immersing him after all these torments for several hours in ice cold
water; after which the other six were lashed with a scourge made of
hippopotamus hide, till half unconscious, and streaming with blood,
they were ready to admit whatever their tormentors strove to worry
out of them.

The Protestant missionary, Wildon Pieritz, in his account enumerates
the sufferings to which these unhappy men were subjected.

They were, 1st, bastinadoed.

     2nd. Plunged in large vessels of cold water.

     3rd. Placed under pressure till their eyes started out of their

     4th. Their flesh, where most sensitive, was twisted and nipped
          till they went almost mad with agony.

     5th. They were forced to stand upright for three whole days,
          and not suffered even to lean against a wall. Those who fell
          with exhaustion were goaded to rise again by the bayonets of the

     6th. They were dragged about by their ears, so that they were
          torn and bled.

     7th. Thorns were driven up the quick of their nails on fingers
          and toes.

     8th. Their beards were singed off, so that the skin was scorched
          and blistered.

     9th. Flames were put under their noses so as to burn their

The French Consul--let his name go down to posterity steeped in
ignominy--Count Ratti-Menton, was not yet satisfied. He was bent
on finding the vials filled with the blood. Each of the seven
questioned said he had not got one, but had given his vial to
another. The last, Mussa Abul Afia, unable to endure his torments
any longer, gave way, and professed his willingness to turn
Mussulman. Nevertheless, he was again subjected to the scourge,
and whipped till he named another confederate--the Chief Rabbi
Jacob Antibi, as the man to whom the blood had been committed.
Mussa's confession, committed to writing, was as follows:--"I am
_commanded_ to say what I know relative to the murder of Father
Thomas, and why I have submitted to become a Mussulman. It is,
therefore, my duty to declare the truth. Jacob Antibi, Chief
Rabbi, about a fortnight before the event, said to me--'You know
that according to our religion we must have blood. I have already
arranged with David Arari, to obtain it in the house of one of
our people, and you must be present and bring me the blood.' I
replied that I had not the nerve to see blood flow; whereupon,
the Chief Rabbi answered that I could stand in the ante-chamber,
and I would find Moses Salonichi and Joseph Laniado there. I then
consented. On the 10th of the month, Achach, about an hour and a
half before sun-down, as I was on my way to the synagogue, I met
David Arari, who said to me: 'Come along to my house, you are
wanted there.' I replied that I would come as soon as I had ended
my prayers. 'No, no--come immediately!' he said. I obeyed. Then he
told me that Father Thomas was in his house, and that he was to be
sacrificed that evening. We went to his house. There we entered a
newly-furnished apartment. Father Thomas lay bound in the midst of
all there assembled. After sunset we adjourned to an unfurnished
chamber, where David cut the throat of the monk. Aaron and Isaac
Arari finished him. The blood was caught in a vat and then poured
into a bottle, which was to be taken to the Chief Rabbi Jacob. I
took the bottle and went to him. I found him in his court waiting
for me. When he saw me enter, he retreated to his cabinet, and I
followed him thither, saying, 'Here, I bring you what you desired.'
He took the bottle and put it behind a book-case. Then I went home.
I have forgotten to say that, when I left Arari's house, the body
was undisturbed. I heard David and his brother say that they had
made a bad choice of a victim, as Father Thomas was a priest, and
a well-known individual, and would therefore be sought for, high
and low. They answered that there was no fear, no one would betray
what had taken place. The clothing would be now burnt, the body cut
to pieces, and conveyed by the servants to the conduit, and what
remained would be concealed under some secret stairs. I knew nothing
about the servant of Father Thomas. The Wednesday following, I met
David, Isaac, and Joseph Arari, near the shop of Bahal. Isaac asked
David how all had gone on. David replied that all was done that was
necessary, and that there was no cause for fear. As they began to
talk together privately, I withdrew, as I was not one who associated
with the wealthiest of the Jews, and the Arari were of that class.
The blood is required by the Jews for the preparation of the Paschal
bread. They have been often accused of the same, and been condemned
on that account. They have a book called Serir Hadurut (no such a
book really exists) which concerns this matter; now that the light
of Islam has shone on me, I place myself under the protection of
those who hold the power in their hands."

Such was his confession. The French Consul, unable to find the
blood, was bent on discovering more criminals; and the servant of
David Arari, after further pressure, was ready to give further
particulars. He said that, after the Father had been murdered,
he was sent to a rich Israelite, Marad Farhi, to invite him to
slaughter the servant of the Capuchin friar in the same way as his
master had been slaughtered. When he took the message, he found the
young merchant, Isaac Picciotto, present, and delivered his message
before him. Next day this Picciotto and four other Jews, Marad
Farhi, Meir, and Assan Farhi, and Aaron Stamboli, all men of wealth,
came to his master's house, and informed David Arari that they had
together murdered the Capuchin's serving-man in the house of Meir
Farhi. On another occasion this same witness, Murad-el-Fallat, said
that the murder of the servant took place in the house of David
Arari; but no importance was attached in this remarkable case to
contradictions in the evidence.

Picciotto, as son of a former Austrian Consul, a nephew of the
Consul at Aleppo, was able to take refuge under the protection of
Merlato, the Austrian Consul at Damascus. On the demand of Count
Ratti-Menton, he was placed on his trial, but proved an _alibi_;
on the evening in question, he and his wife had been visiting an
English gentleman, Mr. George Macson.

Arari's servant now extended his revelations. He said that he had
been present at the murder of the attendant on the Capuchin. This
man had been bound and put to death by seven Jews, namely, by the
four already mentioned, young Picciotto, Jacob Abul Afia, and Joseph
Menachem Farhi.

The French Consul was dissatisfied that Picciotto should escape. He
demanded of the Austrian Consul that he should be delivered over to
the Mussulman Court to be tortured like the rest into confession.
The Austrian Consul was in a difficult position. He stood alone over
against a fanatical Christian and an embittered Mohammedan mob, and
in resistance to the Egyptian Government and the representative
of France. But he did not hesitate, he absolutely refused to
surrender Picciotto. The general excitement was now directed
against the Consul; he was subjected to suspicion as a favourer of
the murderers, as even incriminated in the murder. His house was
surrounded by spies, and every one who entered or left it was an
object of mistrust.

All Damascus was in agitation; everyone sought to bring some
evidence forward to help on the case against the Jews. According to
one account, thirty-three--according to the report of the Austrian
Consul, sixty-three Jewish children, of from four to ten years
old, were seized, thrown into prison and tortured, to extract
information from them as to the whereabouts of their parents and
relations--those charged with the murder of the servant, and who
had fled and concealed themselves. Those witnesses who had appeared
before the court to testify to the innocence of the accused, were
arrested, and treated with Oriental barbarity. Because Farach
Katasch and Isaac Javoh had declared that they had seen Father
Thomas on the day of the murder in another quarter of the town than
the Ghetto, they were put to the torture. Isaac Javoh said he had
seen Father Thomas on the road to Salachia, two miles from the Jews'
quarter, and had there spoken to him. He was racked, and died on the

A boy admitted that he had noticed Father Thomas and his servant in
another part of the town. For so saying, he was beaten with such
barbarity that he died twenty-four hours after. A Jewish account
from Beyrut says: "A Jew dedicated himself to martyrdom for the
sanctity of the ever-blessed Name. He went before the Governor,
and said to him, 'Is this justice you do? It is a slander that we
employ blood for our Paschal bread; and that it is so is known
to all civilized governments. You say that the barber, who is a
Jew, confessed it. I reply that he did so only under the stress of
torture. Very likely the Father was murdered by Christians or by
Turks.' The Governor, and the dragoman of the French Consul, Baudin
by name, retorted, 'What! you dare to charge the murder on Turks or
Christians?' and he was ordered to be beaten and tortured to death.
He was barbarously scourged and hideously tormented, and urged all
the while to confess the truth. But he cried ever, 'Hear, O Israel!
The Lord thy God is one Lord!' and so crying he died."

As the second murder, according to one account, was committed in the
house of Meir Farhi, Count Ratti-Menton had the water conduits and
drains torn up all round it, and in the drain near them was found a
heap of bones, a bit of flesh, and a fragment of leather--according
to one account a portion of a shoe, according to that of the
Austrian Consul, a portion of a girdle. It had--supposing it to
have belonged to the murdered man--been soaking for a month in the
drain, nevertheless, the brother of the servant who had disappeared
identified it as having belonged to the murdered man! Dr. Massari,
Italian physician to Sheriff Pacha, and Dr. Rinaldo, a doctor
practising in Damascus, declared that the bones were human remains,
but they were examined by Dr. Yograssi, who proved them to be--sheep
bones. One may judge from this what reliance can be placed on the
assumption that the first collection of bones that were given
Christian burial were those of a man, and of Father Thomas. As for
the bit of flesh, it was thought to be a piece of liver, but whether
of a human being or of a beast was uncertain or unascertained. The
Jews' houses were now subjected to search. Count Ratti-Menton swept
through the streets at the head of twenty sbirri, entering and
ransacking houses at his own caprice, the Jews' houses first of all,
and then such houses of Christians as were supposed to be open as a
harbour of shelter to the persecuted Israelites. Thus one night he
rushed not only into the house of, but even the women's bedrooms of
a merchant, Aiub, who stood under Austrian protection, hunting after
secreted Jews, an outrage, in popular opinion, even in the East.

The Jews charged with the murder of the servant had not been
secured. The greater number of the well-to-do Hebrews had fled
the town. A hue-and-cry was set up, and the country round was
searched. Their families were taken up and tortured into confessing
where they were. A German traveller then in Damascus says that the
prisons were crowded with unfortunates, and that the pen refuses
to detail the torments to which they were subjected to wring from
them the information required. The wife of Meir Farhi and their
child were imprisoned, and the child bastinadoed before its mother's
eyes. At the three hundredth blow the mother's heart gave way, and
she betrayed the hiding-place of her husband. He was seized. The
hippopotamus scourge was flourished over his head, and knowing
what his fellows had suffered, he confessed himself guilty. Assan
Farhi, who was caught in his hiding-place, was imprisoned for a
week in the French Consulate, and then delivered over to Turkish
justice. Bastinado and the rack convinced him of his guilt, but he
found means to despatch from his dungeon a letter to Ibrahim Pacha
protesting his innocence.

It is as impossible as it is unnecessary to follow the story of the
persecution in all its details. The circumstances have been given
by various hands, and as names are not always recorded, it is not
always possible to distinguish whether single cases are recorded
by different writers with slight variations, or whether they are
reporting different incidents in the long story.

The porter of the Jews' quarters, a man of sixty, died under
bastinado, to which he was subjected for no other crime than not
confessing that he had seen the murdered men enter the Ghetto.

In the meantime, whilst this chase after those accused of the second
murder was going on, the seven merchants who had confessed to the
murder of the Father had been lying in prison recovering from their
wounds and bruises. As they recovered, the sense of their innocence
became stronger in them than fear for the future and consideration
of the past. They withdrew their confessions. Again were they
beaten and tormented. Thenceforth they remained stedfast. Two of
the seven, David Arari, aged eighty and Joseph Laniado, not much
younger, died of their sufferings. Laniado had protested that he
could bring evidence--the unimpeachable evidence of Christian
merchants at Khasbin--that he had been with them at the time when it
was pretended he had been engaged on the murder. But he died before
these witnesses reached Damascus. Then Count Ratti-Menton pressed
for the execution of the rest.

So stood matters when Herr von Hailbronner, whose report on the
whole case is both fullest and most reliable, for the sequence of
events, arrived in Damascus. He took pains to collect all the most
authentic information he could on every particular.

Damascus was in the wildest commotion. All classes of the people
were in a condition of fanatic excitement. The suffering caused by
the pressure of the Egyptian government of Mohamed Ali, the threat
of an Oriental war, the plague which had broken out in Syria, the
quarantine, impeding all trade, were matters that were thrust into
the background by the all-engrossing story of the murder and the
persecution of the Jews.

The condition of the Hebrews in Damascus became daily more
precarious. The old antagonism, jealousy of their riches, hatred
caused by extortionate usury, were roused and armed for revenge.
The barber, though he had confessed that he was guilty of the
murder, was allowed to go scot-free, because he had betrayed his
confederates. What an encouragement was offered to the rabble to
indulge in false witness against rich Jews, whose wealth was coveted!

Mohamed Ali's government desired nothing better than the
confiscation of their goods. A pack of ruffians sought occasion to
extract money out of this persecution by bribes, or to purchase
pardon for past offences by denouncing the innocent.

It is well at this point to look a little closer at the French
Consul, the Count Ratti-Menton. On him rests the guilt of this
iniquitous proceeding, rather than on the Mussulman judges. He
had been twice bankrupt when French Consul in Sicily. Then he
had been sent as Consul to Tiflis, where his conduct had been so
disreputable, that on the representation of the Russian Government
he had been recalled. He had then been appointed Consul at Damascus.
In spite of all this, and the discredit with which his conduct with
regard to the Jews, on account of the murder of Father Thomas, had
covered him, his part was warmly taken up by the Ultramontane Press,
and the French Government did its utmost to shield him. M. Thiers
even warmly defended him. The credit of France was thought to be at
stake, and it was deemed advisable to stand by the agent of France,
and make out a case for him as best might be.

It is quite possible, it is probable, that he was thoroughly
convinced that the Jews were guilty, but that does not justify his
mode of procedure. It is possible also that bribes may--as was
said--have been offered him by the Jews if he would desist from his
persecution, but that he refused these bribes shows that he was
either not an unredeemed rascal, or that he conceived he had gone
too far to withdraw.

The Turkish and Egyptian authorities acted as always has been and
will be their manner, after their nature, and in their own interest.
We expect of them nothing else, but that the representative of
one of the most enlightened nations of Europe, a man professing
himself to be a Christian, and civilized, a member of a noble house,
should hound on the ignorant and superstitious, and give rein to
all the worst passions of an Oriental rabble, against a helpless
and harmless race, that has been oppressed, and ill-treated, and
slandered for centuries, is never to be looked over and forgiven.
The name of Ratti-Menton must go down branded to posterity; and
it is to be regretted that M. Thiers should have allowed his love
of his country to so carry him away as to induce him to throw
the shield over a man of whose guilt he must have been perfectly
aware, having full information in his hands. This shows us to what
an extent Gallic vanity will blind the Gallic eye to the plain
principles of truth and right.

Ratti-Menton had his agents to assist him--Baudin, chief of his
bureau at the Consulate; Francois Salins, a native of Aleppo, who
acted as interpreter, spy, and guard to the Consulate; Father Tosti,
a French Lazarist, who, according to the Austrian Consul, "seemed to
find in this case an opportunity for avenging on the race the death
of his Divine Master; also a Christian Arab, Sehibli Ayub, a man of
bad character, who was well received by Ratti-Menton, because of his
keenness as spy, and readiness as denunciator.

What followed now passes all belief. After that countless poor Jews
had been accused, beaten, tortured, and killed, it occurred to the
judges that it would be as well to ascertain the motive for the
crime. It had been said by those who had confessed that the Pater
and his servant had been put to death in order to obtain their blood
to mingle with the dough for the Paschal wafer. The disappearance
of the two men took place on February 5th. Easter fell that year on
April 18th, so that the blood would have to be preserved two months
and a half. That was an inconsequence which neither the French
Consul nor the Egyptian authorities stooped to consider. Orders were
issued that the Talmud and other sacred books of the Jews should
be explored to see whether, or rather where in them, the order was
given that human blood should be mingled with the Paschal dough.
When no such commands could be discovered, it was concluded that the
editions presented for examination were purposely falsified.

Now, there were distinct indications pointing in quite another
direction, which, if followed, might have elucidated the case, and
revealed the actual criminals. But these indications were in no
case followed. Wildon Pieritz, an Evangelical Missionary, then in
Damascus, as well as the Austrian Consul, agree in stating that
three days before the disappearance of Father Thomas he was seen in
violent altercation with a Turkish mule-driver, who was heard to
swear he would be the death of the priest. The altercation was so
violent that the servant of Father Thomas seized the mule-driver by
the throat and maltreated him so that blood flowed--probably from
his nose. Father Thomas lost his temper and cursed the mussulman
and his religion. The scene created great commotion, and a number
of Turks were very angry, amongst them was one, a merchant, Abu
Yekhyeh, who distinguished himself. Wildon Pieritz in a letter
to the _Journal de Smyrne_ on May 14th, 1840, declares that when
the news of the disappearance of Father Thomas began to excite
attention, this merchant, Abu Yekhyeh, hanged himself.

We may well inquire how it was that none of these facts came to be
noticed. The answer is to hand. Every witness that gave evidence
which might exculpate the accused Jews, and turn attention in
another direction, was beaten and tortured, consequently, those who
could have revealed the truth were afraid to do so.

Even among the Mohammedans complaints arose that the French Consul
was acting in contravention to their law, and a feeling gradually
grew that a great injustice was being committed--that the Jews
were innocent. Few dared allow this in the first fever of popular
excitement, but nevertheless it awoke and spread.

At first the Austrian Consul had been subjected not to annoyance
only, but to danger of life, so violent had been the popular feeling
against him because of the protection he accorded to one of the
accused. Fortunately Herr Merlato was a man of pluck. He was an
old soldier who had distinguished himself as a marine officer.
He not only resolutely protected young Picciotto, but he did his
utmost to hinder the proceedings of Ratti-Menton; he invoked the
assistance of the representatives of the other European Powers, and
finally every Consul, except the French, agreed to unite with him in
representations to their governments of the iniquitous proceedings
of Ratti-Menton, and to use their influence with the Egyptian
authorities to obtain the release of the unhappy accused.

The bastinadoes and tortures now ceased. Merlato obtained the
release of several of those who were in confinement; and finally
the only Jews who remained in prison were the brothers Arari, Mussa
Salonichi, and the renegade Abul Afia. Of the supposed murderers of
the servant only the brothers Farhi were still held in chains.

Matters were in this condition when the news of what had taken place
at Damascus reached Europe and set all the Jews in commotion. Every
effort was made by them, in Vienna, Leipzig, Paris and London,
indeed in all the great cities of Europe, to convince the public
of the absurdity of the charge, and to urge the governments to
interfere in behalf of the sufferers.

Finally all the representatives of the European governments at
Alexandria, with the exception of the French, remonstrated with
Mohamed Ali. They demanded that the investigation should be begun
_de novo_; the French Consul-General, M. Cochelet, alone objected.
But the action of the Jews of Europe had more influence with
Mohamed Pacha than the representations of the Consuls. The house of
Rothschild had taken the matter up, and Sir Moses Montefiore started
from London, and M. Cremieux from Paris as a diplomatic embassy to
the Viceroy at Alexandria to convince him, by such means as is most
efficacious to an Oriental despot, of the innocence of the accused
at Damascus.

The arguments these delegates employed were so extremely
satisfactory to the mind of Mohamed Pacha, that he quashed the
charges against the Jews of Damascus, in spite of the vehement
protest of M. Cochelet, the representative of France. When the
Viceroy issued a firman ordering the incarcerated Jews to be
discharged as innocent and suffered to abide in peace, M. Cochelet
strove in vain to have the firman qualified or altered into a pardon.

Thus ended one of the most scandalous cases of this century.
Unfortunate, innocent men were tortured and put to death for a crime
that had never been proved. That the two Europeans had been murdered
was merely matter of conjecture. No bodies had been found. There
was no evidence worth a rush against the accused, and no motive
adduced deserving of grave consideration. "What inhumanities were
committed during the eight months of this persecution," wrote Herr
Von Hailbronner, "will never be wholly known. But it must call up a
blush of shame in the face of an European to remember that Europeans
provoked, favoured and stimulated it to the last."

     Authorities: "Morgenland and Abendland," by Herr Von
     Hailbronner,--who, as already mentioned, was present in Damascus
     through part of the time. "Damascia," by C. H. Löwenstein,
     Rödelheim, 1840. Reports and debates in the English Parliament
     at the time. The recently published Diaries of Sir Moses
     Montefiore, 2 vols., 1890; his Centenal Biography, 1884, vol.
     I., p. 213-288; and the article summing up the whole case in
     "Der Neue Pitaval," by Dr. J. C. Hitzig and Dr. W. Häring, 1857,
     Vol. I.

Some Accusations against Jews.

The story just given of the atrocious treatment of the Jews of
Damascus on a false accusation naturally leads to a brief sketch of
their treatment in the Middle Ages on similar charges. Not, indeed,
that we can deal with all of the outrages committed on the sons of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--that would require volumes--but only
notice some of those which they have had to suffer on the same or
analogous false charges.

These false accusations range under three heads:--

1. They have been charged with poisoning the wells when there has
been an outbreak of plague and malignant fever.

2. They have been charged with stealing the Host and with stabbing

3. Lastly, with having committed murders in order to possess
themselves of Christian blood, to mingle with the dough wherewith to
make their Paschal cakes.

We will leave the first case on one side altogether, and as we have
already considered one instance--not by any means the last case of
such an accusation levied against them in Europe--we will take it
before we come to the instances of their being accused of stealing
the Host.

But _why_ should they be supposed to require Christian blood? One
theory was that by common participation in it, the Jewish community
was closer bound together; another, that it had a salutary medicinal
effect. That is to say, having made up their minds in the Middle
Ages that Jews did sacrifice human beings and drink their blood,
they beat about for the explanation, and caught at any wild theory
that was proposed.[4]

  [4] Antonius Bonfinius: Rer. Hungaricarum Dec., v. 1., 3, gives
  _four_ reasons. Thomas Cantipratensis, Lib. II., c. 29, gives
  another and preposterous one, not to be quoted even in Latin.

John Dubravius in his Bohemian History, under the year 1305,
relates: "On Good Friday the Jews committed an atrocious crime
against a Christian man, for they stretched him naked to a cross
in a concealed place, and then, standing round, spat on him, beat
him, and did all they could to him which is recorded of their
having done to Christ. This atrocious act was avenged by the people
of Prague upon the Jews, with newly-invented punishments, and of
their property that was confiscated, a monument was erected." But
there were cases earlier than this. Perhaps the earliest is that
of S. William of Norwich, in 1144; next, S. Richard of Paris,
1179; then S. Henry of Weissemburg, in Alsace, in 1220; then S.
Hugh of Lincoln, in 1255, the case of which is recorded by Matthew
Paris. A woman at Lincoln lost her son, a child eight years old.
He was found in a well near a Jew's house. The Jew was arrested,
and promised his life if he would accuse his brethren of the
murder. He did so, but was hanged nevertheless. On this accusation
ninety-two of the richest Jews in Lincoln were arrested, their
goods seized to replenish the exhausted Royal exchequer; eighteen
were hung forthwith, the rest were reserved in the Tower of London
for a similar fate, but escaped through the intervention of the
Franciscans, who, says Matthew Paris, were bribed by the Jews of
England to obtain their release. On May 15th, 1256, thirty-five of
the wretched Jews were released. We are not told what became of the
remaining thirty-nine, whether they had been discharged as innocent,
or died in prison. The story of little Hugh has been charmingly told
in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

A girl of seven years was found murdered at Pforzheim, in 1271;
the Jews were accused, mobbed, maltreated, and executed. In 1286,
a boy, name unknown, disappeared in Munich, with the same results
to the Jews. In 1292, a boy of nine, at Constance--same results. In
1303 "the perfidious Jews, accustomed to the shedding of Christian
blood," says Siffrid, priest of Meisen, in 1307, "cruelly murdered
a certain scholar, named Conrad, son of a knight of Weissensee, in
Thuringia, after that they had tortured him, cut all his sinews, and
opened his veins. This took place before Easter. The Almighty, who
is glorious in His Saints, however did not suffer the murder of the
innocent boy to remain concealed, but destroyed the murderers, and
adorned the martyrdom of their innocent victim with miracles. For
when the said Jews had taken the body of the lad to many places in
Thuringia to bury it secretly, by God's disposition they were always
foiled in their attempt to make away with it. Wherefore, returning
to Weissensee, they hung it to a vine. Then the truth having been
revealed, the soldiers rushed out of the castle, and the citizens
rose together with the common people, headed by Frederick, son of
Albert Landgrave of Thuringia, and killed the Jews tumultuously."

The story of St. Werner, the boy murdered by the Jews in 1287, at
Wesel, on the Rhine, and buried at Bacharach, is well known. The
lovely chapel erected over his body is now a ruin. But Werner was
not the only boy martyred by the Jews on the Rhine. Another was St.
Johanettus of Siegburg.

St. Andrew of Heiligenwasser, near Innsbrück, is another case, in
1462; St. Ludwig of Ravensburg, in 1429, again another. Six boys
were said to have been murdered by Jews at Ratisborn, in 1486; and
several cases come to us out of Spanish history. In Poland, in 1598,
in the village of Swinarzew, near Lositz, lived a peasant, Matthias
Petrenioff, with his wife, Anna. They had several children, among
them a boy named Adalbert. One day in Holy Week the boy was in
the fields ploughing with his father. In the evening he was sent
home, but instead of going home directly, he turned aside to visit
the village of Woznik, in which lived a Jew, Mark, who owned a
pawnshop, and had some mills. The son of Mark, named Aaron, and the
son-in-law, Isaac, overtook the boy as they were returning to Wosnik
in their cart and took him up into it.

As the child did not return home, his father went in search of him,
and hearing that he had been seen in the cart between the two Jews,
he went to the house of Mark and inquired for him. Mark's wife
said she had not seen him. The peasant now became frightened. He
remembered the stories that floated about concerning the murder of
Christian children by Jews, and concluded that his boy had been put
to death by Mark and his co-religionists. At length the body of the
child was discovered in a pond, probably gnawed by rats--but the
marks on the body were at once supposed to be due to the weapons of
the Jews. Immense excitement reigned in the district, and finally
two servants of the Jews, both Christians, one Athanasia, belonging
to the Greek Church, and another, Christina, a Latin, confessed
that their masters had murdered the boy. He had been concealed in
a cellar till the eve of the Passover, when the chief Jews of the
district had been assembled, and the boy had been bled to death
in their presence. The blood was put into small phials and each
Jew provided with one at least. This led to a general arrest of
the Jews, when the rack produced the requisite confession. Isaac,
son-in-law of Mark, in whose house the butchery was said to have
taken place, declared under torture that the Jews partook of the
blood of Christians in bread, and also in wine, but he professed to
be unable to account for the custom. Filled, however, with remorse
for having thus falsely accused his people and his relatives, he
hung himself in prison. Mark and Aaron were condemned to be torn
to pieces alive; and, of course, the usual spoliation ensued. We
have the account of this atrocious judicial murder from the pen of
a Jesuit, Szembeck, who extracted the particulars from the acts of
the court of Lublin, in which the case was tried, and from those
drawn up by order of the bishop of the diocese of Luz, in which the
murder occurred, and who obtained or sanctioned a canonization of
the boy-martyr.

Another still more famous case is that of S. Simeon, of Trent, in
1475, very full details of which are given in the Acta Sanctorum
of the Bollandists, as the victim was formally canonized by Pope
Benedict XIV., and the Roman Martyrology asserts the murder by the
Jews in these terms:--

"At Trent (on March 24th) the martyrdom of S. Simeon, a little
child, cruelly slain by the Jews, who was glorified afterwards by
several miracles."

The story as told and approved at the canonization was as follows:
On Tuesday, in Holy Week, 1475, the Jews met to prepare for
the approaching Passover, in the house of one of their number,
named Samuel; and it was agreed between three of them, Samuel,
Tobias, and Angelus, that a child should be crucified, as an act
of revenge against the Christians who cruelly maltreated them.
Their difficulty, however, was how to get one. Samuel sounded his
servant Lazarus, and attempted to bribe him into procuring one,
but the suggestion so scared the fellow that he ran away. On the
Thursday, Tobias undertook to get the boy, and going out in the
evening, whilst the people were in church, he prowled about till
he found a child sitting on the threshold of his father's door,
aged twenty-nine months, and named Simeon. The Jew began to coax
the little fellow to follow him, and the boy, after being lured
away, was led to the house of Samuel, whence during the night he was
conveyed to the synagogue, where he was bled to death, and his body
pierced with awls.

All Friday the parents sought their son, but found him not. The
Jews, alarmed at the proceedings of the magistrates, who had taken
the matter up, consulted together what was to be done. It was
resolved to put the body back into its clothes and throw it into the
stream that ran under Samuel's window, but which was there crossed
by a grating. Tobias was to go to the bishop and magistrates and
inform them that a child's body was entangled in the grate. This was
done. Thereupon John de Salis, the bishop, and James de Sporo, the
governor, went to see the spot, had the body removed, and conveyed
to the cathedral. As, according to popular superstition, blood was
supposed to flow from the wound when a murderer drew near, the
officers of justice were cautioned to observe the crowds as they

It was declared that blood exuded as Tobias approached. On the
strength of this, the house of Samuel and the synagogue were
examined, and it is asserted that blood and other traces of the
butchery were found. The most eminent physicians were called to
investigate the condition of the corpse, and they pronounced that
the child had been strangled, and that the wounds were due to stabs.
The popular voice now accusing the Jews, the magistrates seized on
them and threw them into prison, and on the accusation of a renegade
more than five of the Jews were sentenced to death. They were broken
on the wheel and then burnt. The body of the child is enshrined
at Trent, and a basin of the blood preserved as a relic in the

This must suffice for instances of accusations of murder for
religious purposes brought against the Jews, in every case false.
Another charge brought against them was Sacrilege. Fleury in his
Ecclesiastical History gives one instance. "In the little town of
Pulca, in Passau, a layman found a bloody Host before the house of
a Jew, lying in the street upon some straw. The people thought that
this Host was consecrated, and washed it and took it to the priest,
that it might be taken to the church, where a crowd of devotees
assembled, concluding that the blood had flowed miraculously from
wounds dealt it by the Jews. On this supposition, and without any
other examination, or any other judicial procedure, the Christians
fell on the Jews, and killed several of them; but wiser heads
judged that this was rather for the sake of pillage than to avenge
a sacrilege. This conjecture was justified by a similar event, that
took place a little while before at Neuburg, in the same diocese,
where a certain clerk placed an unconsecrated Host steeped in blood
in a church, but confessed afterwards before the bishop that he
had dipped this Host in blood for the purpose of raising hostility
against the Jews."[5]

  [5] Fleury, Hist. Eccl., vi. p. 110.

In 1290, a Jew named Jonathan was accused in Paris of having thrown
a Host into the Seine. It floated. Then he stabbed it with his
knife, and blood flowed. The Jew was burnt alive, and the people
clamored for a general persecution of the Hebrews.

In Bavaria, in 1337, at Dechendorf, some Hosts were discovered which
the Jews had stabbed. The unhappy Hebrews were burnt alive.

In 1326, a Jew convert, a favourite of Count William the Good, of
Flanders, was accused of having struck an image of the Madonna,
which thereupon bled. The Jew was tortured, but denied the
accusation. Then he was challenged to a duel by a fanatic. He,
wholly unaccustomed to the use of weapons, succumbed. That sufficed
to prove his guilt. He was burnt.

In 1351, a Jew convert was accused, at Brussels, of having
pretended, on three occasions, to communicate, in order that he
might send the Hosts to his brethren at Cologne, who stabbed them,
and blood flowed.

The traveller who has been in Brussels must certainly have noticed
the painted windows all down the nave of S. Gudule, in the side
aisles, to left and right. They represent, in glowing colours, the
story of the miraculous Hosts preserved in the chancel to the north
of the choir, where seven red lamps burn perpetually before them.

The story is as follows: In 1370, a rich Jew of Enghien bribed a
converted Hebrew, named John of Louvain, for 60 pieces of gold, to
steal for him some Hosts from the Chapel of S. Catherine. Hardly,
however, had the Jew, Jonathan, received the wafers, before he was
attacked by robbers and murdered. His wife, alarmed, and thinking
that his death was due to the sacrilege, resolved to get rid of
the wafers. It may have been remarked in the stories of murders
by Jews, that they were represented as finding great difficulty
in getting rid of the dead bodies. In these stories of sacrilege,
no less difficulty was encountered in causing the disappearance
of the Hosts. Moreover, the Jews invariably proceeded in the most
roundabout and clumsy way, inviting discovery. The widow of the
murdered Jonathan conveyed the Hosts to the synagogue at Brussels.
There, on Good Friday, the Jews took advantage of the Hosts to stab
them with their knives, in mockery of Christ and the Christian
religion. But blood squirted from the transfixed wafers. In terror,
they also resolved to get rid of the miraculous Hosts, and found
no better means of so doing than bribing a renegade Jewess, named
Catharine, to carry them to Cologne. They promised her twenty
pieces of gold for her pains. She took the Hosts, but, troubled in
conscience, revealed what she had undertaken to her confessor. The
ecclesiastical authorities were informed, Catherine was arrested,
imprisoned, and confessed. All the Jews dwelling in Brussels were
taken up and tortured; but in spite of all torture refused to
acknowledge their guilt. However, a chaplain of the prince, a man
named Jean Morelli, pretended to have overheard a converted Jew say,
"Why do not these dogs make a clean breast? They know that they
are guilty." This man was that John of Louvain who had procured
the theft of the wafers. He was seized. He at once confessed his
participation in the crime. That sufficed. All the accused, he
himself included, were condemned to death. They were executed with
hideous cruelty; after having had their flesh torn off by red-hot
pinchers, they were attached to stakes and burnt alive, on the Vigil
of the Ascension, 1370. Every year a solemn procession of the Saint
Sacrement de Miracle commemorates this atrocity, or the miracle
which led to it.

Unfortunately, there exists no doubt whatever as to the horrible
execution of the Jews on the false charge of having stolen the
Hosts, but there is very good reason for disbelieving altogether the
story of the miracle of the bleeding Hosts.

Now, it is somewhat remarkable that not a word is said about this
miracle before 1435, that is to say, for 65 years, by any writer of
the period and of the country. The very first mention of it is found
in a Papal bull of that date, addressed to the Dean and Chapter
of S. Gudule, relative to a petition made by them that, as they
wanted money for the erection of a chapel to contain these Hosts,
indulgences might be granted to those who would contribute thereto.
The Pope granted their request.

Now, it so happens that the official archives at Brussels contains
two documents of the date, 1370, relative to this trial. The first
of these is the register of the accounts of the receiver-general
of the Duke of Brabant. In that are the items of expenditure for
the burning of these Jews, a receipt, and the text is as follows:
"Item, recepta de bonis dictorum judeorum, postquam combusti fuerant
circa ascensionem Domini lxx, quæ defamata fuerant de sacramentis
punicè et furtivè acceptis." That is to say, that a certain sum
flowed into the Duke's exchequer from the goods of the Jews, burnt
for having "guiltily and furtively obtained the Hosts." "Punice" is
an odd word, but its signification is clear enough. Now, in 1581,
on May 1st, the magistrates of Brussels forbade the exercise of
the Catholic religion, in a proclamation in which, when mentioning
certain frauds committed by the Roman Church, they speak of "The
Sacrament of the Miracle, which," say they, "by documentary evidence
can be proved never to have bled nor to have been stabbed." No
question--they had seen this entry in which no mention is made of
the stabbing--no allusion made to the bleeding. Moreover, in the
same archives is the contemporary episcopal letter addressed to the
Dean of S. Gudule on the subject of these Hosts. In this document
there is no mention made by the bishop of the stabbing or of the
miracle. It is stated that the Hosts were obtained by the Jews in
order that they might insult and outrage them. It is curious that
the letter should not specify their having done this, and done it
effectually, with their knives and daggers. Most assuredly, also,
had there been any suspicion of a miracle, the bishop would have
referred to it in the letter relative to the custody of these very

After the whole fable of the stabbing and bleeding had grown up, no
doubt applied to these Hosts from a preceding case of accusation
against Jews, that of 1351, less than thirty years before, it was
thought advisable, if not necessary, to produce some evidence in
favour of the story; but as no such evidence was obtainable, it was
manufactured in a very ingenious manner. The entry in the register
of accounts was published by the Père Ydens, after a notary had
been required to collate the text. This notary--his name was Van
Asbroek--gave his testimony that he had made an exact and literal
transcript of the entry. What he and the Père Ydens gave as their
exact, literal transcript was "recepta de bonis dictorum Judoeorum
... quæ defamata fuerant de sacramen_to puncto_ et furtive
accep_to_." Ingenious, but disingenuous. In the first place they
altered "sacramentis" from plural into singular, and then, the
adverb _punicè_, "guiltily," into _puncto_, stabbed.

Subsequently, Father Ydens and his notary have been quoted and
requoted as authoritative witnesses. However, the document is
now in the Archives at Brussels, and has been lithographed from
a photograph for the examination of such as have not the means
of obtaining access to the original.[6] The last jubilee of this
apocryphal miracle was celebrated at Brussels in July, 1870.

  [6] Le Jubilé d'un faux Miracle (extrait de la Revue de
  Belgique), Bruxelles 1870.

The Coburg Mausoleum.

At the east end of the garden of the Ducal residence of Coburg is a
small, tastefully constructed mausoleum, adorned with allegorical
subjects, in which are laid the remains of the deceased dukes. Near
the mausoleum rise a stately oak, a clump of rhododendron, a cluster
of acacias, and a group of yews and weeping-willows.

The mausoleum is hidden from the palace by a plantation of young

The Castle of Coburg is one of the most interesting and best
preserved in Germany. It stands on a height, above the little town,
and contains much rich wood-carving of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Below the height, but a little above the town, is the more modern
residence of the Dukes Ehrenburg, erected in 1626 by the Italian
architect Bonallisso, and finished in 1693. It has that character
of perverse revolt against picturesqueness that marked all the
edifices of the period. It has been restored, not in the best style,
at the worst possible epoch, 1816. The south front remains least
altered; it is adorned with a handsome gateway, over which is the
inscription, "Fried ernährt, Unfried verzehrt"--not easily rendered
in English:--

    "Peace doth cherish--
    Strife makes perish."

The princes of Coburg by their worth and kindly behaviour have for
a century drawn to them the hearts of their subjects, and hardly a
princely house in Germany is, and has been, more respected and loved.

Duke Franz died shortly after the battle of Jena. During his reign,
by his thrift, geniality, and love of justice he had won to his
person the affections of his people, though they resented the
despotic character of his government under his Minister Kretschmann.
He was twice married, but left issue only by the second wife,
Augusta, a princess of Reuss, who inherited the piety and virtues
which seem to be inrooted in that worthy house.

Only a few weeks after her return from Brussels, where she had seen
her son, recently crowned King of the Belgians, did the Duchess
Augusta of Sachsen-Coburg die in her seventy-sixth year, November
16th, 1831. The admiration and love this admirable princess had
inspired drew crowds to visit the body, as it lay in state in the
residence at Coburg, prior to the funeral, which took place on the
19th, before day-break, by the light of torches. The funeral was
attended by men and women of all classes eager to express their
attachment to the deceased, and respect for the family. A great
deal was said, and fabled, concerning this funeral. It was told
and believed that the Dowager Duchess had been laid in the family
vault adorned with her diamond rings and richest necklaces. She was
the mother of kings, and the vulgar believed that every royal and
princely house with which she was allied had contributed some jewel
towards the decoration of her body.

Her eldest son, Ernst I., succeeded his father in 1806 as
Duke of Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld, and in 1826 became Duke of
Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. The second son, Ferdinand, married in 1816
the wealthiest heiress of Hungary, the Princess Rohary, and his
son, Ferdinand, became in 1836 King of Portugal, and his grandson,
Ferdinand, by his second son, is the present reigning Prince of

The third son, Leopold, married Charlotte, only daughter of George
IV. of England, and in 1831 became King of the Belgians. Of the five
daughters, the eldest was married to the Grand-Duke Constantine of
Russia, the second married the Duke of Kent, in 1818, and was the
mother of our Queen, Victoria. The third married Duke Alexander of

Among those who were present at the funeral of the Duchess Augusta
was a Bavarian, named Andreas Stubenrauch, an artisan then at
Coburg. He was the son of an armourer, followed his father's
profession, and had settled at Coburg as locksmith. He was a
peculiarly ugly man, with low but broad brow, dark-brown bristly
hair, heavy eyebrows and small cunning grey eyes. His nose was a
snub, very broad with huge nostrils, his complexion was pale; he had
a large mouth, and big drooping underlip. His short stature, his
lack of proportion in build, and his uncomely features, gave him
the appearance of a half-witted man. But though he was not clever
he was by no means a fool. His character was in accordance with his
appearance. He was a sullen, ill-conditioned, intemperate man.

Stubenrauch had been one of the crowd that had passed by the bed on
which the Duchess lay in state, and had cast covetous eyes at the
jewellery with which the body was adorned. He had also attended the
funeral, and had come to the conclusion that the Duchess was buried
with all the precious articles he had noticed about her, as exposed
to view before the burial, and with a great deal more, which popular
gossip asserted to have been laid in the coffin with her.

The thought of all this waste of wealth clung to his mind, and
Stubenrauch resolved to enter the mausoleum and rob the body. The
position of the vault suited his plans, far removed and concealed
from the palace, and he made little account of locks and bars, which
were likely to prove small hindrances to an accomplished locksmith.

To carry his plan into execution, he resolved on choosing the night
of August 18-19, 1832. On this evening he sat drinking in a low
tavern till 10 o'clock, when he left, returned to his lodgings,
where he collected the tools he believed he would require, a candle
and flint and steel, and then betook himself to the mausoleum.

In the first place, he found it necessary to climb over a wall of
boards that encircled the portion of the grounds where was the
mausoleum, and then, when he stood before the building, he found
that to effect an entrance would take him more time and give him
more work than he had anticipated.

The mausoleum was closed by an iron gate formed of strong bars eight
feet high, radiating from a centre in a sort of semicircle and armed
with sharp spikes. He found it impossible to open the lock, and he
was therefore obliged to climb over the gate, regardless of the
danger of tearing himself on the barbs. There was but a small space
between the spikes and the arch of the entrance, but through this
he managed to squeeze his way, and so reach the interior of the
building, without doing himself any injury.

Here he found a double stout oaken door in the floor that gave
access to the vault. The two valves were so closely dovetailed
into one another and fitted so exactly, that he found the utmost
difficulty in getting a tool between them. He tried his false keys
in vain on the lock, and for a long time his efforts to prise the
lock open with a lever were equally futile. At length by means of
a wedge he succeeded in breaking a way through the junction of the
doors, into which he could insert a bar, and then he heaved at one
valve with all his might, throwing his weight on the lever. It took
him fully an hour before he could break open the door. Midnight
struck as the valve, grating on its hinges, was thrown back. But
now a new and unexpected difficulty presented itself. There was no
flight of steps descending into the vault, as he had anticipated,
and he did not know the depth of the lower pavement from where he
stooped, and he was afraid to light a candle and let it down to
explore the distance.

But Stubenrauch was not a man to be dismayed by difficulties. He
climbed back over the iron-spiked gates into the open air, and
sought out a long and stout pole, with which to sound the depth, so
as to know what measures he was to take to descend. Going into the
Ducal orchard, he pulled up a pole to which a fruit tree was tied,
and dragged it to the mausoleum, and with considerable difficulty
got it through the gateway, which he again surmounted with caution
and without injury to himself.

Then, leaning over the opening, holding the pole in both hands, he
endeavoured to feel the depth of the vault. In so doing he lost his
balance, and the weight of the pole dragged him down, and he fell
between two coffins some twelve feet below the floor of the upper
chamber. There he lay for some little while unconscious, stunned by
his fall. When he came to himself, he sat up, felt about with his
hands to ascertain where he was, and considered what next should be

Without a moment's thought as to how he was to escape from his
position, about the possibility of which he was not in the smallest
doubt, knowing as he did his own agility and readiness with
expedients, he set to work to accomplish his undertaking. With
composure Stubenrauch now struck a light and kindled the candle.
When he had done this, he examined the interior of the vault, and
the coffins he found there, so as to select the right one. Those of
the Duchess Augusta and her husband the late Duke were very much
alike, so much so that the ruffian had some difficulty in deciding
which was the right one. He chose, however, correctly that which
seemed freshest, and he tore off it the black cover. Under this
he found the coffin very solid, fastened by two locks, which were
so rusted that his tools would not turn in them. He had not his
iron bar and other implements with him now; they were above on the
floor of the upper chamber. With great difficulty he succeeded at
length in breaking one of the hinges, and he was then able to snap
the lower lock, whereas that at the top resisted all his efforts.
However, the broken hinge and lock enabled him to lift the lid
sufficiently for him to look inside. Now he hoped to be able to
insert his hand, and remove all the jewellery he supposed was laid
there with the dead lady. To his grievous disappointment he saw
nothing save the fading remains of the Duchess, covered with a
glimmering white mould, that seemed to him to be phosphorescent. The
body was in black velvet, the white luminous hands crossed over the
breast. Stubenrauch was not the man to feel either respect for the
dead or fear of aught supernatural. With both hands he sustained the
heavy lid of the coffin as he peered in, and the necessity for using
both to support the weight prevented his profane hand from being
laid on the remains of an august and pious princess. Stubenrauch did
indeed try more than once to sustain the lid with one hand, that
he might grope with the other for the treasures he fancied must be
concealed there, but the moment he removed one hand the lid crashed

Disappointed in his expectations, Stubenrauch now replaced the
cover, and began to consider how he might escape. But now--and now
only--did he discover that it was not possible for him to get out of
the vault into which he had fallen. The pole on which he had placed
his confidence was too short to reach to the opening above. Every
effort made by Stubenrauch to scramble out failed. He was caught in
a trap--and what a trap! Nemesis had fallen on the ruffian at once,
on the scene of his crime, and condemned him to betray himself.

Although now for the first time deadly fear came over him, as he
afterward asserted, it was fear because he anticipated punishment
from men, not any dread of the wrath of the spirits of those into
whose domain he had entered. When he had convinced himself that
escape was quite impossible, he submitted to the inevitable, lay
down between the two coffins and tried to go to sleep; but, as he
himself admitted, he was not able to sleep soundly.

Morning broke--it was Sunday, and a special festival at Coburg, for
it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the accession of the Duke, so
that the town was in lively commotion, and park and palace were also
in a stir.

Stubenrauch sat up and waited in hopes of hearing someone draw near
who could release him. About 9 o'clock in the morning he heard steps
on the gravel, and at once began to shout for assistance.

The person who had approached ran away in alarm, declaring that
strange and unearthly noises issued from the Ducal mausoleum. The
guard was apprised, but would not at first believe the report. At
length one of the sentinels was despatched to the spot, and he
returned speedily with the tidings that there certainly was a man
in the vault. He had peered through the grating at the entrance and
had seen the door broken open and a crowbar and other articles lying

The gate was now opened, and Stubenrauch removed in the midst of an
assembled crowd of angry and dismayed spectators. He was removed to
prison, tried, and condemned to eighteen months with hard labour.

That is not the end of the story. After his discharge, Stubenrauch
never settled into regular work. In 1836 he was taken up for theft,
and again on the same charge in 1844. In the year 1854 he was
discovered dead in a little wood near his home; between the fingers
of his right hand was a pinch of snuff, and in his left hand a
pistol with which he had blown out his own brains. In his pockets
were found a purse and a brandy bottle, both empty.

Jean Aymon.

Jean Aymon was born in Dauphiné, in 1661, of Catholic parents.
He studied in the college of Grenoble. His family, loving him,
neglected nothing which might contribute to the improvement of his
mind, and the professors of Grenoble laboured to perfect their
intelligent pupil in mathematics, languages, and history.

From Grenoble, Aymon betook himself to Turin, where he studied
theology and philosophy. But there was one thing neither parents nor
professors were able to implant in the young man--a conscience. He
was thoroughly well versed in all the intricacies of moral theology
and the subtleties of the school-men; he regarded crime and sin as
something deadly indeed, but deadly only to other persons. Theft
was a mortal sin to every one but himself. Truth was a virtue to be
strictly inculcated, but not to be practised in his own case.

His parents, thinking he would grow out of this obliquity of moral
vision, persisted in their scheme of education for the lad--probably
the very worst which, with his peculiar bent of mind, they could
have chosen for him. Having finished his studies at Turin, his evil
star led him to Rome, where his talents soon drew attention to him,
and Hercules de Berzet, Bishop of Saint Jean de Maurienne, in Savoy,
named him chaplain, and had him ordained, by brief of Innocent
XI., before the age fixed by the Council of Trent, "because of the
probity of his life, his virtues and other merits!"--such were the

Shortly after his installation as chaplain to the bishop, his patron
entrusted him with a delicate case. De Berzet had lately been deep
in an intrigue to obtain a cardinal's hat. He had been disappointed,
and he was either bent on revenge, or, perhaps, hoped to frighten
the Pope into giving him that which he had solicited in vain. He
set to work, raking up all the scandal of the Papal household, and
acting the spy upon all the movements of the familiars of the court.
After a very little while, this worthy prelate had succeeded in
gathering together enough material to make all the ears in Europe
tingle, and this was put into the hands of the young priest to work
into form for publication.

As Aymon looked through these scandalous memoirs, he made his
own reflections. "The publication of this will raise a storm,
undoubtedly; but the first who will perish in it will be my patron,
and all who sail in his boat." Aymon noticed that M. de Camus,
Bishop of Grenoble, was most compromised by the papers in his hands,
and would be most interested in their suppression. Aymon, without
hesitation, tied up the bundle, put it in his pocket, and presented
himself before the bishop, ready to make them over to him for a
consideration. He was well received, as may be supposed, and in
return for the papers was given a living in the diocese. But this
did not satisfy the restless spirit of Aymon; he had imbibed a
taste for intrigue, and there was no place like the Eternal City
for indulging this taste. He was, moreover, dissatisfied with his
benefice, and expected greater rewards for the service he had done
to the Church. Innocent XI. received him well, and in 1687 appointed
him his protonotary. Further he did not advance. At the Papal Court
he made his observations, and whether it was that he was felt to be
somewhat of a spy, or through some intrigue, his star began to set,
when Aymon, too well aware that a falling man may sink very low,
suddenly fled from Rome, crossed the border into Switzerland, and in
a few days was a convert to the straitest sect of the Calvinists.
But the Swiss are poor, and their ministers are in comfortable,
though not lucrative positions. Holland was the paradise of
Calvinism, and to Holland Aymon repaired. Here he obtained a cure of
importance, and married a lady of rank.

But even now, Aymon was not satisfied. Among the Protestants of
the Low Countries there are no bishops, and no man can soar higher
than the pulpit of a parish church. Aymon was convinced that he had
climbed as high as he could in the Church of Calvin, and that he had
a soul for something higher still. His next step was extraordinary
enough. He wrote in December, 1705, to M. Clement, of the
Bibliothèque du Roi, at Paris, stating that he had in his possession
the "Herbal" of the celebrated Paul Hermann, in forty folio volumes,
and that he offered it to the King for 3200 livres, a trifle over
what it had cost him. He added that he was a renegade priest, who
had sought rest in Protestantism, but had found none--nay! he had
discovered it to be a hot-bed of every kind of vice, and that he
yearned for the Church of his baptism. He hinted that he had made
some discoveries of the utmost political importance, and that he
would communicate them to the King if he could be provided with a

Clement made inquiries of the superintendent of the Jardin-Royal as
to the expediency of purchasing the "Herbal," and received a reply
in the negative.

Aymon wrote again, saying little more of the "Herbal," and
developing his schemes. He said that he had State secrets to confide
to the Ministers of the Crown, besides which, he volunteered to
compose a large and important work on the state of Protestantism,
"full of proofs so authentic, and so numerous, that, if given to the
light of day, as I purpose, it would probably not only restrain all
those who meditate seceding from the Roman Church, but also would
persuade all those, who are not blinded by their passions, to return
to the Catholic faith."

Clement, uncertain what to answer, showed these letters to some
clergy of his acquaintance, and, acting on their advice, he
presented them to M. de Pontchartrain, who communicated the proposal
of Aymon to the King.

A passport was immediately granted, and Aymon left Holland,
assuring his congregation that he was going for a little while to
Constantinople on important matters of religion.

On his arrival in Paris, he presented himself before M. Clement,
to assure him of the fervour of his zeal and the earnestness of
his conversion. Clement received him cordially, and took him to
Versailles to see M. de Pontchartrain. In this interview Aymon made
great promises of being serviceable to the Church and to the State,
by the revelations he was about to make; but M. de Pontchartrain
treated his protestations very lightly, and handed him over to the
Cardinal de Noailles, Archbishop of Paris.

The conference with the cardinal was long. The archbishop addressed
a homily to the repentant sinner, who listened with hands crossed
on his breast, his eyes bent to earth, and his cheeks suffused
with tears. Aymon sighed forth that he had quitted the camp of the
Amalekites for ever, and that he was determined to turn against them
their own weapons. Clement, who was present, now stepped forward
and reminded the prelate that Aymon had abandoned a lucrative
situation, at the dictates of conscience, and that though he might,
of course, expect to be rewarded hereafter, still that remuneration
in this life would not interfere with these future prospects. The
cardinal quite approved of this sentiment, and promised to see what
he could do for the convert. In the meantime, he wished Aymon to
spend a retreat in some religious house, where he could meditate on
the error of his past life, and expiate, as far as in him lay, his
late delinquencies by rigorous penances. Aymon thanked the cardinal
for thus, unasked, granting him the request which was uppermost in
his thoughts, and then begged to be allowed the use of the Royal
Library, in which to pursue his theological researches, and to
examine the documents which were necessary for the execution of his
design of writing a triumphant vindication of the Catholic faith,
and a complete exposure of the abominations of Protestantism. M.
Clement readily accorded this, at the request of the archbishop, and
Jean Aymon was sent to the seminary of the Missions Etrangères.

Aymon now appeared as a model penitent. He spent a considerable
part of the night in prayer before the altar, he was punctual in
his attendance on all the public exercises of religion, and his
conversation, morning, noon, and night, was on the errors and
disorders of the Calvinist Church. When not engaged in devotions, he
was at the library, where he was indefatigable in his research among
manuscripts which could throw light on the subject upon which he was
engaged. Indeed, his enthusiasm and his zeal for discoveries wearied
the assistants. Clement himself was occupied upon the catalogues,
and was unable to dance attendance on Aymon; and the assistants soon
learned to regard him as a bookworm who would keep them on the run,
supplying him with fresh materials, if they did not leave him to do
pretty much what he liked.

Time passed, and Aymon heard no more of the reward promised by the
cardinal. He began to murmur, and to pour his complaints into the
reluctant ear of Clement, who soon became so tired of hearing them,
that the appearance of Aymon's discontented face in the library was
a signal for him to plead business and hurry into another apartment.
Aymon declared that he should most positively publish nothing till
the king or the cardinal made up to him the losses he had endured
by resigning his post in Holland.

All of a sudden, to Clement's great relief, Aymon disappeared from
the library. At first he was satisfied to be freed from him, and
made no inquiries; but after a while, hearing that he had also left
the Missions Etrangères, he made search for the missing man. He was
nowhere to be found.

About this time Aymon's congregation at the Hague were gratified by
the return of their pastor, not much bronzed by exposure to the sun
of Constantinople, certainly, but with his trunks well-stocked with
valuable MSS.

A little while after, M. Clement received the following note from a
French agent resident at the Hague:--

"Information is required relative to a certain Aymon, who says
that he was chaplain to M. le Cardinal de Camus, and apostolic
protonotary. After having lived some while at the Hague, whither
he had come from Switzerland, where he had embraced the so-called
Reformed religion, he disappeared, and it was ascertained that he
was at Paris, whither he had taken an Arabic Koran in MS., which
he had stolen from a bookseller at the Hague. He has only lately
returned, laden with spoils--thefts, one would rather say, which
he must have made at Paris, where he has been spending five or
six months in some publicity.... He has with him the Acts of the
last Council of Jerusalem held by the Greeks on the subject of
Transubstantiation, and some other documents supposed to be stolen
from the Bibliothèque du Roi. The man has powerful supporters in
this country.--March 10, 1707."

The "Council of Jerusalem" was one of the most valuable MSS. of
the library--and it was in the hands of Aymon! Clement flew to the
cabinet where this inestimable treasure was preserved under lock and
key. The cabinet was safely enough locked--but alas! the MS. was no
longer there.

A few days after, Clement heard that Aymon had crossed the frontier
with several heavy boxes, which, on inquiry, proved to be full of
books. What volumes were they? The collections in the Royal Library
consisted of 12,500 MSS. The whole had to be gone through. It was
soon ascertained that another missing book was the original Italian
despatches and letters of Carlo Visconti, Apostolic Nuncio at the
Council of Trent.

There was no time to be lost. Clement wrote to the Hague to
claim the stolen volumes, and to institute legal proceedings for
their recovery, before the collection could be dispersed, and he
appointed, with full powers, William de Voys, bookseller at the
Hague, to seize the two volumes said to be in the possession of

A little while after some more MSS. volumes were missed; they were
"The Italian Letters of Prospero S Croce, Nuncio of Pius IV," "The
Embassy of the Bishop of Angoulême to Rome in 1560-4," "Le Registre
des taxes de la Chancellerie Romaine," "Dialogo politico sopra i
tumulti di Francia," nine Chinese MSS., a copy of the Gospels of
high antiquity in uncial characters, another copy of the Gospels,
no less valuable, and the Epistles of S. Paul, also very ancient.

Shortly after this, two Swiss, passing through the Hague, were
shown by Aymon some MSS. which agreed with those mentioned as lost
from the Royal Library; but besides these, they saw numerous loose
sheets, inscribed with letters of gold, and apparently belonging to
a MS. of the Bible. Clement had now to go through each MS. in the
library and find what had been subtracted from them. Fourteen sheets
were gone from the celebrated Bible of S. Denys. From the Pauline
Epistles and Apocalypse, a MS. of the seventh century, and one of
the most valuable treasures of the library, thirty-five sheets had
been cut. There were other losses of less importance.

Whilst Clement was making these discoveries, De Voys brought an
action against Aymon for the recovery of the "Council of Jerusalem"
and the "Letters of Visconti."

Jean Aymon was not, however, a man to be despoiled of what he had
once got. He knew his position perfectly, and he knew the temper
of those around him. He was well aware that in order to gain his
cause he had only to excite popular passion. His judges were enemies
to both France and Catholicism, he had but to make them believe
that a plot was formed against him by French Papists for obtaining
possession of certain MSS. which he had, and which contained a
harvest of scandals and revelations overwhelming to Catholics, and
he knew that his cause was safe.

He accordingly published a defence, bearing the following
title:--"Letter of the Sieur Aymon, Minister of the Holy Gospel, to
M. N., Professor of Theology, to inform people of honour and savants
of the extraordinary frauds of certain Papistical doctors and of
the vast efforts they are now making, along with some perverted
Protestants, who are striving together to ruin, by their impostures,
the Sieur Aymon, and to deprive him of several MSS., &c."--La Haye,
dated 1707. Aymon in his pamphlet took high moral ground. He was
not pleading his own cause. Persecuted, hunted down by Papists, by
enemies of the Republic and of the religion of Christ, he scorned
their calumnies and despised their rage. He would bow under the
storm, he would endure the persecution cheerfully--for "Blessed
are those that are persecuted for righteousness' sake;" but higher
interests were at stake than his own fair fame. For himself he cared
little; for the Protestant faith he cared everything. If the Papists
obtained their suit, they would wrest from his grasp documents most
compromising to themselves. They would leave no stone unturned to
secure them--they _dare not_ leave them in the hands of a Protestant
pastor. Their story of the "Acts of the Council of Jerusalem" was
false. They said that it had been obtained by Olier de Nanteuil,
Ambassador of France at Constantinople, in 1672, and had been
transmitted to Paris, where Arnauld had seen and made use of it in
preparing his great work on the "Perpetuity of the Faith." They
further said that the Bibliothèque du Roi had obtained it in 1696.
On the other hand, Aymon asserted that Arnauld had falsified the
text in his treatise on the "Perpetuity of the Faith," and that,
not daring to let his fraud appear, he had never given the MS. to
the Royal Library, but had committed it to a Benedictine monk of S.
Maur, who had assisted him in falsifying it and making an incorrect
translation. This monk would never have surrendered the MS. but
that conscience had given him no rest till he had transmitted it to
one who would know how to use it aright. He, Aymon, had solemnly
promised never to divulge the name of this monk, and even though he
and the Protestant cause were to suffer for it, that promise should
be held sacred. He challenged the library of the King to prove its
claim to the "Council of Jerusalem!" All books in the Bibliothèque
du Roi have the seal of the library on them. This volume had three
seals--that of the Sultan, that of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and
that of Olier de Nanteuil; but he defied any one to see the library
mark on its cover, or on any of its sheets. Aymon wound up his
audacious pamphlet by prophesying that the Papists of France would
not be satisfied with this claim, but would advance many others, for
they knew that in his hands were documents of the utmost importance
to them to conceal. Aymon was too clever for Clement: he had mixed
up truth with fiction in such a way that the points which Clement
had to admit tended to make even those who were not bigoted hesitate
about condemning Aymon.

Clement replied to this letter by stating the whole story of Aymon's
deception of the Cardinal de Noailles and others. With regard to
the "Council of Jerusalem," it was false that it had ever been
in a Benedicient monastery. "It is true," he said, "that in the
Monastery of S. Germain-des-Prés there are documents relating to
the controversies between the Catholics and Greek schismatics, but
they are all in French." He produced an attestation, signed by
the prior, to the effect that the MS. in question had never been
within the walls of his monastery. Clement was obliged to allow
that a Benedictine monk had been employed by Arnauld to translate
the text of the Council; he even found him out, his name was Michel
Foucquère; he was still alive, and the librarian made him affirm
in writing that he had restored the volume, on the completion of
his translation, to Dom Luc d'Achery. Clement sent a copy of the
register in the library, which related how and when the volume had
come into the possession of the King. It was true that it bore no
library seal, but that was through an oversight.

Aymon wrote a second pamphlet, exposing Clement more completely,
pointing out the concessions he was obliged to make, and finally,
in indignant terms, hurling back on him the base assertion made to
injure him in the eyes of an enlightened Protestant public, that he
had ever treated with the government or clergy of Paris relative to
a secession to the ranks of Popery. But that he had been to Paris;
that he had met the Cardinal Archbishop, he admitted; but on what
ground? He had met him and twenty-four prelates besides, gathered in
solemn conclave, and had lifted up his voice in testimony against
them; had disputed with them, and, with the Word of God in his
mouth, had put them all to silence! No idea of his ever leaving
the reformed faith had ever entered his head. No! he had been on a
mission to the Papists of France, to open their eyes and to convert

The news of the robbery had, however, reached the ears of the King,
Louis XIV., and he instructed M. de Torcy to demand on the part of
Government the restitution of the stolen MSS. M. de Torcy first
wrote to a M. Hennequin at Rotterdam, who replied that Aymon had
justified himself before the Council of State from the imputations
cast upon him. He had been interrogated, not upon the theft
committed in Paris, but on his journey to France. Aymon had proved
that this expedition had been undertaken with excellent intentions,
and had been attended with supreme success, since he had returned
laden with manuscripts the publication of which would cause the
greatest confusion in the Catholic camp. Hennequin added, that after
having been deprived of his stipend, as suspected, on it having been
ascertained that he had visited Paris instead of Constantinople,
Aymon, having cleared his character, had recovered it. Such was the
first result of the intervention of Louis XIV. in this affair.

"The stamp of the Royal Library is on all the MSS., except the
'Council of Jerusalem,'" said Clement. "Let the judges insist on
examining the books in the possession of Aymon, and all doubt as to
the theft will be removed."

But this the judges refused to do.

It was pretended that Aymon was persecuted; it was the duty of the
Netherland Government to protect a subject from persecution. He had
made discovries, and the Catholics dreaded the publication of his
discoveries, therefore a deep plot had been laid to ruin him.

Aymon had now formed around him a powerful party, and the Calvinist
preachers took his side unanimously. It was enough to read the
titles of the books stolen to be certain that they contained curious
details on the affairs which agitated Catholics and Protestants from
the sixteenth century.

All that the Dutch authorities cared for now was to find some excuse
for retaining these important papers, and the inquiry was mainly
directed to the proceedings of Aymon in France. If, as it was said,
he had gone thither to abjure Calvinism and betray his brethren, he
deserved reprimand, but if, on the other hand, he had penetrated the
camp of the enemy to defy it, and to witness a good confession in
the heart of the foe, he deserved a crown. Clement, to display Aymon
in his true colours, acting on the advice of the Minister, sent
copies of Aymon's letters. It was not thought that the good faith
of the French administration would be doubted. Aymon swore that the
letters were not his own, but that they had been fabricated by the
Government; and he offered to stake his head on the truth of what he
said. At the same time he dared De Torcy to produce the originals.

He had guessed aright: he knew exactly how far he could go. The
Dutch court actually questioned the good faith of these copies, and
demanded the originals. This, as Aymon had expected, was taken by De
Torcy as an insult, and all further communication on the subject
was abruptly stopped. It was a clever move of Aymon. He inverted by
one bold stroke the relative positions of himself and his accuser:
the judges at the Hague required M. de Torcy to re-establish his own
honour before proceeding with the question of Aymon's culpability.
In short, they supposed that one of the Ministers of the Crown, for
the sake of ruining a Protestant refugee, had deliberately committed

The matter was dropped. After a while Aymon published translations
of some of the MSS. in his possession, and those who had expected
great results were disappointed. In the meantime poor Clement died,
heart-broken at the losses of the library committed to his care.

At last the Dutch Government, after the publication of Aymon's book,
and after renewed negotiation, restored the "Council of Jerusalem"
to the Bibliothèque du Roi. It still bears traces of the mutilations
and additions of Aymon.

In 1710, the imposter published the letters of Prospero S. Croce,
which he said he had copied in the Vatican, but which he had in fact
stolen from the Royal Library. In 1716 he published other stolen
papers. Clement was succeeded by the Abbé de Targny, who made vain
attempts to recover the lost treasures. The Abbé Bignon succeeded
De Targny, and he discovered fresh losses. Aymon had stolen Arabic
books as well as Greek and Italian MSS. There was no chance of
recovering the lost works through the courts of law, and Bignon
contented himself with writing to Holland, England, and Germany to
inquire whether any of the MSS. had been bought there.

The Baron von Stocks wrote to say that he had purchased some leaves
of the Epistles of S. Paul, some pages of the S. Denis Bible, and an
Arabic volume from Aymon for a hundred florins, and that he would
return them to the library for that sum. They were recovered in
March, 1720.

About the same time Mr. Bentley, librarian to the King of England,
announced that some more of the pages from the Epistles of S. Paul
were in Lord Harley's library; and that the Duke of Sunderland had
purchased various MSS. at the Hague from Aymon. In giving this
information to the Abbé Bignon, Mr. Bentley entreated him not to
mention the source of his information. M. de Bozé thereupon resolved
to visit England and endeavour to recover the MSS. But he was
detained by various causes.

In 1729, Earl Middleton offered, on the part of Lord Harley, to
return the thirty-four leaves of the Epistles in his possession,
asking only in return an acknowledgment sealed with the grand seal.
Cardinal Fleury, finding that the Royal signature could hardly be
employed for such a purpose, wrote in the King's name a letter to
the Earl of Oxford of a flattering nature, and the lost MSS. were
restored in September, 1729.

Those in the Sunderland collection have not, I believe, been

And what became of Aymon? In 1718 he inhabited the Chateau of
Riswyck. Thence he sent to the brothers Wetstein, publishers at
Amsterdam, the proofs of his edition of the letters of Visconti.
It appeared in 1719 in two 12mo volumes, under the title "Lettres,
Anecdotes, et Mémoires historiques du nonce Visconti, Cardinel
Préconisé et Ministre Secret de Pie IV. et de ses créatures." The
date of his death is not known.

     Authority: Hauréau, J. Singularités Historiques et Litéraires.
     Paris, 1881.

The Patarines of Milan.


In the eleventh century, nearly all the clergy in the north of Italy
were married.[7] It was the same in Sicily, and it had been the same
in Rome,[8] but there the authority and presence of the Popes had
sufficed to convert open marriage into secret concubinage.

  [7] "Cuncti fere cum publicis uxoribus ... ducebant vitam." "Et
  ipsi, ut cernitur, sicut laici, palam uxores ducunt."--_Andr.
  Strum. "Vit. Arialdi."_ "Quis clericorum non esset uxoratus vel
  concubinarius?"--_Andr. Strum. "Vit. S. Joan. Gualberti."_

  [8] "Coeperunt ipsi presbyteri et diacones laicorum more uxores
  ducere suscepsosque filios hæredes relinquere. Nonnulli etiam
  episcoporum verecund â omni contemptâ, cum uxoribus domo simul in
  unâ habitare."--_Victor Papa "in Dialog."_

But concubinage did not in those times mean exactly what it means
now. A _concubina_ was an _uxor_ in an inferior degree; the woman
was married in both cases with the ring and religious rite, but the
children of the concubine could not inherit legally the possessions
of their father. When priests were without wives, concubines were
tolerated wives without the legal status of wives, lest on the death
of the priest his children should claim and alienate to their own
use property belonging to the Church. In noble and royal families
it was sometimes the same, lest estates should be dismembered. On
the death of a wife, her place was occupied by a concubine, and
the sons of the latter could not dispute inheritance with the sons
of the former. Nor did the Church look sternly on the concubine.
In the first Toledian Council a canon was passed with regard to
communicating those who had one wife or one concubine;--such were
not to be excluded from the Lord's Table,[9] so long only as each
man had but one wife or concubine, and the union was perpetual.

  [9] "Qui unius mulieris, aut uxoris, aut concubinæ (ut ei
  placuerit) sit conjunctione contentus."--1st Conc. of Toledo,
  can. 17. "Hæ quippe, licet nec uxoribus, nec Reginarum decore
  et privilegiis gaudebant, erant tamen veræ uxores," say the
  Bollandist Fathers, and add, that it is a vulgar error "Concubinæ
  appellationem solis iis tribuere, quæ corporis sui usum uni viro
  commodant, nullo interim legitimo nexu devinctæ."--Acta SS., Jun.
  T. L. p. 178.

But, though concubinage was universal among the clergy in Italy, at
Milan the priests openly, boldly claimed for their wives a position
as honourable as could be accorded them; and they asserted without
fear of contradiction that their privilege had received the sanction
of the great Ambrose himself. Married bishops had been common, and
saintly married prelates not unknown. St. Severus of Ravenna had a
wife and daughter, and though the late biographer asserts that he
lived with his wife as with a sister after he became a bishop, this
statement is probably made to get over an awkward fact.[10] When he
was about to die, he went to the tomb where his wife and daughter
lay, and had the stone removed. Then he addressed them thus--"My
dear ones, with whom I lived so long in love, make room for me, for
this is my grave, and in death we shall not be divided." Thereupon
he descended into the grave, laid himself between his wife and
daughter, and died. St. Heribert, Archbishop of Milan, had been a
married man with a wife esteemed for her virtues.[11]

  [10] It is the same with St. Gregory, Nyssen, Baronius, Alban,
  Butler, and other modern Hagiographers make this assertion
  boldly, but there is not a shadow of evidence, in any ancient
  authorities for his life, that this was the case.

  [11] "Hic Archiepiscopus habuit uxorem nobilem mulierem; quæ
  donavit dotem suam monasterii S. Dionysii, quæ usque hodie Uxoria
  dicitur."--_Calvaneus Fiamma, sub ann. 1040._

By all accounts, friendly and hostile, the Lombard priests were
married openly, legally, with religious rite, exchange of ring, and
notarial deed. There was no shame felt, no supposition entertained
that such was an offence.[12]

  [12] "Nec vos terreat," writes St. Peter Damiani to the wives of
  the clergy "quod forte, non dicam fidei, sed perfidiæ vos annulus
  subarrhavit; quod rata et monimenta dotalia notarius quasi
  matrimonii jure conscripserit: quod juramentum ad confirmandam
  quodammodo conjugii copulam utrinque processit. Ignorantes quia
  pro uniuscujusque fugaci voluptate concubitus mlle annorum
  negotiantur incendium."

How was this inveterate custom to be broken through? How the open,
honest marriage to be perverted into clandestine union? For to
abolish it wholly was beyond the power of the Popes and Councils. It
was in vain to appeal to the bishops, they sympathised with their
clergy. It was in vain to invoke the secular arm; the emperors,
the podestas, supported the parish-priests in their contumacious
adherence to immemorial privilege.

To carry through the reform on which they were bent, to utterly
abolish the marriage of the clergy, the appeal must be made to the

In Milan this was practicable, for the laity, at least the lower
rabble, were deeply tinged with Patarinism, and bore a grudge
against the clergy, who had been foremost in bringing the luckless
heretics to the rack and the flames; and one of the most cherished
doctrines of the Patarines was the unlawfulness of marriage. What
if this anti-connubial prejudice could be enlisted by the strict
reformers of the Church, and turned to expend its fury on the clergy
who refused to listen to the expostulations of the Holy Father?

The Patarines, whom the Popes were about to enlist in their cause
against the Ambrosian clergy, already swarmed in Italy. Of their
origin and tenets we must say a word.

It is a curious fact that, instead of Paganism affecting
Christianity in the earliest ages of the Church, it was Christianity
which affected Paganism, and that not the Greek and Roman idolatry,
which was rotten through and through, but the far subtler and more
mystical heathenism of Syria, Egypt, Persia, and Mesopotamia.
The numerous Gnostic sects, so called from their claim to be the
possessors of the true _gnosis_, or knowledge of wisdom, were not,
save in the rarest cases, of Christian origin. They were Pagan
philosophical schools which had adopted and incorporated various
Christian ideas. They worked up Biblical names and notions into the
strange new creeds they devised, and, according as they blended
more or less of Christian teaching with their own, they drew to
themselves disciples of various tempers. Manes, who flourished in
the middle of the third century, a temporary and nominal convert
to the Gospel, blended some of these elder Gnostic systems with
the Persian doctrines of Zoroaster, added to a somewhat larger
element of Christianity than his predecessors had chosen to adopt.
His doctrines spread and gained an extensive and lasting hold on
the minds of men, suppressed repeatedly, but never disappearing
wholly, adopting fresh names, emerging in new countries, exhibiting
an irrepressible vitality, which confounded the Popes and Churchmen
from the third to the tenth centuries.

The tradition of Western Manicheism breaks off about the sixth
century; but in the East, under the name of Paulicians, the
adherents of Manichean doctrines endured savage persecutions during
two whole centuries, and spread, as they fled from the sword and
stake in the East, over Europe, entering it in two streams--one by
Bulgaria, Servia, and Croatia, to break out in the wild fanaticism
of the Taborites under Zisca of the Flail; the other, by way of the
sea, inundating northern Italy and Provence. In Piedmont it obtained
the name of Patarinism; in Provence, of Albigensianism.

With Oriental Manicheism, the Patarines and Albigenses of the West
held that there were two co-equal conflicting principles of good and
evil; that matter was eternal, and waged everlasting war against
spirit. Their moral life was strict and severe. They fasted, dressed
in coarse clothing, and hardly, reluctantly suffered marriage to the
weaker, inferior disciples. It was absolutely forbidden to those
who were, or esteemed themselves to be, perfect.

Already, in Milan, St Heribert, the married archbishop, had kindled
fires, and cast these denouncers of wedlock into them. In 1031 the
heretics held the castle of Montforte, in the diocese of Asti. They
were questioned: they declared themselves ready to witness to their
faith by their blood. They esteemed virginity, and lived in chastity
with their wives, never touched meat, and prayed incessantly. They
had their goods in common. Their castle stood a siege. It was at
length captured by the Archbishop. In the market-place were raised
a cross on one side, a blazing pyre on the other. The Patarines
were brought forth, commanded to cast themselves before the cross,
confess themselves to be heretics, or plunge into the flames. A few
knelt to the cross; the greater number covered their faces, rushed
into the fire, and were consumed.[13]

  [13] Landulf Sen. ii. c. 27.

St. Augustine, in his book on Heresies, had already described these
heretics. He, who had been involved in the fascinating wiles of
Manicheism, could not be ignorant of them. He calls them Paternians,
or Venustians, and says that they regarded the flesh as the work of
the devil--that is, of the evil principle, because made of matter.

In the eleventh century, in Lombardy, they are called Patarines,
Patrins, or Cathari. Muratori says that they derived their name
from the part of the town of Milan in which they swarmed, near the
Contrada di Patari; but it is more probable that the quarter was
called after them.

In 1074 Gregory VII. in solemn conclave will bless them altogether,
by name, as the champions of the Holy See, and of the Truth; in
1179 Alexander III. will anathematise them altogether, as heretics
meet to be burned. Frederick II., when seeking reconciliation with
Honorius III. and Gregory IX., will be never weary of offering
hecatombs of Patarines, in token of his orthodoxy.

Ariald, a native of Cuzago, a village near Milan, of ignoble birth,
in deacon's orders, was chosen for the dangerous expedient of
enlisting the Patarine heretics against the orthodox but relaxed
clergy of that city. Milan, said a proverb, was famous for its
clergy; Ravenna for its churches. In morals, in learning, in exact
observance of their religious duties, the clergy of Milan were
prominent among the priests of Lombardy. But they were all married.
The Popes could expect no support from the Archbishop, Guido
Vavasour; none from the Emperor Henry IV., then a child. Ariald
was a woman-hater from infancy, deeply tinged with Patarinism. We
are told that even as a little boy the sight of his sisters was
odious to him.[14] He began to preach in Milan in 1057, and the
populace was at once set on fire[15] by his sermons. They applauded
vociferously his declaration that the married clergy were no longer
to be treated as priests, but as "the enemies of God, and the
deceivers of souls."

  [14] For authorities we have Andrew of Vallombrosa, _d._ A.D.
  1170, a disciple of Ariald. He was a native of Parma. He
  afterwards went to Florence, where he was mixed up with the riots
  occasioned by St. John Gualberto in 1063. He joined the Order of
  Vallombrosa, and became Abbot of Strumi. At least, I judge, and
  so do the Bollandists, that Andrew of Vallombrosa and Andrew of
  Strumi are the same.

  [15] "Plebs fere universa sic est accensa."

Then up rose from among the mob a clerk named Landulf, a man of
loud voice and vehement gesture, and offered to join Ariald in his
crusade. The crowd, or, at least, a part of it, enthusiastically
cheered; another part of the audience, disapproving, deeming it an
explosion of long-suppressed Manicheism, which would meet with stern
repression, thought it prudent to withdraw.

A layman of fortune, named Nazarius, offered his substance to
advance the cause, and his house as a harbour for its apostles.

The sermon was followed by a tumult. The whole city was in an
uproar, and the married clergy were threatened or maltreated by
the mob. Guido Vavasour de Velati, the Archbishop, was obliged
to interfere. He summoned Ariald and Landulf before him, and
remonstrated. "It is unseemly for a priest to denounce priests. It
is impolitic for him to stir up tumult against his brethren. Let
not brothers condemn brothers, for whose salvation Christ died."
Then turning to Landulf, "Why do not you return to your own wife and
children whom you have deserted, and live with them as heretofore,
and set an example of peace and order? Cast the beam out of thine
own eye, before thou pluckest motes out of the eyes of thy brethren.
If they have done wrong, reprove them privately, but do not storm
against them before all the people." He concluded by affirming the
lawfulness of priests marrying, and insisted on the cessation of
the contest.[16] Ariald obstinately refused to desist. "Private
expostulation is in vain. As for obstinate disorders you apply fire
and steel, so for this abuse we must have recourse to desperate

  [16] "Hæc cum Guido placide dixisset; eo finem orationis dixerit,
  ut sacerdotibus fas esset dicere uxores ducere."--_Alicatus,
  "Vit. Arialdi."_

He left the Archbishop to renew his appeals to the people. But
dreading lest Guido should use force to restrain him, Ariald invoked
the support of Anselm de Badagio, Bishop of Lucca, and received
promise of his countenance and advocacy at Rome.

Guido Vavasour had succeeded the married Archbishop Heribert in
1040. His election had not satisfied the people, who had chosen,
and proposed for consecration, four priests, one of whom the nobles
were expected to select. But the nobles rejected the popular
candidates, and set up in their place Guido Vavasour, and his
nomination was ratified by the Emperor and by the Pope. He was
afterwards, as we shall see, charged with having bribed Henry III.
to give him the See, but was acquitted of the charge, which was
denounced as unfounded by Leo IX. in 1059. The people, in token
of their resentment, refused to be present at the first mass he
sang. "He is a country bumpkin," said they. "Faugh! he smells of
the cow-house."[17] Consequently there was simmering discontent
against the Archbishop for Ariald to work upon; he could unite the
lower people, whose wishes had been disregarded by the nobles, with
the Patarines, who had been haled before ecclesiastical courts for
their heresy, in one common insurrection against the clergy and the

  [17] Arnulf., Gesta Archiepisc. Mediol. ap. Pertz, x. p. 17.

According to Landulf the elder, a strong partisan of the Archbishop,
another element of discontent was united to those above enumerated.
The clergy of Milan had oppressed the country people. The Church had
estates outside of Milan, vine and olive yards and corn-fields. The
clergy had been harsh in exacting feudal rights and legal dues.

Ariald, as a native of a country village, knew the temper of the
peasants, and their readiness to resent these extortions. Ariald
worked upon the country-folk; Landulf, rich and noble, and eloquent
in speech, on the town rabble; and the two mobs united against the
common enemy.

Anselm de Badagio, priest and popular preacher at Milan, had been
mixed up with Landulf and Ariald in the controversy relative to
clerical marriage; but to stop his mouth the Archbishop had given
him the bishopric of Lucca, in 1057, and had supplied his place
as preacher at Milan by seven deacons. Landulf the elder relates
that these deacons preached with such success that Anselm, in a
fit of jealousy, returned to Milan to listen to their sermons, and
scornfully exclaimed, "They may become preachers, but they must
first put away their wives."

According to the same authority, Ariald bore a grudge against the
Archbishop for having had occasion to rebuke him on account of some
irregularity of which he had been guilty. But Landulf the elder is
not to be trusted implicitly; he is as bigoted on one side as is
Andrew of Strumi on the other.

In the meantime the priests and their wives were exposed to every
sort of violence, and "a great horror fell on the Ambrosian clergy."
The poor women were torn from their husbands, and driven from the
city; the priests who refused to be separated from their companions
were interdicted from the altar.[18]

  [18] "Sic ab eodem populo sunt persecuta et deleta (clericorum
  connubia) ut nullus existeret quin aut cogeretur tantum nefas
  dimittere, vel ad altare non accedere."--_Andr. Strum._

Landulf was sent to Rome to report progress, and obtain confirmation
of the proceedings of the party from the Pope. He reached Piacenza,
but was unable to proceed farther; he was knocked down, and finding
the way barred by the enemies of his party, returned to Milan.
Ariald then started, and eluding his adversaries, arrived safely at
Rome. He presented himself before Pope Stephen X., who was under the
influence of Hildebrand, and, therefore, disposed to receive him
with favour. Stephen bade him return to Milan, prosecute the holy
war, and, if need be, shed his blood in the sacred cause.

The appeal to Rome was necessary, as the Archbishop and a large
party of the citizens, together with all the clergy, had denounced
Ariald and Landulf as Patarines. The fact was notorious that the
secret and suspected Manichees in Milan were now holding up their
heads and defying those who had hitherto controlled them. The
Manichees suddenly found that from proscribed heretics they had
been exalted into champions of orthodoxy. It was a satisfactory
change for those who had been persecuted to become persecutors, and
turn their former tyrants into victims. But now, to the confusion
and dismay of the clergy, they found themselves betrayed by the
Pope, and at the mercy of those who had old wrongs to resent.
Fortified with the blessing of the Pope on his work, his orthodoxy
triumphantly established by the supreme authority, Ariald rushed
back to Milan, accompanied by papal legates to protect him,
and proclaim his mission as divine. He was unmeasured in his
denunciations. Dissension fast ripened into civil war. Ariald, at
the head of a roaring mob, swept the clergy together into a church,
and producing a paper which bound all of them by oath to put away
their wives, endeavoured to enforce their subscription.

A priest, maddened to resentment, struck the demagogue in the mouth.
This was the signal for a general tumult. The adherents of Ariald
rushed through the streets, the alarm bells pealed, the populace
gathered from all quarters, and a general hunting down of the
married clergy ensued.

"How can the blind lead the blind?" preached Landulf Cotta. "Let
these Simoniacs, these Nicolaitans be despised. You who wish to have
salvation from the Lord, drive them from their functions; esteem
their sacrifices as dogs' dung (_canina stercora_)! Confiscate their
goods, and every one of you take what he likes![19] We can imagine
the results of such license given to the lowest rabble. The nobles,
over-awed, dared not interfere.

  [19] Arnulf., _Gesta Ep. Mediol._ ap. Pertz, x. p. 18. It is
  necessary not to confound Landulf Cotta, the demagogue, with
  Landulf the elder, the historian, and Landulf the younger, the
  disciple and biographer of Ariald.

Nor were the clergy of the city alone exposed to this popular
persecution. The preachers roved round the country, creating riots
everywhere. This led to retaliation, but retaliation of a feeble,
harmless sort. A chapel built by Ariald on his paternal estate was
pulled down; and the married clergy resentfully talked of barking
his chestnut trees and breaking down his vines, but thought better
of it, and refrained.

A more serious attempt at revenge was the act of a private
individual. Landulf Cotta was praying in a church, when a priest
aimed at him with a sword, but without seriously hurting him. A
cripple at the church door caught the flying would-be assassin; a
crowd assembled, and Landulf with difficulty extricated the priest
alive from their hands.

Ariald and Cotta now began to denounce those who had bought their
cures of souls, or had paid fees on their institution to them. They
stimulated the people to put down simony, as they had put down
concubinage. "Cursed is he that withholdeth his hand from blood!"
was the fiery peroration of a sermon on this subject by Ariald.

"Landulf Cotta," says Arnulf, "being master of the lay folk, made
them swear to combat both simony and concubinage. Presently he
forced this oath on the clergy. From this time forward he was
constantly followed by a crowd of men and women, who watched around
him night and day. He despised the churches, and rejected priests
as well as their functions, under pretext that they were defiled
with simony. They were called Patari, that is to say, beggars,
because the greater part of them belonged to the lowest orders."[20]

  [20] Ap. Pertz, l.c., pp. 19, 20.

"What shall we do?" asked a large party at Milan. "This Ariald
tells us that if we receive the Holy Sacrament from married or
simoniacal priests, we eat our own damnation. We cannot live without
sacraments, and he has driven all the priests out of Milan."

The parties were so divided, that those who held with Ariald would
not receive sacraments from the priests, the heavenly gift on their
altars they esteemed as "dogs' dung;" they would not even join with
them, or those who adhered to them, in prayer. "One house was all
faithful," says Andrew of Strumi; "the next all unfaithful. In the
third, the mother and one son were believing, but the father and the
other son were unbelieving; so that the whole city was a scene of
confusion and contention."

In 1058 Guido assembled a synod at Fontanetum near Novara,
and summoned Ariald and Landulf Cotta to attend it. The synod
awaited their arrival for three days, and as they did not come,
excommunicated them as contumacious.

Landulf the younger, the biographer of Ariald, says that Pope
Stephen X. reversed the sentence of the synod; but this account
does not agree with what is related by Arnulf. Landulf the elder
confounds the dates, and places the synod in the reign of Alexander
II., and says that the Pope adopted a middle course, and sent
ambassadors to Milan to investigate the matter. Bonizo of Sutri says
the same. All agree that Hildebrand was one of these commissioners.
Hildebrand was therefore able to judge on the spot of the results
of an appeal to the passions of the people. It is the severest
condemnation to his conduct in 1073, to know for certain that he had
seen the working of the power he afterwards called out. He then saw
how great was that power; he must have been cruelly, recklessly,
wickedly indifferent to the crimes which accompanied its invocation.
Landulf the elder says that the second commissary was Anselm of
Lucca, whilst Bonizo speaks indifferently of the "bishops _a
latere_" as constituting the deputation. Guido was not in Milan when
it arrived, he did not dare to venture his person in the midst of
the people. The ambassadors were received with the utmost respect;
they took on themselves to brand the Archbishop as a simoniac and a
schismatic, and, according to Landulf, to do many other things which
they were not authorised by the Pope to do; so that the dissension,
so far from being allayed by their visit, only waxed more furious.

At the end of the year 1058, or the beginning of 1059, the Pope
sent Peter Damiani, the harsh Bishop of Ostia, and Anselm, Bishop
of Lucca, on a new embassy to Milan.[21] They were received with
respect by the Archbishop and clergy; but the pride of the Milanese
of all ranks was wounded by seeing the Bishop of Ostia enthroned in
the middle, with Anselm of Lucca, the suffragan of Milan, upon his
right, and their Archbishop degraded to the left of the Legate, and
seated on a stool at his feet. Milan assembled at the ringing of the
bells in all the churches, and the summons of an enormous brazen
trumpet which shrieked through the streets. The fickle people asked
if the Church of St. Ambrose was to be trodden under the foot of the
Roman Pontiff. "I was threatened with death," wrote Peter Damiani to
Hildebrand, "and many assured me that there were persons panting for
my blood. It is not necessary for me to repeat all the remarks the
people made on this occasion."

  [21] We have a full account of this embassy in a letter of St.
  Peter Damiani to the Archdeacon Hildebrand (Petri Dam. _Opp._
  iii; _Opusc._ v. p. 37), besides the accounts by Bonizo, Arnulf,
  and Landulf the elder.

But Peter Damiani was not the man to be daunted at a popular
outbreak. He placidly mounted the ambone, and asserted boldly the
supreme jurisdiction of the chair of St. Peter. "The Roman Church
is the mother, that of Ambrose is the daughter. St. Ambrose always
recognised that mistress. Study the sacred books, and hold us as
liars, if you do not find that it is as I have said."

Then the charges against the clergy were investigated by the
legates, and not a single clerk in Milan was found who had not paid
a fee on his ordination; "for that was the custom, and the charge
was fixed," says the Bishop of Ostia. Here was a difficulty. He
could not deprive every priest and deacon in Milan, and leave the
great city without pastors. He was therefore obliged to content
his zeal with exacting from the bishops a promise that ordination
in future should be made gratuitously; and the Archbishop was
constrained to deposit on the altar a paper in which he pronounced
his own excommunication, in the event of his relaxing his rigour
in suppressing the heresy of the Simoniacs and Nicolaitans, by
which latter name those who insisted on the lawfulness of clerical
marriage were described.

To make atonement for the past, the Archbishop was required to
do penance for one hundred years, but to pay money into the
papal treasury in acquittal of each year; which, to our simple
understanding, looks almost as scandalous a traffic as imposing a
fee on all clergy ordained. But then, in the one case the money went
into the pocket of the bishops, and in the other into that of the

The clergy who had paid a certain sum were to be put to penance for
five years; those who had paid more, for ten (also to be compensated
by a payment to Rome!), and to make pilgrimages to Rome or Tours.
After having accomplished this penance they were to receive again
the insignia of their offices.

Then Peter Damiani re-imposed on the clergy the oaths forced on them
by Ariald, and departed.

The Milanese contemporary historian, Arnulf, exclaims, "Who has
bewitched you, ye foolish Milanese? Yesterday you made loud
outcries for the priority of a see, and now you trouble the whole
organisation of the Church. You are gnats swallowing camels. You
say, perhaps, Rome must be honoured because of the Apostle. Well,
but the memory of St. Ambrose should deliver Milan from such an
affront as has been inflicted on her. In future it will be said
that Milan is subject to Rome."[22]

  [22] Pertz, x. p. 21.

Guido attended a council held in Rome (April 1059), shortly after
this visitation. Ariald also was present, to accuse the Archbishop
of favouring simony and concubinage. The legates had dealt too
leniently with the scandal. Guido was defended by his suffragans of
Asti, Novara, Turin, Vercelli, Alba, Lodi, and Brescia. "Mad bulls,
they," says Bonizo; and Ariald was forced to retire, covered with
confusion. The Council pronounced a decree that no mercy should be
shown to the simoniacal and married clergy.[23] An encyclical was
addressed by Nicholas II. to all Christendom, informing it that the
Council had passed thirteen canons, one of which prevented a layman
from assisting at a mass said by a priest who had a concubine or a
_subintroducta mulier_. Priests, deacons, and sub-deacons who should
take "publicly" a concubine, or not send away those with whom they
lived, were to be inhibited from exercising all ministerial acts and
receiving ecclesiastical dues.

  [23] "Nulla misericordia habenda est."

On the return of the bishops to their sees, one only of them,
Adelmann of Brescia, ventured to publish these decrees. He was
nearly torn to pieces by his clergy; an act of violence which
greatly furthered the cause of the Patarines.[24]

  [24] Bonizo. It is deserving of remark that Bonizo, an ardent
  supporter of Hildebrand and the reforming party, calls that Papal
  party by the name of _Patari_, thus showing that it was really
  made up of the Manichean heretics.

In the same year Pope Nicholas sent legates into different countries
to execute, or attempt to execute, the decrees passed against simony
and concubinage--as clerical marriage was called. Peter Damiani
travelled through several cities of Italy to exhort the clergy to
celibacy, and especially to press this matter on the bishops. Peter
Damiani was not satisfied with the conduct of the Pope in assuming
a stern attitude towards the priests, but overlooking the fact that
the bishops were themselves guilty of the same offence. A letter
from him to the Pope exists, in which he exhorts him to be a second
Phinehas (Numb. xxv. 7), and deal severely with the bishops, without
which no real reform could be affected.[25]

  [25] _Opp._ t. iii.; _Opusc._ xiii. p. 188.

Anselm de Badagio, Bishop of Lucca, the instigator of Landulf and
Ariald, or at least their staunch supporter, was summoned on the
death of Nicholas to occupy the throne of St. Peter, under the title
of Alexander II. But his election was contested, and Cadalus, an
anti-Pope, was chosen by a Council of German and Lombard prelates
assembled at Basle. The contests which ensued between the rival
Pontiffs and their adherents distracted attention from the question
of clerical marriage, and the clergy recalled their wives.

In 1063, in Florence, similar troubles occurred. The instigator of
these was St. John Gualberto, founder of the Vallombrosian Order.
The offence there was rather simony than concubinage.

The custom of giving fees to those who appointed to benefices
had become inveterate, and in many cases had degenerated into the
purchase of them. A Pope could not assume the tiara without a lavish
largess to the Roman populace. A bishop could not grasp his pastoral
staff without paying heavy sums to the Emperor and to the Pope. The
former payment was denounced as simony, the latter was exacted as
an obligation. But under some of the Emperors the bishoprics were
sold to the highest bidder. What was customary on promotion to a
bishopric became customary on acceptance of lesser benefices, and no
priest could assume a spiritual charge without paying a bounty to
the episcopal treasury. When a bishop had bought his throne, he was
rarely indisposed to sell the benefices in his gift, and to recoup
a scandalous outlay by an equally scandalous traffic. The Bishop
of Florence was thought by St. John Gualberto to have bought the
see. He was a Pavian, Peter Mediabardi. His father came to Florence
to visit his son. The Florentines took advantage of the unguarded
simplicity of the old man to extract the desired secret from him.[26]

  [26] "Cui Florentini clam insidiantes tentando dicere coeperunt,"
  &c.... "ille utpote simplicissimus homo coepit jurejurando
  dicere," &c.--_Andrew of Genoa_, c. 62.

"Master Teulo," said they, "had you a large sum to pay to the King
for your son's elevation?"

"By the body of St. Syrus," answered the father, "you cannot get a
millstone out of the King's house without paying for it."

"Then what did you pay?" asked the Florentines greedily.[27]

  [27] "Alacres et avidi rem scisitari."

"By the body of St. Syrus!" replied the old man, "not less than
three thousand pounds."

No sooner was the unguarded avowal made, than it was spread through
the city by the enemies of the bishop.[28]

  [28] For the account of what follows, in addition to the
  biography by Andrew of Strumi, we have the _Dialogues_ of
  Desiderius of Monte Cassino, lib. iii.

St. John Gualberto took up the quarrel. He appeared in Florence,
where he had a monastery dedicated to St. Salvius, and began
vehemently to denounce the prelate as a simoniac, and therefore a
heretic. His monks, fired by his zeal, spread through the city, and
exhorted the people to refuse to accept the sacramental acts of
their bishop and resist his authority.

The people broke out into tumult. The bishop appealed to the secular
arm to arrest the disorder, and officers were sent to coerce the
monks of St. Salvius. They broke into the monastery at night,
sought Gualberto, but, unable to find him, maltreated the monks.
One received a blow on his forehead which laid bare the bone, and
another had his nose and lips gashed with a sword. The monks were
stripped, and the monastery fired. The abbot rolled himself in an
old cloak extracted from under a bed, where it had been cast as
ragged, and awaited day, when the wounds and tears of the fraternity
might be exhibited to a sympathising and excitable people. Nor were
they disappointed. At daybreak all the town was gathered around the
dilapidated monastery, and people were eagerly mopping up the sacred
blood that had been shed, with their napkins, thinking that they
secured valuable relics. Sympathy with the injured was fanned into
frenzied abhorrence of the persecutor.

St. John Gualberto appeared on the scene, blazing with the desire
of martyrdom,[29] and congratulated the sufferers on having become
confessors of Christ. "Now are ye true monks! But why did ye suffer
without me?"

  [29] "Martyrii flagrans amore."--_Andr. Strum._

The secular clergy of Florence were, it is asserted, deeply tainted
with the same vice as their bishop. They had all paid fees at their
institution, or had bought their benefices. They lived in private
houses, and were for the most part married. Some were even suspected
to be of immoral life.[30]

  [30] "Quis clericorum propriis et paternis rebus solummodo non
  studebat? Qui potius inveniretur, proh dolor! qui non esset
  uxoratus vel concubinarius? De simoniâ quid dicam? Omnes pene
  ecclesiasticos ordines hæc mortifera bellua devoraverat, ut, qui
  ejus morsum evaserit, rarus inveniretur."--_Andr. Strum._

But the preaching of the Saint, the wounds of the monks, converted
some of the clergy. Those who were convinced by their appeals, and
those who were wearied of their wives, threw themselves into the
party of Gualberto, and clubbed together in common life.[31]

  [31] "Exemplo vero ipsius et admonitionibus delicati clerici,
  spretis connubiis, coeperunt simul in ecclesiis stare, et
  communem ducere vitam."--Atto Pistor., _Vit. S. Joan. Gualb._

The Vallombrosian monks appealed to Pope Alexander II. against the
bishop,[32] their thirst for martyrdom whetted not quenched.[33]
If the Pope desired it, they would try the ordeal of fire to prove
their charge. Hildebrand, then only sub-deacon, but a power in
the councils of the Pope, urged on their case, and demanded the
deposition of the bishop. But Alexander, himself among the most
resolute opponents of simony, felt that there was no case. There
was no evidence, save the prattle of an old man over his wine-cups.
He refused the petition of the monks, and was supported by the vast
majority of the bishops--there were over a hundred present.[34]

  [32] For what follows, in addition to the above-quoted
  authorities, we have Berthold's _Chronicle_ from 1054 to 1100;
  Pertz, _Mon. Sacr._ v. pp. 264-326.

  [33] "Securiores de corona, quam jam gustaverant,
  martyrii."--_Andr. Strum._

  [34] "Favebat enim maxima pars Episcoporum parti Petri, et omnes
  pene erant monachis adversi."--_Andr. Strum._

Even St. Peter Damiani, generally unmeasured in his invectives
against simony, wrote to moderate the frantic zeal of the
Vallombrosian monks, which he denounced as unreasonable,
intemperate, unjust.

But the refusal of the Pope to gratify their resentment did not
quell the vehemence of the monks and the faction adverse to the
bishop. The city was in a condition of chronic insubordination
and occasional rioting. Godfrey Duke of Tuscany was obliged to
interfere; and the monks were driven from their monastery of St.
Salvi, and compelled to retire to that of St. Settimo outside of the

Shortly after, Pope Alexander visited Florence. The monks piled up
a couple of bonfires, and offered to pass between them in proof of
the truth of their allegation. He refused to permit the ordeal, and
withdrew, leaving the bishop unconvicted, and therefore unrebuked.

The clergy of Florence now determined to demand of the bishop that
he should either go through the ordeal himself, or suffer the monks
to do so. As they went to the palace, the people hooted them: "Go,
ye heretics, to a heretic! You who have driven Christ out of the
city! You who adore Simon Magus as your God!"

The bishop sullenly refused; he would neither establish his
innocence in the fire, nor suffer the monks to convict him by the

The Podesta of Florence then, with a high hand, drove from the town
the clergy who had joined the monastic faction. They went forth
on the first Saturday in Lent, 1067, amidst a sympathising crowd,
composed mostly of women,[35] who tore off their veils, and with
hair scattered wildly over their faces, threw themselves down in the
road before the confessors, crying, "Alas! alas! O Christ, Thou art
expelled this city, and how dost Thou leave us desolate? Thou art
not tolerated here, and how can we live without Thee? Thou canst
not dwell with Simon Magus. O holy Peter, didst thou once overcome
Simon? and now dost thou permit him to have the mastery? We deemed
him bound and writhing in infernal flames, and lo! he is loose, and
risen again to thy dishonour."

  [35] "Maxime feminarum."

And the men said to one another, "Let us set fire to this accursed
city, which hates Christ."[36]

  [36] "Et nos, viri fratres, civitatem hanc incendamus atque cum
  parvulis et uxoribus nostris, quocumque Christus ierit, secum
  camus. Si Christiani sumus, Christum sequamur."--_Andr. Strum._

The secular clergy were in dismay; denounced, deserted, threatened
by the people, they sang no psalms, offered no masses. Unable to
endure their position, they again visited the bishop, and entreated
him to sanction the ordeal of fire. He refused, and requested the
priests not to countenance such an unauthorised venture, should it
be made. But the whole town was bent on seeing this ordeal tried,
and on the Wednesday following, the populace poured to the monastery
of St. Settimo. Two piles of sticks were heaped near the monastery
gate, measuring ten feet long by five wide, and four and a half feet
high. Between them lay a path the length of an arm in width.

Litanies were chanted whilst the piles were reared, and then the
monks proceeded to elect one who was to undergo the fire. The lot
fell on a priest named Peter, and St. John Gualberto ordered him at
once to the altar to say mass. All assisted with great devotion, the
people crying with excitement. At the _Agnus Dei_ four monks, one
with the crucifix, another with holy water, the third with twelve
lighted tapers, the fourth with a full censer, proceeded to the
pyres, and set them both on fire.

This threw the people into an ecstasy of excitement, and the voice
of the priest was drowned in the clamour of their tongues. The
priest finished mass, and laid aside his chasuble. Holding the
cross, in alb and stole and maniple, he came forth, followed by St.
John Gualberto and the monks, chanting. Suddenly a silence fell
on the tossing concourse, and a monk appointed by the abbot stood
forth, and in a clear voice said to the people, "Men, brethren, and
sisters! we do this for the salvation of your souls, that henceforth
ye may learn to avoid the leprosy of simony, which has infected
nearly the whole world; for the crime of simony is so great, that
beside it every other crime is as nothing."

The two piles were burning vigorously. The priest Peter prayed,
"Lord Christ, I beseech Thee, if Peter of Pavia, called Bishop of
Florence, has obtained the episcopal throne by money, do Thou assist
me in this terrible ordeal, and deliver me from being burned, as
of old Thou didst deliver the three children in the midst of the
burning furnace." Then, giving the brethren the kiss of peace, he
stepped fearlessly between the burning pyres, and came forth on the
farther side uninjured.

His linen alb, his silken stole and maniple, were unburnt. He
would have again rushed through the flames in the excess of his
confidence, but was prevented by the pious vehemence of the people,
who surrounded him, kissed his feet, clung to his vestments, and
would have crushed him to death in their eagerness to touch and see
him, had he not been rescued by the strong arms of burly monks.

In after years he told, and talked himself into believing, that as
he passed through the fire, his maniple fell off. Discovering his
loss ere he emerged, he turned back, and deliberately picked it up.
But of this nothing was said at the time.[37]

  [37] It is not mentioned in the epistle of the Florentines to the
  Pope, narrating the ordeal and supposed miracle, which is given
  by Andrew of Strumi and Atto of Pistoja.

A letter was then drawn up, appealing to the Pope in the most
vehement terms, to deliver the sheep of the Florentine flock
from the ravening wolf who shepherded them, and urging him, not
obscurely, to use force if need be, and compel by his troops the
evacuation of the Florentine episcopal throne. Peter of Pavia, the
bishop, a man of gentle character, yielded to the storm. He withdrew
from Florence, and was succeeded by another Peter, whom the people
called Peter the Catholic, to distinguish him from the Simoniac. But
Muratori adduces evidence that the former continued to be recognised
by the Pope some time after his supposed degradation. Thus ended
the schism of Florence in the entire triumph of the Patarines.
Hildebrand was not unobservant; he proved afterwards not to be
forgetful of the lesson taught by this schism,--the utilization of
the rude mob as a powerful engine in the hands of the fanatical or
designing. It bore its fruit in the canons of 1074.


Anselmo de Badagio, Bishop of Lucca, had succeeded Nicholas II. to
the Papal throne in 1061. Cadalus of Parma had been chosen by the
German and Lombard prelates on October 28th, and he assumed the name
of Honorius II. But no Roman Cardinal was present to sanction this
election. Cadalus was acknowledged by all the simoniacal and married
clergy, when he entered Italy; but the Princess Beatrice and the
Duke of Tuscany prevented him from advancing to Rome. From Parma
Cadalus excommunicated Alexander, and from Rome, Alexander banned
Honorius. The cause of Alexander was that of the Patarines, but the
question of marriage and simony paled before the more glaring one,
of which of the rival claimants was the actual Pope.

The voice of Landulf Cotta was silenced. A terrible cancer had
consumed the tongue which had kept Milan for six years in a blaze
of faction. But his room was speedily filled by a more implacable
adversary of the married clergy--his brother, Herlembald, a stern,
able soldier. An event in Herlembald's early life had embittered his
heart against the less rigid clergy. His plighted bride had behaved
lightly with a priest. He was just returned from a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem, his zeal kindled to enthusiasm. He went to Rome, where he
was well received by Alexander II. He came for authority to use his
sword for the Patarines. The sectaries in Milan had said to him, "We
desire to deliver the Church, besieged and degraded by the married
priests; do thou deliver by the law of the sword, we will do so by
the law of God." Alexander II., in a public consistory, created
Herlembald "Defender of the Church," gave him the sacred banner of
St. Peter, and bade him go back to Milan and shed blood--his, if
necessary, those of the anti-Patarines certainly--in this miserable

The result was that the Patarines were filled with new zeal,
and lost all compunction at shedding blood and pillaging houses.
Herlembald established himself in a large mansion, which he
fortified and filled with mercenaries; over it waved the consecrated
banner of St. Peter. From this stronghold he issued forth to
assail the obnoxious clergy. They were dragged from their altars
and consigned to shame and insult. The services of the Church, the
celebration of the sacraments, were suspended, or administered only
by the one or two priests who adhered to the Patari. It is said
that, in order to keep his rude soldiery in pay, Herlembald made
every clerk take a solemn oath that he had ever kept innocence,
and would wholly abstain from marriage or concubinage. Those who
could not, or would not, take this oath were expelled the city, and
their whole property confiscated to support the standing corps of
hireling ruffians maintained by the Crusader. The lowest rabble,
poor artisans and ass-drivers, furtively placed female ornaments
in the chambers of the priests, and then, attacking their houses,
dragged them out and plundered their property. By 1064, when a synod
was held at Mantua by the Pope, Milan was purged of "Simoniacs and
Nicolaitans," and the clergy who remained were gathered together
into a house to live in common, under rule.

Guido of Milan and all the Lombard prelates attended that important
synod, which saw the triumph of Alexander, his reconciliation with
the Emperor, and the general abandonment of the anti-Pope, Cadalus.

In the following year, Henry IV. was under the tutelage of Adalbert
of Bremen; he had escaped from Anno, Archbishop of Cologne, who
had favoured the strict faction and Alexander II. The situation in
Lombardy changed simultaneously. Herlembald had assumed a power,
an authority higher than that of the archbishop, whom he refused
to recognise, and denounced as a heretic. Guido, weary of the
nine years of strife he had endured, relieved from the fear of
interference from Germany, resolved on an attempt to throw off the
hateful yoke. The churches of Milan were for the most part without
pastors. The married clergy had been expelled, and there were none
to take their place. The Archbishop had been an obedient penitent
for five years, compromising his one hundred years of penitence by
payments into the Papal treasury; but as the cause of Alexander
declined, his contrition languished, died out; and he resumed his
demands for fees at ordinations and institutions, at least so
clamoured Ariald and Herlembald in the ears of Rome.

A party in Milan had long resented the despotism of the "Law of
God and the law of the sword" of Ariald and Herlembald, and an
effort was made to break it, with the sanction, no doubt, of the
Archbishop. A large body of the citizens rose, "headed," says Andrew
of Strumi, "by the sons of the priests," and attacked the church and
house of Ariald, but, unable to find him, contented themselves with
wrecking the buildings. Thereupon Herlembald swept down at the head
of his mercenaries, surrounded the crowd, and hewed them to pieces
to the last man, "like the vilest cattle."[38]

  [38] Hæc ut nobilis Herembaldus ceterique Fideles audiere,
  sumptis armis, in audacem plebem et temerariam irruere;
  quos protinus exterminavere omnes, quasi essent vilissimæ
  pecudes,"--_Andr. Strum._

Guido, the Archbishop, now acted with resolution, and boldly took up
the cause of the married clergy. Having heard that two priests of
Monza, infected with Patarinism, had turned their wives out of their
houses, he ordered the arrest of the priests, and punished them with
imprisonment in the castle of Lecco. On hearing this, the Patarines
flew to arms, and swarmed out of Milan after Ariald, who bore the
banner of St. Peter, as Herlembald was absent at Rome. They met the
mounted servants of the Archbishop near Monza, surprised them, and
wrested from them a promise to surrender the priests. Three days
after, the curates were delivered up. Ariald, at the head of the
people, met them outside the gates, received them with enthusiasm,
crying, "See, these are the brave martyrs of Christ!" and escorted
them to a church, where they intoned a triumphant _Te Deum_.

Herlembald returned from Rome to Milan with a bull of
excommunication fulminated by the Pope against the Archbishop. Guido
summoned the Milanese to assemble in the cathedral church on the
vigil of Pentecost.

In the meantime the Patarines were torn into factions on a subtle
point mooted by Ariald. That demagogue had ventured to assail in a
sermon the venerable custom of the Milanese, which required them to
fast during the Rogation days. Was he greater than St. Ambrose? Did
he despise the authority of the great doctor? On this awful subject
the Patarines divided, and with the division lost their strength.

Neither Herlembald nor Ariald seems to have been prepared for the
bold action of the Archbishop. On the appointed day the cathedral
was filled with substantial citizens and nobles. Herlembald missed
the wolfish eyes, ragged hair, and hollow cheeks of his sectaries,
and, fearing danger, leaped over the chancel rails, and took up his
position near the altar. The Archbishop mounted the ambone with the
bull of excommunication in his hand. "See!" he exclaimed, "this
is the result of the turbulence of these demagogues, Ariald and
Herlembald. This city, out of reverence to St. Ambrose, has never
obeyed the Roman Church. Shall we be crushed? Take away out of the
land of the living these disturbers of the public peace who labour
day and night to rob us of our ancient liberties."

He was interrupted by a shout of "Let them be killed." Guido paused,
and then cried out, "All who honour and cleave to St. Ambrose, leave
the church, that we may know who are our adversaries." Instantly
from the doors rolled out the dense crowd, seven hundred in number,
according to the estimation of Andrew, the biographer of Ariald.
Only twelve men were left within who stood firm to the Patarine
cause. Ariald had, in the meantime, taken refuge in the choir beside
Herlembald. The clergy selected Ariald, the laity Herlembald, for
their victims. Ariald was dragged from the church, severely wounded.
Herlembald escaped better; using his truncheon, he beat off his
assailants till he had climbed to a place of safety, whence he
could not be easily dislodged.

As night fell, the Patarines gathered, stormed, and pillaged the
palace of the Archbishop, and, bursting into the church, liberated
Herlembald. Guido hardly escaped on horseback, sorely maltreated in
the tumult. His adherents fled like smoke before the tempest. Ariald
was found bleeding and faint, and was conveyed by the multitude in
triumph to the church of St. Sepolcro. Then Herlembald called to the
roaring mob to be still. "Let us ask Master Ariald whose house is to
be first given up to sack."

But Ariald earnestly dissuaded from further violence, and entreated
the vehement dictator to spare the lives and property of their

The surprise to the Archbishop's party was, however, temporary only.
By morning they had rallied, and the city was again in their hands.
Guido published an interdict against Milan, which was to remain in
force as long as it harboured Ariald. No mass was said, no bells
rang, the church doors were bolted and barred. Ariald was secretly
removed by some of his friends to the village of St. Victor, where
also Herlembald had been constrained to take refuge with a party
of mercenaries. Thence they made their way to Pavia and to Padua,
where they hoped to obtain a boat, and escape to Rome. But the
whole country was up against them, and Herlembald was obliged to
disband his soldiers, and attempt to escape in disguise. Ariald
was left with a priest whose acquaintance Herlembald had made in
Jerusalem. But a priest was the last person likely to secrete the
tyrant and persecutor of the clergy. He treacherously sent word to
the Archbishop, and Ariald was taken by the servants of Olivia, the
niece of Guido, and conveyed to an island on the Lago Maggiore. He
was handed over to the cruel mercies of two married priests, who
directed his murder with cold-blooded heartlessness, if we may trust
the gossips picked up later. His ears, nose and lips were cut off.
He was asked if he would acknowledge Guido for archbishop. "As long
as my tongue can speak," he replied, "I will not." The servants
of Olivia tore out his tongue; he was beaten by the two savage
priests, and when he fainted, was flung into the calm waters of
the lovely lake. Andrew of Vallombrosa, or Strumi, followed in his
trace, and hung about the neighbourhood till he heard from a peasant
the awful story. He sought the mangled body.[39] It was found and
transported to Milan on the feast of the Ascension following. For
ten days it was exposed in the church of St. Ambrose, that all
might venerate it, and was finally disposed in the convent of St.
Celsus. In the memory of man, never had such a crowd been seen. The
Archbishop deemed it prudent to retire, and Herlembald profited
by his absence to recover his power, and make the people swear to
avenge the martyr, and unite to the death for the "good cause."
The events in Milan had their counterpart in the other cities of
Lombardy, especially at Cremona, where the bishopric had been
obtained by Arnulf, nephew of Guido of Milan. In that city, twelve
men, headed by one Christopher, took the Patarine oath to fight the
married clergy; the people joined them, and forced their oath on
the bishop-elect before he was ordained. But, as in 1067, he seized
a Patarine priest, a sedition broke out, in which the bishop was
seriously injured. The inhabitants of Cremona, after Easter, sent
ambassadors to the Pope, and received from him a reply, given by
Bonizo, exhorting them not to allow a priest, deacon or sub-deacon,
suspected of concubinage or simony, to hold a benefice or execute
his ministry. The consequence of this letter was that all suspected
clerks were excluded from their offices; and shortly after, the same
course was followed at Piacenza. Asti, Lodi, and Ravenna also threw
in their lot with the Patarines.

  [39] Ariald was murdered on June 27, 1065. Andrew of Strumi says
  1066; but he followed the Florentine computation--he had been a
  priest of Florence--which made the year begin on March 25.

In 1067, Alexander II. sent legates to Milan to settle the
disturbances therein. Adalbert of Bremen had fallen, and again the
Papal party were in the ascendant. The fortunes of Milan fluctuated
with the politics of those who held the regency in the minority of
Henry IV.

Guido, now advanced in years, and weary of ruling so turbulent
a diocese, determined to vacate a see which he had held for
twenty-seven years; the last ten of incessant civil war. He burdened
it with a pension to himself, and then made it over to Godfrey, the
sub-deacon, along with the pastoral staff and ring. Godfrey crossed
the Alps, took the oath of allegiance to the Emperor, promised to
use his utmost endeavours to exterminate the Patarines, and to
deliver Herlembald alive into the hands of the Emperor, laden with
chains. Friend and foe, without scruple, designate the followers
of the Papal policy as Patarines; it is therefore startling, a
few years later, when the Popes had carried their point, to find
them insisting on the luckless Patarines being given in wholesale
hecatombs to the flames, as damnable heretics. It was an ungracious
return for the battle these heretics had fought under the banner of
St. Peter.

But Herlembald refused to acknowledge Godfrey, he devastated the
country with fire and sword wherever Godfrey was acknowledged, and
created such havoc that not a day passed in the holy Lenten fast
without the effusion of much Christian blood. Finally, Herlembald
drove the archbishop-elect to take refuge in the strong fortress
of Castiglione. Guido, not receiving his pension, annulled his
resignation, and resumed his state. But he unwisely trusted to
the good faith of Herlembald; he was seized,[40] and shut up in a
monastery till his death, which took place August 23, 1071.

  [40] "Gloriosus hac vice delusus," says Arnulf.

The year before this, 1070, Adelheid, Margravine of Turin,
mother-in-law of the young Emperor, attacked the Patarines, and
burnt the cities of Lodi and Asti. On March 19, 1071, as Herlembald
was besieging Castiglione, a terrible conflagration broke out in
Milan, and consumed a great part of the city and several of the
stateliest churches. Whilst the army of Herlembald was agitated
by the report of the fire, Godfrey burst out of Castiglione, and
almost routed the besiegers. Before the death of Guido, Herlembald,
with the sanction of the Pope, had set up a certain Otto to be
Archbishop, nominated by himself and the Papal legate, without
consulting the electors of Milan or the Emperor, January 6, A.D.

Otto was but a youth, just admitted into holy orders, likely to
prove a pliant tool in the strong hand of the dictator. It was the
Feast of the Epiphany, and the streets were thronged with people,
when the news leaked out that an archbishop had been chosen,
and was now holding the customary banquet after election in the
archiepiscopal palace.

The people were furious, rose and attacked the house, hunted the
youthful prelate out of an attic, where he had taken refuge, dragged
him by his legs and arms into the church, and compelled him to swear
to renounce his dignity. The Roman legate hardly escaped with his
robes torn.

Herlembald, who had been surprised, recovered the upper hand in
Milan on the morrow, but not in the open country, which was swept
by the imperial troops. The suffragan bishops of Lombardy assembled
at Novara directly they heard of what had taken place in Milan, and
consecrated Godfrey as their archbishop.

Otto appealed to Rome (January, 1072), and a few weeks later the
Pope assembled a synod, and absolved Otto of his oath extorted from
him at Milan, acknowledged him as archbishop, and struck Godfrey
with interdict. Alexander II. died April 21, 1073, and the tiara
rested on the brows of the great Hildebrand.

On June 24, Hildebrand, now Gregory VII., wrote to the Margravine
Beatrice to abstain from all relations with the excommunicated
bishops of Lombardy; on June 28, to William, Bishop of Pavia, to
oppose the usurper, the excommunicate Godfrey of Milan; on July
1, to all the faithful of Lombardy to refrain from that false
bishop, who lay under the apostolic ban. From Capua, on September
27, he wrote to Herlembald, exhorting him to fight valiantly, and
hold out Milan against the usurper Godfrey. Again, on October 9,
to Herlembald, bidding him be of good courage; he hoped to detach
the young Emperor from the party of Godfrey, and bade him receive
amicably those who, with true sentiments of contrition, came over to
the Patarine, that is, the Papal side.

On March 10, 1074, Gregory held one of the most important synods,
not of his reign only, but ever held by any Pope. The acts of this
assembly have been lost or suppressed, but its most important
decisions were summed up in a letter from Gregory to the Bishop
of Constance. This letter has not been printed in the Registrum;
but fortunately it has been preserved by two contemporary writers,
Paul of Bernried, and Bernold of Constance, the latter of whom has
supplied a detailed apology for the law of celibacy promulgated in
that synod. Gregory absolutely forbade all priests sullied with the
_crimen fornicationis_, which embraced legitimate marriage, either
to say a mass or to serve at one; and the people were strictly
enjoined to shun their churches and their sacraments; and when the
bishops were remiss, he exhorted them themselves to enforce the
pontifical sentence.[41]

  [41] "Audivimus quod quidam Episcoporum apud vos commorantium,
  aut sacerdotes, et diaconi, et subdiaconi, mulieribus
  commisceantur aut consentiant aut negligant. His præcipimus vos
  nullo modo obedire, vel illorum præceptis consentire, sicut
  ipsi apostolicæ sedis præceptis non obediunt neque auctoritati
  sanctorum patrum consentiunt." "Quapropter ad omnes de quorum
  fide et devotione confidimus nunc convertimur, rogantes vos et
  apostolicâ auctoritate admonentes ut quidquid Episcopi dehinc
  loquantur aut taceant, vos officium eorum quos aut simoniace
  promotos et ordinatos aut in crimine fornicationis jacentes
  cognoveritis, nullatenus recipiatis."--Letter to the Franconians
  (Baluze, _Misc._ vii. p. 125).

The results shall be described in the words of a contemporary
historian, Sigebert of Gemblours. "Many," says he, "seeing in this
prohibition to hear a mass said by a married priest a manifest
contradiction to the doctrine of the Fathers, who believed that the
efficacy of sacrament, such as baptism, chrism, and the Body and
Blood of Christ, is independent of the dignity of the minister,
thence resulted a grievous scandal; never, perhaps, even in the time
of the great heresies, was the Church divided by a greater schism.
Some did not abandon their simony, others disguised their avarice
under a more acceptable name; what they boasted they had given
gratuitously, they in reality sold; very few preserved continence.
Some through greed of lucre, or sentiments of pride, simulated
chastity, but many added false oaths and numerous adulteries to
their debaucheries. The laity seized the opportunity to rise against
the clerical order, and to excuse themselves for disobedience to
the Church. They profaned the holy mysteries, administering baptism
themselves, and using the wax out of their ears as chrism. They
refused on their death-beds to receive the _viaticum_ from the
married priests; they would not even be buried by them. Some went
so far as to trample under foot the Host, and pour out the precious
Blood consecrated by married priests."[42]

  [42] Pertz, viii. p. 362.

The affairs of the church of Milan continued in the same
unsatisfactory condition. The contest between the Patarines and
their adversaries had taken greater dimensions. The question which
divided them was now less that of the marriage of the clergy than
which of the rival archbishops was to be acknowledged. Godfrey was
supported by the Emperor, Otto by the Pope. The parties were about
even; neither Godfrey nor Otto could maintain himself in Milan;
the former fortified himself in the castle of Brebbio, the latter
resided at Rome. Henry IV., in spite of all the admonitions of the
Pope, persisted in supporting the cause of Godfrey. Milan was thus
without a pastor. The suffragan bishops wished to execute their
episcopal functions in the city, and to consecrate the holy oils for
the benediction of the fonts at Whitsuntide. Herlembald, when one of
the bishops had sent chrism into the city for the purpose, poured it
out on the ground and stamped on it, because it had been consecrated
by an excommunicated prelate.

In March, 1075, another conflagration broke out in the city, and
raged with even greater violence than the fire of 1071. Herlembald
had again poured forth the oils, as he had the year before; and
had ordered Leutprand, a priest, as Easter came, to proceed to the
consecration of chrism. This innovation roused the alarm of the
Milanese; the subsequent conflagration convinced them that it was
abhorrent to heaven. All the adversaries of the Patarines assembled
outside the city, and swore to preserve intact the privileges of
St. Ambrose, and to receive only the bishop nominated or approved
by the King. Then, entering the city, they fell unexpectedly on the
Patarines. Leutprand was taken and mutilated, his ears and nose were
cut off. The standard of St. Peter was draggled in the dust, and
Herlembald fell with it, cut down by a noble, Arnold de Rauda. Every
insult was heaped on the body of the "Defender of the Church," and
the sacred banner was trampled under foot.

Messengers were sent to Henry IV. to announce the triumph, and to
ask him to appoint a new Archbishop of Milan. Henry was so rejoiced
at the victory, that he abandoned Godfrey, and promised the Milanese
a worthy prelate. His choice fell on Tebald, a Milanese sub-deacon
in his Court.

Pope Urban II. canonised Herlembald. Ariald seems never to have
been formally enrolled among the saints, but he received honours
as a saint at Milan, and has been admitted into several Italian
Martyrologies, and into the collection of the Bollandists. Baronius
wisely expunged Herlembald and Ariald from the Roman Martyrology;
nevertheless, the disgraceful fact remains, that the ruffian
Herlembald has been canonised by Papal bull.

The seeds of fresh discord remained. Leutprand, or Liprand, the
priest, was curate of the Church of St. Paul;[43] having suffered
mutilation in the riot, he was regarded in the light of a Patarine
confessor. But no outbreak took place till the death of Anselm IV.,
Archbishop of Milan (September 30, 1101), at Constantinople, where
he was on his way with the Crusaders to the Holy Land. His vicar,
the Greek, Peter Chrysolaus, Bishop of Savonia, whom the Lombards
called Grossulani, perhaps because of the coarse habit he wore (more
probably as a corruption for Chrysolaus), had been left in charge
of the see of Milan. On the news of the death of the Archbishop
reaching that city, the Primicerius convoked the electors to choose
a successor. The vote fell on Landulf, Ordinary of Milan; but he was
not yet returned from Jerusalem, whither he had gone as a crusader.
Grossulani declared the election informal. Thereupon the Abbot of
St. Dionysius, at the head of a large party of the electors, chose
Peter Grossulani. There is no evidence of his having used bribery in
any form; but he may have acted unjustly in cancelling the election
of Landulf. It is, however, fair to observe that Landulf, on his
return, supported Grossulani; consequently, it is probable that the
latter acted strictly in accordance with law and precedent.

  [43] The life of Liprand was written by Landulf the younger, his
  sister's son, in his _Hist. Mediolan._ 1095-1137.

But the election displeased Liprand and the remains of the
Patarines. They appealed to Rome, but Grossulani, supported by the
Countess Matilda and St. Bernard, abbot of Vallombrosa, overcame
their objections. Pope Paschal II. ratified the election, and sent
the pall to the Archbishop. Ardericus de Carinate had been sent to
Rome on behalf of Grossulani. The people came out of the gates,
on his approach, to learn the result. Ardericus, hanging the pall
across his umbrella (_protensi virga_), waved it over his head,
shouting, "Ecco la stola! Ecco la stola!" (Here is the pall!) and
led the way into the cathedral, whither Grossulani also hastened,
and ascending the pulpit in his pontifical habit, placed the coveted
insignia about his neck.

Liprand was not satisfied. By means of private agitation, he
disturbed the tranquillity of public feeling, and the Archbishop, to
calm the minds of the populace, was obliged to convoke a provincial
synod at Milan (1103), in which, in the presence of his suffragans,
the clergy and the people, he said, "If anyone has a charge to make
against me, let him speak openly at the present time, or he shall
not be heard."

Liprand would not appear before the council and formally make
charge, but he mounted the pulpit in the Church of St. Paul and
preached against the Archbishop as a simoniac. He declared his
readiness to prove his charge by the ordeal of fire. The bishops
assembled in council refused to suffer the attempt to be made.

However, Liprand was not deterred. "Look at my amputated nose and
ears!" he cried, "I am a confessor for Christ. I will try the ordeal
by fire to substantiate my charge. Grossulani is a simoniac, by
gift of hand, gift of tongue, and gift of homage." And he gave
his wolf-skin cloak and some bottles of wine in exchange for wood,
which the crowd carried off and heaped up in a great pile against
the wall of the monastery of St. Ambrogio. The Archbishop sent his
servants, and they overturned the stack, and scattered the wood.
Then the crowd of "boys and girls, men and women," poured through
the main streets, roaring, "Away with Grossulani, away with him!"
and clamoured around the doors of the archiepiscopal palace, so
that Grossulani, fearing for his life, said, "Be it so, let the
fellow try the fire, or let him leave Milan." His servants with
difficulty appeased the people, by promising that the ordeal should
be undergone on the following Palm Sunday evening. "I will not leave
the city," said Liprand; "but now I have no money for buying wood,
and I will not sell my books, as I keep them for my nephew Landulf,
now at school." So the magistrates of the city prepared a pile of
billets of oak wood.

On the appointed day Liprand, barefooted, in sackcloth, bearing a
cross, went to the Church of Saints Gervasius and Protasius and sung
mass. Grossulani also, bearing a cross, entered the same church and
mounted the pulpit, attended by Ariald de Marignano, and Berard,
Judge of Asti. Silence being made, and Liprand having taken his
place barefooted "on the marble stone at the entrance to the choir,
containing an image of Hercules," Grossulani addressed the people;
"Listen, and I will silence this man in three words." Then turning
to Liprand, he asked, "You have charged me with being a simoniac. To
whom have I given anything? Answer me."

Liprand, raising his eyes to the pulpit, pointed to those who
occupied it and said, "Look at those three great devils, who think
to confound me by their wit and wealth.[44] I appeal to the judgment
of God."

  [44] "Proposuisti quod ego sum simoniacus per munus a manu. Modo
  die: cui dedi; Tunc presbyter super populum oculos aperuit, et
  digitum ad eos, qui stabunt in pulpito, extendit, dicens, Videte
  tres grandissimos diabolos, qui per ingenium et pecuniam suam
  putant me confundere."

Grossulani said, "But I ask what act of simony do you lay to my

Liprand answered, "Do you answer me, What is the lightest form of

The Archbishop, after some consideration, answered, "To refrain from
deposing a simoniac."

"And I say that is simony which consists in deposing an abbot from
his abbacy, a bishop from his bishopric, and an archbishop from his

  [45] It is very evident from this discussion that Grossulani was
  innocent of true simony; the whole charge against him was due to
  his having quashed the election of Landulf, and thus of having
  deposed, after a fashion, "an archbishop from his archbishopric."

The people became impatient, and began to shout, "Come out, come
out to the ordeal!" Then Liprand "jumped down from the stone,
containing the image of Hercules," and went forth accompanied by the
multitude to the field where the pyre was made. There arose then
a difficulty about the form of oath to be administered. Liprand,
seeing that there was some hesitation, said, "Let me manage it, and
see if I do not satisfy you all!" Whereupon he took hold of the hood
of the Archbishop and shook it, and said in a loud voice, "That
Grossulani, who is under this hood, he, and no other, has obtained
the archbishopric of Milan simoniacally, by gift of hand, gift of
tongue, and gift of service. And I, who enter on this ordeal, swear
that I have used no charm, or incantation, or witchcraft."

The Archbishop, unwilling to remain, remounted his horse and rode
to the Church of St. John "ad concham," but Ariald of Marignano
remained to see that the ordeal was rightly carried out. When
the pile was lighted, he said to the priest, "In heaven's name,
return to your duty, and do not rush on certain death." But Liprand
answered, "Get thee behind me, Satan," and signing himself, and
blessing the fire with consecrated water, he rushed through the
flames, barefooted, in sackcloth cassock and silk chasuble. He came
out on the other side uninjured; a sudden draught had parted the
flames as he entered, and when he emerged his feet were not burnt,
nor was his silk chasuble scorched.

The people shouted at the miracle, and Grossulani was obliged to fly
from the city.

It was soon rumoured, however, that Liprand was suffering from a
scorched hand and an injured foot. It was in vain for his friends to
assure the people that his hand had been burnt when he was throwing
the holy water on the flames before he entered them, and that his
foot was injured not by the fire, but by the hoof of a horse as
he emerged from the flames. One part of the mob began to clamour
against Liprand that he was an impostor, the other to exalt him as
a saint, and the streets became the scene of riot and bloodshed.
At this juncture Landulf of Vereglate, who had been just elected
to the vacant see, arrived from Jerusalem, and finding that the
Archbishop had fled the city, he appealed to the people to cease
from their riots, and promised to have Grossulani deposed, or at
least the charges brought against him properly investigated at
Rome. The tumults were with difficulty allayed, and the Archbishop,
Landulf, and Liprand went to Rome (A.D. 1103). A Synod was convened
and Liprand brought his vague accusations of simony against the
Archbishop. Landulf refused to support him, so that it is hardly
probable that he can have felt himself aggrieved by the conduct of
Grossulani. Liprand, being unable to substantiate his charge of
simony, was obliged to change the nature of his accusation, and
charged the Archbishop with having forced him to submit to the
ordeal of fire. The Pope and the Synod required the Archbishop
to clear himself by oath; accordingly Grossulani did so, in the
following terms: "I, Grossulani, by the grace of God Archbishop,
did not force Liprand to enter the fire." Azo, Bishop of Acqui, and
Arderic, Bishop of Lodi, took the oath with him; at the same time
the pastoral staff slipped from the hands of the Archbishop and
fell on the floor, a sign, the biographer of Liprand says, that he
forswore himself.[46]

  [46] It is evident from the account of Landulf the younger
  himself, that the Archbishop did not force the priest to enter on
  the ordeal.

The Archbishop withdrew his authority confirmed by the Holy See, and
he returned to Milan, where he was well received.

The Archbishop took an unworthy opportunity, in 1110, of ridding
the city of the presence of Liprand for that priest having taken
into his house and cured a certain Herebert of Bruzano, an enemy
of the Archbishop, who was ill with fever. Grossulani deprived
Liprand of his benefice, and the priest retired into the Valteline.
Troubles broke out in Milan between the two parties, which produced
civil war, and the Archbishop was driven out of the city, whereupon
Liprand returned to it. The friends of Grossulani persuaded him to
visit Jerusalem, and he started, after having appointed Arderic,
Bishop of Lodi, his vicar (A.D. 1111). During his absence both
parties united to reject him, and they elected Jordano of Cliva
in his room (Jan. 1, A.D. 1112). Mainnard, Archbishop of Turin,
hastened to Rome, and received the pall from the Pope, on condition
that it should not be worn for six months. But the rumours having
spread that Grossulani was returning from Jerusalem, Mainnard came
to Milan, and placed the pall on the altar of St. Ambrose, whence
Jordano took it and laid it about his shoulders.

On the return of Grossulani, civil war broke out again between
the two factions, which ended in both Archbishops being summoned
to Rome in 1116; and the Pope ordered Grossulani to return to his
bishopric of Savonia, and confirmed Jordano in the archbishopric
of Milan. But before this Liprand had died 3rd January, 1113. His
sanctity was almost immediately attested by a miracle, in spite of
the disparagement of his virtues by the party of the Archbishop
Grossulani; for a certain knight of Piacenza, having swallowed a
fish-bone which stuck in his throat, in sleep saw the priest appear
to him and touch his throat, whereupon a violent fit of coughing
ensued, in which the bone was ejected; this was considered quite
sufficient to establish the claim of Liprand to be regarded as a

The Anabaptists of Münster.

To the year 1524 Münster, the capital of Westphalia, had remained
faithful to the religion which S. Swibert, coadjutor of S.
Willibrord, first Bishop of Utrecht, had brought to it in the 7th
century. But then Lutheranism was introduced into it.

Frederick von Wied at that time occupied the Episcopal throne. He
was brother to Hermann, Archbishop of Cologne, who was afterwards
deprived for his secession to Lutheranism.

The religious revolution in the Westphalian capital at its
commencement presents the same symptoms which characterised the
beginning of the Reformation elsewhere. The town council were
prepared to hail it as a means of overthrowing the Episcopal
authority, and establishing the municipal power as supreme in the

Already the State of Juliers had embraced the new religion, and
faith had been shaken in Osnabrück, Minden, and Paderborn, when the
first symptoms appeared in Münster.

Four priests, the incumbents of the parishes of St. Lambert, St.
Ludger, St. Martin, and the Lieb-Frau Church, commonly called
Ueberwasser, declared for the Reform. The contemporary historian,
Kerssenbroeck, an eye-witness of all he describes, says of them,
"They indulged in the most violent abuse of the clergy, they cursed
good works, assured their auditors that such works would not receive
the smallest recompense, and permitted every one to give way to all
the excesses of so-called Evangelical liberty."[47] They stirred up
their hearers against the religious orders, and the people clamoured
daily at the gates of the monasteries and nunneries, insisting on
being given food; and the monks and nuns were too much frightened
to refuse those whom impunity rendered daily more exacting.[48] On
the night of the 22nd March, 1525, they attacked the rich convent
of nuns at Nizink, with intentions of pillaging it. They failed
in this attempt, and the ringleaders were seized and led before
the magistrates, followed by an excited and tumultuous crowd of
men and women, "evangelically disposed," as the chronicler says.
Hoping to ally the effervescence, the magistrates asked the cause
of complaint against the nuns of Nizink, and then came out the
true reason, for which religious prejudice had served as a cloak.
They complained that the monks and nuns exercised professions to
the prejudice of the artisans; and they demanded of the magistracy
that their looms should be broken, the religious forbidden to work
at trades, and their superabundant goods to be distributed among
the poor. The orators of the band declared in conclusion "that if
the magistrates refused to grant these requests, the people would
disregard their orders, displace them by force of arms, and put in
their stead men trustworthy and loyal, and devoted to the interests
of the citizens."[49] Alarmed at these threats, the magistrates
yielded, and promised to take every measure satisfactory to the
insurgents.[50] On the 25th May, accordingly, the Friars of St.
Francis and the nuns of Nizink were ordered to give up their looms
and accounts. The friars yielded, but the ladies stoutly refused.
The magistrates, however, had all the looms carried away, whilst a
mob howled at the gates, and agitators, excited by the four renegade
priests, ran about the town stirring up the people against the
religious. "All the worst characters," says the old chronicler,
"joined the rioters; the curious came to swell the crowd, and people
of means shut themselves into their houses."[51] For Johann Groeten,
the orator of the band, now proclaimed that having emptied the
strong boxes of the monks and nuns, they would despoil all those
whose fortunes exceeded two thousand ducats.

  [47] Kerssenbroeck, p. 114.

  [48] _Ibid._ p. 115.

  [49] Kerssenbroeck, p. 116.

  [50] _Ibid._ p. 117.

  [51] _Ibid._ p. 120.

The rioters next marched to the town hall, where the senators
sat trembling, and they demanded the immediate confirmation of a
petition in thirty-four articles that had been drawn up for them by
their leaders. At the same time the mob announced that unless their
petition was granted they would execute its requirements with their
own hands.

It asked that the canons of the cathedral should be required to pay
the debts of the bishop deceased; that criminal jurisdiction should
be withdrawn from the hands of the clergy; that the monks and nuns
should be forbidden to exercise any manufacture, to dry grain, make
linen, and rear cattle; that the burden of taxation should be shared
by the clergy; that rectors should not be allowed to appoint or
dismiss their curates without consent of the parish; that lawsuits
should not be allowed to be protracted beyond six weeks; that beer
licences should be abolished, and tolls on the bridges done away
with; that monks and nuns should be allowed free permission to
leave their religious societies and return to the world; that the
property of religious houses should be sold and distributed amongst
the needy, and that the municipality should allow them enough for
their subsistence; that the Carmelites, the Augustinians, and the
Dominicans should be suppressed; that pious foundations for masses
for the repose of souls should be confiscated; and that people
should be allowed to marry in Lent and Advent. The magistrates
yielded at once, and promised to endeavour to get the consent of the
other estates of the diocese to the legalising of these articles.[52]

  [52] Kerssenbroeck, p. 126.

On the morrow of the Ascension, 1525, the magistrates closed the
gates of the town, and betook themselves to the clergy of the
chapter to request them to accept the thirty-four articles. The
canons refused at first, but, in fear of the people, they consented,
but wrote to the bishop to tell him what had taken place, and to
urge him to act with promptitude, and not to forget that the rights
and privileges of the Church were in jeopardy.

It was one of the misfortunes in Germany, as it was in France,
that the clergy were exempt from taxation. This precipitated the
Revolution in France, and aroused the people against the clergy;
and in Germany it served as a strong motive for the adoption of the

The canons now fled the town, protesting that their signatures
had been wrested from them by violence, and that they withdrew
their consent to the articles. The inferior clergy remained at
their post, and exhibited great energy and decision. They deprived
Lubert Causen, minister of St. Martins, one of the most zealous
fautors of Lutheranism in Münster, and the head of the reforming
party. When his parishioners objected, a packet of love-letters
he had written to several girls in the town, and amongst others
some to a young woman of respectable position whom he had seduced,
came to light, and were read in the Senate. The reformer had in
his letters used scriptural texts to excuse and justify the most
shameless libertinage.[53] Johann Tante, preacher at St. Lambert,
and Gottfried Reining, of Ueberwasser, were also deprived. As for
the Lutheran preacher at St. Ludger, Johann Fink, "his mouth was
stopped by the gift of a fat prebendal stall, and from that moment
he entirely lost his zeal for the gospel of Wittenberg, and never
uttered another word against the Catholic religion."[54]

  [53] Kerssenbroeck, p. 128.

  [54] _Ibid._

By means of the mediation of the Archbishop of Cologne, a
reconciliation was effected. The articles were abolished and the
signatures annulled, and the members of the chapter returned to
Münster, which had felt their absence by the decrease in trade, and
the inconstant people "showed at least as much joy at their return
as they had shown hatred at their departure."[55]

  [55] _Ibid._ p. 138.

There can be no question but that the Reformation in Germany was
provoked to a large extent by abuses and corruptions in the Church.
To a much larger extent it was a revolt against the Papacy which had
weakened and numbed the powers of the Empire throughout the Middle
Ages from the time of the Emperor Henry IV. But chiefly as a social
and political movement it was the revolt of municipalities against
the authority of collegiate bodies of clergy and the temporal
jurisdiction of prince-bishops, or of grand dukes and margraves and
electors favouring the change because it allowed them at a sweep
to confiscate vast properties and melt down tons of chalices and
reliquaries into coin.

In Münster lived a draper, Bernhard Knipperdolling by name, who
assembled the malcontents in his house, or in a tavern, and poured
forth in their ears his sarcasms against the Pope, the bishops,
the clergy and the Church. He was well known for his dangerous
influence, and the bishop, Frederic von Wied, arrested him as
he passed near his residence at Vecht. The people of Münster,
exasperated at the news of the captivity of their favourite, obliged
the magistrates and the chapter to ask the bishop to release him.
Frederick von Wied yielded with reluctance, using these prophetic
words, "I consent, but I fear that this man will turn everything
in Münster and the whole diocese upside down." Knipperdolling left
prison, after having taken an oath to keep the peace; but on his
return to Münster he registered a vow that he would terribly revenge
his incarceration and would make the diocese pay as many ducats as
his captivity had cost him hellers.[56]

  [56] Kerssenbroeck, p. 143.

There was another man in Münster destined to exercise a fatal
influence on the unfortunate city. This was a priest named Bernard
Rottmann.[57] As a child he had been chorister at St. Maurice's
Church at Münster, where his exquisite voice had attracted notice.
He was educated in the choir school, then went to Mainz, where
in 1524 he took his Master's degree, and returning to Münster,
was ordained priest in 1529. He was then given the lectureship of
the church in which, as a boy, he had sung so sweetly. He shortly
exhibited a leaning towards Lutheranism, and the canons of St.
Maurice, who had placed great hopes on the young preacher, thinking
that he acted from inexperience and without bad intent, gave him
a paternal reprimand, and provided him with funds to go to the
University of Cologne, and study there dogmatic and controversial
theology; at the same time undertaking to retain Rottmann in the
receipt of his salary as lecturer, and to this they added a handsome
pension to assist him in his studies.

  [57] _Ibid._ 148; Latin edition, p. 1517-9; Dorpius, f. 391 a.

The young man received this money, and then, instead of going to
Cologne, betook himself to Wittenberg, where he attached himself
to Melancthon. On his return to Münster, the canons, unaware of
the fraud that had been played upon them, reinstated Rottmann in
the pulpit. He was too crafty to publish his new tenets in his
discourses, and thus to insure the loss of his situation, but he
employed his secret influence in society to spread Lutheranism.
After a while, when he considered his party strong enough to support
him, he threw off the mask, and preached boldly against the priests
and the bishops, and certain doctrines of the Catholic Church.
The more violent he became in his attacks, the more personal and
caustic in his language, the greater grew the throng of people to
hear him. Then he preached against Confession, which he called "the
disturber of consciences," and contrasted it with Justification by
Faith only, which set consciences at ease; he preached against good
works, against the obligation to observe the moral law, and assured
his hearers that grace was freely imputed to them, live as they
liked, and that the Gospel afforded them entire freedom from all
restraints. "The shameless dissolution which now began to spread
through the town," says Kerssenbroeck, "proved that the mob adopted
the belief in the impunity of sin; all those who were ruined in
pocket, hoping to get the possessions of others, joined the party of
innovators, and Rottmann was extolled by them to the skies."[58]

  [58] Kerssenbroeck, p. 152.

The Senate forbade the citizens to attend Rottmann's sermons, but
their orders were disregarded. The populace declared that Master
Bernard was the only preacher of the true Gospel, and they covered
with slander and abuse those who strove to oppose his seductive
doctrine. "Some of the episcopal councillors, however," says the
historian, "favoured the innovator. The private secretary of the
bishop, Leonhard Mosz, encouraged him secretly, and promised him his
support in the event of danger."[59]

  [59] Kerssenbroeck, p. 152.

But the faithful clergy informed the bishop of the scandal, and
before Mosz and others could interfere, a sentence of deprivation
was pronounced against him.

Rottmann, startled by this decisive measure, wrote a series of
letters to Frederick von Wied, which have been preserved by
Kerssenbroeck, in which he pretended that he had been calumniated
before "the best and most just of bishops," and excused himself,
instead of boldly and frankly announcing his secession from the
Catholic Church. In reply, the bishop ordered him to quit Münster,
and charged his councillors to announce to him that his case
would be submitted to the next synod. Rottmann then wrote to the
councillors a letter which exhibits his duplicity in a clearer
light. Frederick von Wied, hearing of this letter, ordered the
recalcitrant preacher to quit the convent adjoining the church
of St. Maurice, and to leave the town. Rottmann thereupon took
refuge in the house of Knipperdolling and his companions. Under the
protection of these turbulent men, the young preacher assumed a
bolder line, and wrote to the bishop demanding a public discussion,
and announcing that shortly his doctrine would be published in a
pamphlet, and thus be popularised.

On the 23rd of January, 1532, Rottmann's profession of faith
appeared, addressed in the form of a letter to the clergy of
Münster.[60] Like all the professions of faith of the period, it
consisted chiefly of a string of negations, with a few positive
statements retained from the Catholic creed on God, the Incarnation,
&c. He denied the special authority of the priesthood, reduced the
Sacraments to signs, going thereby beyond Luther; rejected doctrines
of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, Purgatory, the intercession of saints,
and the use of images, pilgrimages, vows, benedictions, and the
like. It would certainly have been more appropriately designated
a Confession of Disbelief. This pamphlet was widely circulated
amongst the people, and the party of Lutheran malcontents, headed
by Knipperdolling, and Herman Bispink, a coiner and forger of
title-deeds, grew in power, in numbers, and in audacity.

  [60] Kerssenbroeck, p. 165 _et seq._; Latin edition, Mencken, p.
  1520-8: Sleidan, French tr., p. 406.

On the 23rd of February, 1532, Knipperdolling and his associates
assembled the populace early, and carried Rottmann in triumph to
the church of St. Lambert. Finding the doors shut, they mounted the
preacher on a wooden pulpit before the bone-house. The Reformer then
addressed the people on the necessity of proclaiming evangelical
liberty and of destroying idolatry; of overthrowing images and the
Host preserved in the tabernacles. His doctrine might be summed
up in two words: liberty for the Evangelicals to do what they
liked, and compulsion for the Catholics. The sermon produced a
tremendous effect; before it was concluded the rioters rushed
towards the different churches, burst open the doors, tore down the
altars, reliquaries, statues; and the Sacrament was taken from the
tabernacles and trampled under foot. The cathedral alone, defended
by massive gates, escaped their fury.[61]

  [61] Kerssenbroeck, p. 185; Bullinger, "Adversus Anabaptist."
  lib. ii. c. 8.

Proud of this achievement, the insurgents defied all authority,
secular and ecclesiastical, and installed Bernhard Rottmann as
preacher and pastor of the Evangelical religion in St. Lambert's
Church. "Thenceforth," says the Münster contemporary historian, "it
may well be understood that they did not limit themselves to simple
tumults, but that murders, pillage, and the overthrow of all public
order followed. The success of this first enterprise had rendered
the leaders masters of the city."

Bishop Frederick von Wied felt that his power was at an end. He
was a man with no very strong religious zeal or moral courage.
He resigned his dignity in the sacristy of the church of Werne,
reserving to himself a yearly income of 2,000 florins. Duke Eric
of Brunswick, Prince of Grubenhagen, Bishop of Paderborn and
Osnabrück, was elected in his room. The nomination of Eric irritated
the Lutheran party. He was a man zealous for his religion, and
with powerful relations. Rottmann at once sent him his twenty-nine
articles, and the artisans of Münster, who had embraced the cause
of Rottmann, handed in a petition to the magistrates (April 16th,
1532) to request that compulsion might be used to force every one
to become Lutheran, "because it seems to us," said they, "that
this doctrine is in all points and entirely conformable to the
Gospel, whilst that which is taught by the rest of the clergy is
absurd, and ought to be rejected."[62] The bishop-elect wrote to the
magistrates, insisting on the dismissal of Rottmann, but in their
answer they not only declined to obey, but offered an apology for
his conduct.

  [62] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 189-90.

The bishop wrote again, but received no answer. Wishing to use every
means of conciliation, before adopting forcible measures, he sent a
deputation to Münster to demand the expulsion of the preacher, but
without success.

The people, becoming more insubordinate, determined to take
possession of other churches. One of the most important is the
church of Unsere Lieb-frau, or Ueberwasser, a church whose
beautiful tower and choir attract the admiration of the traveller
visiting Münster. This church and parish depended on the convent of
Ueberwasser; the rector was a man of zeal and power, a Dr. Martin,
who was peculiarly obnoxious to the Lutheran party. A deputation
was sent to the abbess, Ida von Merfelt, to insist on the dismissal
of the rector and the substitution of an Evangelical preacher.[63]
The lady was a woman of courage; she recommended the deputation
to return to their shops and to attend to their own business, and
announced that Dr. Martin should stay at his post; and stay he did,
for a time.

  [63] _Ibid._ p. 203.

The bishop was resolved to try force of arms, when suddenly he died,
May 9th, 1532, after having drunk a goblet of wine. Several writers
of the period state that it was poisoned. A modern historian says he
died of excess of drink--on what authority I do not know.[64] He had
brought down upon himself the dislike of the Lutherans for having
vigorously suppressed the reforming movement in Paderborn. The
history of that movement in this other Westphalian diocese is too
suggestive to be passed over. In 1527 the Elector John Frederick of
Saxony passed through Paderborn and ordered his Lutheran preachers
to address the people in the streets through the windows of the
house in which he lodged, as the clergy refused them the use of the
churches. Next year the agitation began by a quarrel between some
of the young citizens and the servants of the chapter, and ended in
the plundering and devastation of the cathedral and the residences
of the canons. The leader of the Evangelical party in Paderborn was
Johann Molner of Buren, a man who had been expelled from the city
in 1531 for murder and adultery; he left, taking with him as his
mistress the wife of the man he had murdered, and retired to Soest,
"where," says a contemporary writer, Daniel von Soest, "he did not
remain satisfied with this woman only." He returned to Paderborn as
a burning and shining gospel light, and led the iconoclastic riot.
Duke Philip of Grubenhagen supported his brother, and the town was
forced to pay 2,000 gulden for the damage done, and to promise to
pay damages if any further mischief took place, and this so cooled
the zeal of the citizens of Paderborn for the Gospel that it died

  [64] Stürc, "Gerchichte v. Osnabrück." Osnab. 1826, pt. iii. p.

  [65] Vehse, "Geschichte der Deutschen Höfe." Hamburg, 1859, vol.
  xlvii. p. 4-6. Bessen, "Geschichte v. Paderborn"; Paderb. 1820,
  vol. ii. p. 33.

The chapter retired to Ludwigshausen for the purpose of electing
the successor to Bishop Eric, who had only occupied the see three
months; their choice fell on Francis von Waldeck, Bishop of Minden,
and then of Osnabrück. The choice was not fortunate; it was dictated
by the exigencies of the times, which required a man of rank and
power to occupy the vacant throne, so as to reduce the disorder by
force of arms. Francis of Waldeck was all this, but the canons were
not at that time aware that he had himself strong leanings towards
Lutheranism; and after he became Bishop of Münster he would have
readily changed the religion of the place, had it not been that such
a proceeding would, under the circumstances, have involved the loss
of his income as prince-bishop. Later, when the disturbances were at
an end, he proposed to the Estates the establishment of Lutheranism
and the suppression of Catholicism, as we shall see in the sequel.
He even joined the Smalkald union of the Protestant princes against
the Catholics in 1544.

With sentiments so favourable to the Reform, the new bishop would
have yielded everything to the agitators, had they not assumed a
threatening attitude, and menaced his temporal position and revenue,
which were the only things connected with the office for which he

The inferior clergy of Münster wrote energetically to him on his
appointment, complaining of the innovations which succeeded each
other with rapidity in the town. "The Lutheran party," said they in
this letter, "are growing daily more invasive and insolent," and
they implored the bishop to protect their rights and liberty of
conscience against the tyranny of the new party, who, not content
with worshipping God in their own way, refused toleration to others,
outraged their feelings by violating all they held most sacred, and
disturbed their services by unseemly interruptions.

Francis of Waldeck renewed the orders of his predecessor. The senate
acknowledged the receipt of his letter, and promised to answer it on
a future occasion.

However, the warmest partisans of Rottmann were resolved to carry
matters to a climax, and at once to overthrow both the episcopal and
the civil authority. Knipperdolling persuaded the butcher Modersohn
and the skinner Redekker that, as provosts of their guilds, they
were entitled to convene the members of their trades without the
intervention of the magistrates. These two men accordingly convoked
the people for the 1st July.[66] The assembly was numerously
attended, and opened tumultuously. When silence was obtained, a
certain Johann Windemuller rose and proclaimed the purpose of the
convention. "The affair is one of importance," said he; "we have to
maintain the glory of God, our eternal welfare, the happiness of all
our fellow-citizens, and the development of our franchises; all
these things depend on the sacred ecclesiastical liberty announced
to us by the worthy Rottmann. We must conclude an alliance against
the oppressors of the Gospel, that the doctrine of Rottmann, which
is incontestably the true one, may be protected." These words
produced such enthusiasm, that the audience shouted with one voice
that "they would defend Rottmann and his doctrine to their last
farthing, and the last drop of their blood." Some of those present,
by their silence, expressed their displeasure, but a draper named
Johann Mennemann had the courage to raise his voice against the
proposal. A furious band at once attacked him with their fists,
crying out that the enemies of the pure Gospel must be destroyed;
"already the bold draper was menaced with their daggers, when one
of his friends succeeded in effecting his escape from the popular
rage." However, he was obliged to appear before the heads of the
guilds and answer for his opposition. Mennemann replied, that
in weighty matters concerning the welfare of the commonwealth,
tumultuous proceedings were not likely to produce good resolutions,
and that he advised the separation of the corporations, that the
questions might be maturely considered and properly weighed.[67]

  [66] Kerssenbroeck, p. 207; Dorpius, f. 391 b. 392.

  [67] _Ibid._ p. 208.

The corporations of trades now appointed twenty-six individuals, in
addition to the provosts, to decide on measures adapted to carry
out the resolution. This committee decided "that one religion alone
should be taught in the town for the future and for ever after;"
and that "if any opposition was offered by the magistrates, the
whole body of the citizens should be appealed to."[68]

  [68] Kerssenbroeck, p. 209.

These decisions were presented to the senate on the 11th July, which
replied that they were willing not to separate themselves from
evangelical truth, but that they were not yet satisfied on which
side it was to be found, and that they would ask the bishop to send
them learned theologians who should investigate the matter.

This reply irritated Rottmann, Knipperdolling, and their followers.
On the 12th July fresh messengers were sent to the Rath (senate) to
know whether it might be reckoned upon. The answer was equivocal.
A third deputation insisted on an answer of "Yes" or "No," and
threatened a general rising of the people unless their demands were
acceded to.[69] The magistrates, in alarm, promised their adhesion
to the wishes of the insurgents, who demanded at once that "sincere
preachers of the pure Gospel" should be installed in every church of
Münster. The councillors accordingly issued orders to all the clergy
of the city to adopt the articles of Bernard Rottmann, or to refute
them by scriptural arguments, or they must expect the Council to
proceed against them with the extremest rigour of the law.

  [69] _Ibid._ pp. 210, 211.

Then, to place the seal on their cowardly conduct, they wrote to
the prince-bishop on the 25th, to excuse themselves of complicity
in the institution of Rottmann, but at the same time they undertook
the defence of the Reformer, and assured the bishop that his
doctrine was sound and irrefutable. At the same time they opened
a communication with the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, asking that
bulwark of the Reformation to protect them. Philip wrote back,
promising his intervention, but warning them not to make the Gospel
an excuse for revolt and disorder, and not to imagine that Christian
liberty allowed them to seize on all the property of the Church. At
the same time he wrote to the prince-bishop to urge upon him not to
deprive the good and simple people of Münster of their evangelical

  [70] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 213-23.

In the meantime the seditious members of the town guilds grew
impatient; and on the 6th August they sent a deputation to the town
council reminding it of its promise, and insisting on the immediate
deprivation of all the Catholic clergy. The magistrates sought
to gain time, but the deputation threatened them with the people
taking the law into their own hands, rejecting the authority of the
council, and electing another set of magistrates.

"The Rath, on hearing this," says Kerssenbroeck, "were filled with
alarm, and they considered it expedient to yield, in part at least,
to the populace, and to deprive the clergy of their rights, rather
than to expose themselves rashly to the greatest dangers."[71]

  [71] _Ibid._ p. 272.

They resolved therefore to forbid the Catholic clergy the use of
the pulpits of the churches, and to address the people in any form.
This was done at once, and all ceremonies "contrary to the pure word
of God" were abolished, and the faithful in the different parishes
were required to receive and maintain the new pastors commissioned
by the burgomaster and corporation to minister to them in things

On the 10th August, a crowd, headed by Rottmann, the preacher
Brixius, and Knipperdolling, fell upon the churches and completed
the work of devastation which had been begun in February. The
Cathedral and the Church of Ueberwasser alone escaped their
Vandalism, because the fanatics were afraid of arousing too strong
an opposition. The same day the celebration of mass and communion in
one kind were forbidden under the severest penalties; the priests
were driven out of their churches, and Rottmann, Brixius, Glandorp,
Rolle, Wertheim, and Gottfried Ninnhoven, Lutheran preachers, were
intruded in their room.[72]

  [72] _Ibid._ pp. 228-34.

The peace among these new apostles of the true Gospel was, however,
subject to danger. Pastor Brixius had fallen in love with the sister
of Pastor Rottmann, and the appearance of the girl proved to every
one that the lovers had not waited for the ceremony of marriage.
Rottmann insisted on this brother pastor marrying the young woman to
repair the scandal. But no sooner was the bride introduced into the
parsonage of St. Martin, of which Brixius was in possession, than
the first wife of the evangelical minister arrived in Münster with
her two children. Brixius was obliged to send away the new wife, but
a coldness ensued between him and Rottmann; "however, fearing to
cause dissension amongst their adherents by an open quarrel, they
came to some arrangement, and Brixius retained his situation."[73]

  [73] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 228, 229.

These acts of violence and scandals had inspired many of the
citizens with alarm. Those who were able sent their goods out of
the town; the nuns of Ueberwasser despatched their title-deeds
and sacred vessels to a place of safety. Several of the wealthy
citizens and senators, who would not give up their religion,
deserted Münster, and settled elsewhere. The two burgomasters,
Ebroin Drost and Willebrand Plonies, resigned their offices and
left the city never to return.[74] The provosts of the guilds next
insisted on the severe repression of all Catholic usages and the
performance of sacraments by the priests; they went further, and
insisted on belief in the sacrifice of the altar and adoration of
the Host being made penal. The clergy wrote to the bishop imploring
his aid, and assuring him that their position was daily becoming
more intolerable; but Francis of Waldeck recommended patience, and
promised his aid when it lay in his power to assist them.

  [74] _Ibid._ p. 230.

On the 17th September, 1532, he convoked the nobles of the
principality at Wollbeck, gave them an account of the condition
of Münster, and conjured them to assist him in suppressing the
rebellion.[75] The nobles replied, that before adopting violent
measures, it would be advisable to attempt a reconciliation. Eight
commissioners were chosen from amongst the barons, who wrote to the
magistrates, and requested them to send their deputies to Wollbeck
on Monday, September 23rd, "so as to come to some decision on what
is necessary for the welfare of the republic." The envoys of the
city appeared, and after the opening of the assembly, the grand
marshal of the diocese described the condition of the city, and
declared that if it pursued its course of disobedience, the nobility
were prepared to assist their prince in re-establishing order. The
delegates were given eight days to frame an answer. The agitation
in Münster during these days was great. The evangelical preachers
lost no time in exciting the people. The deputies returned to the
conference with a vague answer that the best way to settle the
differences would be to submit them to competent and enlightened
judges; and so the matter dropped.

  [75] _Ibid._ p. 248 _et seq._

The bishop's officers now captured a herd of fat cattle belonging to
some citizens of Münster, which were on their way to Cologne, and
refused to surrender them till the preachers of disaffection were
sent away.[76]

  [76] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 268-9.

The party of Rottmann and Knipperdolling now required the town
council to raise 500 soldiers for the defence of the town, should
it be attacked by the prince-bishop--to strike 2000 ducats in
copper for the payment of the mercenaries, such money to circulate
in Münster alone--to order the sentinels to forbid egress to the
Catholic clergy, should they attempt to fly--and to impose on the
Catholic clergy a tax of 4000 florins a month for the support of
the troops. As the clergy had been deprived of their benefices,
forbidden to preach and minister the sacraments, this additional
act of persecution was intolerable in its injustice. The senate
accepted these requisitions with some abatement--the number of
soldiers was reduced to 300.[77]

  [77] _Ibid._ p. 279 _et seq._

The bishop, finding that the confiscation of the oxen had not
produced the required results, adopted another expedient which
proved equally ineffectual. He closed all the roads by his cavalry,
declared the city in a state of blockade, and forbade the peasantry
taking provisions into Münster. The artizans then marched out and
took the necessary food; they paid for it, but threatened the
peasants with spoliation without repayment, unless they frequented
the market with their goods as usual. This menace produced its
effect; Münster continued to be provisioned as before.[78]

  [78] _Ibid._ p. 283 _et seq._

Proud of their success, the innovators attacked Ueberwasser Church,
and ordered the abbess to dismiss the Catholic clergy who ministered
there, and to replace them by Gospel preachers. She declined
peremptorily, and the mob then drove the priests out of the church
and presbytery, and instituted Lutherans in their place.[79]

  [79] _Ibid._ pp. 284, 285.

Notwithstanding the decrees of the senate, the priests continued
their exhortations and their ministrations in such churches as the
Evangelicals were unable to supply with pastors, of whom there was
a lack. Brixius, the bigamist minister of St. Martin's, having
found in one of them a monk preaching to a crowd of women, rushed
up into the pulpit, crying out that the man was telling them
lies; "but," says Kerssenbroeck, "the devotees surrounded the
unfortunate orator, beat him with their fists, slippers, wooden
shoes and staves, so that he fled the church, his face and body
black and blue." Probably these women bore him a grudge also for his
treatment of Rottmann's sister, which was no secret. "Furious at
this, he went next day to exhibit the traces of the combat to the
senate, entreating them to revenge the outrage he had received--he
a minister of the Holy Gospel; but, for the first time, the
magistrates showed some sense, and declared that they would not
meddle in the matter, because the guilty persons were too numerous,
and that some indulgence ought to be shown to the fair sex."[80]

  [80] Kerssenbroeck, p. 330.

The town council now sent deputies to the Protestant princes, Dukes
Ernest and Francis of Lüneburg, the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, and
Count Philip of Waldeck, brother of the prince-bishop, to promise
the adhesion of the city to the Smalkald union, and to request
their assistance against their bishop. The situation was singular.
The city sought assistance of the Protestant union against their
prince, desiring to overthrow his power, under the plea that he
was a Catholic bishop. And the bishop, at heart a Lutheran, and
utterly indifferent to his religious position and responsibilities,
was determined to coerce his subjects into obedience, that he
might retain his rank and revenue as prince, intending, when the
city returned to its obedience, to shake off his episcopal office,
to Lutheranize his subjects, and remain their sovereign prince,
and possibly transform the ecclesiastical into a hereditary
principality, the appanage of a family of which he would be the
founder. He had already provided himself with a concubine, Anna
Pölmann, by whom he had children.

Whilst the senate was engaged in treating with the Protestant
princes, negotiations continued with the bishop, at the diets
convoked successively at Dulmen and Wollbeck, but they were as
fruitless as before. The deputies separated on the 9th December,
agreeing to meet again on the 21st of the same month.

At this time there arrived in Münster a formal refutation of
the theses of Rottmann, by John of Deventer, provincial of the
Franciscans at Cologne.[81] The magistrates had repeatedly
complained that "the refusal of the Catholics to reply to Bernard
Rottmann was the sole cause of all the evil." At the same time they
had forbidden the Catholic clergy to preach or to make use of the
press in Münster. This answer came like a surprise upon them. It was
carried by the foes of the clergy to the magistrates. The news of
the appearance of this counterblast created the wildest excitement.
"The citizens, assembled in great crowds, ran about the streets to
hear what was being said. Some announced that the victory would
remain with Rottmann, others declared that he would never recover
the blow."

  [81] Kerssenbroeck, p. 332.

The provosts of the guilds hastily drew up a petition to the senate
to expel the clergy from the town, and to confiscate their goods;
but the magistrates refused to comply with this requisition, which
would have at once stirred up civil war.[82]

  [82] _Ibid._ pp. 335-7.

Rottmann mounted the pulpit on St. Andrew's day, and declared that
on the following Sunday he would refute the arguments of John of
Deventer. Accordingly, on the day appointed, he preached to an
immense crowd, taking for his text the words of St. Paul (Rom. xiii.
12), "The night is far spent, the day is at hand." The sermon was
not an answer to the arguments of John of Deventer, but a furious
attack upon the Pope and Catholicism. Knipperdolling also informed
the people that he would rather have his children killed and cooked
and served up for dinner than surrender his evangelical principles
and return to the errors of the past.[83]

  [83] _Ibid._ p. 338.

On the 21st December, 1532, Francis of Waldeck assembled the diet
of the principality, and asked its advice as to the advisability
of proclaiming war against Münster, should the city persist in its
obstinacy.[84] The clergy and nobles replied that, according to
immemorial custom, the prince must engage in war at his own cost,
and that they were too heavily burdened with taxes for the Turkish
war to enable them to undertake fresh charges. Francis of Waldeck
reminded them that he was obliged to pay a pension of 2000 florins
to his predecessor, Frederick von Wied, and he affirmed that he also
was not in a condition to have recourse to arms.

  [84] _Ibid._ p. 340 _et seq._

Whilst the prince, his barons and canons were deliberating, Rottmann
had assumed the ecclesiastical dictatorship in the cathedral city,
and had ordered, on his sole authority, the suppression of the
observance of fast-days.

The spirit of opposition and protestation that had been evoked
already manifested itself in strange excesses. "Some of the
Evangelicals refused to have the bread put into their mouths at
Communion," says Kerssenbroeck, "but insisted on helping themselves
from the table, or they stained themselves in taking long draughts
at the large chalices. It is even said that some placed the bread
in large soup tureens, and poured the wine upon it, and took it out
with spoons and forks, so that they might communicate in both kinds
at one and the same moment."[85]

  [85] Kerssenbroeck, p. 347.

The Reformer of Münster began to entertain and to express doubts as
to the validity of the baptism of infants, which he considered had
not the warrant of Holy Scripture. Melancthon wrote urgently to him,
imploring him not to create dissensions in the Evangelical Church by
disturbing the arrangement many wise men had agreed upon. "We have
enemies enough," added Melancthon; "they will be rejoiced to see us
tearing each other and destroying one another.... I speak with good
intention, and I take the liberty of giving my advice, because I am
devoted to you and to the Church."[86]

  [86] _Ibid._ p. 348.

Luther wrote as well, not to Rottmann, but to the magistrates
of Münster, praising their love of the Gospel, and urging them
to beware of being drawn away by the damnable errors of the
Sacramentarians, Zwinglians, _aliorumque schwermerorum_.[87] The
senators received this apostolic epistle with the utmost respect
and reverence imaginable; they communicated it to Rottmann and
his colleagues, and ordered them to obey it. But the senate had
long lost its authority; and this injunction was disregarded.[88]
"Disorder and infidelity made progress; the idle, rogues,
spendthrifts, thieves, and ruined persons swelled the crowd of

  [87] _Ibid._ p. 349.

  [88] Kerssenbroeck, p. 351.

  [89] _Ibid._ p. 351.

However, it was not enough to have introduced the new religion, to
satisfy the Evangelicals the Catholics must be completely deprived
of the exercise of their religion. In spite of every hindrance,
mass had been celebrated every Sunday in the cathedral. All the
parish churches had been deprived of their priests, but the minster
remained in the hands of the Catholics. As Christmas approached,
many men and women prepared by fasting, alms, and confession,
to make their communion at the cathedral on the festival of the

The magistrates, hearing of their design, forbade them
communicating, offering, as an excuse, that it would cause scandal
to the partisans of the Reform. They also published a decree
forbidding baptisms to be performed elsewhere than in the parish
churches; so as to force the faithful to bring their children to the
ministrations of men whom they regarded with aversion as heretics
and apostates.[90]

  [90] _Ibid._ p. 353.

No envoys from the capital attended the reunion of the chambers at
Wollbeck on the 20th December. But Münster sent a letter expressing
a hope that the difference between the city and the prince might be
terminated by mediation.

This letter gave the diet a chance of escaping from its very
difficult position of enforcing the rule of the prince without
money to pay the soldiers. The diet undertook to lay the suggestion
before the prince-bishop, and to transmit his reply to the envoys of

Francis of Waldeck then quitted his diocese of Minden, and betook
himself to Telgte,[91] a little town about four miles from Münster,
where he was to receive the oath of allegiance and homage of his
subjects in the principality. The estates assembled at Wollbeck, and
all the leading nobles and clergy of the diocese hastened to Telgte
and assembled around their sovereign on the same day. A letter was
at once addressed to the senate of Münster by the assembled estates,
urging it to send deputies to Telgte, the following morning, at
eight o'clock, to labour together with them at the re-establishment
of peace.

  [91] _Ibid._ p. 354 _et seq._ Sleidan, French tr. p. 407.

The deputies did not appear; the senate addressed to the diet,
instead, a letter of excuses. The estates at once replied that in
the interest of peace, they regretted the obstinacy with which the
senate had refused to send deputies to Telgte; but that this had
not prevented them from supplicating the bishop to yield to their
wishes; and that they were glad to announce that he was ready to
submit the mutual differences to the arbitration of two princes of
the Empire, one to be named by himself, the other by the city of
Münster. And until the arbitration took place, the prince-bishop
would provisionally suspend all measures of severity, on condition
that the ancient usages should be restored in the churches, the
preachers should cease to innovate, and that the imprisoned vassals
of the bishop should be released.

This missive was sent into the town on the 25th; the magistrates
represented to the bearer "that it would be scandalous to occupy
themselves with temporal affairs on Christmas-day," and on this
pretext they persuaded him to remain till the morrow in Münster.
Then orders were given for the gates of the town to be closed, and
egress to be forbidden to every one.

Having taken these precautions, the magistrates assembled the
provosts of the guilds, and held with them a conference, which
terminated shortly before nine o'clock the same evening; after which
the subaltern officers of the senate were sent round to rap at every
door, and order the citizens to assemble at midnight, before the
town-hall. A nocturnal expedition had been resolved upon; but the
movement in the town had excited the alarm of the Catholics, who,
thinking that a general massacre of those who adhered to the old
religion was in contemplation, hid themselves in drains and cellars
and chimneys.

Arms were brought out of the arsenal, cannons were mounted, waggons
were laden with powder, shot, beams, planks and ladders. At the
appointed hour, the crowd, armed in various fashions, assembled
before the Rath-haus.[92] The magistrates and provosts then selected
six hundred trusty Evangelicals, and united them to a band of three
hundred mercenaries and a small troop of horse. The rest were
dispersed upon the ramparts and were recommended to keep watch;
then it was announced to the party in marching order that they were
to hasten stealthily to Telgte and capture the prince-bishop, his
councillors, the barons, and all the members of the estates then
assembled in that little town.

  [92] Kerssenbroeck, p. 358 _et seq._ Sleidan, French tr. p. 408.
  Sleidan also gives the number as 900; Dorpius, f. 392 b.

However, the diet, surprised at not seeing their messenger return,
conceived a slight suspicion. Whether he feared that his person was
in danger so near Münster is not known, but fortunately for himself,
the prince, that same evening, left Telgte for his castle of Iburg.
The members of the diet, after long waiting, sent some men along the
road to the capital to ascertain whether their messenger was within
sight. These men returned, saying that the gates of Münster were
closed and that no one was to be seen stirring.

The fact was singular, not to say suspicious, and a troop of horse
was ordered to make a reconnaissance in the direction of Münster. It
was already late at night, so, having given the order, the members
of the diet retired to their beds. The horse soldiers beat the
country, found all quiet, withdrew some planks from a bridge over
the Werse, between Telgte and Münster, to intercept the passage, and
then returned to their quarters, for the night was bitterly cold. On
surmounting a hill, crowned by a gibbet, they, however, turned once
more and looked over the plain towards the city. A profound silence
reigned; but a number of what they believed to be will-o'-the-wisps
flitted here and there over the dark ground. As, according to
popular superstition in Westphalia, these little lights are to be
seen in great abundance at Yuletide, the horsemen paid no attention
to them, but continued their return. These lights, mistaken for
marsh fires, were in fact the burning matches of the arquebuses
carried by those engaged in the sortie. On their return to Telgte,
the horse soldiers retired to their quarters, and in half-an-hour
all the inhabitants of the town were fast asleep.

Meanwhile, the men of Münster advanced, replaced the bridge over
the Werse, traversed the plain, and reached Telgte at two o'clock
in the morning. They at once occupied all the streets, according to
a plan concerted beforehand, then invaded the houses, and captured
the members of the diet, clergy, nobles and commons. Three only of
the cathedral chapter escaped in their night shirts with bare feet
across the frozen river Ems. The Münsterians, having laid their
hands on all the money, jewels, seals, and gold chains they could
find, retreated as rapidly as they had advanced, carrying off with
them their captives and the booty, but disappointed in not having
secured the person of the prince. They entered the cathedral city
in triumph on the morning of the 26th December, highly elated at
their success, and nothing doubting that with such hostages in
their hands, they would be able to dictate their own terms to the

But the expedition of Telgte had made a great sensation in the
empire. Francis of Waldeck addressed himself to all the members of
the Germanic body, and appealed especially to his metropolitan, the
Elector of Cologne, for assistance, and also to the Dukes of Cleves
and Gueldres. The elector wrote at once to Münster in terms the
most pressing, because some of his own councillors were among the
prisoners. He received an evasive answer. The Protestant princes of
the Smalkald league even addressed letters to the senate, blaming
energetically their high-handed proceeding. Philip Melancthon also
wrote a letter of mingled remonstrance and entreaty.[93] The only
result of their appeals was the restoration to the prisoners of
their money and the jewels taken from them.

  [93] Kerssenbroeck, p. 368.

John von Wyck, syndic of Bremen, was despatched by the senate of
Münster to the Landgrave Philip of Hesse, to ask him to undertake
the office of mediator between them and their prince. The Landgrave
readily accepted the invitation, and Francis of Waldeck was
equally ready to admit his mediation, as he was himself, as has
been already stated, a Lutheran at heart. The people of Münster,
finding that the bishop was eager for a pacific settlement, insisted
on the payment of the value of the oxen he had confiscated, as a
preliminary, before the subject of differences was entered upon. The
prince-bishop consented, paid 450 florins, and allowed the Landgrave
of Hesse to draw up sixteen articles of treaty, which met with the
approval of both the senate and himself.

The terms of the agreement were as follows:[94]--

I. The prince-bishop was to offer no violence to the inhabitants of
Münster in anything touching religion. "The people of Münster shall
keep the pure Word of God," said the article; "it shall be preached
to them, without any human additions by their preachers, in the six
parish churches. These same preachers shall minister the sacraments
and order their services and ceremonies as they please. The citizens
shall submit in religious matters to the judgment of the magistrates
alone, till the questions at issue are decided by a General Council."

  [94] _Ibid._ p. 392 _et seq._

II. The Catholics were to exercise their religion freely in the
cathedral and in the capitular churches not included in the
preceding article, _until Divine Providence should order otherwise_.
The Lutheran ministers were forbidden to attack the Catholics, their
dogmas and rights, _unless the Word of God imperiously required
it_;--a clause opening a door to any amount of abuse. As the
speciality of Protestantism of every sort consists in negation, it
would be impossible for an Evangelical pastor to hold his position
without denouncing what he disbelieved.

Article III. interdicted mutual recriminations. Article IV., in
strange contradiction with Article I., declared that the town of
Münster should obey the prince-bishop as legitimate sovereign in
matters spiritual and temporal. The bishop in the Vth Article
promised to respect the privileges of the subject.

The VIth Article forbade any one making an arbitrary use of the Word
of God to justify refusal of obedience to the magistrates. Article
VII. reserved to the clergy their revenues, with the exception of
the six parish churches, of which the revenues were to be employed
for the maintenance of the Evangelical pastors. By the VIIIth
Article the senate promised not to interfere with the collation to
benefices not in their hands by right. The IXth Article allowed the
citizens to deprive their pastors in the Lutheran churches, without
the intervention of the bishop. The rest of the Articles secured a
general amnesty, permission to the refugees to return, and to the
imprisoned members of the diet to obtain their freedom.

This treaty was fair enough in its general provisions. If, as was
the case, a large number of the citizens were disposed to adopt
Lutheranism, no power on earth had any right to constrain them, and
they might justly claim the free exercise of their religion. But
there were suspicious clauses inserted in the 1st and 2nd Articles
which pointed to the renewal of animosity and the re-opening of the
whole question.

This treaty was signed on the 14th February, 1533, by Philip of
Hesse, as mediator, Francis, Count of Waldeck, Prince and Bishop of
Münster, the members of chapter, the representatives of the nobles
of the principality, and the burgomasters and senators of Münster,
together with those of the towns of Coesfeld and Warendorf, in
their own name and in behalf of the other towns of the diocese.
The captive estates were liberated on the 18th February. How the
magistrates and town kept the other requirements of the treaty we
shall soon see.

The senate having been constituted supreme authority in spiritual
things by the Lutheran party, now undertook the organisation of the
Evangelical Church in the city; and a few days after the treaty had
been signed, it published an "Evangelical Constitution," consisting
of ten articles, for the government of the new Church.[95]

  [95] Kerssenbroeck, p. 398 _et seq._

The 8th article had a threatening aspect. "The ministers of the
Divine Word shall use their utmost endeavours to gain souls to the
true faith, and to direct them in the ways of perfection. _As for
those who shall refuse to accept the pure doctrine_, and those who
shall blaspheme and be guilty of public crimes, the senate will
employ against them all the rigour of the laws, and the sword of

Rottmann was appointed by the magistrates Superintendent of the
Lutheran Church in Münster, a function bearing a certain resemblance
to that of a bishop.[96] Then, thinking that a bishop should be the
husband of one wife at least, Rottmann married the widow of Johann
Vigers, late syndic of Münster. "She was a person of bad character,"
says Kerssenbroeck, "whom Rottmann had inspired during her husband's
life with Evangelical principles and an adulterous love."[97] It is
asserted, with what truth it is impossible at this distance of time
to decide, that Vigers was drowned in his bath at Ems, in a fit,
and that his wife allowed him to perish without attempting to save
him. Anyhow, no sooner was he dead, than she returned full speed to
Münster and married her lover.[98]

  [96] _Ibid._ p. 402.

  [97] _Ibid._ p. 403.

  [98] _Ibid._ p. 404.

The reformer and his adherents had been given their own way, and
the senate hoped they would rest satisfied, and that tranquillity
would be re-established in the city. But their hopes were doomed
to disappointment. Certain people, if given an inch, insist on
taking an ell; of these people Rottmann was one. Excited by him,
the Evangelicals of the town complained that the magistrates had
treated the Papists with too great leniency, that the clergy had
not been expelled and their goods confiscated according to the
original programme. It was decided tumultuously that the elections
must be anticipated; and on the 3rd March, the people deposed the
magistrates and elected in their room the leaders of the extreme
reforming party.[99] Knipperdolling was of their number; only four
of the former magistrates were allowed to retain office, and these
were men whom they could trust. Hermann Tilbeck and Kaspar Judenfeld
were named burgomasters; Heinrich Modersohn and Heinrich Redekker
were chosen provosts or tribunes of the people.[100]

  [99] Kerssenbroeck, p. 404.

  [100] _Ibid._ p. 405.

Next to the senate came the turn of the parishes. On the 17th March,
under the direction of Rottmann, the people proceeded to appoint
the ministers to the churches in the town. Their choice was not
happy; it fell on those most unqualified to exercise a salutary
influence, and restrain the excitement of a mob already become
nearly ungovernable.[101]

  [101] _Ibid._ p. 406.

The new senate endeavoured to strengthen the Evangelical cause
by uniting the other towns of the diocese in a common bond of
resistance. They invited these towns to send their deputies to meet
those of the capital at a little inn between Münster and Coesfeld,
on the 20th March. The assembly took place; but so far from the
other cities agreeing to support Münster, their deputies read those
of the capital a severe lecture, and refused to throw off their old
religion and their allegiance to the bishop.[102]

  [102] Kerssenbroeck, p. 407 _et seq._

On the 24th March, 1533, the burgomaster Tilbeck, accompanied by the
citizen Kerbink, went to Ueberwasser, summoned the abbess before
him, and ordered her to maintain at the expense of the abbey the
preachers lately appointed to the church in connection with the
convent. She was forced to submit.[103]

  [103] _Ibid._ p. 413.

On the 27th of the same month one of the preachers invaded the
church of St. Ledger, still in the hands of the Catholics, at the
head of his congregation, broke open the tabernacle, drew out the
Host, broke it, and blowing the fragments into the air, screamed to
the assembled multitude, "Look at your good God flying away."

The same day the treaty was violated towards the Franciscans. Some
of the senators ordered them to quit their convent, their habit,
and their order, unless they desired still more rigorous treatment,
"because the magistrates were resolved to make the Church flourish
again in her ancient purity, and because they wanted to convert the
convent into a school."[104]

  [104] _Ibid._ p. 413.

The superior replied that he and his brethren followed strictly
the rule of their founder, and that this house belonged to them by
right of succession, and that they were no charge to the town. He
said that if a building was needed for an Evangelical school, he
was ready to surrender to the magistrates a portion of the convent
buildings; all he asked in return was that he and his brethren
should be allowed to live in tranquillity. This proposal saved the
Franciscans for a time. The Evangelical school was established
in their convent, "but at the end of a month it had fallen into
complete disorder, whereas the old Papist school had not lost one of
its pupils, and was as flourishing as ever."[105]

  [105] Kerssenbroeck, p. 415.

Whilst the senators menaced the monasteries, Knipperdolling and his
friend Gerhardt Kibbenbroeck pillaged the church of S. Lambert.
Scarcely a day now passed without some fresh act of violence done to
the Catholics, or Vandalism perpetrated on the churches.

On the 5th April the prior and monks of Bispinkhoff were forbidden
by the magistrates to hear confessions in their own church. The
same day the Lutherans broke the altar and images in the church of
Ueberwasser, and scraped the paintings off the walls.

On Palm Sunday, April 6th,[106] at Ueberwasser, some of the nuns,
urged by the preachers in their church, cast off their vows, and
joining the people, chanted the 7th verse of the 124th Psalm
according to Luther's translation--

    "Der Strich ist entzwei,
    Und wir sind frei."

  [106] _Ibid._ p. 416.

"The snare is broken, and we are delivered;" and then they received
Communion with the pastors.

On the 7th the mob pillaged the church of the Servites, and defaced
it. Next day the Franciscans, who had made the wafers for the Holy
Sacrament for the churches in the diocese, were forbidden to make
them any more. On the 9th Knipperdolling, heading a party of the
reformed, broke into the cathedral during the celebration of the
Holy Eucharist, rushed up to the altar, and drove away the priest,
exclaiming, "Greedy fop, haven't you eaten enough good Gods yet?"
Two days later the magistrates ordered the chapter to surrender
into their hands their title deeds and sacred vessels. On the 14th,
Belkot, head of the city tribunal of Münster, entered the church of
S. Ledger, and carried off all its chalices, patens, and ciboriums,
whilst others who accompanied him destroyed the altars, paintings,
and statuary, and profaned the church in the most disgusting manner.
The unhappy Catholics, unable to resist, uttered loud lamentations,
and did not refrain from calling the perpetrators of the outrage
"robbers and sacrilegious," for which they were summoned before
the magistrates, and threatened with imprisonment unless they

  [107] Kerssenbroeck 417.

As the news of the conversion of the city of Münster to the Gospel
spread, strangers came to it from all parts, to hear and to learn,
as they gave out, pure Evangelical truth.

Amongst these adventurers was a man destined to play a terribly
prominent part in the great drama that was about to be enacted at
Münster. This was John Bockelson, a tailor, a native of Leyden, in
Holland. He had quitted his country and his wife secretly to hear
Rottmann. He entered Münster on the 25th July, and lodged with a
citizen named Hermann Ramers. Having been instructed in the Gospel
according to Luther, he went to preach in Osnabrück, but from thence
he was driven. He then returned to his own home. There he became an
Anabaptist, under the instruction of John Matthisson, who sent him
with Gerrit Buchbinder as apostles of the sect to Westphalia in the
month of November, 1533.

The time had now arrived when the Lutheran party, which had so
tyrannically treated the Catholics in the city of Münster, was
itself to be despotically put down and trampled upon by a sect which
sprang from its own womb.

Rottmann had for some while been wavering in his adhesion to
Lutheranism.[108] He doubted first, and then disbelieved in
the Real Presence, which Luther insisted upon. He thought that
the reformation of the Wittenberg doctor was not sufficiently
thoroughgoing in the matter of ceremonial; then he doubted the
scriptural authority for the baptism of infants. Two preachers,
Heinrich Rott and Herman Strapedius, fell in with his views. The
former had been a monk at Haarlem, but had become a Lutheran
preacher. He regarded the baptism of infants as one of those things
which are indifferent to salvation. Strapedius was more decided;
he preached against infant baptism as an abomination in the sight
of God. He was named by the people preacher at S. Lambert's,
the head church of the city, in spite of the opposition of the

  [108] Kerssenbroeck, p. 429 _et seq._; Sleidan, French tr. p.
  409; Bullinger, "Adv. Anabapt.," 116, ii. c. 8.

  [109] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 431, 432; Dorp., f. 322-3.

The Lutheran senate of Münster, which a few months previously had
been elected enthusiastically by the people, now felt that before
these fiery preachers, drifting into Anabaptism, their power was
in as precarious a position as was that of those whom they had
supplanted. Alarmed at the rapid extension of the new forms of
disbelief, they twice forbade Rottmann to preach against the baptism
of infants and the Real Presence, and ordered him to conform in his
teaching to authorised Lutheran doctrine. He treated their orders
with contempt. Then they summoned him before them: he appeared, but
on leaving the Rath-haus, preached in the square to the people with
redoubled violence.

The senate, at their wits' end, ordered a public discussion between
Rottmann and the orthodox Lutherans, represented by Hermann Busch.
The discussion took place before the city Rath, and the senate
decided that Busch had gained the day, and they therefore forbade
all innovation in the administration of baptism and the Lord's

Rottmann and his colleague disregarded the monition, and continued
their sermons against the rags of Popery which still disfigured
the Lutheran Church. Several of the ministers in the town, whether
from conviction or from interest, finding that their congregations
drained away to the churches where the stronger-spiced doctrine was
preached, joined the movement. It was simply a carrying of negation
beyond the pillars of Hercules planted by Luther. Luther had denied
of the sum total of Catholic dogmas, say ten, and had retained
ten. The Anabaptist denied two more, and retained only eight. On
the 10th August a tumultuous scene took place in the church of S.
Giles.[110] A Dutch preacher began declaiming against baptism of
children. Johann Windemoller, ex-senator, a vehement opponent of
Anabaptist disintegration of Lutheran doctrine, who was in the
congregation, rushed up the pulpit stairs, and pulled the preacher
down, exclaiming, "Scoundrel! how dare you take upon you the
office of preacher--you who, a few years ago, were thrust into the
iron-collar, and branded on the cheek for your crimes? Do you think
I do not know your antecedents? You talk of virtue, you gibbet-bird?
You who are guilty of so many crimes and impieties? Go along with
you, take your doctrine and your brand elsewhere."

  [110] Kerssenbroeck, p. 434.

Windemoller was about to turn the pastor out of the church, when a
number of women, who had joined the Anabaptist party, fell, howling,
upon Windemoller, crying that he wanted to deprive them of the
saving Gospel and Word of Truth, and they would have strangled him
had he not beat a precipitate retreat. The same afternoon, some
citizens who brought their children to this church to be baptized
were driven from the doors with shouts of derision.

The magistrates played a trump card, and ordered Rottmann to
leave the town, together with the ministers who followed his
teaching.[111] Bernard Rottmann replied much in the same strain as
he had answered the bishop, stating that his doctrine was strictly
conformable to the pure word of God, and that he demanded a public
discussion, in which his doctrines might be tested by Scripture
alone, without human additions. Finally he protested that he would
not abstain from preaching, nor desert his flock, whether the senate
persisted in its sentence or not. Five ministers signed this defiant
letter--Rottmann, Johann Clopris, Heinrich Roll, Gottfried Strahl,
and Denis Vinnius. These men at once hastened to collect the heads
of the corporations and provosts together, and urge them to take
their part against the Rath. They were quite prepared to do so, and
the magistrates yielded on condition that Bernard and his following
of preachers should abstain from speaking on the disputed questions
of infant baptism and the Eucharist. Rottmann consented, in his
own name and in that of his friends, in a paper dated October 3rd,
1533.[112] The senate was, however, well aware that its power was
tottering to its fall, and that the preachers had not the remotest
intention of fulfilling their engagement. They saw that these men
were gradually absorbing into themselves the supreme authority in
the city, and that a magistracy which opposed them could at any
moment be by them dismissed their office. In alarm they wrote to
the prince-bishop, and sent him messengers to lay before him the
precarious condition of the affairs in the capital, imploring him
to consider the imminence of the peril, and to send them learned
theologians who could combat the spread of erroneous doctrine, and
introduce those conformable to the pure word of God.[113]

  [111] _Ibid._ p. 436.

  [112] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 437-9.

  [113] _Ibid._ p. 441.

It was a singular state of affairs indeed. The magistrates had
appealed to the pure word of God, as understood by Luther, against
Catholicism, and now the Anabaptists appealed to the same oracle,
with equal confidence against Lutheranism; the two parties leaned on
the same support--who was to decide which party Scripture upheld?

The answer of Francis of Waldeck was such as might have been
expected from a man endowed with some common sense. He reminded the
magistrates that it was their own fault if things had come to such
a pass; he feared that now the evil had gained the upper hand, and
that gentleness was out of place; a decided face could alone secure
to the magistrates moral authority. He was ready to support them
if they would maintain their allegiance for the future. He would
send them a learned theologian, Dr. Heinrich Mumpert, prior of the
Franciscans of Bispinkhoff, to preach against error in the cathedral.

The senate was in a dilemma. They had no wish to return to
Catholicism, and they dreaded the progress of schism. They stood on
an inclined plane. Above was the rock of an infallible authority;
below, faith shelved into an abyss of negation they shrank from
fathoming. If they looked back, they saw Catholicism; if they
looked forward, they beheld the dissolution of all positive belief.
Like all timorous men they shrank from either alternative, and
attempted for a little longer to maintain their slippery position.
They declined the offer of the Catholic doctor, and turned to the
Landgrave Philip of Hesse for assistance. The Landgrave at once
acceded to the request of the magistrates, and sent them Theodore
Fabricius and Johann Melsinger, guaranteeing to their senate their

  [114] Kerssenbroeck, p. 443; Sleidan, p. 410; Dorpius, f. 393 b.

While these preachers were on their way, disorder increased in
Münster. The faction of Rottmann grew apace, and spread into the
Convent of Ueberwasser, where the nuns were daily compelled to
hear the harangues of two zealous Evangelical pastors, who exerted
themselves strenuously to demolish the faith of the sisters down
to the point fixed as the limit of negation by Luther. But these
pastors having become infected with Rottmann's views, continued the
work of destruction, and lowered the temple of faith two additional

The result of these sermons on the excitable nuns was that the
majority broke out into revolt, and refused to observe abstinence
and practise self-mortification; and proclaimed their intention
of returning to the world and marrying. The bishop wrote to them,
imploring them to consider that they were all of them members of
noble families, and that they must be careful in no way to dishonour
their families by scandalous behaviour. The mutineers seemed
disposed to yield, but we shall presently see that their submission
was only temporary.[115]

  [115] Kerssenbroeck, p. 443.

On the 15th October, the senate wrote to the bishop, and informed
him that they would not permit the prior Mumpert to preach in the
cathedral.[116] They acknowledged that according to the treaty
of Telgte, the city had consented to allow the Catholics the
use of the cathedral, "until such time as the Lord shall dispose
otherwise," but, they said, at the time of the conclusion of the
treaty, there was no preacher at the minster; which was true, for
the Catholic clergy had been forbidden the use of the pulpit; and
they declared that "in all good conscience, they could not permit
the institution of one whose doctrine and manner of life were not
conformable to the gospel."

  [116] _Ibid._ p. 444.

Francis of Waldeck, without paying attention to this refusal,
ordered Mumpert to preach and celebrate the Eucharist in the
cathedral church, on Sunday, 26th October, 1533. The prior obeyed.
The fury of the Evangelicals was without limits; and in a second
letter, more insolent than the first, the magistrates told the
bishop that "they would not suffer a fanatical friar to come and
teach error to the people." The bishop's sole reply was a command to
the prior to continue his course.

At this moment the learned divines sent by Philip of Hesse arrived
in the city, and hearing of the sermons in the minster, to which the
people flocked, and which were likely to produce a counter current
in a Catholic direction, they insisted, as a preliminary to their
mission, that the mouth of the Catholic preacher should be stopped.
"We pray you," said they to the magistrates, "to forbid this man
permission to reside in the town, lest our pure doctrine be choked
by his abominable sermons. An authority claiming to be Christian
should not tolerate such a scandal."

The senate hastened to satisfy the Hessian theologians, by not
merely ordering the Catholic preacher to leave the city, but by
outlawing him, so that he was obliged in haste to fly a place
where his life might be taken by any unscrupulous persons with

  [117] Kerssenbroeck, p. 444 _et seq._

Francis of Waldeck, justly irritated, wrote to Philip of Hesse,
remonstrating at the interference of his commissioners in the
affairs of another man's principality.[118] The Landgrave replied
that, so far from deserving reproach, he merited thanks for
having sent to Münster two divines of the first class, who would
preach there the pure Word of God, and would strangle the monster
of Anabaptism. With the outlawry of the Catholic preacher, the
struggle between Catholicism and Lutheranism closed; the struggle
for the future was to be between Lutheranism and Anabaptism; a
struggle desperate on the part of the Lutherans, for what basis
had they for operation? The Catholics had an intrenched position
in the authority of a Church, which they claimed to be invested
with divine inerrancy, by commission from Christ; but the Lutheran
and Anabaptist fought over the pages of the Bible, each claiming
Scripture as on his side. It was a war within a camp, to decide
which should pitch the other outside the rampart of the letter.

  [118] _Ibid._ p. 457 _et seq._

Fabricius and Melsinger fought for Infant Baptism and the Real
Presence, Rottmann and Strapedius against both. "Do you call this
the body and blood of Christ?" exclaimed Master Bernard one day,
whilst he was distributing the Sacrament; and flinging it on the
ground, he continued, "Were it so, it would get up from the ground
and mount the altar of itself without my help. Know by this that
neither the body nor blood of Christ are here."[119]

  [119] Dorpius, f. 394.

Peter Wyrthemius, a Lutheran preacher, was interrupted, when he
attempted to preach, by the shouts and jeers of the Anabaptists, and
was at last driven from his pulpit.

Rottmann kept his promise not to preach Anabaptist doctrine in
the pulpit, but he printed and circulated a number of tracts and
pamphlets, and held meetings in private houses for the purpose of
disseminating his views.[120] His reputation increased rapidly, and
extended afar. Disciples came from Holland, Brabant, and Friesland,
to place themselves under his direction; women even confided to him
the custody of their children.

  [120] Kerssenbroeck, p. 448.

The most lively anxiety inspired the senate to make another attempt
to regain their supremacy in the direction of affairs.

On the 3rd or 4th November, the heads of the guilds and the provosts
and patricians of the city were assembled to deliberate, and it
was resolved that Rottmann and his colleagues should be expelled
the town and the diocese; and to remove from them the excuse that
they feared arrest when they quitted the walls of Münster, the
magistrates obtained for them a safe-conduct, signed by the bishop
and the upper chapter.[121]

  [121] _Ibid._ p. 449.

Next day, the magistrates and chief citizens reassembled in the
market square, and voted that "not only should the Anabaptist
preachers be exiled, but also those of the magistrates who had
supported them; and that this sentence should receive immediate

  [122] Kerssenbroeck, p. 450 _et seq._

This was too sweeping a measure to pass without provoking
resistance. The burgomaster, Tilbeck, who felt that the blow was
aimed at himself, exclaimed, angrily: "Is this the reward I receive
for having prudently governed the republic? But we will not suffer
the innocent to be oppressed, and we shall treat you in such a
manner as will calm your insolence."

These words gave the signal for an open rupture.

Knipperdolling and Hermann Krampe, both members of the senate, drew
their swords and ranged themselves beside the burgomaster, calling
the people to arms. The mob at once rushed upon the senators. The
servants of the chapter and the clergy in the cathedral close,
hastened carrying arms to the assistance of the magistrates. Both
parties sought a place of defence, each anticipating an attack.
The Lutherans occupied the Rath-haus and barricaded the doors. The
Anabaptists retired behind the strong walls of the cemetery of St.
Lambert. The night was spent by both parties under arms, and a fight
appeared imminent on the morrow. Then the syndic Johann von Wyck
persuaded the frightened senate to moderate their sentence, and
hurrying to the Anabaptists, he urged them to be reconciled to the
magistrates. An agreement was finally concluded, whereby Rottmann
was forbidden for the future to preach, and every one was to be
allowed to believe what he liked, and to disbelieve what he chose.

Master Bernard, however, evaded his obligation by holding meetings
in private houses at night, to which his followers were summoned by
the discharge of a gun.[123] Considering that it was now necessary
that his adherents should have their articles of belief, or rather
of disbelief, as a bond of union and of distinction between
themselves and the Lutherans, he drew up a profession of faith in
nineteen articles. That which he had published nine months before
was antiquated, and represented the creed of the Lutheran faction,
against which he was now at variance.

  [123] Kerssenbroeck, p. 453 _et seq._

This second creed contained the following propositions:--

The baptism of children is abominable before God.

The habitual ceremonies used at baptism are the work of the devil
and of the Pope, who is Antichrist.

The consecrated Host is the great Baal.

A Christian (that is, a member of Rottmann's sect) does not set foot
in the religious assemblies of the impious (_i.e._, of the Catholics
and Lutherans).

He holds no communication and has no relations with them; he is not
bound to obey their authorities; he has nothing in common with their
tribunals; nor does he unite with them in marriage.

The Sabbath was instituted by the Lord God, and there is no
scriptural warrant for transferring the obligation to the Sunday.

Papists and Lutherans are to be regarded as equally infamous, and
those who give faith to the inventions of priests are veritable

During fourteen centuries there have been no true Christians. Christ
was the last priest; the apostles did not enjoy the priestly office.

Jesus Christ did not derive His human nature from Mary.[124]

  [124] This is corroborated by the Acta, Handlungen, &c., fol.
  385. "_The Preachers_: Do you believe that Christ received His
  flesh off the flesh of Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost?
  _John of Leyden_: No; such is not the teaching of Scripture." And
  he explained that if the flesh had been taken from Mary, it must
  have been sinful, for she was not immaculate.

Every marriage concluded before re-baptism is invalid.

Faith in Christ must precede baptism.

Wives shall call their husbands lords.

Usury is forbidden.

The faithful shall possess all things in common.

The publication of this formulary of faith, if such it may be
called, which is a string of negative propositions, increased the
alarm of the more sober citizens, who, feeling the insecurity of
property and life under a powerless magistracy, prepared to leave
the town. Many fled and left their Lutheranism behind them. Lening,
one of the preachers sent by the Landgrave of Hesse, ran away.

Fabricius had more courage. He preached energetically against
Rottmann, assisted by Dr. Johann Westermann, a Lutheran theologian
of Lippe.[125]

  [125] Kerssenbroeck, p. 456; Sleidan, p. 411.

According to Kerssenbroeck, however, half the town followed by the
Anabaptist leader, and brought their goods and money to lay them at
his feet. Those who had nothing of their own, in a body joined the
society which proclaimed community of goods.

The bishop again wrote to the magistrates, urging them to permit
the Catholic preacher, Mumpert, the use of the cathedral pulpit,
but the senate refused, and continued their vain efforts to build
their theological system on a slide. At their request, Fabricius
and Westermann drew up (November 28, 1533) a symbol of belief in
opposition to that formulated by Rottmann, and it was read and
adopted by the Lutherans in the Church of St. Lambert. A large
number of the people gave in their adhesion to this last and newest
creed, and the magistrates, emboldened thereby, made a descent upon
the house of the ex-superintendent, and confiscated his private
press, with which he had printed his tracts.[126]

  [126] _Ibid._ p. 456.

It was then that the two apostles, Buchbinder and Bockelson, sent
by Matthisson into Westphalia, appeared in the city. They remained
there only four days, during which they re-baptised the preachers
and several of their adepts, and then retired prophesying their
speedy return and the advent of the reign of grace.

Rottmann, highly exasperated against Fabricius for having drawn up
his counter-creed, went on the 30th November to the churchyard of
St. Lambert, and standing in an elevated situation, preached to the
people on his own new creed, whilst Fabricius was discoursing within
to his congregation on his own profession of faith.

When service was over Fabricius came out, and was immediately
attacked by Rottmann with injurious expressions, which, however, so
exasperated the congregation of the Lutheran, that they fell upon
the late superintendent of the Evangelical Church, and threatened
him with their sticks and fists.

On the 1st December, Fabricius complained in the pulpit of the
insult he had received, and appealed to the people to judge between
his doctrine and that of Master Bernard by the difference there was
between their respective behaviour.[127]

  [127] Kerssenbroeck, p. 461.

A new Anabaptist orator now appeared on the stage; he was a
blacksmith's apprentice, named Johann Schroeder. On the 8th December
he occupied the position in the cemetery of St. Lambert from which
Rottmann had been forced to fly, and defied the Lutherans to
oppose him with the pure Word of God. He denounced them as still
in darkness, as wrapped in the trappings of Popery, and as enemies
to the Gospel of Christ and Evangelical liberty. Then he dared
Fabricius to meet him in a public discussion, and prove his doctrine
by the text of Scripture.[128]

  [128] _Ibid._ p. 461.

The magistrates resolved on one more attempt to arrest the disorder.
On the 11th November they informed Rottmann that, unless he
immediately left the city, they would decree his outlawry. Rottmann
sent a message to them in reply, "That he would not go; that he was
not afraid; and that exile was to him an empty word, for, wherever
he was, the heavenly Father would cover him with His wings." He took
no further notice of the order, except only that he instituted a
bodyguard of armed citizens to accompany him wherever he went. On
the Sunday following, December 14th, he betook himself, surrounded
by his guard, to the church of the Servites, where he intended to
preach. But finding the doors locked, he placed himself under a
lime-tree near the building and pronounced his discourse, without
any one venturing to lay a hand upon him.[129]

  [129] Kerssenbroeck, p. 163; Dorpius, f. 394 a.

The magistrates were equally unsuccessful in silencing the
blacksmith Schroeder. This man, having preached again on the 15th
December, was taken by the police and thrown into prison. Next day
the members of the Blacksmiths' Guild marched to the Rath-haus,
armed with their hammers and with bars of iron, to demand the
release of their comrade. A violent dispute arose between the
senators and the exasperated artisans. The former declared that
Schroeder, whose trade was to shoe horses and not to preach, had
deserved death for having incited to sedition. The reply of the
blacksmiths was very similar to that made by the senate to the
bishop when he ordered the expulsion of Rottmann. "Schroeder," said
they, "has been urged on by love of truth, and he has preached with
so much zeal that he has made himself hoarse. He has been guilty
neither of murder nor of any crime worthy of death. How dare you
maltreat this one who has given edifying instruction to his fellow
citizens? Must nothing be done without your authorisation?" Upon the
heels of the arguments came menaces. The senate yielded again, and
promised to release Schroeder on the morrow.

"Not to-morrow," shouted the blacksmiths; "restore our comrade to us
immediately, or we will burst open the prison doors."

The magistrates bowed to the storm, taking, however, the worse than
useless precaution of making Schroeder swear, before they knocked
off his chains, that he would not attempt to revenge on them his

  [130] Kerssenbroeck, p. 464.

On the 21st December, Rottmann resumed the use of his pulpit in
the church of the Servites, treating the orders of the senate with
supreme contempt. Westermann, tired of a struggle with the swelling
tide, deserted Münster, leaving Fabricius alone to fight against the
growing power of the Anabaptists.

The year 1534 opened under gloomy auspices at Münster. In the first
few days of January, the new sect dealt the Lutherans the same
measure these latter had dealt the Catholics a twelvemonth before.
They invaded their churches and disturbed divine worship.

Fabricius attacked Rottmann violently in a sermon preached on the
4th January, and offered to have a public discussion with him on the
moot points of doctrine. The senate accepted the proposition with
transport, but Rottmann refused. "Not," said he, "that I am afraid
of entering the lists against this Lutheran, but that men are so
corrupt that they would certainly condemn that side which had for
its support right and the word of Scripture."[131]

  [131] _Ibid._ pp. 466, 467.

On the same day that Rottmann sent in his refusal, a band of women
tumultuously entered the town-hall and demanded that "the miserable
foreign vagabond Fabricius, who could not even speak the dialect
of the country, and who, inspired by an evil spirit, preaches all
kinds of absurdities in a tongue scarcely intelligible, should be
driven out of the city. Set in his place the worthy Rottmann," said
the women; "he is prudent, eloquent, instructed in every kind of
knowledge, and he can speak our language. Grant us this favour,
Herrn Burgmeistern, and we will pray God for you." The burgomasters
requested the ladies not to meddle with matters that concerned them
not, but to return to their families and kitchens. This invitation
drove them into a paroxysm of rage, and they shouted at the top
of their shrill voices: "Here are fine burgomasters! They are
neglecting the interests of the town! Here are tender fathers of
their country who attend to nothing! You are worse than murderers,
for _they_ kill the body, but _you_ assassinate souls by depriving
them of the Evangelical Word which is their nourishment." The women
then retired, but returned next day reinforced by others, and among
them were six nuns who had deserted the convent of Ueberwasser and
exhibited greater violence than the rest.

The women entered the hall where the senators were sitting and
demanded peremptorily that Rottmann should be instituted to the
church of St. Lambert. They were turned out of the hall without much
ceremony, but they waited the exit of the magistrates when their
session was at an end; then they bespattered them with cow and horse
dung, and cursed them as Papists. "At first you favoured our holy
enterprise, but you have returned to Popery like dogs to their
vomit. Since you have devoured the good Hessian God which Fabricius
offers you in communion, you oppress the pure Word of God. To the
gallows, to the gallows with you all!" The senators fled to their
houses, pursued by the women, covered with filth, and deafened by
their yells.[132]

  [132] Kerssenbroeck, p. 468.

Rottmann and his colleagues exercised an extraordinary influence
over the people; they persuaded the rich ladies and citizens' wives
of substance to sell their goods, give up their jewels, and cast
everything they had into a common fund. The prompt submission of so
many proves that the number of fanatics who were sincere in their
convictions was considerable. These proceedings led to estrangement
in families. Kerssenbroeck relates that the wife of one of the
senators, named Wardemann, having been rebaptised by Rottmann, "was
so vigorously confirmed in her faith by her husband, who had been
informed by a servant maid of the circumstance, that she could
not walk for several weeks." Other women, who had given up their
jewels and money to Rottmann, were also severely chastised by their

  [133] _Ibid._ p. 472.

The magistrates, afraid to touch Rottmann's person, hoped to
weaken him by dismissing his assistants. They therefore, on the
15th January, 1534, ordered their officers to take the Anabaptist
preachers, Clopris, Roll, and Strahl, and to turn them out of
the town, with orders never to re-enter it. The mandate was
executed; but the ministers returned by another gate, and were
conducted in triumph to their parsonages by the whole body of the

  [134] Kerssenbroeck, p. 473.

The fugitive nuns of Ueberwasser, to the number of eight, were
re-baptised by Rottmann on the 11th January, and became some
of his most devoted adherents. Their conduct in the sequel was
characterised by the most shameless lubricity.

The prince-bishop at this time published a decree against the
Anabaptists, outlawed Rottmann and five other preachers of that sect
in Münster, and ordered his officers to check the spread of the
schism through the other towns of his principality.

On the 23rd January, Rottmann having noticed some Catholics and
Lutherans amongst his audience in the church of the Servites,
abruptly stopped his sermon, saying that it was not meet to cast the
pearls of the new revelation before swine.[135] Then he descended
from the pulpit, and refused to remount it again. But probably
the real cause of this sudden cessation was, that the views of
the leader were undergoing a third change, and he was unwilling
to announce his new doctrine to an audience of which all were not
prepared to receive it. He continued to assemble the faithful in
private houses, and to hold daily assemblies, in which they were
initiated into the further mysteries of his revelation. In every
parish a house was provided for the purpose, and none were admitted
without a pass-word. In these gatherings the mystic was able to
give full development to his views without the restraint of an only
partially sympathising audience.

  [135] _Ibid._ p. 476.

On the evening of the 28th January, at seven o'clock, the
Anabaptists stretched chains across the streets, assembled in
armed bands, closed the city gates, and placed sentinels in all
directions. A terrible anxiety reigned in the city. The Lutherans
remained up and awake all night, a prey to fear, with their doors
and windows barricaded, waiting to see what these preparations
signified. The night passed, broken only by the tramp of the
sectarian fanatics, and lighted by the glare of their torches.

Dawn broke and nothing further had taken place, when suddenly two
men, dressed like prophets, with long ragged beards, ample garments,
and flowing mantles, staff in hand paced through the town solemnly,
up one street and down another, raising their eyes to heaven,
sighing, and then looking down with an expression of compassion on
the multitude, which bowed before them and saluted them as Enoch and
Elias. After having traversed the greater part of the town, the two
men entered the door of Knipperdolling's house.[136]

  [136] Kerssenbroeck, p. 476.

The names of these prophets were John Matthisson and John Bockelson.
The first was the chief of the Anabaptist sect in Holland. The
part which the second was destined to play in Münster demands
that his antecedents should be more fully given. Bockelson was
the bastard son of Bockel, bailiff of the Hague, and a certain
Adelhaid, daughter of a serf of the Lord of Zoelcken, in the diocese
of Münster. This Adelhaid purchased her liberty afterwards and
married her seducer. John was brought up at Leyden, where he was
apprenticed to a tailor. He visited England, Portugal, and Lubeck,
and returned to Leyden in his twenty-first year. He then married the
widow of a boatman, who presented him with two sons. John Bockelson
was endowed by nature with a ready wit and with a retentive memory.
He amused himself by learning nearly the whole of the Bible by
heart, and by composing obscene verses and plays. In addition to his
business of tailoring, he opened a public-house under the sign of
"The Three Herrings," which became a haunt of women of bad repute.
The passion for change came over Bockelson after leading this sort
of life for a while, and he visited Münster in 1533, as we have
already seen, and thence passed to Osnabrück, from which place
he was expelled. After wandering about Westphalia for a while he
returned to Leyden. Next year, in company with Matthisson, the head
of the Anabaptists, he visited Münster, which the latter declared
prophetically was destined to be the new Jerusalem, the capital of a
regenerate world, where the millennial kingdom was to be set up.[137]

  [137] Kerssenbroeck, part ii. p. 51 _et seq._; Heresbach, p. 31;
  Hast, p. 324.

The two adventurers reached their destination on the 13th January,
and Knipperdolling received them into his house. Some of the
preachers were informed of their arrival, but were required to keep
the matter secret till the time ordained of God should come for
their revealing themselves to the world.

A council was being held in the house of Knipperdolling, when the
prophets entered it after having finished their peregrination of
the town. Rottmann, Roll, Clopris, Strapedius, Vinnius, and Strahl
were engaged in a warm discussion. Some of the party were of opinion
that the moment had arrived, now that all the Anabaptists were under
arms, for a general purification of the city by the massacre or
expulsion of Catholics and Lutherans; the others thought that the
hour of vengeance had not yet struck, and that the day of the Lord
must not be antedated. The quarrel was appeased by the appearance of
the two prophets, who were hailed as messengers sent from heaven to
announce the will of God. Then Matthisson and his companion knelt
down and wept, and having meditated some moments, they uttered
their decision in voices broken by sobs. "The time for cleansing
the threshing-floor of the Lord is not yet come. The slaughter of
the ungodly must be delayed, that souls may be gathered in, and
that souls may be formed and educated in houses set apart, and not
in churches which were lately filled with idols. But," said they in
conclusion, "the day of the Lord is at hand."

These words reconciled the council. On the evening of the 29th, the
Anabaptists laid aside their arms and returned to their homes.[138]
The events of the night had utterly dispelled the last traces of
courage in the magistrates; they did not venture to notice the
threatening aspect of the armed fanatics, or to remonstrate with
them for barricading the streets. To avert all possible danger from
themselves was their only object; and to effect this they published
an act of toleration, permitting every man to worship God and
perform his public and private devotions as he thought proper.

  [138] Kerssenbroeck, part i. p. 477 _et seq._

The power of Rottmann had become so great, through the events
just recorded, that a false prophecy did not serve to upset his
authority. On the 6th February, at the head of a troop of his
admirers, he invaded the Church of Ueberwasser, "to prevent the
Evangelical flame kindled in the hearts of the nuns from dying
out."[139] Having summoned all the sisters into the church, he
mounted the pulpit and preached to them a sermon on matrimony, in
which he denounced convents and monasteries, in which the most
imperious laws of nature were left unfulfilled, and "he urged the
nuns to labour heartily for the propagation of the human race;"
and then he completely turned the heads of the young women, by
announcing to them with an inspired air, that their convent would
fall at midnight, and would bury beneath its ruins every one who was
found within its walls. "This salutary announcement has been made to
me," said he, "by one of the prophets now present in this town, and
the Heavenly Father has also favoured me with a direct and special
revelation to the same effect."[140]

  [139] Kerssenbroeck, p. 479.

  [140] Hast, p. 329 _et seq._

This was enough to complete the conversion of the nuns, already
shaken in their faith by the sermons they had been compelled to
listen to for some time past. In vain did the Abbess Ida and two
other sisters implore them to remain and despise the prophecy.
The infatuated women, in paroxysms of fear and excitement, fled
the convent and took refuge in the house of Rottmann, where they
changed their clothes, and then ran about the town uttering cries of

The prophecy of Rottmann had been repeated by one to another
throughout Münster. No one slept that night. Crowds poured down the
streets in the direction of Ueberwasser, and the square in front of
the convent was densely packed with breathless spectators, awaiting
the ruin of the house.

Midnight tolled from the cathedral tower. The crowd waited another
hour. It struck one, and the convent had not fallen. Master
Bernard was not the man to be disconcerted by so small a matter.
"Prophecies," cried he, "are always conditional. Jonah foretold that
Nineveh should be destroyed in forty days, but since the inhabitants
repented, it remained standing. The same has taken place here.
Nearly all the nuns have repented, have quitted their cloister
and their habit, have renounced their vows--thus the anger of the
Heavenly Father has been allayed."[141]

  [141] Kerssenbroeck, p. 479.

The preacher Roll was next seized with prophetic inspiration. He ran
through the town, foaming at the mouth, his eyes rolling, his hair
and garments in disorder, his face haggard, uttering at one moment
inarticulate howls, and at another, exhortations to the impenitent
to turn and be saved, for that the day of the Lord was at hand.[142]

  [142] Dorpius, p. 394.

A young girl of eighteen, the daughter of a tailor named Gregory
Zumberge, was next seized. "On the 8th February she was possessed
with a sort of oratorical fury, and she preached with fire and
extraordinary volubility before an astonished crowd."

The same day the spirit fell on Knipperdolling and Bockelson; they
ran about the streets with bare heads and uplifted eyes, repeating
incessantly in shrill tones, "Repent, repent, repent, ye sinners;
woe, woe!" Having reached the market-place, they fell into one
another's arms before a crowd of citizens and artizans who ran
up from all directions. At the same moment, the tailor, Gregory
Zumberge, father of the preaching damsel, arrived with his hair
flying, his arms extended, his face contorted, and a wild light
playing in his eyes, and cried, "Lift up your heads, O men, O dear
brothers! I see the majesty of God in the clouds, and Jesus waving
the standard of victory. Woe to ye impious ones who have resisted
the truth! Repent, repent! I see the Heavenly Father surrounded by
thousands of angels menacing you with destruction! Be converted! the
great and terrible day of the Lord is come.... God will truly purge
His floor, and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.... Renounce
your evil ways and adopt the sign of the New Convenant, if you wish
to escape the wrath of the Lord."

"It is impossible," says the oft-quoted writer, who was eye-witness
in the town of all he describes, "impossible to imagine the
gestures and antics which accompanied this discourse. Now the
tailor leaped about on the stones and seemed as though about to
fly; then he turned his head with extraordinary rapidity, beating
his hands together, and looking up to heaven and then down to
earth. Then, all at once, an expression of despair came over his
face, and he fell on the pavement in the form of a cross, and
rolled in the mud. A good number of us young fellows were there,"
continues Kerssenbroeck, "much astonished at their howling, and
looking attentively at the sky to see if there really was anything
extraordinary to be seen there; but not distinguishing anything we
began to make fun of the illuminati, and this decided them to retire
to the house of Knipperdolling."[143]

  [143] Kerssenbroeck, p. 483.

There a new scene commenced. The ecstatics left doors and windows
wide open, that all that passed within might be seen and heard by
the dense crowd which packed the street without. Those in the street
saw Knipperdolling place himself in a corner, his face to the wall,
and carry on in broken accents a familiar conversation with God
the Father. At one moment he was seen to be listening, then to be
replying, making the strangest gestures. This went on for some time,
till another actor appeared. This was a blind Scottish beggar, very
tall and gaunt--a zealous Anabaptist. He was fantastically dressed
in rags, and wore high-heeled boots to add to his stature. Although
blind, he ran about exclaiming that he saw strange visions in the
sky. This was enough to attract a crowd, which followed him to the
corner of the König's Strasse, when, just as he was exclaiming,
"Alas, alas! Heaven is going this instant to fall!" he tumbled over
a dung-heap which was in his way. This accident woke him from his
ecstasy, and he picked himself up in great confusion, and never
prophesied again.[144]

  [144] _Ibid._ p. 479.

But his place was speedily supplied by another man named Jodocus
Culenburg, who, in order to convey himself with greater rapidity
whither the Spirit called him, rode about the town on a horse,
announcing in every street that he heard the peal of the Last
Trumpet. Several women also were taken with the prophetic spirit,
and one, named Timmermann, declared that "the King of Heaven was
about to appear like a lightning-flash, and would re-establish
Jerusalem." Another woman, whose cries and calls to repentance had
caused her to lose her voice, ran about with a bell attached to her
girdle, urging the bystanders with expressive gestures to join the
number of the elect and be saved.[145]

  [145] Kerssenbroeck, p. 484.

These fantastic scenes had made a profound impression on many of
the citizens of Münster. A nervous affection accompanying mystic
excitement is always infectious. The agitation of minds and
consciences became general; men and women had trances, prayed in
public, screamed, had visions, and fell into cataleptic fits. In
those days people knew nothing of physical and psychological causes;
the general excitement was attributed by them to supernatural
agency. It was simply a question whether these signs were produced
by the devil or by the Spirit of God. The Catholics attributed
the signs to the agency of Satan; the Lutherans were in nervous
uncertainty. Were they resisting God or the devil? Fear lest they
should be found in the ranks of those fighting against the Holy
Spirit drew off numbers of the timorous and most conscientious to
swell the ranks of the mystical sect. Münster was exhibiting on a
large scale what is reproduced in our own land in many a Wesleyan
and Ranter revival meeting.

The time had now come, thought Rottmann, for the destruction
of the enemies of God. Secret notice was sent to the different
Anabaptist congregations to be prepared to strike the blow on the
9th of February. Accordingly, early in the morning, 500 fanatics
seized on the gates of the city, the Rath-haus, and the arms it
contained; cannons were planted in the chapel of St. Michael, the
tower of St. Lambert's church, and in the market place; barricades
of stones, barrels, and benches from the church were thrown up. The
common danger united Catholics and Lutherans; they saw clearly that
the intention of their adversaries was either to massacre them,
or to drive them out of the town. They retreated in haste to the
Ueberwasser quarter, and took up their position in the cemetery,
planted cannons, placed bodies of armed men in the tower of the
cathedral, and retook two of the city gates. They also arrested
several of the senators who had joined the Anabaptist sect, but they
had not the courage to lay their hands on the burgomaster, Tilbeck,
who was also of that party. Two of the preachers, Strahl and
Vinnius, were caught, and were lodged in the tower of Ueberwasser

  [146] Dorpius, f. 394.

Messages were sent to the villages and towns around announcing the
state of affairs, and imploring assistance. The magistrates even
wrote in the stress of their terror to the prince-bishop, asking him
to come speedily to their rescue from a position of imminent peril.
Francis of Waldeck at once replied by letter, promising to march
with the utmost rapidity to Münster, and demanding that one of the
gates might be opened to admit him. This letter was taken to Hermann
Tilbeck; but the burgomaster, intent on securing the triumph of the
fanatics, with whom he was in league, suppressed the letter, and did
not mention either its arrival or its contents to the senate. He,
however, informed the Anabaptists of their danger, and urged them to
come to terms with the Lutherans as speedily as possible.

At the same time the pastor, Fabricius, unable to restrain his
religious prejudices, even in the face of danger, sped among the
Lutheran ranks, inciting his followers against the Catholics, and
urging them to make terms with the fanatics rather than submit to
the bishop. "Beware," said he, "lest, in the event of your gaining a
victory, the Papists should recover their power, for it is they who
are the real cause of all these evils and disorders."[147]

  [147] Kerssenbroeck, p. 405 _et seq._ Montfort., "Tumult.
  Anabap.," p. 15 _et seq._; Bullinger, lib. ii. c. 8.

Whilst the preacher was sowing discord in the ranks of the party
of order, Rottmann and the two prophets, Matthisson and Bockelson,
roused the enthusiasm of their disciples to the highest pitch,
by announcing to them a glorious victory, and that the Father
would render His elect invulnerable before the weapons of their

The Anabaptist women ran about the streets making the most
extraordinary contortions and prodigious leaps, crying out that they
saw the Lord surrounded by a host of angels coming to exterminate
the worshippers of Baal.

Thus passed the night. At daybreak Knipperdolling recommenced his
course through the streets, uttering his doleful wail of "Repent,
repent! woe, woe!" Approaching too near the churchyard wall of
Ueberwasser, he was taken and thrown into the tower with Strahl and

At eight o'clock the drossar of Wollbeck arrived at the head of a
troop of armed peasants to reinforce the party of order, and several
ecclesiastics entered the town to inform the magistrates that the
prince-bishop was approaching at the head of his cavalry.

Before the lapse of many hours the city might have been pacified and
order re-established, had it not been for the efforts of Tilbeck the
burgomaster, and Fabricius the divine. Mistrust of their allies had
now fully gained possession of the Lutherans, and the burgomaster
took advantage of the hesitation to dismiss the drossar of Wollbeck
and his armed band, and to send to the prince, declining his aid. By
his advice, also, the Anabaptists agreed to lay down their arms and
make a covenant with the senate for the establishment of harmony.
Hostages were given on either side and the prisoners were liberated.
Peace was finally concluded on these conditions: 1st. That faith
should be absolutely free. 2nd. That each party should support the
other. 3rd. That all should obey the magistrates.

The treaty having been signed, the two armed bodies separated, the
cannons were fired into the air, the drossar of Wollbeck and the
ecclesiastics withdrew, with grief at their hearts, predicting the
approaching ruin of Münster. The prince-bishop was near the town
with his troops when the fatal news was brought him. He shed tears
of mortification, turned his horse and departed.[148]

  [148] Same authorities; Sleidan, p. 411.

Peace was secured for the moment by this treaty, but order was
not re-established. No sooner had the armed Anabaptists quitted
the market-place than it swarmed with women who had received
from Rottmann the sign of the New Covenant. "The madness of
the pagan bacchantes," says the eye-witness of these scenes,
Kerssenbroeck,[149] "cannot have surpassed that of these women.
It is impossible to imagine a more terrible, crazy, indecent, and
ridiculous exhibition than they made. Their conduct was so frenzied
that one might have supposed them to be the furies of the poets.
Some had their hair disordered, others ran about almost naked,
without the least sense of shame; others again made prodigious
gambles, others flung themselves on the ground with arms extended
in the shape of a cross; then rose, clapped their hands, knelt
down, and cried with all their might, invoking the Father, rolling
their eyes, grinding their teeth, foaming at the mouth, beating
their breasts, weeping, laughing, howling, and uttering the most
strange inarticulate sounds.... Their words were stranger than their
gestures. Some implored grace and light for us, others besought
that we might be struck with blindness and damnation. All pretended
that they saw in heaven some strange sights; they saw the Father
descending to judge their holy cause, myriads of angels, clouds
of blood, black and blue fires falling upon the city, and above
the clouds a rider mounted on a white horse, brandishing his sword
against the impenitent who refused to turn from their evil ways....
But the scene was constantly varying. Kneeling on the ground, and
turning their eyes in one direction, they all at once exclaimed
together, with joined hands, 'O Father! Father! O most excellent
King of Zion, spare the people!' Then they repeated these words for
some while, raising the pitch of their voices, till they attained to
such a shriek that a host of pigs could not have produced a louder
noise when assembled on market-day.

  [149] Kerssenbroeck, p. 495 _et seq._

"There was on the gable of one of the houses in the market-place a
weathercock of a peculiar form, lately gilt, which just then caught
the sun's rays and blazed with light. This weathercock caused the
error of the women. They mistook it for the most excellent King
of Zion. One of the citizens discovering the cause, climbed the
roof of the house and removed this new sort of majesty. A calm at
once succeeded to the uproar; ashamed and full of confusion, the
visionaries dispersed and returned to their homes. Unfortunately the
lesson did not restore them to their senses."

Shortly after the treaty was signed, the burgomaster, Tilbeck,
openly joined the Anabaptists, and was rebaptised with all his
family by Rottmann.[150]

  [150] Kerssenbroeck, p. 496.

The more sensible and prudent citizens, including nearly all the
Catholics and a good number of Lutherans, being well aware that the
treaty was, in fact, a surrender of all authority into the hands of
the fanatics, deserted the town in great numbers, carrying with
them all their valuables. The emigration began on 12th February.
The Anabaptists ordered that neither weapons nor victuals should
be carried out of the gates, and appointed a guard to examine the
effects of all those who left the city. The emigration was so
extensive, that in a few days several quarters of the town were
entirely depopulated.[151]

  [151] Kerssenbroeck; Dorpius, ff. 394-5.

Then Rottmann addressed a circular letter to the Anabaptists of all
the neighbouring towns to come and fill the deserted mansions from
which the apostates had fallen. "The Father has sent me several
prophets," said he, "full of His Spirit and endowed with exalted
sanctity; they teach the pure word of God, without human additions,
and with sublime eloquence. Come then, with your wives and children,
if you hope for eternal salvation; come to the holy Jerusalem,
to Zion, and to the new temple of Solomon. Come and assist us to
re-establish the true worship of God, and to banish idolatry. Leave
your worldly goods behind, you will find here a sufficiency, and in
heaven a treasure."[152]

  [152] _Ibid._, p. 502; Mencken, p. 1545.

In response to this appeal, the Anabaptists streamed into the
city from all quarters, from Holland, Friesland, Brabant, Hesse,
Osnabrück, and from the neighbouring towns, where the magistrates
exerted themselves to suppress a sect which they saw imperilled the
safety of the commonwealth.

In a short while the deserted houses were peopled by these
fanatics. Bernhard Krechting, pastor of Gildehaus, arrived at the
head of a large portion of his parishioners. Hermann Regewart,
the ex-Lutheran preacher of Warendorf, sought a home in the new
Jerusalem. Rich and well-born persons, bitten with the madness,
arrived, such were Peter Schwering and his wife, the wealthiest
citizens of Coesfeld; Werner von Scheiffort, a country gentleman;
the Lady von Becke with her three daughters, of whom the two eldest
were broken nuns, and the youngest was betrothed to the Lord of
Dörlö; and the Grograff of Schoppingen, Heinrich Krechting, with his
wife, his children, and a number of the inhabitants of that town,
with carts laden with their effects. The Grograff took up his abode
in Kerssenbroeck's house, along with his family and servants, and,
as the chronicler bitterly remarks, he took care to occupy the best
part of the mansion.[153]

  [153] Kerssenbroeck, p. 503.

Amongst those who escaped from the town were the syndic, Von Wyck,
who had led the opposition against the bishop, and the burgomaster,
Caspar Judenfeld. The latter retired to Hamm and was left
unmolested, but Von Wyck had played too conspicuous a part to escape
so easily. By the orders of the prince-bishop he was arrested and
executed at Vastenau.[154]

  [154] _Ibid._ p. 505.

Münster now became the theatre of the wildest orgies ever
perpetrated under the name of religion. It is apparently a law that
mysticism should rapidly pass from the stage of asceticism into that
of licence. At any rate, such has been the invariable succession of
stages in every mystic society that is allowed unchecked to follow
its own course. In the Roman Church those thus psychologically
affected are locked up in convents. The religious passion verges
so closely on the sexual passion that a slight additional pressure
given to it bursts the partition, and both are confused in a
frenzy of religious debauch. The Anabaptist fanatics were rapidly
approaching this stage. The prophet Matthisson led the way by
instituting a second baptism, administered only to the inner circle
of the elect, which was called the baptism of fire.

The adepts were sworn to secrecy, and refused to explain the mode of
administration. But public curiosity was aroused, and by learning
the password, some were enabled to slip into the assembly and see
what took place. Amongst these was a woman who was an acquaintance
of Kerssenbroeck, and from whose lips he had an account of the
rite. "Matthisson," says he, "secretly assembled the initiated of
both sexes during the night, in the vast mansion of Knipperdolling.
When all were assembled, the prophet placed himself under a copper
chandelier, hung in the centre of the ceiling, lighted with three
tapers." He then made an instruction on the new revelation of
the Divine will, which he pretended had been made to him, and
the assembly became a scene of frantic orgies too horrible to be

The assemblies in which these abominations were perpetrated,
prepared the way for the utter subversion of all the laws of decency
and morality, which followed in the course of a few months.

When Carnival arrived, a grand anti-Catholic procession was
organised, to incite afresh the hostility of the people to the
ancient Church, its rites and ceremonies. First, a company of
maskers dressed like monks, nuns, and priests in their sacred
vestments, led the way, capering and singing ribald songs. Then
followed a great chariot, drawn by six men in the habits of the
religious orders. On the box sat a fellow dressed as a bishop, with
mitre and crosier, scourging on the labouring monks and friars. On
the car was a man represented as dying, with a priest leaning over
him, a huge pair of spectacles on his nose, administering to the
sick man the last sacraments of the Church, and addressing him in
the most absurd manner, loudly, that the bystanders might hear and
laugh at his farcical parody of the most sacred things of the old
religion. The next car was drawn by a man dressed as a priest in
surplice and stole. The other cars contained groups suitable for
turning into ridicule devotion to saints, belief in purgatory, the
mass, &c.[155]

  [155] Kerssenbroeck, p. 509.

The prophets now decided that it was necessary to be prepared in
the event of a siege. They, therefore, commissioned the preacher
Roll to visit Holland and raise the Anabaptists there, urge them to
arm and to march to the defence of the New Jerusalem. Roll started
from Münster on the 21st of February, but the Spanish Government in
the Netherlands, alarmed at what was taking place in the capital of
Westphalia, ordered a strict watch to be kept on the movements of
the fanatics, and Roll was seized and executed at Utrecht.

The next step taken by the prophets was to discharge the members
of the senate from the performance of their office, because they
had been elected "according to the flesh," and to choose to fill
their room another body of men "elected according to the Spirit."
Bernard Knipperdolling and Gerhardt Kippenbroeck, both drapers, were
appointed burgomasters.

One of the first acts of the new magistrates was to forbid the
removal of furniture, articles of food, and money from the town, and
to permit a general pillage of all the churches and convents in the
city. The Anabaptist mob first attacked the religious houses, and
carried off all the sacred vessels, the gold, the silver, and the
vestments. Then they visited the chapel of St. Anthony, outside the
gate of St. Maurice, and after having sacked it completely, they
tore it down. They burnt the church of St. Maurice, then fell upon
the church of St. Ledger, but had not the patience to complete its
demolition. Thence they betook themselves to the cathedral, broke
it open, and destroyed altars, with their beautiful sculptured and
painted oak retables, miracles of delicate workmanship and Gothic
beauty, the choir stalls, statues, paintings, frescoes, stained
glass, organ, vestments, and carried off the chalices and ciboriums.
The great clock, the pride of Münster, as that of Strasburg is
of the Alsatian capital, was broken to pieces with hammers. A
valuable collection of MSS., collected by the poet Rudolf Lange, and
presented to the minister, together with the rest of the volumes in
the library, were burned. Two noble paintings, one of the Blessed
Virgin, the other of St. John the Baptist, on panel, by Franco,
were split up and turned into seats for privies to the guard-house
near the Jews' cemetery. The heads and arms were broken off the
statues that could not be overthrown--statues of apostles, prophets,
and sibyls, which decorated the interior of the cathedral and the
neighbouring square. The tabernacle was broken open, and the Blessed
Sacrament was danced and stamped on. The font was shattered with
crowbars, in token of the abhorrence borne by the fanatics to infant
baptism; the tombs of the bishops and canons were destroyed, and the
bodies torn from their graves, and their dust was scattered to the

  [156] Kerssenbroeck, p. 510; Sleidan, p. 411; Dorpius, f. 395.

But whilst this was taking place in Münster, Francis von Waldeck was
preparing for war. On the 23rd February he held a meeting at Telgte
to consolidate plans, and now from all sides assistance came. The
Elector of Cologne, the Duke of Cleves, even the Landgrave of Hesse,
now exasperated at the ill-success of his endeavours to establish
tranquillity and to effect a compromise, the Duke of Brunswick, the
Regent of Brabant, the Counts of Lippe and Berntheim, and many other
nobles and cities sent soldiers, artillery, and munitions.

The bishop appointed the generals and principal officers, then he
made all the soldiers take an oath of fidelity to himself, and
concluded with them an agreement, consisting of the following ten

1. The soldiers are to be faithful to the prince, and to obey their

2. The towns, arms, and munitions taken in war shall belong to the

3. If, after the capture of the city, the prince-bishop permits
its pillage by the troops, he shall not be obliged to pay them any

4. If the pillage be accorded, the town hall is not to be touched.

5. The prince shall have half the plunder.

6. The nobles, canons, and those who have escaped from the city
shall be allowed the first bid for their articles when offered for

7. No fixtures shall be removed by the soldiery.

8. After the capture of the town, the custody of the gates and
ramparts shall be confided to those whom the prince-bishop shall

9. The city taken, and its pillage permitted, the soldiers shall be
allowed eight days for distribution and sale of the plunder. The
soldiers shall receive their pay with punctuality.

10. The heads of the revolt shall, as far as possible, be taken
alive and delivered up to the bishop for a recompense.[157]

  [157] Kerssenbroeck, p. 513 _et seq._ Sleidan, lib. x. pp. 412-3;
  Heresbach, p. 36.

The Anabaptists were not afraid at these preparations; they made
ready vigorously for the defence of the New Zion. As a preliminary,
a body of five hundred burnt the convent of St. Maurice, outside
the city gates, and levelled all the houses of the suburbs, which
obscured the view, and might serve as cover for the besiegers.

On the 26th February Matthisson preached in the afternoon to a
congregation summoned by the discharge of a culverin. At the end of
the sermon he assumed an inspired air, and announced that he had an
important revelation to communicate. Having arrested the attention
of his hearers, he said in a solemn tone, "The Father requires
the purification of the New Jerusalem and of His temple; for our
republic, which has begun so prosperously, cannot grow and endure if
a prey to the confusion produced by the presence of impious sects.
My advice is that we kill without further delay the Lutherans, the
Papists, and all those who have not the right faith, that there may
remain in Zion but one body, one society, which is truly Christian,
and which can offer to the Father a pure and well-pleasing worship.
There is but one way of preserving the faithful from the contagion
of the impious, and that is to sweep them off the face of the earth.
Nothing is easier than the execution of this scheme. We form the
majority in a strong city, abundantly supplied with all necessaries;
there is nothing to fear from within or from without."[158]

  [158] Kerssenbroeck, p. 516.

This suggestion would have been carried into immediate execution by
the frenzied sectarians, had it not been for the intervention of
Knipperdolling, who, fearing that a general massacre of Lutherans
and Catholics would combine the forces of the Smalkald union and
of the Imperialists against the city, urgently insisted on milder
measures. "Let us be content," said he, "with driving, to-morrow,
out of the city those miserable creatures who refuse the sign of the
New Covenant; thus shall we thoroughly purge the floor of the Lord,
and nothing that is impure will remain in the New Jerusalem."[159]

  [159] _Ibid._ p. 517; Sleidan, p. 412.

This advice was accepted, and it was unanimously decided that the
morrow should witness the expulsion of Catholics and Lutherans. The
27th February was a bitterly cold day. A hard frost had set in, the
north wind blew, cutting to the bone all exposed to the blast, the
country was white with snow, and the streams were crusted over with
ice. At every gate was a double guard; the squares were thronged
with armed fanatics, and in and out among them passed the prophets,
staff in hand, uttering maledictions on the Lord's enemies, and
words of encouragement to those sealed on their brows and hands.

Matthisson sought out those who did not belong to the sect, and
with menacing gestures and flaring eyes called them to repentance
before the door was shut. "Turn ye, turn ye, sinners," he cried in
his harsh tones. "Judgment is preparing for you. The elements are in
league against you; your iniquities have made nature rise to scourge
you. The sword of the Lord's anger is hung above your heads. Turn,
ye sinners, and receive the sign of our alliance, that ye be not
cast out from the chosen people!" Then he flung himself down in the
great square, and called on the Father; and lying with arms extended
on the frozen ground, and his face pinched with cold turned towards
the sky, he fell into a trance. The Anabaptists knelt around him,
and lifting their hands to heaven besought the Father to reveal His
will by the mouth of the prophet whom He had sent.

Then Matthisson, slowly returning from his ecstasy, like one awaking
out of a dream, said, "This is the will and order of the Father:
the miscreants, unless they be converted and be baptised, must be
expelled this place. This holy city shall be purified of all that is
unclean, for the conversation of the ungodly corrupts and defiles
the people of God. Away with the sons of Esau! this place, this New
Zion, this habitation belongs to the sons of Jacob, to the true

The enthusiasm of Matthisson communicated itself to the assembly.
The Anabaptists separated to sweep the streets, sword and pike in
hand, and drove the ungodly beyond their walls, shouting, "The lot
is ours; the tares must be gathered from among the wheat; the goats
from the sheep; the unholy from the godly; away, away!" Doors were
burst open, and the fanatics invaded every house, driving before
them men, women, and children, from garret and cellar, wherever
concealed, in spite of their cries and entreaties. Men of all
professions, men and women of every age were banished; they were
not allowed to take anything with them. The sword of the Lord was
brandished against them; the hale and the infirm, the master and the
servant, none were spared. Those who lagged were beaten; those who
were sick and unable to fly were carried to the market-place to be
rebaptised by Rottmann.

Through the gates streamed the terrified crowd, shivering, half
clothed, mothers clasping their babes to their breasts, children
sustaining between them their aged parents, all blue with cold, as
the fierce wind thick strewn with sleet rushed upon them at the
corners, and over the bare plain without the city walls, growling
and cruel, as though it too were wrought up into religious frenzy,
and came as an auxiliary to the savage work.

Thousands traversed the frozen plans, uncertain whither to fly for
refuge, uttering piteous cries, lamentations, or low moans; whilst
from the walls of the heavenly city thundered a salvo of joy, and
the Anabaptists shouted, because the Lord's day of vengeance had
come, and the millennium was set up on earth.

"Never," says Kerssenbroeck, "never did I see anything more
afflicting. The women carried their naked nurslings in their
arms, and in vain sought rags wherewith to clothe them; miserable
children, hanging to their fathers' coats, ran barefooted, uttering
piercing cries; old people, bent by age, tottered along calling down
God's vengeance on their persecutors; lastly, some sick women driven
from their beds during the pangs of maternity fell in labour in the
snow, deprived of all human succour."[160]

  [160] Kerssenbroeck, p. 5222.

Amongst those expelled was Fabricius, the Lutheran divine, who
escaped in disguise. He was so greatly hated by the sectarians, that
had he been recognised, he would not have been suffered to quit the
city alive.

The Frau Werneche, a rich lady, too stout to walk, and unable to
find a conveyance, was obliged to remain in Münster. Rottmann
insisted on her receiving the sign of the New Covenant.

"I have been baptised already, as were my ancestors," said the good
woman. Rottmann replied that if she persisted in her impiety she
must be slain with the sword, lest the wrath of the Father should
be kindled against the Holy City. The poor lady, who had no desire
for martyrdom, cried out, impatiently, "Well, then, be it so!
baptise me in the name of all the devils of hell, for I have already
been baptised in the name of God." Rottmann, not very particular,
administered the rite, and the stout lady remained in Münster.

The apostle now sent letters into all the country, announcing the
glad tidings of the approaching reign of Christ on earth, and
inviting the Anabaptists of the neighbourhood to flock into Zion.
One of these epistles of Rottmann has been preserved.[161]

  [161] Kerssenbroeck, p. 520; Dorpius, f. 395.

     "Bernard, servant of Jesus Christ in His
        Church of Münster, salutes affectionately his very dear
        brother Henry Schlachtschap. Grace and peace from God, and
        the strength of the Holy Spirit, be with you and with all
        the faithful.

"Dear Brother in Christ,--

"The marvellous works of God are so great and so diverse that it
would not be possible for me to describe them all, had I a hundred
tongues. I am, therefore, unable to do so with my single pen. The
Lord has splendidly assisted us. He has delivered us out of the
hands of our enemies, and has driven them from the city. Seized by
a panic terror, they fled in multitudes. This is the beginning of
what the Lord announced by His prophets--that all the saints would
assemble in this New Zion. These prophets have charged me to write
to you, that you may order all the brethren to hasten to us with all
the gold and silver they can collect; as for their other goods, let
them be left to the sisters, who will dispose of them, and then join
us here also. Beware of doing anything after the flesh; do all in
the Spirit. The rest by word of mouth. Health in the Lord."

This appeal had all the more success because several executions
had taken place at Wollbeck and Bevergern and other places,
together with confiscation of goods, and this had struck alarm into
the Anabaptists scattered throughout the principality. Numbers,
therefore, answered the appeal, and went up, as the tribes of
the Lord, to Jerusalem, out of Leyden, Coesfeld, Warendorf, and
Gröningen. The vacated houses were re-occupied, the Münster Baptists
selecting for themselves the best. Knipperdolling, Kippenbroeck, and
others, took possession of the residences of the canons; servants
installed themselves in the dwellings of their masters as if they
were their own; and the deserted monasteries were given up as
hostels to receive the influx from the country, till houses could be
provided for them.[162]

  [162] Kerssenbroeck, p. 523.

On the 28th February, Francis von Waldeck left Telgte at the head
of his army and invested the capital. Batteries were planted, seven
camps were established for the infantry, and six for the cavalry
around Münster. These camps were in connection with one another, for
mutual support in the event of a sortie, and were rapidly fortified.

Thus began the siege which was to last sixteen months minus
four days, during which a multitude of untrained, undisciplined
fanatics, commanded by a Dutch tailor-innkeeper, held out against a
numerous and well-armed force. But there was an element of strength
in the besieged that lacked in the besiegers. Those within the
walls were members of a vast confraternity, which ramified over
Germany, Switzerland, and the Low Countries, its members bound
together by a common enthusiasm, in more or less direct relation
with the chiefs who commanded in the Westphalian capital. In spite
of the siege, news from without was constantly brought into the
city, and messengers were sent out to stir up the members of the
society in other countries and provinces to rise and march to the
relief of the city which, they all believed, was destined to be
their religious capital. The Münster brothers looked for a speedy
deliverance wrought by the efficacy of the arms of their brothers
in Holland, Juliers, Cleves, and Brabant. The Low Countries swarmed
with Anabaptists who had organised communities in Amsterdam,
Leyden, Utrecht, Haarlem, Antwerp, and Ghent; they had arms stored
in cellars and garrets, and waited only the proper moment to rise
in a body, massacre their opponents, and deliver the Holy City.
Several attempts to rise were made, but the vigilance of the Spanish
Government in the Netherlands prevented the rising; and the hopes of
the besieged were never realised.

On the other hand, the army of the prince-bishop was composed
of mercenaries, of soldiers from different provinces and
principalities, speaking different dialects, with different
interests, and differing also in faith. The Lutheran troops would
not cordially unite with the Catholics, and the latter mistrusted
their Protestant allies, whose sympathies they believed lay with
the Anabaptist besieged. And the head of the whole army was a
Catholic prelate with Lutheran proclivities, who knew nothing of
war, had an empty purse, and desired to reduce his own subjects by
the aid of foreign mercenaries, with little expense to himself, and
damage to his subjects.

The Anabaptists organised their defence with prudence. They elected
captains and standard-bearers, and divided all the citizens capable
of bearing arms into regiments and companies. Every one was given
his place and his functions, and it was decided that the magistrates
should be required to mount guard when it came to their turn. Boys
were drilled and taught the use of the arquebus; women prepared
brands steeped in pitch and sulphur to fling at the enemy, and
they melted lead from the roofs into bullets. Mines were dug and
charged with powder, fresh bastions were thrown up, and curtains
were erected before the gates, into which were built the tombs and
sarcophagi of the bishops and canons.[163]

  [163] Kerssenbroeck, p. 531 _et seq._; Hast, p. 344.

The newly-elected senate, though composed of the most zealous
Anabaptists, was powerless before Matthisson. A sect governed by the
inspiration of the moment, professing to be guided by the Spirit
speaking through the mouths of prophets, ready to spring into the
maddest excesses at the dictates of visionaries, could not long
submit to the government of a magistracy whose power was temporal.
The way was rapidly preparing for the establishment of a spiritual

It was in vain for the senate to pass an order without the sanction
of Matthisson, in vain for them to attempt resistance to the
execution of his mandates. One day he announced that it was the will
of the Father that all the goods of the citizens who had fled, or
had been expelled, should be collected into one place, that they
might be distributed amongst the saints, as every man had need. He
thereupon despatched men to bring together all that was left behind
in the city by the refugees, and convey the articles to houses which
he designated in every parish. He was promptly obeyed. Garments,
linen, beds, furniture, crockery, food, wine--everything was brought
away in carts. The jewels, the gold, and the silver, were deposited
in the chancery. Then the prophet ordered three days of prayer to be
instituted, "that God might reveal to him the persons chosen by Him
to keep guard over the accumulated treasure."[164]

  [164] Kerssenbroeck; Dorpius, f. 395.

When the three days were at an end, Matthisson announced that the
Father had indicated to him seven individuals who were to be the
deacons to serve tables in the New Jerusalem. He therefore appointed
the men to distribute out of the common store to those who needed
that which would satisfy their necessities.[165]

  [165] _Ibid._ p. 585.

It must not, however, be supposed that, with the expulsion of the
impious from the holy city, all opposition had disappeared. A
very considerable number of citizens, shopkeepers, and merchants,
rather than desert their houses, abandon their goods to pillage,
and lose their trade, had consented to be re-baptised. The
reign of the prophets was becoming to them daily more irksome. A
blacksmith, named Hubert Rüscher, or Trutling, had the courage to
oppose Matthisson, to charge him with being a false prophet, and an
impostor.[166] The prophet, feeling the danger of his position, saw
that a measure, decided and terrible, must be adopted to suppress
the murmurs, and frighten those who desired to shake off his yoke.
"Judgment must begin at the house of God," said Matthisson; and
he ordered the immediate execution of the smith. Tilbeck, the
burgomaster, and Redecker, a magistrate, interposed, but were, by
order of the prophet, cast into prison. Then Bockelson, bursting
through the crowd, announced with frantic gesture that the Father
had commissioned him to slay with the sword he bore all those
who withstood the will of Heaven as interpreted by the prophets
whom He had sent. Then brandishing his weapon, he rushed upon the
blacksmith, but Matthisson forestalled him, by running his halbert
through the body of the unfortunate man. Finding that he still
breathed, he despatched him with a carbine, crying, "So perish
all who are guilty of similar crimes." Then, at his command, the
multitude chanted a hymn of praise, and dispersed, silent and
trembling, to their homes.[167]

  [166] Kerssenbroeck, p. 535 _et seq._; Monfortius, p. 19; Sleidan
  and Dorpius call the man Truteling; Sleidan, p. 412; Dorpius, f.
  395 b.

  [167] Monfortius, p. 19.

Matthisson took immediate advantage of the power this bold stroke
had given him to deal another blow. When the treasure of the
enemies of Zion had been confided to the care of deacons, the
faithful had kept their own goods. But this was to be no longer
tolerated. The prophet issued a decree, requiring all, old and
young, male and female, under pain of death, to bring all their
possessions in gold and silver, under whatever form it might be,
into the treasury; "Because," said he, "such things profit not the
true Christian."

The majority of the citizens obeyed, in fear and trembling; but
many buried their vessels and ornaments of precious metal, and
declared that they possessed no jewels.[168] However, the amount of
money, chains, rings, brooches, and cups, brought together was very
considerable. It was placed in the chancery, and confided to four of
Matthisson's most devoted adherents.

  [168] Kerssenbroeck, p. 538.

A few days after, he summoned all the inhabitants into the Cathedral
square, where, in a long discourse, he announced that the wrath
of God was excited against those who had allowed themselves to be
rebaptised on the 26th of February, out of human considerations,
because they did not desire to leave their homes and their effects,
or out of fear; and he advised them all to betake themselves to
the church of St. Lambert, to entreat the Father to pardon them
for having lied to the Holy Ghost, and soiled by their presence
the city of the children of God; "and if the Father does not remit
your offence," concluded he in a loud and terrible voice, "you must
perish by the sword of the Just One."

In an agony of terror, the unfortunate citizens crowded the church,
and the doors were fastened behind them. They passed several hours
within, weeping, groaning, and deploring their lot, a prey to
inexpressible terror.[169]

  [169] Kerssenbroeck, p. 539.

At length Matthisson entered, accompanied by armed men, and the
prisoners, supposing they were about to be slaughtered, fell at his
feet and embraced his knees, entreating him, with tears, as the
favourite of God, to mediate with Him and obtain their pardon. The
prophet replied that he must consult the Father; he knelt down, and
fell into an ecstasy. After a few moments he rose, leaped with joy,
and declared that the Father, though greatly irritated, had granted
his prayer, and suffered the penitents to live. Then the poor
creatures were purified, hymns of praise were sung, and they were
pronounced admitted into the household of the true Israel. The doors
were thrown open, and they were allowed to disperse.

On the 15th of March, a new decree appeared, forbidding the faithful
to possess, read, or look at any books except the Bible, and
requiring all the books, in print or MS., and all legal documents
that were found in the town, to be brought to the Cathedral square,
and there to be consigned to the flames. Thus perished many a
treasure of inappreciable value.

In the meantime the appeal of Rottmann to the Anabaptists of the
Low Countries to come and deliver Zion had produced its effect.
Thousands assembled in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam, crossed the
Zuyder Zee, landed at Zwoll, and marched towards Münster, pillaging
and burning churches and convents. But Baron Schenk von Teutenburg,
imperial lieutenant, met them, utterly routed them, cut to pieces a
large number, and made many prisoners.[170]

  [170] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 541, 542; Bullinger, ii. c. 10.

The prophets of Münster, warned of their advance, but ignorant
of their dispersion, reckoned on an approaching deliverance,
and continued their follies. On Good Friday, April 3, 1534,
they organised a general festival, with bells pealing, and a
mock procession carrying candles. The treaty concluded with the
prince-bishop, through the intervention of Philip of Hesse, was
attached to the tail of an old horse, and the beast was driven out
of the gate of St. Maurice in the direction of the enemy's camp.[171]

  [171] _Ibid._ p. 542.

Easter approached, and with it great things were expected. A rumour
circulated that a mighty deliverance of Israel would be wrought on
the Feast of the Resurrection. Whether Matthisson started the report
or was carried away by it, it is impossible to decide; but it is
certain that, on the eve, he announced in an access of enthusiasm,
after a trance, that he had received orders from the Father to
put to flight the armies of the aliens with a handful of true

  [172] _Ibid._, 542; Hast, p. 348.

Accordingly, on the morrow, carrying a halbert, he headed a few
zealots who shared his confidence; the gate of St. Ludgar was thrown
open, and he rushed forth with his followers upon the army of the
prince-bishop; whilst the ramparts were crowded by the inhabitants
of Münster, shouting and praying, and expecting to see a miracle
wrought in his favour. But he had not advanced very far before a
troop of the enemy surrounded his little band, and, in spite of a
desperate resistance, he and his companions were cut to pieces.[173]

  [173] Kerssenbroeck, 542; Sleidan, p. 413; Bullinger, lib. ii. c.
  9; Heresbach, p. 138; Buissierre, p. 310.

John Bockelson, seeing that the confidence of the Anabaptists was
shaken by the failure of this prediction and the fall of the great
prophet, lost not a moment in establishing his own supremacy. He
called all the people together, and declared to them that Matthisson
had died by the just judgment of God, because he had disobeyed the
commandment of the Father to go forth with a very small handful, and
because he had relied on his own strength instead of on Divine aid.
"But," added he, "he neglected all those precautions he ought to
have taken, solemn prayer and fasting, after the example of Judith;
and he forgot that victory is in the hands of God; he was proud
and vain, therefore was he forsaken of the Lord. His terrible end
was revealed to me eight days ago by the Holy Ghost; for, as I was
sleeping in the house of Knipperdolling, after having meditated on
the Divine Law, Matthisson appeared to me pierced through by the
lance of an armed man, with all his bowels gushing forth. Then was
I frightened beyond measure at this terrible spectacle; but the
armed man said to me, 'Fear not, well-beloved son of the Father,
but be faithful to thy calling, for the judgment of God will fall
upon Matthisson; and when he is dead, marry his widow.' These words
cast me into profound amazement, for I have already a legitimate
wife at Leyden. Nevertheless, that I might have a witness worthy of
confidence to this extraordinary revelation, I trusted the secret to
Knipperdolling; he is present, let him be brought forth."[174]

  [174] Kerssenbroeck, p. 543; Montfort., p. 24.

Thereupon Knipperdolling stepped forward and declared by oath that
Bockelson had spoken the truth, and he mentioned the place, the day,
and the hour when the revelation was confided to him.

From that moment Bockelson passed with the people not only as a
prophet, but as a favourite of Heaven, one specially chosen of the
Father, and was held in far higher estimation, accordingly, than
had been the fallen prophet. He was seized with inspiration. On
the 9th of April, he declared that "the Father ordered, under pain
of incurring his dire wrath, that every exalted thing should be
laid low, and that the work was to begin at the church steeples."
Consequently three architects of the town were ordered to demolish
them. They succeeded in pulling down all the spires in Münster. That
of Ueberwasser church was singularly beautiful. It was reduced to a
stump; and the modern visitor to the ancient Westphalian capital has
cause to deplore its loss. The towers were only saved to be used as
positions for cannon to play upon the besiegers.[175]

  [175] Bullinger, ii. c. 8; Sleidan, p. 271; Dorpius, f. 396.

Bockelson had another vision, which served to consolidate his power.
"The Father," said he, "had appeared to him, and had commanded
him to appoint Knipperdolling to be the executioner of the new

This was not precisely satisfactory to Knipperdolling; he aimed at
a higher office, but he dissembled his irritation, and accepted the
sword offered him by John of Leyden with apparent transports of
joy.[176] Four under-executioners were named to assist him, and to
accompany him wherever he went.

  [176] Kerssenbroeck, p. 545; Heresbach, p. 139; Sleidan, p. 413;
  Dorpius, f. 396.

The nomination of Knipperdolling was the prelude to other important
changes. Bockelson aspired to exercise absolute power, without
opposition or control. To arrive at his ends, a wild prophetic
scene was enacted. He ran, during the night, through the streets of
Münster stark naked, uttering howls and crying, "Ye men of Israel
who inhabit this holy Zion! fear the Lord, and repent for your past
lives. Turn ye, turn ye! The glorious King of Zion, surrounded by
multitudes of angels, is about to descend and judge the world,
at the peal of His terrible trumpet. Turn, ye blind ones, and be
converted." [177]

  [177] Kerssenbroeck, p. 596; Monfort, pp. 25, 26; Heresbach, p.
  99 _et seq._

Exhausted with his run and his shouts, and satisfied with having
thoroughly alarmed the inhabitants, he returned to the house
of Knipperdolling, who was also in a paroxysm of inspiration,
foaming, leaping, rolling on the ground, and performing many other
extravagant actions. Bockelson, on entering, cast himself down in a
corner and pretended to have lost the power of speech; and as the
crowd, assembled round him, asked him the meaning of what had taken
place, he signed to them to bring him tablets, on which he wrote,
"By the order of the Father, I remain dumb for three days."

At the expiration of this period he convoked the people, and
declared to them that the Father had revealed to him that Israel
must have a new constitution, with new laws and new magistrates,
divinely appointed. The former magistracy had been elected by men,
but the new one was to be designated by the Holy Ghost. Bockelson
then dissolved the senate, and, as the mouthpiece of God, he
declared the names of the new officers, to the number of twelve,
who were to bear the title of The Elders of the Tribes of Israel,
in whose hands all power, temporal and spiritual, was to be placed.
Those appointed were, as might have been expected, the prophet's
most devoted adherents.[178] Hermann Tilbeck, the old burgomaster,
was brought out of prison, and it was announced to him that he was
to be of the number of elders; but perhaps a little cooled in this
enthusiasm by his sojourn in chains, he burst into tears, and in
accents of humility prayed, "Oh, Father! I am not worthy so great an
honour; give me strength and light to govern with wisdom."

  [178] Dorpius, f. 396 b.

Rottmann, who, since the arrival of the prophet, had played but
a subordinate part, judged the occasion favourable for thrusting
himself into prominence. He therefore preached a long sermon, in
which he declared that God was the author of the new constitution,
and then, calling the elders before him by name, he committed to
each a drawn sword, with the words, "Receive with this weapon the
right of life or death, which the Father has ordered me to confer
upon you, and use the sword conformably to the Lord's will." Then
the proceedings closed with the multitude singing the _Gloria in
excelsis_ in German, on their knees.

The senate resigned its functions without apparent regret or
opposition, and the twelve elders assumed the plenitude of power.
They abolished the laws and formulated new ones, published edicts,
resolved difficulties, judged causes, subject to no control save the
will of the prophet; but that will they regarded as identical with
the Divine will, as superior to all law, and every one obeyed its
smallest requirements.

Immediately after the installation of the government, an edict in
ten parts was published.[179] The first part, divided into thirteen
articles, contained the moral law; the second part, in thirty-three
articles, contained the civil law.

  [179] Kerssenbroeck, pt. ii. pp. 1-9; Monfortius, pp. 26, 27;
  Hast, p, 352 _et seq._

The first part forbade thirteen crimes under pain of death:
blasphemy, disobedience, adultery, impurity, avarice, theft, fraud,
lying and slander, idle conversation, disputes, anger, envy, and
discontent against the government.

The second part required every citizen to conform his life and
belief to the Word of God; to fulfil exactly his duties to others
and to the State. It ordered a strict system of vigilance against
night surprises by the enemy, and required one of the elders to
sit in rotation every day as judge to try cases brought before
him; also, that whatsoever was decided by the elders as necessary
for the welfare of the New Jerusalem should be announced to the
assembly-general of Israel, by the prophet John of Leyden, servant
of the Most High; that Bernard Knipperdolling, the executioner,
should denounce to the elders the crimes committed within the holy
city; and that he might exercise his office with greater security he
was never to go forth unaccompanied by his four assistants.

It ordered that henceforth repasts should be taken publicly and in
common; that every one should accept what was set before him, should
eat it modestly, in silence; that the brothers and the sisters
should eat at separate tables; and that, during the meal, portions
of the Old Testament should be read to them.

The next articles named the individuals who were to execute the
offices of butcher, shoemaker, smith, tailor, brewer, and the like,
to the Lord's people. Two articles forbade the introduction of new
fashions, and the wearing of garments with holes in them. Article
XXIX. ordered every stranger belonging to another religion, who
should enter the city of Münster, to be examined by Knipperdolling.
No communication of any sort with strangers was permitted to the
children of Zion.

Article XXXII. forbade, under pain of death, desertion from the
military service, or exchange of companies without the sanction of
the elders.

Article XXXIII. required that in the event of a decease, all
the goods and chattels of the defunct should be taken to
Knipperdolling, who would convey them to the elders, and they would
distribute them as they judged fitting.

That some of these provisions were indicative of great prudence
is not to be doubted. All food having been seized upon and being
served out publicly to all the citizens alike, and in moderation,
the capabilities of prolonging the defence were greatly increased;
and the military dictatorship and strict discipline within the city
maintained by the prophet, enabled the Anabaptists to preserve an
invulnerable front to an enemy torn by faction and with divided

To increase the disaffection and party strife in the hostile
camp, the people of Münster sent arrows amongst the besiegers, to
which were attached letters, one of which has been preserved by
Kerssenbroeck.[180] It is an exhortation to the enemy to beware lest
by attacking the people of the Lord, who held to the pure Word of
God, they should be regarded by him as in league with Antichrist,
and urging them to repentance.

  [180] Kerssenbroeck, pt. ii. p. 9.

Besiegers and besieged heaped on each other reciprocal insults,
exhibiting themselves to one another in postures more expressive of
contempt than decent.[181]

  [181] _Ibid._ pp. 11, 12.

A chimney-sweep, named William Bast, had about this time a vision
ordering him to burn the cities of the ungodly. Bast announced his
mission to the elders and to the prophet, and was bidden go forth in
the Lord's name. He accordingly left Münster, eluded the vigilance
of the enemy's sentinals, and reached Wollbeck, where was the
powder magazine of the Episcopal army. He fired several houses, and
the flames spread, but were fortunately extinguished before they
reached the powder. Bast had escaped to Dreusteindorf, where also he
attempted to execute his mission, but was caught, brought back to
Wollbeck, and burnt alive.

In the meantime various sorties had taken place, in which the
besiegers suffered, being caught off their guard. On May 22nd, the
prince-bishop, finding the siege much more serious than he had
anticipated, began to bombard the town; but as fast as the walls
gave way, they were repaired by the women and children at night.

A general assault was resolved on for the 26th May; of this the
besieged were forewarned by their spies. Unfortunately for the
investing army, the soldiers of Guelders got drunk on the preceding
day in anticipation of their victory, and marched reeling and
shouting against the city as the dusk closed in. The Anabaptists
manned the walls, and easily repulsed their tipsy assailants; but
in the meantime the rest of the army, observing the march of the
men of Guelders, and hearing the discharge of firearms, rushed to
their assistance, without order; the Münsterians rallied, repulsed
them with great carnage, and they fled in confusion to the camp.
The Anabaptists had only lost two officers and eight soldiers in
the fray; and their success convinced them that they were under the
special providence of God, which had rendered them invincible.[182]
They, therefore, repaired their walls with energy, erected several
additional bastions, and continued their sorties.

  [182] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 15, 16; Sleidan, p. 413.

On the 30th May, a party of the fanatics issued from a subterraneous
passage upon the sentinels opposite the Judenfeld gate, spiked
nineteen cannon, and laid a train of gunpowder from the store, which
they reached, to the mouth of their passage. The troops stationed
within sight marched hastily to repulse the sortie, when the train
was fired, the store exploded, and a large number of soldiers were

  [183] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 15, 16.

The prince-bishop next adopted an antiquated expedient, which proved
singularly inefficacious. He raised a huge bank against the walls,
by requisitioning the services of the peasants of the country round.
The besieged poured a shower of bullets amongst the unfortunate
labourers, who perished in great numbers, and the mole remained

  [184] _Ibid._ p. 21.

Francis of Waldeck, discouraged, and at the end of his resources,
sent his deputies to the Diet of Neuss on the 25th June, to announce
to the Archbishop of Cologne and the Duke of Juliers his failures,
and to ask for additional troops. The two princes replied that they
would not abandon their ally in his difficulties, and they promised
to bear a part of the cost of the siege, advanced 40,000 florins
for the purchase of gunpowder, promised to despatch forces to his
assistance, and sent at once prudent advisers.[185] The prince
was, in fact, utterly incompetent as a general and incompetent as
a bishop. The pastoral staff has a crook at the head and a spike
at the bottom. Liturgiologists assure us that this signifies the
mode in which a bishop should exercise discipline--the gentle he
should restrain or direct with mercy, the rebellious he should
treat with severity. To the former he should be lenient, with the
latter prompt. Francis of Waldeck wielded gracefully and effectively
neither end of his staff.

  [185] Hast, p. 357; Sleidan, p. 413.

He shortly incurred a risk, and but for the fidelity of one of his
subjects in Münster, he would have fallen a victim to assassination.

A young Anabaptist maiden, named Hilla Phnicon, of singular beauty,
conceived the notion that she had been called by God to be the
Judith of this new Bethulia, and was to take the head from off the
shoulders of the great, soft, bungling Holophernes, Francis of

  [186] Kerssenbroeck, p. 26 _et seq._

Rottmann, Bockelson, and Knipperdolling encouraged the girl in
her delusion, and urged her not to resist the inspirations of the
Father. Accordingly, on the 16th June, Hilla dressed herself in
the most beautiful robes she could procure, adorned her hair with
pearls, and her arms with bracelets, selecting from the treasury of
the city whatever articles she judged most conducive to the end; the
treasury being for the purpose placed at her disposal by order of
the prophet. Furnished with a linen shirt steeped in deadly poison,
which she had herself made, as an offering to the prince, she left
Münster, and delivered herself up into the hands of the drossar of
Wollbeck, who, after having dispoiled her of her jewels, questioned
her as to her object in deserting the city. She replied with the
utmost composure, that she was a native of Holland, and that she had
lived in Münster with her husband, till the change of religion had
so disgusted her that she could endure it no longer, and that she
had fled on the first opportunity, and that her husband would follow
her on a suitable occasion. "It is to ask pardon for him that I am
come," said she; "and he will be able to indicate to his highness a
means of entering the city without loss."

The perfect self-possession of the lady convinced the drossar of her
sincerity, and he promised to introduce her to the prince at Iburg
within two days. Everything seemed to favour the adventuress; but
an unexpected event occurred on the 18th, the day appointed for the
audience, which spoiled the plot.

The secret had been badly kept, and it was a matter of conversation,
hope, and prayer in Münster. A citizen named Ramers, who had
remained in the city, and had been rebaptised rather than lose his
business and give up his house to pillage, having heard of it,
escaped from the town on the 18th, and revealed the projects of
Hilla to one of the generals of the besieging army. The unfortunate
young woman was thereupon put to the question, and confessed. She
was conducted to Bevergern and decapitated. At the moment when
she was being prepared for execution, she assured the bystanders
that they would not be able to take her life, for the prophet John
"chosen friend of the Father, had assured her that she would return
safe and sound to Zion."

The bishop sent for Ramers, provided for his necessities, and
ordered that his house and goods should be spared in the event of
the capture of Münster.

As soon as one danger disappeared, another rose up in its place. The
letters attached to arrows fired by the Anabaptists into the hostile
camp, as well as their secret agents, had wrought their effect. The
Lutheran auxiliaries from Meissen complained that they were called
to fight against the friends of the Gospel, and on the night of the
30th June they deserted in a body.[187] Other soldiers escaped into
Münster and offered their arms to the Anabaptists. Disaffection was
widely spread. Disorder, misunderstandings, and ill-concealed hatred
reigned in the camp. The besieged reckoned among their assailants
numerous and warm friends, and were regularly informed of all the
projects of the general. Their emissaries bearing letters to the
Anabaptists in other territories easily traversed the ranks of the
investing army, and when they had accomplished their mission they
returned with equal ease to the gates of Münster, which opened to
receive them.

  [187] Kerssenbroeck, p. 36.

One of the soldiers of the Episcopal army, who had taken refuge in
Münster, was lodged in the house of Knipperdolling, in which also
dwelt John Bockleson. The deserter observed that the Leyden prophet
was wont to leave his bedroom at night, and he ventured to watch
his conduct and satisfy himself that it was not what it ought to
be.[188] He mentioned to others what he had observed. The scandal
would soon get wind. One only way remained to cut it short. John
Bockleson consulted with Rottmann and the other preachers, and urged
that polygamy should be not only sanctioned but enjoined on the

  [188] _Ibid._ p. 38; H. Montfort., p. 28.

Some of those present having objected to this new doctrine, the
prophet cast his mantle and the New Testament on the ground, and
solemnly swore that this which he enjoined was the direct revelation
of the Almighty. He threatened the recalcitrant ministers, and at
last, half-persuaded and wholly frightened, they withdrew their
objections; and he appointed the pastors three days in which to
preach polygamy to the people.[189] The new doctrine having been
ventilated, an assembly of the people was called, and it was
formerly laid down by the prophet as the will of God, that every man
was to have as many wives as he wanted.[190]

  [189] Sleidan, p. 414; Dorp. f 396.

  [190] Kerssenbroeck, p. 38.

The result of this new step was to bring about a reaction which for
a moment threatened the prophet's domination with downfall.

On the 30th July, Heinrich Mollenhecke, a blacksmith, supported by
two hundred citizens, burghers and artisans, declared openly that
he was resolved to put down the new masters of Münster, and to
restore everything upon the ancient footing. With the assistance
of his companions, he captured Bockleson, Knipperdolling, and the
preachers Rottmann, Schlachtscap, Clopris, and Vinnius, and cast
them into prison. Then a council was held, and it was resolved
that the gates should be opened to the bishop, the old magistracy
should be restored, and the exiled burgesses should be recalled,
and their property restored to them: and that all this should be
done _on the morrow_. Had it been done on the spot we should have
heard no more of John of Leyden. The delay saved him and ruined the
reactionary party. It allowed time for his adherents to muster.[191]
Mollenhecke and his party, when they met on the following morning
to execute their design, were attacked and surrounded by a
multitude of fanatics headed by Heinrich Redecker. The blacksmith
had succeeded in collecting only a handful. "No pen can describe
the rage with which their adversaries fell upon them, and the
refinements of cruelty to which they became victims. After having
overwhelmed them with blows and curses, they were imprisoned, but
they continued inflicting upon them such horrible tortures that
the majority of these unfortunates would have a thousand times
preferred death."[192] Ninety-one were ordered to instant execution.
Twenty-five were shot, the other sixty-six were decapitated by
Knipperdolling to economize powder, and lest the sound of the
discharge of firearms within the city should lead the besiegers to
believe that fighting was going on in the streets. Some had their
heads cut off, others were tied to a tree and shot, others again
were cut asunder at the waist, and others were slowly mutilated.
Knipperdolling himself executed the men, so many every day, in the
presence of the prophet, till all were slain.[193]

  [191] Kerssenbroeck, p. 39 _et seq._; Heresbach, pp. 41, 42; H.
  Montfort., pp. 29, 30; Bullinger, lib. ii. c. 9, p. 56.

  [192] Kerssenbroeck, p. 40.

  [193] _Ibid._ p. 41; Dorpius, f. 536 b.

"The partisans of the emancipation of the flesh having thus obtained
the mastery in Münster," says the eye-witness, "it was impossible,
a few days later, to discover in the capital of Westphalia the last
and feeble traces of modesty, chastity, and self-restraint."

Three men, John [OE]chinckfeld, Henry Arnheim, and Hermann Bispinck,
having, however, the hardihood to assert that they still believed
that Christian marriage consisted in the union of one man with one
woman, were decapitated by order of John of Leyden.[194]

  [194] H. Montfort., p. 29; C. Heresbach, p. 42.

With the death of these men disappeared every attempt at resistance.

The horrors which were perpetrated in Münster under the name of
religious liberty almost exceed belief. The most frantic licence
and savage debauchery were practised. The prophet took two wives,
besides his favourite sultana, the beautiful Divara, widow of
Matthisson, and his lawful wife at Leyden. These were soon
discovered to be too few, and the harem swelled daily.[195]

  [195] Kerssenbroeck, p. 42. Dorpius confirms the horrible account
  given by Kerssenbroeck from what he saw himself, f. 498.

"We must draw a veil," says Kerssenbroeck, "over what took place,
for we should scandalise our readers were we to relate in detail
the outrageous scenes of immorality which took place in the town,
and the villanies which these maniacs committed to satisfy their
abominable lusts. They were no more human beings, they were foul and
furious beasts. The hideous word _Spiritus meus concupiscit carnem
tuam_ was in every mouth; those who resisted these magic words
were shut up in the convent of Rosenthal; and if they persisted in
their obstinacy after exhortation, their heads were cut off. In one
day four were simultaneously executed on this account. On another
occasion a woman was sentenced to be decapitated, after childbirth,
for having complained of her husband having taken to himself a
second wife."[196]

  [196] Kerssenbroeck, p. 43 _et seq._

Henry Schlachtscap preached that no man after the Ascension of
Christ had lived in true matrimony, if he had contracted marriage on
account of beauty, wealth, family, and similar causes, for that true
marriage consisted solely in that which was instigated by the Spirit.

A new prophet now appeared upon the scene, named Dusentscheuer,
a native of Warendorf. He rushed into the market-place uttering
piercing cries, and performing such extraordinary antics that a
crowd was speedily gathered around him.

Then, addressing himself to the multitude, he exclaimed, "Christian
brothers, the celestial Father has revealed to me, and has commanded
me to announce to you, that John Bockelson of Leyden, the saint and
prophet of God, must be king of the whole earth; his authority will
extend over emperors, kings, princes, and all the powers of the
world; he will be the chief authority; and none shall arise above
him. He will occupy the throne of his father David, and will carry
the sceptre till the Lord reclaims it from him."[197]

  [197] _Ibid._ p. 47; Sleidan, p. 419; Bullinger, lib. ii. p.
  56; Montfort., p. 31; Heresbach, pp. 136-7, "Historia von d.
  Münsterischen Widerteuffer," f. 328 b; Dorpius, f. 397.

Bockelson and the twelve elders were present. A profound silence
reigned in the assembly. Dusentscheuer, advancing to the elders,
demanded their swords of office; they surrendered them into his
hands; he placed eleven at the feet of Bockelson, and put the
twelfth into his hand, saying--"Receive the sword of justice, and
with it the power to subjugate all nations. Use it so that thou
mayst be able to give a good account thereof to Christ, when He
shall come to judge the quick and the dead."[198] Then drawing from
his pocket a phial of fragrant oil, he poured it over the tailor's
head, pronouncing solemnly the words, "I consecrate thee in the
presence of thy people, in the name of God, and by His command,
and I proclaim thee king of the new Zion." When the unction was
performed, Bockelson cast himself in the dust and exclaimed, "O
Father! I have neither years, nor wisdom, nor experience, necessary
for such sovereignty; I appeal to Thy grace, I implore Thy
assistance and Thy all-powerful protection!... Send down upon me,
therefore, Thy divine wisdom. May Thy glorious throne descend on me,
may it dwell with me, may it illumine my labours; then shall I be
able to accomplish Thy will and Thy good pleasure, and thus shall I
be able to govern Thy people with equity and justice."

  [198] Kerssenbroeck, p. 43 _et seq._

Then, turning himself towards the crowd, Bockelson declared that he
had long known by revelation the glory that was to be his, but he
had never mentioned it, lest he should be deemed ambitious, but had
awaited in patience and humility the accomplishment of God's holy
will. He concluded by saying that, destined by the Father to reign
over the whole world, he would use the sword, and slay all those who
should venture to oppose him.[199]

Nevertheless murmurs of disapprobation were heard. "What!" thundered
the Leyden tailor, "you dare to resist the designs of God! Know
then, that even were you all to oppose me, I should nevertheless
become king of the whole earth, and that my royalty, which begins
now in this spot, will last eternally."

The new prophet Dusentscheuer and the other preachers harangued the
people during three consecutive days on the new revelation, read to
the people the 23rd chapter of Jeremiah and the 27th of Ezekiel, and
announced that in the King John the prophecies of the old seers were
accomplished, for that he was the new David whom God had promised
to raise up in the latter days. They also read aloud the 13th
chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and accompanied the
lecture with commentaries on the necessity and divine obligation of
submission to authority.[199]

  [199] Kerssenbroeck, p. 47; and the authors before quoted.

At the expiration of these three days, Dusentscheuer requested John
of Leyden to complete the spoliation of the inhabitants, so that
everything they possessed might be placed in a common fund. "It
has been revealed to me," said he, "that the Father is violently
irritated against the men and women because they have abused
grievously their food and drink and clothing. The Father requires
for the future, that no one of either sex shall retain more than
two complete suits and four shirts; the rest must be collected and
placed in security. It is the will of the Lord that the provisions
of beef and pork found in every house shall also be seized and be
consecrated to the general use."[200]

  [200] Kerssenbroeck, p. 49.

The order was promptly obeyed. Eighty-three large waggons were laden
with confiscated clothes, and all the provisions found in the city
were brought to the king, who confided the care and apportionment of
them to Dusentscheuer.

Bockelson now organised his court with splendour. He appointed
his officers, chamberlain, stewards, marshals, and equerries, in
imitation of the Court of the Emperor and Princes of Germany.
Rottmann was named his chaplain; Andrew von Coesfeld, director of
police; Hermann Tilbeck, grand-marshal; Henry Krechting, chancellor;
Christopher Waldeck, the bishop's son, who had fallen into his
power, was in derision made one of the pages; and a privy council
of four, composed of Bernard Krechting, Henry Redecker, and two
others of inferior note, was instituted under the presidency of
Christian Kerkering. John had also a grand-master of the kitchen, a
cup-bearer, taster, carver, gentlemen of the bedchamber, &c.[201]

  [201] _Ibid._ p. 55 Montfort., pp. 31-3; Sleidan, p. 418;
  Bullinger, p. 57; Heresbach, pp. 137-8.

But John Bockelson not only desired to be surrounded by a court; he
determined also to display all the personal splendour of royalty.
Accordingly, at his order, two crowns of pure gold were made,
one royal, the other imperial, encrusted with jewels. Around his
neck hung a gold chain enriched with precious stones, from which
depended a globe of the same metal transfixed by two swords, one
of gold, the other of silver. The globe was surmounted by a cross
which bore the inscription, "Ein König der Gerechtigkeit über all"
(a King of Righteousness over all). His sceptre, spurs, baldrick and
scabbard were also of gold, and his fingers blazed with diamonds.
On one of the rings, which was exceedingly massive, was cut, "Der
König in dem nyen Tempel furet dit zeichen vur sein Exempel" (the
King of the new Temple bears this symbol as his token). The royal
garments were magnificent, of crimson and purple, and costly stuffs
of velvet, silk, and gold and silver damask, with superb lace cuffs
and collars, and his mantle lined with costly furs. The elders,
the prophets, and the preachers followed suit, and exchanged their
sad-coloured garments for robes of honour in gay colours. The small
house of Knipperdolling no longer contented the tailor-king; he
therefore furnished, and moved into, a handsome mansion belonging
to the noble family of Von Büren. The house next door was converted
into the palace of his queens, and was adorned with royal splendour.
A door of communication, broken through the partition wall, allowed
King John to visit his wives at all hours.

He now took to himself thirteen additional wives, and a large train
of concubines. Among his sixteen legitimate wives was a daughter of
Knipperdolling. Divara of Haarlem remained the head queen, though
she was the oldest. The rest were all under twenty, and were the
most beautiful girls of Münster. They all bore the title of queens,
but Divara alone had a court, officers, and bodyguard, habited in
a livery of chestnut brown and green; the livery of the king being
scarlet and blue.[202]

  [202] Kerssenbroeck, p. 55 _et seq._; and the authors above
  cited. Kerssenbroeck gives long details of the dress, ornaments,
  and manner of life of the king; also "Historia von d.
  Münsterischen Widerteuffer," f. 329.

The king usually had his meals with his wives, and during the
repasts he examined them with great attention, feasting his eyes on
their beauty. The names of the sixteen queens were inscribed on a
tablet on which the king, after dinner, designated the lady who had
attracted his favour.[203]

  [203] Kerssenbroeck gives the names of all the wives except one,
  which he conceals charitably, as the poor child--she was very
  young--fell ill, but recovered, and was living respectably after
  the siege with her relatives in the city.

The King of Zion had abolished the names of the days of the weeks,
and had replaced them by the seven first letters of the alphabet.
He ordered that whenever a child was born in the town, it should be
announced to him, and then he gave it a name, whose initial letter
corresponded with the letter of the day on which it entered the
world. But, as Kerssenbroeck observes, the debauchery which reigned
in Münster had the result of diminishing the births, so that the
number of children born during the latter part of the siege was
extraordinarily small.

Bockelson had only two children by all his wives, and both were
daughters. Divara was the first to give birth; the event took place
on a Sunday, designated by the letter A; it was given the name of
Averall (for Ueberall--Above all); the second child, born on Monday,
was called Blydam (the Blythe).[204]

  [204] Kerssenbroeck, p. 59.

Thrice in the week Bockelson sat in judgment in the market-place
on a throne decked in purple silk, and richly adorned with gold.
He betook himself to this place of audience with great pomp. A
band of musical instruments headed the pageant, then followed
the councillors in purple, and the grand-marshal with the white
wand in his hand. John, wearing the royal insignia, mounted on a
white horse, splendidly caparisoned, followed between two pages
fantastically dressed, one bearing a Bible, the other a naked sword,
symbols of the spiritual and temporal jurisdiction exercised by his
majesty. The bodyguard surrounded his royal person, to keep off the
crowd and to protect him from danger. Knipperdolling, Rottmann, the
secretary Puthmann, and the chancellor Krechting followed; then
the executioner and his four assistants, a train of courtiers, and
servants closed the procession. The whole ceremony was as regal, as
punctiliously observed, as at a royal court where the traditions
date from many centuries.[205]

  [205] Kerssenbroeck, p. 62; H. Montfort., p. 33; Hast, p. 363
  _et seq._; Sleidan, p. 415; "Historia von de Münsterischen
  Widerteuffer," f. 328 b.

When the king reached the market-place, a squire held the horse, he
slowly mounted the steps of the throne, and inclining his sceptre,
announced the opening of the audience.

Then the plaintiffs approached, prostrated themselves flat upon the
ground twice, and spoke. The majority of the cases were matrimonial
complaints, often exceedingly indecent; "the greatest abominations
formulated in the most hideously cynical terms before the most
cynical of judges." Capital sentences, or penalties little less
severe, were pronounced against insubordinate wives.[206]

  [206] Kerssenbroeck. Sleidan says, "Almost every case and
  complaint brought before him concerned married people and
  divorces. For nothing was more frequent, so that persons who had
  lived together for many long years now separated for the first
  time."--p. 415-6.

The same ceremonial was observed whenever his majesty went to
hear the preaching in the market-square, with the sole exception,
that on this occasion he was accompanied by the sixteen queens,
magnificently dressed. Queen Divara rode a palfrey caparisoned in
furs, led by a page; the court and the fifteen other queens followed
on foot. On reaching the market-place, the ladies entered a house
opposite the throne, and assisted at the sermon, sitting at the

The pulpit and the throne were side by side; a long broad platform
united them. When the sermon was concluded, the king, his queens,
court, ministers, and the preacher, assembled on the platform and
danced to the strains of the royal band.

It was from this platform that King John, as sovereign pontiff,
blessed polygamous marriages, saying to the brides and the
bridegrooms, "What God hath joined let no man put asunder; go,
act according to the divine law, be fruitful and multiply, and
replenish the earth." This sanction was necessary for the validity
of these unions.

John, wishing to exercise all the prerogatives of royalty, struck
coins of various values, bearing on one side the inscription, "Das
Wort is Fleisch geworden und wohnet unter uns" (The Word was made
flesh and dwelt among us); or "Wer nicht gebohren ist aus Wasser und
Geist der kann nicht eingehen--" the rest on the reverse--"In das
Reich Gottes. Den es ist nur ein rechter König über alle, ein Gott,
ein Glaube, eine Tauffe" (who is not born of Water and the Spirit,
cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. For there is only one true
King over all, one God, one Faith, one Baptism). And in the middle,
"Münster, 1534."

Whilst the city of Münster was thus passing from a republic to a
monarchy, the siege continued; but the besiegers made no progress.
Refugees informed the prince-bishop of what had taken place within
the walls.

On the 25th August he assembled the captains and the princes and
nobles who had come into the camp to observe the proceedings, to
request them to advise him how to put an end to all these horrors
and abominations. It was proposed that a deputation should be sent
into the town to propose a capitulation on equitable terms; and in
the event of a refusal to offer a general assault.[207]

  [207] Kerssenbroeck, p. 65 _et seq._; Montfort., pp. 27, 28.

On the 28th August an armistice of three hours' duration was
concluded, and the deputation obtained a safe-conduct authorising
them to enter the city. But instead of being brought before the
inhabitants of the town, to whom they were commissioned to make the
propositions, they were introduced to the presence of Bockelson and
his court.

The envoys informed King John of the terms proposed by the bishop.
They were extremely liberal. He promised a general amnesty if the
place were surrendered, and arms laid down.

King John replied haughtily, that he did not need the clemency of
the prince-bishop, for that he stood strengthened by the almighty
and irresistible power of God. "It is your pretended bishop," said
he, "who is an impious and obstinate rebel, he who makes war without
previous declaration against the faithful servants of the celestial
Father. Never will I lay down my arms which I have taken up for the
defence of the Gospel; never in cowardly fashion will I surrender my
capital: on the contrary, I know how to defend it, even to the last
drop of my blood, if the honour of God requires it."[208]

  [208] Kerssenbroeck, p. 21.

The bishop, when he learnt that his deputies had been refused
permission to address the citizens, attached letters, sealed with
his Episcopal seal, to arrows, which were shot into the town. In
these letters he promised a general pardon to all those who would
leave the party of the Anabaptists, and escape from the town before
the following Thursday.

But Bockelson forbade, on pain of death, any one touching or opening
one of these letters, and ordered the instant decapitation of man,
woman, or child who testified anxiety to leave Münster.

The bishop and the princes resolved on attempting an assault without
further delay. John of Leyden received information of their purpose
through his spies. He at once mounted his white horse, convoked the
people, and announced to them that the Father had revealed to him
the day and hour of the projected attack; he appointed his post to
every man, gave employment to the women and children, and displayed,
at this critical moment, the zeal, energy, and readiness which would
have done credit to a veteran general.[209]

  [209] Kerssenbroeck, p. 68.

The assault was preluded by a bombardment of three days. The
battlements yielded, breaches were effected in the walls, the roofs
of the houses were shattered, the battered gates gave way, and all
promised success. But the besieged neglected no precaution. During
the night the walls were repaired and the gates strengthened.
Women laboured under the orders of the competent directors during
the hours of darkness, thus allowing their husbands to take their
requisite repose. They carried stones and the munitions of war to
the ramparts, and learning to handle the cross-bow, they succeeded
in committing no inconsiderable amount of execution among the ranks
of the Episcopal army. Other women prepared lime and boiling pitch
"to cook the bishop's soup for him."[210] On the 31st August, at
daybreak, the roar of the Hessian devil, as a large cannon belonging
to the Landgrave Philip was called, gave the signal. Instantly the
city was assaulted in six places. The ditches were filled, petards
were placed under the gates, the palisades were torn down, and
ladders were planted. But however vigorous might be the attack,
the defence was no less vigorous. Those on the walls threw down
the ladders with all upon them, and they fell bruised and mangled
into the fosse, the heads of those who had reached the battlements
were crushed with stones and cudgels, and their hands, clasping the
parapet, were hacked off. Women hurled stones upon the besiegers,
and enveloped them in boiling pitch, quicklime, and blazing sulphur.

  [210] _Ibid._ p. 70.

Repulsed, they returned to the charge eight or ten times, but always
in vain. The whole day was consumed in ineffectual assaults, and
when the red sun went down in the west, the clarions pealed the
retreat, and the army, dispirited and bearing with it a train of
wounded, withdrew, leaving the ground strewn with dead.

Had the Anabaptists made a night assault, the defeat and dispersion
of the Episcopal troops would have been completed. But instead, they
sang a hymn and spent the night in banqueting.

The prince-bishop, despondent and at his wits' end for money,
called his officers to a consultation on the 3rd September, and it
was unanimously resolved to turn the investment into an effective
blockade. This resolution was submitted to the electors of Cologne
and Saxony, the Duke of Cleves, and the Landgrave of Hesse, and
these princes approved of the design of Francis von Waldeck.

It was determined to raise seven redoubts, united by ramparts and a
ditch, around the city, so as completely to close it, and prevent
the exit of the besieged and the entrance of provisions. It was
decided that the defence of this circle of forts should be confided
to a sufficient number of tried soldiers, and that the rest of the
army should be dismissed.

Accordingly, on the 7th September, all the labourers of the country
round were engaged, under the direction of the engineer Wilkin von
Stedingen, in raising the walls and digging the trenches. The work
was carried on with vigour by relays of peasants; nevertheless, the
undertaking was on so great a scale, that several months must elapse
before it could be completed.[211]

  [211] Kerssenbroeck, p. 75 _et seq._; Heresbach, p. 132.

The cost of this terrible siege had already risen to 600,000
florins, the treasury was empty, and the country could bear no
further taxes. Francis of Waldeck appealed to the Elector Palatine,
the Electors of Cologne, Mainz, and Trèves, to give help and
subsidies; he had recourse also to the princes and nobles of the
Upper and Lower Rhine; and it was decided that a diet should
assemble on the 13th December, 1534, to make arrangements for the
complete subjugation of the insurgent fanatics. All the princes,
Catholic and Protestant, trembled for their crowns, for the
Anabaptist sect ramified throughout the country, and if John of
Leyden were successful in Münster, they might expect similar risings
in their own principalities.[212]

  [212] _Ibid._ p. 75; Bussierre, p. 372; Hast, p. 366.

Whilst the preparations for the blockade were in progress, John
Bockelson, inflated with pride, placed no bounds to his prodigality,
his display, and his despotism. He frequently pronounced sentences
of death. Thus Elizabeth Holschers was decapitated for having
refused her husband what he demanded of her; Catherine of Osnabrück
underwent the same sentence for having told one of the preachers
that he was building his doctrines upon the sand; Catherine
Knockenbecher lost her head for having taken two husbands. Polygamy
was permitted, but polyandry was regarded as an unpardonable

  [213] Kerssenbroeck, p. 75; Bussierre, p. 372.

However, the people chafed at the tyranny they were subjected to,
and murmurs, low and threatening, continued to make themselves
heard; whereupon, by King John's order, Dusentscheuer announced from
the pulpit, "that all those who should for the future have doubts in
the verities taught them, and who should venture to blame the king
whom the Father had given them, would be given over to the anointed
of the Lord to be extirpated out of Israel, decapitated by the
headsman, and condemned to eternal oblivion."

Amongst those who viewed with envy the rise and splendour of the
tailor-king was Knipperdolling. He had opened his home to the
prophet, had patronised him, introduced him to the people of
Münster, and now the draper was eclipsed by the glory of the tailor.
Thinking that the time was come for him to assume the pre-eminence,
he made an attempt to dethrone Bockelson.

On the 12th of September he was seized with the spirit of prophecy,
became as one possessed, rushed through the town howling, foaming
at the mouth, making prodigious leaps and extravagant gestures,
and crying in every street, "Repent! repent!" After having carried
on these antics for some time, Knipperdolling dashed into the
market-place, cast himself down on the ground, and fell into an

The people clustered around him, wondering what new revelation was
about to be made, and the king, who was then holding audience,
looked on uneasily at the crowd drifting from his throne towards his
lieutenant-general, whose object he was unable to divine, as this
performance had not been concerted between them.

He was not left long in uncertainty, for Knipperdolling, rising
from the ground with livid face, scrambled up the back of a sturdy
artisan standing near, and crawled on all fours "like a dog," says
Sleidan, over the heads of the throng, breathing in their faces,
and exclaiming, "The celestial Father has sanctified thee; receive
the Holy Ghost." Then he anointed the eyes of some blind men with
his spittle, saying, "Let sight be given you." Undiscomfited by the
failure of this attempt to perform a miracle, he prophesied that he
would die and rise again in three days; and he indicated a corner
of the market-place where this was to occur. Then making his way
towards the throne, he began to dance in the most grotesque and
indecent manner before the king, shouting contemptuously, "Often
have I danced thus before my mistresses, now the celestial Father
has ordered me to perform these dances before my king."[214]

  [214] Kerssenbroeck, p. 81 _et seq._; Sleidan, p. 416.

John was highly displeased at this performance; and he ran down the
steps of his throne to interrupt him. But Knipperdolling nimbly
leaped upon the dais, seated himself in the place of majesty, and
cried out, "The Spirit of God impels me: John Bockelson is king
according to the flesh, I am king according to the Spirit; the
two Testaments must be abolished and extirpated. Man must cease
from obeying terrestrial laws; henceforth he shall obey only the
inspirations of the Spirit and the instincts of nature."

John of Leyden sprang at him, dragged him from the throne, beat
his head with his golden sceptre, and administering a kick to the
rear of his lieutenant, sent him flying head over heels from the
platform, and then calmly enthroning himself, he gave orders for the
removal and imprisonment of the rebel.

He was obeyed.[215]

  [215] Kerssenbroeck, Hast p. 366.

Knipperdolling, left to cool in the dungeon, felt that his only
chance of life was to submit. He therefore sent his humble apology
to the king, and assured him that he had been possessed by an evil
spirit, which had driven him, against his judgment and conscience,
into revolt. "And," said he, "last night the Father revealed to me
that one must venerate the royal majesty, and that John is destined
to reign over the whole earth."

He was at once released, for Bockelson needed him, and the failure
of this attempt only secured the king's hold over him. He sent him
a letter of pardon, concluding with the royal signature in this
eccentric fashion:--

    "In fide persiste salvus
    Carnis curam agit Deus.
    Johannes Leydanus.
    Potentia Dei, robur meum."[216]

  [216] Persist secure in Faith. God takes care of the Flesh. John
  of Leyden. The Power of God is my strength.

Another event took place at Münster, which distracted the thoughts
of the people from the events of the siege, and the attempt of
Knipperdolling to dethrone the king.

The prophet Dusentscheuer, on the same day, the 12th September,
sought the King of Zion in his palace, and said to him with an
inspired air, "This is the commandment of the Lord to me: Go and say
unto the chief of Israel, that he shall prepare on the Mount Zion
(that is, the cathedral square) a great supper for all Christian
brethren and sisters, and after supper he shall commission the
teachers of my Word to go forth to the four quarters of the world,
that they may teach all men the way of my righteousness, and that
they may be brought into my fold."

The king accepted the message with respect, and gave orders for its
immediate execution.

On the 13th September, Dusentscheuer called together the elect,
traversing the streets playing upon a flute. At noon 1700 men,
capable of bearing arms, 400 old men and children, and 5000 women
assembled on Mount Zion.

Bockelson left his palace, habited in a scarlet tunic over which was
cast a cloth of silver mantle, on his head was his crown, and his
sceptre was in his right hand. Thirty-two knights, magnificently
dressed, served as his bodyguard. Then came Queen Divara and the
rest of the wives of the court.

When the king had taken his place, the Grand Marshal Tilbeck made
the people sit down. Tables had been arranged along the sides of the
great square under the trees, with an open space in the centre.

When all were seated, the king and his familiars distributed food
to those invited. They were given first boiled beef and roots,
then ham with other vegetables, and finally roast meat. When the
plates had been removed, thin round cakes of fine wheat flour were
brought in large baskets, and John, calling the faithful up before
him, communicated them with the bread, saying, "Take and eat this,
and show forth the Lord's death." Divara followed, holding the
chalice in her jewelled hands; she made the communicants drink from
it, repeating the words to each, "Drink this, and show forth the
Lord's death." Then all sang the _Gloria in excelsis_ in German,
and this fantastic parody of the communion was over. Bockelson now
ordered all his subjects to arrange themselves in a circle, and he
demanded if they would faithfully obey the Word of God. All having
assented, Dusentscheuer mounted the pulpit and said, "The Father
has revealed to me the names of twenty-seven apostles who are to
be sent into every part of the world; they will spread everywhere
the pure doctrine of the celestial kingdom, and the Lord will cover
them with the shadow of His wings, so that not a hair of their head
shall be injured. And when they shall arrive at a place where the
authorities refuse to receive the Gospel, there they shall leave a
florin in gold, they shall shake off the dust of their garments, and
shall go to another place." Then the prophet designated the chosen
apostles--he saw himself of the number--and he added, "Go ye into
all the cities and preach the Word of God." The twenty-seven stepped
forward, and the king, mounting the pulpit, exhorted the people to
prepare for a grand sortie.[217]

  [217] Kerssenbroeck, p. 86; Montfort., p. 34; Dorpius, f. 397 b;
  Heresbach, p. 139, _et seq._; Bullinger, lib. ii. c. 10; Sleidan,
  p. 417; this author sets the number of communicants at 5,000, the
  "Newe Zeitung" at 4,000, f. 329. This authority adds that the
  communicants distributed the sacrament they had received amongst
  themselves saying, "Brother and sister, take and eat thereof. As
  Christ gave Himself for me, so will I give myself for thee. And
  as the corn-wheat is baked into one, and the grape branches are
  pressed into one, so we being many are one." Also, "Letter of the
  Bishop to the Electors of Cologne," _ibid._ p. 390.

The banquet was over for the people; but John, his wives and court,
and those who had been on guard upon the walls, to the number of
500, now sat down.

The second banquet was much more costly than the first. In the midst
of the feast, Bockelson, rising, said that he had received an order
from the Father to go round and inspect the guests. He accordingly
examined those present, and recognising amongst them a soldier of
the Episcopal army, who had been made prisoner, he confronted him
sternly, and asked--

"Friend, what is thy faith?"

"My faith," replied the soldier, who was half drunk, "is to drink
and make love."

"How didst thou dare to come in, not having on the wedding garment?"
asked the king, in a voice of thunder.

"I did not come of my own accord to this debauch,"[218] answered the
prisoner; "I was brought here by main force."

  [218] The expression used was somewhat broad--Hurenhochzeit.

At these words, the king, transported with rage, drew his sword and
smote off the head of the unfortunate reveller.

The night was spent in dancing.[219]

  [219] Kerssenbroeck, p. 88 _et seq._; Heresbach, p. 139; Dorp. f.

Whilst the king was eating and drinking, the twenty-seven apostles
were taking a tender farewell of their 124 legitimate wives,[220]
and making their preparations to depart.

  [220] Evidence of Heinrich Graess. Dorpius says that the number
  of apostles was twenty-eight, and gives their names and the
  places to which they were sent, f. 398.

When all was ready, they returned to Mount Zion; Bockelson
ascended the pulpit, and gave them their mission in the following
terms:--"Go, prepare the way; we will follow. Cast your florin of
gold at the feet of those who despise you, that it may serve as a
testimony against them, and they shall be slain, all the sort of
them, or shall bow their necks to our rule."

Then the gates were thrown open, and the apostles went forth, north
and south, and east and west. The blockade was not complete, and
they succeeded in traversing the lines of the enemy.

However, the prince-bishop notified to the governors of the towns in
his principality to watch them and arrest them, should they attempt
to disseminate their peculiar doctrines.[221]

  [221] Kerssenbroeck, p. 89 _et seq._; Heresbach, pp. 89, 101,
  141; Montfort., p. 35; Bullinger, lib. ii. c. 10; Sleidan, pp.
  417-8; Hast, p. 368; "Historia v. d. Münst. Widerteuffer." p. 329

We shall have to follow these men, and see the results of their
mission, before we continue the history of the siege of Münster.
In fact, on their expedition and their success, as John Bockelson
probably felt, everything depended. As soon as the city was
completely enclosed no food could enter: already it was becoming
scarce; therefore an attack on the Episcopal army from the flank
was most essential to success; the palisades and ramparts recently
erected sufficiently defending the enemy against surprises and
sorties from the town.

Seven of the apostles went to Osnabrück, six to Coesfeld, five to
Warendorf, and eight, amongst whom was Dusentscheuer himself, betook
themselves to Soest.[222]

  [222] For the acts of these apostles, Kerssenbroeck, p. 92 _et
  seq._; Menck. p. 1574; Montfort., p. 36 _et seq._; Sleidan, p.
  418; Bullinger, lib. ii. c. 10; Heresbach, p. 149.

On entering Soest, Dusentscheuer and his fellow-apostles opened
their mission by a public frenzied appeal to repentance. Then,
hearing that the senate had assembled, they entered the hall and
preached to the city councillors in so noisy a fashion that the
magistrates were obliged to suspend their deliberations. The
burgomaster having asked them who they were, and why they entered
the town-hall unsummoned and unannounced, "We are sent by the king
of the New Zion, and by order of God to preach the Gospel," was the
reply of Dusentscheuer; "and to execute this mission we need neither
passports nor permission. The kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence,
and the violent take it by storm." "Very well," said the burgomaster
collectedly. "Guards, remove the preachers and throw them into
prison." A few days after several of them lost their heads on the

John Clopris, at the head of four evangelists, entered Warendorf.
They took up their abode in the house of an Anabaptist named Erpo,
one of the magistrates of the town, and began to preach and prophesy
in the streets. The first day they rebaptised fifty persons. Clopris
preached with such fervour and persuasive eloquence, that the whole
town followed him; the senate received the sign of the covenant in a
body, and this was followed by a rebaptism of half the population.

Alarmed at what was taking place, and afraid of a diversion in his
rear, Francis of Waldeck wrote to the magistrates ordering them to
give up the apostles of error. They refused, and the prince at once
invested the town and bombarded it. The magistrates sent offers
of capitulation, which the prince rejected; they asked to retain
their arms and their franchises. Francis of Waldeck insisted on
unconditional surrender, and they were constrained to yield. Some
of the senators and citizens who had repented of their craze, or
who had taken no part in the movement, seized the apostles and
conducted them to the town-hall. Clopris and his fellows cast down
their florins of gold and declared that they shook off the dust of
their feet against the traitors, and that they would carry the pure
Word of God and the living Gospel elsewhere; but escape was not
permitted, and they were delivered over to the prince-bishop.

Francis of Waldeck at once placed sentinels in the streets, ordered
every citizen to deliver up his weapons, took the title-deeds of the
city, withdrew its franchises, and executed four of the apostles
and three of the ringleaders of the senators. Clopris was sent to
Cologne, and was burnt there on the 1st February, 1535, by the
Elector. The bishop then raised a fortress to command the town,
and placed in it a garrison to keep the Warendorfians in order.
Seventeen years after, the greater part of the franchises were
restored, and all the rest in 1555.

The apostles of the east, under Julius Frisius, were arrested at
Coesfeld, and were executed.[223]

  [223] The "Newe Zeitung v. d. Widerteuffer. zu Münster," f. 329
  b, 330 a, gives a summary of the confessions of these men, and
  their account of the condition of affairs in the city. They said
  that every man there had five, six, seven, or eight wives, and
  that every girl over the age of twelve was forced to marry; that
  if one wife showed resentment against another, or jealousy, or
  complained, she was sentenced by the king to death.

Those of the north reached Osnabrück. Denis Vinnius was at their
head. They entered the house of a certain Otto Spiecher, whom they
believed to be of their persuasion, and they laid at his feet their
gold florins bearing the title and superscription of King John,
as tokens of their mission. Spiecher picked up the gold pieces,
pocketed them, and then informed his visitors that he did not
belong to their sect, and that the only salvation for their necks
would be reticence on the subject of their mission.

But this was advice Vinnius and his fellow-fanatics were by no
means disposed to accept. They ran forth into the streets and
market-place, yelling, dancing, foaming, and calling to repentance.
Then Vinnius, having collected a crowd, preached to them the setting
up of the Millennial kingdom at Münster. Thereupon the city-guard
arrived with orders from the burgomaster, arrested the missionaries,
and carried them off to the Goat-tower, where they shut them in, and
barred fast the doors.[224]

  [224] Kerssenbroeck, p. 100 _et seq._

The rabble showed signs of violence, threatened, blustered, armed
themselves with axes and hammers, and vowed they would batter open
the prison-gates unless the true ministers of God's Word, pure from
all human additions, were set at liberty. The magistrates replied
with great firmness that the first man who attempted to force
the doors should be shot, and no one caring to be the first man,
though very urgent to his neighbours to lead the assault, the mob
sang a psalm and dispersed, and the ministers were left to console
themselves with the promises of Dusentscheuer that not a hair of
their head should fall.

A messenger was sent by the magistrates post haste to the
prince-bishop, and before morning the evangelists were in his grasp
at Iburg.

As they were led past Francis of Waldeck, one of them, Heinrich
Graess, exclaimed in Latin, "Has not the prince power to release
the captive?" and the prince, disposed in his favour, sent for
him. Graess then confessed that the whole affair was a mixture of
fanaticism and imposture, the ingredients being mixed in pretty
equal proportions, and promised, if his life were spared, to abandon
Anabaptism, and, what was more to the point, to prove an Ahitophel
to the Absalom in Zion.

Graess was pardoned, Strahl died in prison, the other four were
brought to the block.

Graess was the sole surviving apostle of the seventy-seven, and the
miserable failure of their mission had rudely shaken out of him
all belief in its divine character, and he became as zealous in
unmasking Anabaptism as he had been enthusiastic in its propagation.

There is no reason to believe that the man was an unprincipled
traitor. On the contrary, he appears to have been thoroughly in
earnest as long as he believed in his mission, but his confidence
had been shaken before he left the city, and the signal collapse of
the mission sufficed to convince him of his previous error, and make
him resolute to oppose it.

Laden with chains, he was brought to the gates of Münster one dark
night and there abandoned. In the morning he was recognised by the
sentinels, and was brought into the city, and led in triumph before
the king, by a vast concourse chanting German hymns.[225]

  [225] Kerssenbroeck, p. 103 _et seq._; Montfort., pp. 40-1; Hast
  p. 368.

And thus he accounted for his presence:--"I was last night at Iburg
in a dark dungeon, when suddenly a brilliant light filled my
prison, and I saw before me an angel of God, who took me by the hand
and led me forth, and delivered me from the death which has befallen
all my companions, and which the ungodly determined to inflict on
me upon the morrow. The angel transported me asleep to the gate of
Münster, and that none may doubt my story, lo! the chains, wherewith
I was laden by the enemies of Israel, still encumber me."

Some of the courtiers doubted the miracle, but not so the people,
and the king gave implicit credence to his word, or perhaps thought
the event capable of a very simple explanation, which had been
magnified and rendered supernatural by the heated fancy of the

Graess became the idol of the people and the favourite of Bockelson.
The king passed a ring upon his finger, and covered him with a
robe of distinction, half grey, half green--the first the symbol
of persistence, the other typical of gratitude to God.[226] Graess
profited by his position to closely observe all that transpired of
the royal schemes.

  [226] Montfort., p. 40.

John Bockelson became more and more tyrannical and sanguinary. He
hung a starving child, aged ten, for having stolen some turnips. A
woman lost her head for having spit in the face of a preacher of the
Gospel. An Episcopal soldier having been taken, the king exhorted
him to embrace the pure Word of God, freed from the traditions of
men. The prisoner having had the audacity to reply that the pure
Gospel as practised in the city seemed to him to be adultery,
fornication, and all uncleanness; the king, foaming with rage,
hacked off his head with his own hand.[227]

  [227] Kerssenbroeck, p. 110.

Provisions became scarce in Münster, and the inhabitants were driven
to consume horse-flesh; and the powder ran short in the magazine.

The Diet of Coblenz assembled on the 13th December. The envoys of
the Elector Palatine, the prince-bishops of Maintz, Cologne, and of
Trier, the princes and nobles of the Upper and Lower Rhine and of
Westphalia appeared. Francis of Waldeck, unable to be present in
person, sent deputies to represent him.[228]

  [228] _Ibid._ p. 114.

These deputies having announced that the cost of the siege had
already amounted to 700,000 florins, besought the assembled princes
to combine to terminate this disastrous war. A long deliberation
followed, and the principle was admitted that as the establishment
of an Anabaptist kingdom in Münster would be a disaster affecting
the whole empire, it was just that the bishop should not be obliged
to bear the whole expenses of the reduction of Münster. The Elector
John Frederick of Saxony, though not belonging to the three circles
convoked, through his deputies sent to the Diet, promised to take
part in the extirpation of the heretics.[229] It was finally
agreed that the bishop should be supplied with 300 horse soldiers,
3000 infantry, and that an experienced General, Count Ulrich von
Ueberstein, should command them and take the general conduct of the

  [229] _Ibid._; Sleidan, p. 419; Heresbach, p. 132.

  [230] Sleidan, p. 419.

The monthly subsidy of 15,000 florins was also promised to be
contributed till the fall of Münster. It was also agreed that the
prince-bishop should be guaranteed the integrity of his domains;
that each prince, Catholic or Protestant, should use his utmost
endeavours to extirpate Anabaptism from his estates; that the Bishop
of Münster should request Ferdinand, King of the Romans, and the
seven Electors, to meet on the 4th April, at Worms, to consult with
those then assembled at Worms on measures to crush the rebellion, to
divide the cost of the war, and to punish the leaders of the revolt
at Münster.

Lastly, the Diet addressed a letter to the guilty city, summoning it
to surrender at discretion, unless it were prepared to resist the
combined effort of all estates of the empire.

But if the princes were combining against the Anabaptist New
Jerusalem, the sectarians were in agitation, and were arming
to march to its relief from all sides, from Leyden, Freisland,
Amsterdam, Deventer, from Brabant and Strassburg.

The Anabaptists of Deventer were on the point of rising and
massacring the "unbelievers" in this city, and then marching on
Münster, when the plot was discovered, and the four ringleaders
were executed. The vigilance of the Regent of the Netherlands
prevented the adherents of the mystic sect, who were then very
numerous, from rolling in a wave upon Westphalia, and sweeping the
undisciplined Episcopal army away and consolidating the power of
their pontiff-king.

It was towards the Low Countries that John of Leyden looked with
impatience. When would the expected delivery come out of the west?
Why were not the thousands and tens of thousands of the sons of
Israel rising from their fens, joined by trained bands from the
cities, marching by the light of blazing cities, singing the songs
of Zion?

Graess offered the king to hie to the Low Countries and rouse the
faithful seed. "The Father," said he, "has ordered me to gather
together the brethren dispersed at Wesel, at Deventer, at Amsterdam,
and in Lower Germany; to form of them a mighty army that shall
deliver this city and smite asunder the enemies of Israel. I will
accomplish this mission with joy in the interest of the faithful. I
fear no danger, since I go to fulfil the will of God, and I am sure
that our brethren, when they know our extremity, and that it is the
will of their king, will rise and hasten to the relief."[231]

  [231] Montfort., p. 40; Kerssenbroeck, p. 104 _et seq._; Hast, p.

John Bockelson was satisfied; he furnished Graess with letters of
credit, sealed with the royal signet. The letters were couched
in the following terms:--"We, John, King of Righteousness in the
new Temple, and servant of the Most High, do you to wit by these
presents, that the bearer of these letters, Heinrich Graess, prophet
illumined by the celestial Father, is sent by us to assemble, for
the increase of our realm, our brethren dispersed abroad throughout
the German lands. He will make them to hear the words of life, and
he will execute the commandments which he has received from God and
from us. We therefore order and demand of all those who belong to
our kingdom to confide in him as in ourselves. Given at Münster,
city of God, and sealed with our signet, in the twenty-sixth year
of our age and the second of our reign, the second day of the first
month, in the year 1535 after the nativity of Jesus Christ, Son of

Graess, furnished with this letter and with 300 florins from the
treasury, left the city, and betook himself direct to Iburg, which
he reached on the vigil of the Epiphany;[232] and appeared before
the bishop, told him the whole project, the names of the principal
members of the sect at Wesel, Amsterdam, Leyden, &c., the places
where their arms were deposited, and their plan of a general rising
and massacring their enemies on a preconcerted day.

  [232] Montfort., p. 40.

The bishop sent dispatches at once to the Duke of Juliers and
the Governors of the Low Countries to warn them to be on their
guard. They replied, requesting his assistance in suppressing the
insurrection; and as the most effectual aid he could render would be
to send Graess, he commissioned him to visit Wesel, and arrest the
execution of the project.

Graess at once betook himself to Wesel, where he denounced the
ringleaders and indicated the places where their arms and ammunition
were secreted in enormous quantities. A tumult broke out; but the
Duke of Juliers entered Wesel on the 5th April (1535), at the head
of some squadrons of cavalry, seized the ringleaders, who were
members of the principal houses in the place and of the senate, and
on the 13th executed six of them. The rest were compelled to do
penance in white sheets, were deprived of their arms, and put under
close surveillance.

Another division of the Anabaptists attempted to gain possession of
Leyden, but were discomfited, fifteen of the principal men of the
party were executed, and five of the women most distinguished for
their fanaticism were drowned, amongst whom was the original wife of
John Bockelson.[233]

  [233] Hast, p. 370; Bussierre, p. 403.

In Gröningen, the partisans of the sect were numerous; orders
reached them from the king to rise and massacre the magistrates, and
march to the relief of the invested city. As the Anabaptists there
were not all disposed to recognise the royalty of John of Leyden,
an altercation broke out between them, and the attempt failed; but
rising and marching under Peter Shomacker, their prophet, they
were defeated on January 24th, by the Baron of Leutenburg, and the
prophet was executed.

We must now return to what took place in the town of Münster at the
opening of the year 1535.

Bockelson inaugurated that year by publishing, on January 2nd, an
edict in twenty-eight Articles. It was addressed "To all lovers of
the Truth and the Divine Righteousness, learned in and ignorant of
the mysteries of God, to let them know how those Christians ought to
live or act who are fighting under the banner of Justice, as true
Israelites of the new Temple predestined for long ages, announced
by the mouths of all the holy prophets, founded in the power of the
Holy Ghost, by Christ and his Apostles, and finally established by
John, the righteous King, seated on the throne of David."

The Articles were to this effect:--

     "1. In this new temple there was to be only one king
        to rule over the people of God.

     2. This king was to be a minister of righteousness, and to bear
        the sword of justice.

     3. None of the subjects were to desert their allotted places.

     4. None were to interpret Holy Scripture wrongfully.

     5. Should a prophet arise teaching anything contrary to the
        plain letter of Holy Scripture, he was to be avoided.

     6. Drunkenness, avarice, fornication, and adultery were

     7. Rebellion to be punished with death.

     8. Duels to be suppressed.

     9. Calumny forbidden.

     10. Egress from the camp forbidden without permission.

     11. Any one absenting himself from his wife for three days,
        without leave from his officer, the wife to take another

     12. Approaching the enemy's sentinels without leave forbidden.

     13. All violence forbidden among the elect.

     14. Spoil taken from the enemy to go into a common fund.

     15. No renegade to be re-admitted.

     16. Caution to be observed in admitting a Christian into one
         society who leaves another.

     17. Converts not to be repelled.

     18. Any desiring to live at peace with the Christians, in trade,
         friendship, and by treaty, not to be rejected.

     19. Permission given to dealers and traders to traffic with the

     20. No Christian to oppose and revolt against any Gentile
         magistrate, except the servants of the bishops and the monks.

     21. A Gentile culprit not to be remitted the penalty of his
         crime by joining the Christian sect.

     22. Directions about bonds.

     23. Sentence to be pronounced against those who violate these
         laws and despise the Word of God, but not hastily, without the
         knowledge of the king.

     24. No constraint to be used to force on marriages.

     25. None afflicted with epilepsy, leprosy, and other diseases,
         to contract marriage without informing the other contracting
         party of their condition.

     26. Nulla virginis specie, cum virgo non sit, fratrem
         defraudabit; alioquin serio punietur.

     27. Every woman who has not a legitimate husband, to choose from
         among the community a man to be her guardian and protector.

     "Given by God and King John the Just, minister of the Most High
        God, and of the new Temple, in the 26th year of his age and
        the first of his reign, on the second day of the first month
        after the nativity of Jesus Christ, Son of God, 1535."[234]

  [234] Kerssenbroeck, p. 132 _et seq._

The object Bockelson had in view in issuing this edict was to
produce a diversion in his favour among the Lutherans. He already
felt the danger he was in, from a coalescence of Catholics
and Protestants, and he hoped by temperate proclamations and
protestations of his adhesion to the Bible, and the Bible only, as
his authority, to dispose them, if not to make common cause with
him, at least to withdraw their assistance from the common enemy,
the Catholic bishop.

For the same object he sent letters on the 13th January to the
Landgrave of Hesse, and with them a book called "The Restitution"
(Von der Wiederbringung), intended to place Anabaptism in a
favourable light.[235]

  [235] Kerssenbroeck, p. 128; Sleidan, p. 420; Hast, p. 373 _et
  seq._; "Acta, Handlungen," &c., f. 365 b. The king's letter began
  "Leve Lips" ("Dear Phil").

The Landgrave replied at length, rebuking the fanatics for their
rebellion, for their profligacy, and for their heresy in teaching
that man had a free will.[236]

  [236] Sleidan, p. 421.

This reply irritated the Anabaptists, and they wrote to him again,
to prove that they clave to the pure Word of God, freed from all
doctrines and traditions of men, and that they followed the direct
inspiration of God through their prophet. They also retorted on
Philip with some effect. The Landgrave, said they, had no right to
censure them for attacking their bishop, for he had done precisely
the same in his own dominions. He had expelled all the religious
from their convents, and had appropriated their lands; he had
re-established the Duke of Wurtemburg in opposition to the will
of the Emperor; he had changed the religion of his subjects, and
was unable to allege, as his authority for thus acting, the direct
orders of Heaven, transmitted to him by the prophets of the living
God. They might have retorted upon the Landgrave also, the charge
of immorality, but they forbore; their object was to persuade the
champion of the Protestant cause to favour them, not to exasperate
him by driving the _tu quoque_ too deep home.

With this letter was sent a treatise by Rottmann, entitled, "On the
Secret Significance of Scripture."

Philip of Hesse wavered. He wrote once more; and after having
attempted to excuse himself for those things wherewith he had been
reproached, he said, "If the thing depended on me only, you would
not have to plead in vain your _just_ cause, and you would obtain
all that you demand; but you ought ere this to have addressed the
princes of the empire, instead of taking the law into your own
hands; flying to arms, erecting a kingdom, electing a king, and
sending prophets and apostles abroad to stir up the towns and the
people. Nevertheless, it is possible that even now your demands may
be favourably listened to, if you recall on equitable conditions
those whom you have driven out of the town and despoiled of their
goods, and restore your ancient constitutions and your former

  [237] Kerssenbroeck, p. 129; Sleidan, p. 421.

Luther now thundered out of Wittemberg. Sleidan epitomises this
treatise. Five Hessian ministers also issued an answer to the
doctrine of the Anabaptists of Münster, which was probably drawn up
for them by Luther himself, or was at least submitted to him for his
approval, for it is published among his German works.[238] It is
full of invective and argument in about equal doses. A passage or
two only can be quoted here:--

"Since you are led astray by the devil into such blasphemous error,
drunk and utterly imprisoned you wish, as is Satan's way, to make
yourselves into angels of light, and to paint in brightness and
colour your devilish doings. For the devil will be no devil, but
a holy angel, yea, even God himself, and his works, however bad
they may be before God and all the world, he will have unrebuked,
and himself be honoured and reverenced as the Most Holy. For that
purpose he and you, his obedient disciples, use Holy Scripture as
all heretics have ever done."[239]

  [238] Luth. "Sämmtliche Werke," Wittenb. 1545-51, ii. ff.
  367-375; "Von der Teuffelischen Secte d. Widerteuffer. zu

  [239] _Ibid._ f. 367.

"What shall I say? You let all the world see that you understand far
less about the kingdom of Christ than did the Jews, who blame you
for your want of understanding, and yet none spoke or believed more
ignorantly of that same kingdom than they. For the Scripture and the
prophets point to Messiah, through whom all was to be fulfilled, and
this the Jews also believed. But you want to make it point to your
Tailor-King, to the great disgrace and mockery of Christ, our only
true King, Saviour, and Redeemer."[240]

  [240] _Ibid._ f. 369.

But this was the grievous rub with the Reformer--that the Anabaptist
had gone a step beyond himself. "You have cast away all that Dr.
Martin Luther taught you, and yet it is from him that you have
received, next to God, all sound learning out of the Scripture; you
have given another definition of faith, after your new fashion, with
various additional articles, so that you have not only darkened, but
have utterly annihilated the value of saving faith."[241]

  [241] _Ibid._ f. 373.

In a treatise of Justus Menius, published with Luther's approval,
and with a preface by him, "On the Spirit of the Anabaptists,"
it is angrily complained, that these sectaries bring against the
Lutheran Church the following charges:--"First, that our churches
are idol-temples, since God dwelleth not in temples made with hands.
Secondly, that we do not preach the truth, and have true Divine
worship therein. Thirdly, that our preachers are sinners, and are
therefore unfit to teach others. Fourthly, that the common people
do not mend their morals by our preaching." All which charges
Justus Menius answers as well as he can, sword in one hand against
the Papists, trowel in the other patching up the walls of his

  [242] _Ibid._ ii. ff. 298-325.

Melancthon also wrote against the Anabaptist book, combating all its
propositions, and to do so falling back on the maxim, _Abusus non
tollit substantiam_, a maxim completely ignored by the Reformers
when they attacked the Catholics.[243] Thus the new sect fought
Lutheranism with precisely the same weapons wherewith the Lutherans
had fought the Church; and the Lutherans, to maintain their
ground, were obliged to take refuge in the authority of the Church
and tradition--positions they had assailed formerly, and to use
arguments they had previously rejected.

  [243] _Ibid._ ii. ff. 334-363. Melancthon says that things had
  come to such a pass in Münster, that no child knew who was its
  father, brother, or sister.

In the treatise of the five Hessian divines, drawn up by Philip of
Hesse's orders, the errors of the Anabaptists are epitomised and
condemned; they are as follows:--

     "1. They do not believe that men are justified
        by faith only, but by faith and works conjointly.

     2. They refer the redemption of Christ alone to the fall of
        Adam, and to its consequences on those born of him.

     3. They hold community of goods.

     4. They blame Martin Luther as having taught nothing about good

     5. They proclaim the freedom of man's will.

     6. They reject infant baptism.

     7. They take the Bible alone, uninterpreted by any commentary.

     8. They declare for plurality of wives.

     9. They do not correctly teach the Incarnation of Christ."[244]

  [244] "Acta Handlung." &c. f. 366 a.

This "Kurtze: und in der eile gestelte Antwort," is signed by
John Campis, John Fontius, John Kymeus, John Lessing, and Anthony

It was high time that the siege should come to an end, so every one
said; but every one had said the same for the last twelve months,
and Münster held out notwithstanding.

An ultimatum was sent into the city by the general in command,
offering the inhabitants liberal terms if they would surrender, and
warning them that, in case of refusal, the city would be taken by
storm, and would be delivered over to plunder.[245] No answer was
made to the letter; nevertheless, it produced a profound impression
on the citizens, who were already suffering from want of victuals. A
party was formed which resolved to seize the person of the king, and
to open the gates and make terms with the bishop.[246] Bockelson,
hearing of the plot, assembled the whole of the population in the
cathedral square, and solemnly announced to them by revelation from
the Father that at Easter the siege would be raised, and the city
experience a wonderful deliverance. He also divided the town into
twelve portions, and placed at the head of each a duke of his own
creation, charged with the suppression of treason and the protection
of the gates. Each duke was provided with twenty-four guards for
the defence of his person, and the infliction of punishment on
those citizens who proved restive under the rule of the King of
Zion.[247] These dukes were promised the government of the empire,
when the kingdoms of Germany became the kingdom of John of Leyden.
Denecker, a grocer, was Duke of Saxony; Moer, the tailor, Duke of
Brunswick; the Kerkerings were appointed to reign over Westphalia;
Redecker, the cobbler, to bear rule in Juliers and Cleves. John Palk
was created Duke of Guelders and Utrecht; Edinck was to be supreme
in Brabant and Holland; Faust, a coppersmith, in Mainz and Cologne;
Henry Kock was to be Duke of Trier; Ratterberg to be Duke of Bremen,
Werden, and Minden; Reininck took his title from Hildesheim and
Magdeburg; and Nicolas Strip from Frisia and Gröningen. As these
men were for the most part butchers, blacksmiths, tailors, and
shoemakers, their titles, ducal coronets and mantles, and the
prospect of governing, turned their heads, and made them zealous
tools in the hands of Bockelson.

  [245] Kerssenbroeck, p. 130.

  [246] _Ibid._ p. 140.

  [247] Sleidan, p. 419; Bullinger, l. ii. c. 9; Heresbach, p. 156;
  Dorp. f. 498.

The king made one more attempt to rouse the country. He issued
letters offering the pillage of the whole world to all those
who would join the standard. But the bishop was informed of the
preparation of these missives by a Danish soldier in Münster;
he was much alarmed, as his _lantzknechts_ were ready to sell
their services to the highest bidder. He therefore pressed on the
circumvallation of the city, kept a vigilant guard, and captured
every emissary sent forth to distribute these tempting offers.
On the 11th February, 1535, the moat, mound, and palisade around
the city were complete; and it was thenceforth impossible for
access to or egress from the city to be effected without the
knowledge of the prince and his generals. The unfortunate people of
Münster discovered attempting to escape were by the king's orders
decapitated. Many men and women perished thus; amongst them was a
mistress of Knipperdolling named Dreyer, who, weary of her life,
fled, but was caught and delivered over to the executioner. When
her turn came, the headsman hesitated. Knipperdolling, perceiving
it, took from him the sword, and without changing colour smote
off her head. "The Father," said he, "irresistibly inspired me to
this, and I have thus become, without willing it or knowing it, an
instrument of vengeance in the hands of the Lord."[248]

  [248] Kerssenbroeck, p. 148.

The legitimate wife of Knipperdolling, for having disparaged
polygamy, escaped death with difficulty; she was sentenced to do
public penance, kneeling in the great square, in the midst of the
people, with a naked sword in her hands.[249]

  [249] _Ibid._ p. 149.

Easter came, the time of the promised delivery, and the armies of
the faithful from Holland and Friesland and Brabant had not arrived.
The position of Bockelson became embarrassing. He extricated
himself from the dilemma with characteristic effrontery. During
six days he remained in his own house, invisible to every one. At
the expiration of the time he issued forth, assembled the people
on Mount Zion, and informed them that the deliverance predicted
of the Father _had_ taken place, but that it was a deliverance
different in kind from what they had anticipated. "The Father," said
he, "has laid on my shoulders the iniquities of the Israelites. I
have been bowed down under their burden, and was well-nigh crushed
beneath their weight. Now, by the grace of the Lord, health has
been restored to me, and you have been all released from your sins.
This spiritual deliverance is the most excellent of all, and must
precede that which is purely exterior and temporal. Wait, therefore,
patiently, it is promised and it will arrive, if you do not fall
back into your sins, but maintain your confidence in God, who never
deserts His chosen people, though He may subject them to trials and
tribulations, to prove their constancy."[250] One would fain believe
that John Bockelson was in earnest, and the subject of religious
infatuation, like his subjects, but after this it is impossible to
so regard him.

  [250] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 153, 154; Sleidan, p. 422; Bullinger,
  lib. ii. c. 2; Heresbach, pp. 159, 160.

The princes, when separating after the assembly of Coblenz, had
agreed to reassemble on the 4th of April. Ferdinand, King of the
Romans, convoked all the Estates of the empire to meet on that
day at Worms. The deputies of several towns protested against the
decisions taken at Coblenz without their participation, and the
deliberations were at the outset very tumultuous. An understanding
was at length arrived at, and a monthly subsidy of 20,000 florins
for five months was agreed upon, to maintain the efficacy of the
investment of Münster. But before separating, a final effort
to obtain a pacific termination to the war was resolved upon,
and the burgomasters of Frankfort and Nürnberg were sent as a
deputation into the city. This attempt proved as sterile as all
those previously essayed. "We have nothing in common with the Roman
empire," answered the chiefs of Zion; "for that empire is the fourth
beast whereof Daniel prophesied. We have set up again the kingdom of
Israel, by the Father's command, and we engage you to abstain for
the future from assailing this realm, as you fear the wrath of God
and eternal damnation."[251]

  [251] Kerssenbroeck, p. 155; Hast, 394.

The famine in Münster now became terrible. Cats, rats, dogs, and
horses were eaten; the starving people attempted various expedients
to satisfy their craving hunger. They ate leather, wood, even
cow-dung dried in the sun, the bark of trees, and candles. Corpses
lately buried were dug up during the night and secretly devoured.
Mothers even ate their children. "Terrible maladies," says
Kerssenbroeck, "the consequence of famine, aggravated the position
of the inhabitants of the town; their flesh decomposed, they rotted
living, their skin became livid, their lips retreated; their eyes,
fixed and round, seemed ready to start out of their orbits; they
wandered about, haggard, hideous, like mummies, and died by hundreds
in the streets. The king, to prevent infection, had the bodies
cast into large common ditches, whence the starving withdrew them
furtively to devour them. Night and day the houses and streets
re-echoed with tears, cries, and moans;--men, women, old men, and
children sank into the darkest despair."[252]

  [252] Kerssenbroeck, p. 157 _et seq._; Heresbach, pp. 151, 152;
  Hast, p. 395; Montfort., p. 46.

In the midst of the general famine, John of Leyden lived in
abundance. His storehouses, into which the victuals found in every
house had been collected, supplied his own table and that of his
immediate followers. His revelry and pomp were unabated, whilst his
deluded subjects died of want around him.[253]

  [253] _Ibid._ p. 157.

When starvation was at its worst, a letter from Heinrich Graess
circulated in the town, informing the people that his miraculous
escape had been a fable, and that he had rejected the follies of
Anabaptism, disgusted at the extravagance to which it had led
its votaries, and assuring them that their king was an impostor,
exploiting to his advantage the credulity of an infatuated mob.[254]

  [254] Montfort., p. 47.

This letter produced an effect which made the king tremble. He
summoned his disciples before him, reproached them for putting the
hand to the plough and turning back, and gave leave to all those
whose faith wavered to go out from the city. "As for me," said
he, "I shall remain here, even if I remain alone with the angels
which the Father will not fail to send to aid me to defend this

  [255] Kerssenbroeck, p. 161.

When the king had given permission to leave the city, numbers of
every age and sex poured through the gates, leaving behind only the
most fanatical who were resolved to conquer or die with John of

Outside the city walls extended a trampled and desolate tract to
the fosse and earthworks of the besiegers, strewn with the ruins
of houses and of farmsteads. The unfortunate creatures escaping
from Zion, wasted and haggard like spectres, spread over this
devastated region. The investing army drove them back towards
the city, unwilling to allow the rebels to protract the siege by
disembarrassing themselves of all the useless mouths in the place.
They refused, however, to re-enter the walls, and remained in the
Königreich, as this desert tract was called, to the number of
900, living on roots and grass, for four weeks, lying on the bare
earth. Some were too feeble to walk, and crawled about on all fours;
their hunger was so terrible that they filled their mouths with
sand, earth, or leaves, and died choked, in terrible convulsions.
Night and day their moans, howls, and cries ascended. The children
presented a yet more deplorable spectacle; they implored their
mothers to give them something to eat, and they, poor creatures,
could only answer them with tears and sobs; often they approached
the lines of the camp, and sought to excite the compassion of the

The General in command, Graff Ueberstein, sent information, on April
22nd, to the bishop, who was ill in his castle at Wollbeck, and
asked what was to be done with these unfortunates who were perishing
in the Königreich. The bishop shed tears, and protested his sorrow
at the sufferings of the poor wretches, but did not venture to give
orders for their removal, without consulting the Duke of Cleves and
the Elector of Cologne. Thus much precious time was lost, and only
on the 28th May, a month after, were the starving wretches permitted
to leave the Königreich, upon the following terms: 1st. That they
should be transported to the neighbouring town of Diekhausen, where
they should be examined, and those who were guilty among them
executed; 2nd. That the rest should be pardoned and dispersed in
different places, after having undertaken to renounce Anabaptism,
and to abstain from negotiations, open or secret, with their
comrades in the beleagured city.[256] These conditions having been
made, the refugees were transported on tumbrils and in carts to
Diekhausen, at a foot's pace, their excessive exhaustion rendering
them incapable of bearing more rapid motion. They numbered 200; 700
had perished of famine between the lines of the investing army and
the walls of the besieged town. On the 30th May, those found guilty
of prominent participation in the revolt were executed.

  [256] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 161-8.

The prince-bishop might have spared his tears and sent loaves.
His hesitation and want of genuine sympathy with the starving
unfortunates serve to mark his character as not only weak, but
selfish and cowardly.

Whilst this was taking place outside the walls of Münster, John van
Gheel, an emissary of Bockelson, was actively engaged in rousing the
Anabaptists of Amsterdam. Having insinuated himself into the good
graces of the Princess Mary, regent of the Netherlands, he persuaded
her that he was desirous of restraining the sectaries waiting their
call to march to the relief of Münster. She even furnished him with
an authorisation to raise troops for this purpose. He profited by
this order to arm his friends and lay a plot for obtaining the
mastery of Amsterdam. His design was to make that city a place
of rendezvous for all the Anabaptists of the Low Countries, who
would flock into it as a city of refuge, when once it was in his
power, and then he would be able to organise out of them an army
sufficiently numerous and well appointed to raise the siege of

On the 11th May he placed himself at the head of 600 friends, seized
on the town, massacred half the guards, and one of the burgomasters.
Amsterdam would inevitably have been in the power of the sectaries
in another hour, had not one of the guard escaped up the tower
and rung the alarm-bell. As the tocsin pealed over the city, the
citizens armed and rushed to the market-place, fell upon the
Anabaptists and retook the town-hall, notwithstanding a desperate
resistance. Crowds of fanatics from the country, who had received
secret intimation to assemble before the walls of Amsterdam,
and wait till the gates were opened to admit them, finding that
the plan had been defeated, threw away their arms and fled with

  [257] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 73, 74; Hast, p. 37; Montfort., p. 58
  _et seq._

Van Gheel had fallen in the encounter. The prisoners were executed.
Amongst these was Campé whom John of Leyden had created Anabaptist
bishop of Amsterdam. His execution was performed with great
barbarity; first his tongue, then his hand, and finally his head was
cut off.[258]

  [258] Montfort., pp. 68, 69.

We must look once more into the doomed city.

In the midst of the general desolation John Bockelson and his court
lived in splendour and luxury. Every one who murmured against his
excesses was executed. Heads were struck off on the smallest charge,
and scarcely a day passed in May and June without blood flowing on
Mount Zion. One of the most remarkable of these executions was that
of Elizabeth Wandtscherer, one of the queens.

This woman had had three husbands; the first was dead, the second
marriage had been annulled, and Bockelson had taken her to wife
because she was pretty and well made.

She was a great favourite with her royal husband, and for six
months she seemed to be delighted with her position; but at
length, disgusted with the unbridled licence of the royal harem,
the hypocrisy and the mad revelry of the court, contrasted with
the famine of the citizens, a prey to remorse, she tore off her
jewels and her queenly robes, and asked John of Leyden permission
to leave the city. This was on the 12th June. The king, furious at
an apostacy in his own house, dragged her into the market-place,
and there in the presence of his wives and the populace, smote off
her head with his own hands, stamped on her body, and then chanting
the "Gloria in excelsis" with his queens, danced round the corpse
weltering in its blood.[259]

  [259] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 176-7; Dorpius, f. 498 b; Sleidan, p.
  422, says she was executed for having observed to some of her
  companions that it could not be the will of God that they should
  live in abundance whilst the subjects perished from want of
  necessaries. Hast, p. 395; Heresbach, p. 145.

However, the royal magazines were now nearly exhausted, and the king
was informed that there remained provisions for only a few days. He
resolved to carry on his joyous life of debauchery without thought
of the morrow, and when all was expended, to fire the city in every
quarter, and then to rush forth, arms in hand, and break through the
investing girdle, or perish in the attempt.[260] This project was
not executed, for the siege was abruptly ended before the moment
had arrived for its accomplishment.

  [260] Kerssenbroeck, p. 177.

Late in the preceding year, a soldier of the Episcopal army, John
Eck, of Langenstraten, or, as he was called from his diminutive
stature, Hansel Eck, having been punished as he deemed excessively
or unjustly for some dereliction in his duty, deserted to the
Anabaptists, and found an asylum in the city, where John Bockelson,
perceiving his abilities and practical acquaintance with military
operations, made him one of his captains.

But Hansel soon repented bitterly this step he had taken. Little men
are proverbially peppery and ready to stand on their dignity. His
desertion had been the result of an outburst of wounded self-pride,
and when his wrath cooled down, and his judgment obtained the upper
hand, he was angry with himself for what he had done. Feeling
confident that the city must eventually fall, and knowing that
small mercies would be shown to a deserter caught in arms, however
insignificant he might be in stature, Hansel took counsel with eight
other discontented soldiers in his company, and they resolved to
escape from Münster and ask pardon of the bishop.

They effected the first part of their object on the night of
the 17th June, and crossed the Königreich towards the lines of
the investing force. The sentinels, observing a party of armed
men advancing, with the moon flashing from their morions and
breastplates, fired on them and killed seven. His diminutive stature
stood Hansel in good stead, and he, with one other named Sobb,
succeeded in escalading the ramparts unobserved, and in making
their way to the nearest fort of Hamm, where the old officer,
Meinhardt von Hamm, under whom he had formerly served, was in
command. Hansel and Sobb were conducted into his presence, and
offered to deliver the city into the hands of the prince-bishop if
he would accord them a free pardon; but they added that no time
must be lost, as it was but a question of hours rather than of days
before the city was fired, and the final sortie was executed.[261]

  [261] Kerssenbroeck, p. 179 _et seq._; Sleidan, p. 427;
  Montfort., p. 71; Heresbach, p. 162 _et seq._; Hast, p. 395 _et
  seq._; Dorpius, f. 499.

Meinhardt listened to his plan, approved of it, and wrote to Francis
of Waldeck, asking a safe-conduct for Hansel, and urging the utmost
secrecy, as on the preservation of the secret depended the success
of the scheme.

The safe-conduct was readily granted, and the deserter was brought
to Willinghegen concealed amidst game in a cart covered with
boughs of trees. Willinghegen is a small place one mile outside
the circumvallation. The chiefs of the besieging army met here to
consider the plan of Hansel Eck. The little man protested that with
300 men he could take the city. He knew the weak points, and he
could escalade the walls where they were unguarded. Four hundred
soldiers were, however, decided to be sent on the expedition, under
the command of Wilkin Steding, "a terrible enemy but a devoted
friend;" John of Twickel was to be standard-bearer, and Hansel
was to act as guide; and the attempt was to be made on the eve
of St. John the Baptist's day.[262] However, the bishop and Count
Ueberstein, desirous of avoiding unnecessary effusion of blood,
summoned the inhabitants to surrender, for the last time, on the
22nd June.

  [262] Kerssenbroeck, p. 169; and the authors before cited.

Rottmann replied to the deputies that "the city should be
surrendered only when they received the order to do so from the
Father by a revelation."

Midsummer eve was a hot, sultry day. Towards evening dark heavy
clouds rolled up against the wind, and a violent storm of thunder,
lightning, and hail burst over the doomed city. The sentinels
of Münster, exhausted by hunger, and alarmed at the rage of the
elements, quitted their posts and retreated under shelter. The
darkness, the growl of the wind, and the boom of the thunder
concealed the approach of the Episcopal troops. The 400, under
Steding, guided by the deserter, marched into the Königreich between
ten and eleven o'clock, and met with no obstacles till they reached
the Holy-cross Gate. Here they filled the ditch with faggots, trees,
and bundles of straw; a bridge was improvised, the curtain of
palisades masking the bastion was surmounted, ladders were planted,
and without meeting with the least resistance, the 400 reached the
summit of the walls. The sentinels, whom they found asleep, were
killed, with the exception of one who purchased his life by giving
up the pass-word, "Die Erde." The soldiers then advanced along the
paved road which lay between the double walls, captured and killed
the sentinels at every watch tower, and then, entering the streets,
crossed the cemetery of Ueberwasser, the River Aa by its bridge, and
debouched on the cathedral square, where the faint flashes of the
retreating lightning illumined at intervals the gaunt scaffolding of
the throne and gallery and pulpit of the Anabaptist king, looking
now not unlike the preparations for an execution.

The cathedral had been converted into the arsenal. Hansel led the
Episcopal soldiers to the western gates, gave the word "Die Erde,"
and the guards were killed before they could give the alarm. The
artillery was now in the hands of the 400.[263]

  [263] Kerssenbroeck, p. 176 _et seq._; and the authors before

The Anabaptists had slept through the rumble of the thunder, but
suddenly the rattle of the drum on their hill of Zion woke them
with a start. They sprang from their beds, armed in haste, and
rushed to the cathedral square, where their own cannons opened
on them their mouths of fire, and poured an iron shower down the
main thoroughfares which led from the Minster green. But they were
not discouraged. Through backways, and under the shelter of the
surrounding houses, they reached the Chapel of St. Michael, which
commanded the position of the Episcopal soldiers, and thence fired
upon them with deadly precision.

Steding turned the guns against the chapel, but its massive walls
could not be broken through, and the balls bounded from them without
effecting more than a trivial damage. The Anabaptists pursued their
advantage. Whilst Steding was occupied with those who held the
Chapel of St. Michael, a large number assembled in the market-place
and marched in close ranks upon the cathedral square.

The 400, unable to withstand the numbers opposed to them, were
driven from their positions, and retreated into the narrow Margaret
Street, where they were unable to use their arms with advantage.
Steding burst open the door of a house, and sent 200 of his men
through it; they issued through the back door, filled up a narrow
lane running parallel with the street, and attacked the Anabaptists
in the rear, who, thinking that the city was in the hands of the
enemy, and that they were being assailed by a reinforcement, fled

By an unpardonable oversight, Steding had forgotten to leave a guard
at the postern by which he had entered the city. The Anabaptists
discovered this mistake and profited by it, so that when the
reinforcements sent to support Steding arrived, the gates were
closed, and the walls were defended by the women, who cast stones
and firebrands, and shot arrows amongst them, taunting them with the
failure of the attempt to surprise the city; and they, uncertain
whether to believe that the plot of Hansel Eck had failed or not,
remained without till break of day, vainly attempting to escalade
the walls. The Anabaptists, who had fled in the Margaret Street,
soon rallied, and the 400 were again exposed to the fury of a
multitude three times their number, who assailed them in front and
in rear, and they were struck down by stones and furniture cast out
of the windows upon them by the women in the houses.

Nevertheless they bravely defended themselves for several hours,
and their assailants began to lose courage, as news of the onslaught
upon the walls reached them. It was now midnight. King John proposed
a temporary cessation of hostilities, which Steding gladly accepted,
and the messengers of Bockelson offered the 400 their life if they
would lay down their arms, kneel before him, and ask his pardon.[264]

  [264] Kerssenbroeck, p. 385; Heresbach, pp. 162-6; Montfort., p.
  72; Hast, p. 396 _et seq._

The soldiers indignantly rejected this offer, but proposed to quit
the town with their arms and ensigns. A long discussion ensued,
which Steding protracted till break of day.

At the opening of the negotiations, Steding bade John von Twickel,
the ensign, hasten to the ramparts with three men, as secretly
as possible, and urge on the reinforcements. Twickel reached the
bastions as day began to dawn, and he shouted to his comrades
without to help Steding and his gallant band before all was lost.
The Episcopalians, dreading a ruse of the besieged to draw them into
an ambush, hesitated; but Twickel called the watchword, which was
_Waldeck_, and announced the partial success of the 400.

Having accomplished his mission, Twickel returned to his comrades
within, cheering them at the top of his voice with the cry from
afar, "Courage, friends, help is at hand!"

At these words the remains of the gallant band of 400 recommenced
the combat with irresistible energy. They fell on the Anabaptists
with such vehemence that they drove them back on all sides; they
gave no quarter, but breaking into divisions, swept the streets,
meeting now with only a feeble resistance, for the soldiers without
were battering at the gates. In vain did the sectarians offer to
leave the town, their offer came too late, and the little band drove
them from one rallying point to another.[265]

  [265] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 188, 189.

Rottmann, feeling that all was lost, cast himself on their lances
and fell. John of Leyden, instead of heading his party, attempted to
fly, but was recognised as he was escaping through the gate of St.
Giles, and was thrown into chains.

In the meantime the reinforcement had mounted the walls, beaten
in the gates, and was pouring up the streets, rolling back the
waves of discomfited Anabaptists on the swords and spears of the
decimated 400. Two hundred of the most determined among the fanatics
entrenched themselves in a round tower commanding the market-place,
and continued firing on the soldiers of the prince. The generals,
seeing that the town was in their power, and that it would cost an
expenditure of time and life to reduce those in the tower, offered
them their life, and permission to march out of Münster unmolested
if they would surrender.

On these terms the Anabaptists in the bastion laid down their arms.
The besiegers now spread throughout the city, hunting out and
killing the rebels. Hermann Tilbeck, the former burgomaster, who had
played into the hands of the Anabaptists till he declared himself,
and who had been one of the twelve elders of Israel, was found
concealed, half submerged, in a privy, near the gate of St. Giles,
was killed, and his body left where he had hidden, "thus being
buried," says Kerssenbroeck, "with worse than the burial of an ass."
When the butchery was over, the bodies were brought together into
the cathedral square and were examined. That of Knipperdolling was
not amongst them. He was, in fact, hiding in the house of Catherine
Hobbels, a zealous Anabaptist; she kept him in safety the whole
of the 26th, but finding that every house was being searched, and
fearing lest she should suffer for having sheltered him, she ordered
him to leave and attempt an escape over the walls.[266]

  [266] Kerssenbroeck, p. 195.

On the 27th all the women were collected in the market-square, and
were ordered to leave the city and never to set foot in it again.
But just as they were about to depart, Ueberstein announced that any
one of them who could deliver up Knipperdolling should be allowed to
remain and retain her possessions. The bait was tempting. Catherine
Hobbels stepped forward, and offered to point out the hiding-place
of the man they sought. She was given a renewed assurance that
her house and goods would be respected, and she then delivered up
Knipperdolling, who had not quitted his place of refuge. The promise
made to her was rigorously observed; but her husband, not being
included in the pardon, and being a ringleader of the fanatics, was
executed.[267] The women were accompanied by the soldiers as far as
the Lieb-Frau gate; they took with them their children, and were
ordered to leave the diocese and principality forthwith.

  [267] _Ibid._ p. 196; Heresbach, p. 166.

Divara, the head queen of John of Leyden, the wife of
Knipperdolling, and three other women, were refused permission to
leave. They were executed on the 7th July.

Münster was then delivered over to pillage; but all those who had
left the town during the government of the Anabaptists were given
their furniture and houses and such of their goods as could be

All the property of the Anabaptists was confiscated and sold to
pay the debts contracted by the prince for defraying the expenses
of the war. The division of the booty occasioned several troubles,
parties of soldiers mutinied, and attempted a second pillage, but
the mutineers were put down rigorously.

Several more executions took place during the following days, and
men hidden away in cellars, garrets and sewers were discovered and
killed or carried off to prison. Among these were Bernard Krechting
and Kerkering.[268]

  [268] Kerssenbroeck, pp. 198-200. Dorpius says, "In the capture
  of the city, women and children were spared; and none were killed
  after the first fight, except the ringleaders."--f. 399.

On the 28th June, Francis of Waldeck entered the city at the head
of 800 men. The sword, crown, and spurs of John of Leyden, together
with the keys of the city, were presented to him.[269]

  [269] Montfort., p. 73.

The prince received, as had been stipulated, half the booty, and the
articles and the treasure deposited in the town-hall and in the
royal palace, which amounted to 100,000 gold florins.[270]

  [270] Kerssenbroeck, Heresbach, p. 168; Hast, p. 400.

Francis remained in Münster only three days. Having named the new
magistrates, and organised the civil government of the city, he
departed for his castle of Iburg. On the 13th July he ordered a Te
Deum to be sung in the churches throughout the diocese, in thanks to
God for having restored tranquillity; and the Chapter inaugurated a
yearly thanksgiving procession to take place on the 25th June.[271]

  [271] _Ibid._ p. 200.

On the 15th July, the Elector of Cologne, the Duke of Juliers, and
Francis of Waldeck, met at Neuss to concert measures for preventing
a repetition of these disorders. The leading Protestant divines
wrote, urging the extermination of the heretics, and reminding the
princes that the sword had been given them for this purpose.

On the same day, the diet of Worms agreed that the Anabaptists
should be extirpated as a sect dangerous alike to morals and to the
safety of the commonwealth, and that an assembly should be held in
the month of November, to decide upon defraying the cost of the war,
and on the form of government which was to be established in the

  [272] _Ibid._ p. 201

  The diet met on the 1st November, and decided,--That everything
  should be re-established in Münster on the old footing, and that
  the clergy should have their property and privileges restored to
  them. That all who had fled the city to escape the government of
  the Anabaptists should be reinstated in the possession of their
  offices, privileges, and houses. That all the goods of the rebels
  should remain confiscated to defray the expense of the war.
  That the princes of neighbouring states should send deputies to
  Münster to provide that the innocent should not suffer with the
  guilty. That the fortifications should be in part demolished, as
  an example; but that Münster should not be degraded from its rank
  as a city. That the bishop and chapter and nobles should demolish
  the bastions within the town as soon as the city walls had been
  razed. That the bishops, the nobles, and the citizens should
  solemnly engage, for themselves and for their successors, never
  to attempt to refortify the city. Finally, that the envoys of
  the King of the Romans and of the princes should visit the said
  town on the 5th March, 1536, to see that these articles of the
  convention had been executed.

  All these articles were not observed. The bishop did not demolish
  the fortifications, and the point was not insisted upon.

  As for the civil constitution of Münster, its privileges and
  franchises, they were not entirely restored till 1553.

  Francis of Waldeck now set to work repairing and purifying
  the churches, and restoring everything as it had been before.
  Catholic worship was everywhere restored without a single voice
  in the city rising in opposition. The people were sick of
  Protestantism, whether in its mitigated form as Lutheranism, or
  in its aggravated development as Anabaptism.

  But Lutherans of other states were by no means satisfied. The
  reconciliation of the great city with the Catholic Church, from
  which half its inhabitants had previously separated, was not
  pleasant news to the Reformers, and they protested loudly. "On
  the Friday after St. John's day," wrote Dorpius "in midsummer,
  God came and destroyed this hell and drove the devil out, but the
  devil's mother came in again.... The Anabaptists were on that day
  rooted out, and the Papists planted in again."[273]

  [273] "Hernach auff freitag S. Johanstag mitten in Sommer, kommet
  Gott und zerstöret die Helle, und jaget den Teuffel heraus, und
  komet sein Mutter wider hinein ... und sind die Widerteuffer
  an obgemeltem tag ausgerottet worden, die Papisten aber wider
  eingepflantzet."--Dorp. f. 399 (by misprint 499).

It is time to look at John of Leyden and his fellow-prisoners: they
were Knipperdolling and Bernard Krechting. There could be no doubt
that their fate would be terrible. It was additional cruelty to
delay it. But the bishop and the Lutheran divines were curious to
see and argue with the captives, and they were taken from place to
place to gratify their curiosity.

When King John appeared before Francis of Waldeck, the bishop asked
him angrily how he could protract the siege whilst his people were
starving around him. "Francis of Waldeck," he answered, "they should
all have died of hunger before I surrendered, had things gone as
I desired."[274] He retained his spirits and affected to joke. At
Dulmen the people crowded round him asking, "Is this the king who
took to himself so many wives?" "I ask your pardon," answered
Bockelson, "I took maidens and made them wives."[275]

  [274] Dorp. ff. 399 a, 400 a, b.

  [275] Dorp. f. 399 b.

It has been often stated that the three unfortunates were carried
round the country in iron cages. This is inaccurate. They were taken
in chains on horseback, with two soldiers on either side; their
bodies were placed in iron cages and hung to the steeple of the
church of St. Lambert, after they were dead.

At Bevergern the Lutheran divine, Anthony Corvinus, and other
ministers "interviewed" the fallen king, and a long and very curious
account of their discussion remains.[276]

  [276] Luther's "Sämmtliche Werke." Wittenb. 1545-51. Band, ii.
  ff. 376-386.

"First, when the king was brought out of prison into the room, we
greeted him in a friendly manner and bade him be seated before us
four. Also, we asked in a friendly manner how he was getting on in
the prison, and whether he was cold or sick? Answer of the king:
Although he was obliged to endure the frost, and the sins weighing
on his heart, yet he must, as such was God's will, bear patiently.
And these and other similar conversations led us so far--for nothing
can be got out of him by direct questions--that we were able right
craftily to converse with him about his government."

Then followed a lengthy controversy on all the heretical doctrines
of the Anabaptist sect, in which the king exhibited no little
skill. The preachers having brought the charge of novelty against
Anabaptism, John of Leyden very promptly showed that those living
in glass houses should not throw stones, by pointing out that
Lutheranism was not much older than Anabaptism, that he had proved
his mission by miracles, whereas Luther had nothing to show to
demonstrate his call to establish a new creed.

The discussion on Justification by Faith only was most affectionate,
for both parties were quite agreed on this doctrine--surely a very
satisfactory one and very full of comfort to John of Leyden. But on
the doctrine of the Eucharist they could not agree, the king holding
to Zwingli.[277]

  [277] "Denn wiewol ichs fur dieser zeit mit dem Zwingel
  gehalten," &c., f. 384.

"That in this Sacrament the faithful, who are baptised, receive the
Body and Blood of Christ believe I," said the king; "for though I
hold for this time with Zwingli, nevertheless I find that the words
of Christ (This is my Body, This is my Blood) must remain in their
worth. But that unbelievers also receive the Body and Blood of
Christ, that I cannot believe."

_The Preachers_: "How that? Shall our unbelief avail more than the
word, command and ordinance of God?"

_The King_: "Unbelief is such a dreadful thing, that I cannot
believe that the unbelievers can partake of the Body and Blood of

_The Preachers_: "It is a perverse thing that you should ever try
to set our faith, or want of faith, above the words and ordinance
of God. But it is evident that our faith can add nothing to God's
ordinance, nor can my unbelief detract anything therefrom. Faith
must be there, that I may benefit by such eating and drinking; but
yet in this matter must we repose more on God's command and word
than on our faith or unbelief."

_The King_: "If this your meaning hold, then all unbelievers must
have partaken of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ. But
such I cannot believe."

_The Preachers_: "You must understand that our unbelief cannot make
the ordinance of God unavailing. Say now, for what end was the sun

_The King_: "Scripture teaches that it was made to rule the day and
to shine."

_The Preachers_: "Now if we or you were blind, would the sun fail to
execute its office for which it was created?"

_The King_: "I know well that my blindness or yours would not make
the sun fail to shine."

_The Preachers_: "So is it with all the works and ordinances of
God, especially with the Sacraments. When I am baptised it is well
if faith be there; but if it be not, baptism does not for all that
fail to be a precious, noble, and holy Sacrament, yes, what St. Paul
calls it, a regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost, because it
is ordered by God's word and given His promise. So also with respect
to the Lord's Supper; if those who partake shall have faith to
grasp the promise of Christ, as it is written, _Oportet accedentem
credere_, but none the less does God's word, ordinance, and command
remain, even if my faith never more turned thereto. But of this we
have said enough."[278]

  [278] _Ibid._ f. 384 b.

The preachers next catechised John of Leyden on his heresy
concerning the Incarnation. He did not deny that Jesus Christ was
born of Mary, but he denied that He derived from her His flesh and
blood, as he considered that Mary being sinful, out of sinful flesh
sinful offspring must issue.

The catechising on the subject of marriage follows.

_The Preachers_: "How have you regarded marriage, and what is your
belief thereupon?"

_The King_: "We have ever held marriage to be God's work and
ordinance, and we hold this now, that no higher or better estate
exists in the world than the estate of matrimony."

_The Preachers_: "Why have you so wildly treated this same estate,
against God's word and common order, and taken one wife after
another? How can you justify such a proceeding?"

_The King_: "What was permitted to the patriarchs in the Old
Testament, why should it be denied to us? What we have held is this:
he who wished to have only one wife had not other wives forced upon
him; but him who wished to have more wives than one, we left free to
do so, according to God's command, Be fruitful and multiply."

This the preachers combat by saying that the patriarchs were
guiltless, because the law of the land (_die gemeine Policey_) did
not then forbid concubinage, but that now that is forbidden by
common law, it is sinful.[279] Then they asked the king what other
texts he could quote to establish polygamy.

  [279] Wei zweiveln nicht wenn ein bestendig Policey und Regiment
  gewesen were, wie itzt est, es würden sich die Vetter freilich
  aug der selbigen gehalten haben.

_The King_: "Paul says of the bishop, let him be the husband of
one wife; now if a bishop is to have only one wife, surely, in the
time of Paul, laymen must have been allowed two or three apiece, as
pleased them. There you have your text."

_The Preachers_: "As we said before, marriage is an affair of common
police regulation, _res Politica_. And as now the law of the land is
different from what it was in the time of Paul, so that many wives
are forbidden and not tolerated, you will have to answer for your
innovations before God and man."

_The King_: "Well, I have the consolation that what was permitted to
the fathers cannot damn us. I had rather be with the fathers than
with you."

_The Preachers_: "Well, we prefer obedience to the State."[280]

  [280] Predicanten: So wöllen wir in diesemfäll viel lieber der
  Oberkeit gehorsam sein, f. 386 b.

Here we see Corvinus, Kymens, and the other ministers placing
matrimony on exactly the same low footing as did Luther.

Having "interviewed" the king, these crows settled on Knipperdolling
and Krechting in Horstmar, and with these unfortunates they carried
on a paper controversy.

The captivity of the king and his two accomplices lasted six months.
The Lutheran preachers had swarmed about him and buzzed in his
ears, and the poor wretch believed that by yielding a few points
he could save his life. He offered to labour along with Melchior
Hoffmann, to bring the numerous Anabaptists in Friesland, Holland,
Brabant, and Flanders into submission, if he were given his liberty;
but finding that the preachers had been giving him false hopes and
leading him into recantations, he refused to see them again, and
awaited his execution in sullen despair.

The pastors failing to convert the Anabaptists, and finding that the
sectaries used against them scripture and private judgment with such
efficacy that they were unable in argument to overcome them, called
upon the princes to exterminate them by fire and sword.

The gentle Melancthon wrote a tract or letter to urge the princes
on; it was entitled, "Das weltliche Oberkeiten den Widerteuffern
mit leiblicher straffe zu wehren schüldig sey. Etlicher bedenken zu
Wittemberg gestellet durch Philip Melancthon, 1536. Ob Christliche
Fürsten schüldig sind der Widerteuffer unchristlicher Sect mit
leiblicher straffe und mit dem schwert zu wehren." He enumerates the
doctrines of the unfortunate sectarians at Münster and elsewhere,
and then he says that it is the duty of all princes and nobles to
root out with the sword all heresy from their dominions; but then,
with this proviso, they must first be instructed out of God's Word
by the pure reformed Church what doctrines are heretical, that they
may only exterminate those who differ from the Lutheran communion.

He then quotes to the Protestant princes the example of the Jewish
kings: "The kings in the Old Testament, not only the Jewish kings,
but also the converted heathen kings, judged and killed the false
prophets and unbelievers. Such examples show the office of princes.
As Paul says, the law is good that blasphemers are to be punished.
The government is not to rule men for their bodily welfare, so much
as for God's honour, for they are God's ministers; let them remember
that and value their office."

But it is argued on the other side that it is written, "Let both
grow together till the harvest. Now this is not spoken to the
temporal power," says Melancthon, "but to the preachers, that they
should not use physical power under the excuse of their office.
From all this it is plain that the worldly government is bound to
drive away blasphemy, false doctrine, heresies, and to punish in
their persons those who hold to these things.... Let the judge know
that this sect of Anabaptists is from the devil, and as a prudent
preacher instructs different stations how they are to conduct
themselves, as he teaches a wife that to breed children is to please
God well, so he teaches the temporal authorities how they are to
serve God's honour, and openly drive away heresy."[281]

  [281] "Das weltliche Oberkeit," &c., in Luth. "Sämt. Werke."
  1545-51, ii. ff. 327-8.

So also did Justus Menius write to urge on an exterminatory
persecution of the sectaries; he also argues that "Let both grow
together till the harvest," is not to be quoted by the princes as
an excuse for sparing lives and properties.[282]

  [282] "Von dem Geist d. Widerteuffer." in Luth. "Samt. Werke."
  1545-51, ii. f. 325 b.

On the 12th January, 1536, John of Leyden, Knipperdolling, and
Krechting were brought back to Münster to undergo sentence of

  [283] Kerssenbroeck, p. 209; Kurtze Hist. f. 400.

A platform was erected in the square before the townhall on the
21st, and on this platform was planted a large stake with iron
collars attached to it.

When John Bockelson was told, on the 21st, that he was to die on the
morrow, he asked for the chaplain of the bishop, John von Siburg,
who spent the night with him. With the fear of a terrible death
before him, the confidence of the wretched man gave way, and he made
his confession with every sign of true contrition.

Knipperdolling and Krechting, who were also offered the assistance
of a priest, rejected the offer with contempt. They declared that
the presence of God sufficed them, that they were conscious of
having committed no sin, and that all their actions had been done
the sole glory of to God, that moreover they were freely justified
by faith in Christ.

On Monday the 22nd, at eight o'clock in the morning, the ex-king of
Münster and his companions were led to execution. The gates of the
city had been closed, and a large detachment of troops surrounded
the scaffold. Outside this iron ring was a dense crowd of people,
and the windows were filled with heads. Francis of Waldeck occupied
a window immediately opposite the scaffold, and remained there
throughout the hideous tragedy.[284] As an historian has well
observed, "Francis of Waldeck, in default of other virtues, might
at least have not forgotten what was due to his high rank and his
Episcopal character; he regarded neither--but showed himself as
ferocious as had been John Bockelson, by becoming a spectator of the
long and horrible torture of the three criminals."[285] John and his
accomplices having reached the townhall, received their sentence
from Wesseling, the city judge. It was that they should be burned
with red-hot pincers, and finally stabbed with daggers heated in the

  [284] Kerssenbroeck, p. 210; Kurtze Hist. f. 400.

  [285] Bussierre, p. 462.

  [286] Kerssenbroeck, p. 211; Bullinger, lib. ii. c. 10;
  Montfort., p. 74; Heresbach, pp. 166-7; Hast, pp. 405-6; Kurtze
  Historia, f. 400.

The king was the first to mount the scaffold and be tortured.

"The king endured three grips with the pincers without speaking or
crying, but then he burst forth into cries of, "Father, have mercy
on me! God of mercy and loving kindness!" and he besought pardon
of his sins and help. The bystanders were pierced to the heart
by his shrieks of agony, the scent of the roast flesh filled the
market-place; his body was one great wound. At length the sign was
given, his tongue was torn out with the red pincers, and a dagger
pierced his heart.

Knipperdolling and Krechting were put to the torture directly after
the agonies of the king had begun. Knipperdolling endeavoured
to beat his brains out against the stake, and when prevented, he
tried to strangle himself with his own collar. To prevent him
accomplishing his design, a rope was put through his mouth and
attached to the stake so as totally to incapacitate him from moving.
When these unfortunates were dead, their bodies were placed in three
iron cages, and were hung up on the tower of the church of St.
Lambert, the king in the middle.[287]

  [287] Kerssenbroeck, p. 211; Kurtze Hist. f. 401.

Thus ended this hideous drama, which produced an effect throughout
Germany. The excess of the scandal inspired all the Catholic
governments with horror, and warned them of the immensity of the
danger they ran in allowing the spread of Protestant mysticism.
Cities and principalities which wavered in their allegiance to the
Church took a decided position at once.

At Münster, Catholicism was re-established. As has been already
mentioned, the debauched, cruel bishop was a Lutheran at heart, and
his ambition was to convert Münster into an hereditary principality
in his family, after the example of certain other princes.

Accordingly, in 1543, he proposed to the States of the diocese to
accept the Confession of Augsburg and abandon Catholicism. The
proposition of the prince was unanimously rejected. Nevertheless
the prince joined the Protestant union of Smalkald the following
year, but having been complained of to the Pope and the Emperor,
and fearing the fate of Hermann von Wied, Archbishop of Cologne,
he excused himself as best he could through his relative, Jost
Hodefilter, bishop of Lübeck, and Franz von Dei, suffragan bishop
of Osnabrück.

Before the Smalkald war the prince-bishop had secretly engaged the
help of the Union against his old enemy, the "wild" Duke Henry of
Brunswick. After the war, the Duke of Oldenburg revenged himself
on the principality severely, with fire and sword, and only spared
Münster itself for 100,000 guilders. The bishop died of grief. He
left three natural sons by Anna Polmann. They bore as their arms a
half star, a whole star being the arms of Waldeck.

     Authorities: Hermann von Kerssenbroeck; Geschichte der
     Wiederthaüffer zu Münster in Westphalen. Münster, 1771. There is
     an abbreviated edition in Latin in Menckenii Scriptores Rerum
     Germanicaum, Leipsig, 1728-30. T. iii. pp. 1503-1618.

     Wie das Evangelium zu Münster erstlich angefangen, und die
     Widerteuffer verstöret widerauffgehöret hat. Darnach was die
     teufflische Secte der Widerteuffer fur grewliche Gotteslesterung
     und unsagliche grawsamkeit ... in der Stad geübt und getrieben;
     beschrieben durch Henrichum Dorpium Monasteriensem; in Luther's
     Sammtliche Werke. Wittemb. 1545-51. Band ii. ff. 391-401.

     Historia von den Münsterischen Widerteuffern.

     _Ibid._ ff. 328-363.

     Acta, Handlungen, Legationen und Schriften, &c., d.
     Munsterischen sachen geschehen. _Ibid._, ff. 363-391.

     Kurtze Historia wie endlich der König sampt zweien gerichted,
     &c. _Ibid._ ff. 400-9.

     D. Lambertus Hortensius Monfortius, Tumultuum Anabaptistarum
     Liber unus. Amsterdam, 1636.

     Histoire de la Réformation, ou Mémoires de Jean Sleidan. Trad.
     de Courrayer. La Haye, 1667. Vol. ii. lib. x. [This is the
     edition quoted in the article.]

Sleidanus: Commentarium rerum in Orbe gestarum, &c. Argent. 1555;
ed. alt. 1559.

I. Hast, Geschichte der Wiederthaüffer von ihren Entstehen in
Zwickau bis auf ihren Sturz zu Münster in Westphalen Münster. 1836.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cowan & Co., Limited, Printers, Perth._



Messrs. METHUEN will issue from time to time a Series of copyright
Novels, by well-known Authors, handsomely bound, at the above
popular price. The first volumes (ready) are:--


  S. BARING GOULD, _Author of "Mehalah" &c._

  MRS. LEITH ADAMS (_Mrs. De Courcy Laffan_).


  5. ARMINELL: A Social Romance.

  6. DERRICK VAUGHAN, NOVELIST. With Portrait of Author.





Other Volumes will be announced in due course.


Edited by A. M. M. STEDMAN, M.A.

Under the above title Messrs. METHUEN have commenced like
publication of a series of short biographies, free from party bias,
of the most prominent leaders of religious life and thought in this
and the last century.

Each volume will contain a succinct account and estimate of the
career, the influence, and the literary position of the subject of
the memoir.

The following are already arranged--

CARDINAL NEWMAN. _R. H. Hutton._                          [_Ready._

     "Few who read this book will fail to be struck by the wonderful
     insight it displays into the nature of the Cardinal's genius and
     the spirit of his life."--WILFRID WARD, in the _Tablet_.

     "Full of knowledge, excellent in method, and intelligent in
     criticism. We regard it as wholly admirable."--_Academy._

     "An estimate, careful, deliberate, full of profound reasoning
     and of acute insight."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

JOHN WESLEY. _J. H. Overton, M.A._                      [_Ready._

     "It is well done; the story is clearly told, proportion is duly
     observed, and there is no lack either of discrimination or of
     sympathy."--_Manchester Guardian._

     "Admirable alike in tone and style."--_Academy._

  BISHOP WILBERFORCE.      _G. W. Daniell, M.A._
  JOHN KEBLE.              _W. Lock, M.A._
  CHARLES SIMEON.          _H. C. G. Moule, M.A._
  F. D. MAURICE.           _Colonel F. Maurice, R.E._
  THOMAS CHALMERS.         _Mrs. Oliphant._
  CARDINAL MANNING.        _A. W. Hutton, M.A._

_Other Volumes will be announced in due course._


_Edited by H. de B. GIBBINS, M.A._

Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

Messrs. METHUEN beg to announce the publication of a series of
volumes upon those topics of social, economic and industrial
interest that are at the present moment foremost in the public
mind. Each volume of the series will be written by an author who
is an acknowledged authority upon the subject with which he deals,
and who will treat his question in a thoroughly sympathetic but
impartial manner, with special reference to the historic aspect of
the subject and from the point of view of the Historial School of
economics and social science. The Labour Question will be treated of
in the volumes on Trades Unions and Co-operation: the Land Question
will form the subject of another two volumes; others will treat
of Socialism in England in its various phases, and of the labour
problems of the Continent also. The monograph on Commerce will be
of special interest at present in view of the recent development of
American commercial policy. Those on Education and on Poverty will
be of similar importance in view of current discussion, and the
volume on Mutual Thrift will prove a valuable survey of the various
agencies for that purpose already in existence among the working

_The following form the earlier Volumes of the series:--_


  G. HOWELL, M.P., Author of "The Conflicts of Capital and
  Labour."                                             [_Ready._

     "Nothing that Mr. Howell has previously written equals this
     little book in cogency and _verve_, in lucid statistics and
     clear argument."--_Manchester Guardian._

     "A complete and intelligent history of the rise and modern
     development of labour organisations. The volume should be read
     by workers and employers."--_Liverpool Post._


  G. J. HOLYOAKE, Author of "The History of Co-operation. [_Ready._


  Rev. J. FROME WILKINSON, M.A., Author of "The Friendly
  Society Movement."                                 [_Shortly._


     Rev. L. R. PHELPS, M.A., Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.


Under the above title Messrs. METHUEN have commenced the publication
of a series of books on historical, literary, and economic subjects,
suitable for extension students and home-reading circles. The
volumes are intended to assist the lecturer and not to usurp his
place. Each volume will be complete in itself, and the subjects will
be treated by competent writers in a broad and philosophic spirit.

Edited by J. E. SYMES, M.A.,

_Principal of the University College, Nottingham._

Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d.

_The following volumes are already arranged, and others will be
announced shortly._


  By H. DE B. GIBBINS, M.A., late Scholar of Wadham Coll.,
  Oxon., Cobden Prizeman. With Maps and Plans.         [_Ready._

     "A compact and clear story of our industrial development. A
     study of his concise but luminous book cannot fail to give
     the reader a clear insight into the principal phenomena of
     our industrial history. The editor and publishers are to be
     congratulated on this first volume of their venture, and we
     shall look with expectant interest for the succeeding volumes
     of the series. If they maintain the same standard of excellence
     the series will make a permanent place for itself among the many
     series which appear from time to time."--_University Extension

     "A careful and lucid sketch."--_Times._

     "The writer is well-informed, and from first to last his work is
     profoundly interesting."--_Scots Observer._


  By L. L. PRICE, M.A., Fellow of Oriel Coll., Oxon., Extension
  Lecturer in Political Economy.                       [_Ready._

     "Mr. Price writes with great clearness, and has succeeded
     remarkably in conveying in small compass a really readable and
     instructive account of English political economy."--_Daily

     "This book fills an important gap in economic
     literature."--_Glasgow Herald._

PROBLEMS OF POVERTY: An Inquiry into the Industrial Conditions of
the Poor.

  By J. A. HOBSON, M.A., late Scholar of Lincoln Coll., Oxon.,
  U. E. Lecturer in Economics.                         [_Ready._




     By F. S. GRANGER, M.A., London, Lecturer in Philosophy at
     University Coll., Nottingham.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.
Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have been retained as

Mismatched quotes are not fixed if it's not sufficiently clear where
the missing quote should be placed.

The cover for the eBook version of this book was created by the
transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Page 60: "On Jaspis remarking to him in April, 1820, that there were
circumstances"--The "2" in 1820 was unclear in the book but has been
inserted by the transcriber.

Page 106: "ordering the umiiatcirdne Jews to be discharged"--The
transcriber has inserted "incarcerated" for "umiiatcirdne".

Page 221: "No envoys from the capital attended the reunion of the
chambers at Wollbeck on the 20th December.--The word "of" is unclear.

Page 262: The transcriber has supplied an anchor for footnote 147.
"Kerssenbroeck, p. 405 _et seq._ Montfort., "Tumult. Anabap.," p. 15
_et seq._; Bullinger, lib. ii. c. 8."

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