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THE TERMS IMPOSED.
government of Bohemia. But do not go about to say, as in the gospel, 'We will not have this man to reign over us,' or, “This is the heir-let us kill him,' for we wish to profit by your counsels, and to be governed by your lights."
Such a letter gave little assurance of favorable conditions for the citizens of Prague. Nothing but the emperor's weakness forced him to temporize. Yet even under the pressure to which he was subjected by the state of his affairs, and notwithstanding the evident strength of the Hussite party, the conditions he imposed were sufficiently onerous. They were such as might most effectually promote any measures for completely subduing and suppressing the Hussite party. The citizens, as a pledge of their submission to his power and authority, were to remove all the chains from the streets of the city, as well as the statues which they had set up. They were to level and destroy all the entrenchments and fortifications which had been constructed since the death of Wenzel, for the siege or the storming of the castle. The monks and priests should no longer be molested in any respect, and the citizens should make all ready for the coming of the emperor himself."
Not content with this, Sigismund deposed from office all those magistrates who adhered to the communion of the cup, substituting in their place such as were distinguished for having opposed this innovation. Several forts and strong places were at the same time to be given into the hands of the emperor, who stationed in them faithful partisans. Some
Guerre des Hus., i. 117.
of these contained large treasures, which were afterward employed to sustain the imperial arms.
After little more than a week's absence, the embassy of the citizens returned to Prague? (Jan. 4, 1420.) Hard as the conditions imposed were, and although accompanied by the act that substituted enemies in place of magistrates of their own choice, there seemed to prevail a sincere disposition to submit to Sigismund's authority. The chains and statues were taken down from the streets and deposited in the council-house. The fortifications erected against the castle were levelled, even amid the derision of the Germans of the garrison and the royal party. “Now," cried they, as they saw the works demolished by the hands of the builders,—“ Now these Wickliffite and Hussite heretics will be de stroyed, and we shall have an end of them.” At the same time many of the royal party, who had fled the city, returned. Priests, monks, canons, and common people, who had withdrawn upon the violence that took place on occasion of the death of Wenzel, boldly appeared. Proclamation was made through the city, in the name of the king and magistrates, that all persons who had left the city might now freely and safely reoccupy their dwellings. It was forbidden, morever, to offer insult to priests or monks, as had been the practice of men as well as boys, when any passed them along the street.
The enemies of the Hussites, however, showed no disposition to relax their persecuting spirit and zeal. On the ninth of January (1420) John Chodk, of
Gurim, who had been taken prisoner some weeks before by the enemy, and who had hitherto been kept a close prisoner, was put to death. He admonished his murderers of the guilt which they were committing in the cruelties which they practised upon Christian believers, warning them to repent of these and their other sins. He, with three others, who were priests of the Hussite party, was thrown into a deep well (ad foveam profundam seu Sachtam.) On the same night many laymen were put to death in a similar manner. 1
But the emperor himself more than approved—he encouraged, by word and example, this persecuting and barbarous treatment of the Hussites. From the conference at Beraun, he had withdrawn to Breslau. Here he had manifested such a disposition to proceed against the followers of Huss, as to destroy the last vestige of confidence in his character or promise. He could not have pursued a course more directly calculated to defeat his own projects. The Hussites were already divided in sentiment upon many points. Some of them up to this time had been in favor of Sigismund for king, while others were bitterly opposed to him, and preferred a republic, or at least another person for their monarch. Persecution, too, had had its usual effect. Many had become wild enthusiasts. Driven to desperation, they had compared themselves to the ancient Israelites, and, as. "God's chosen people, dealt out threatenings and denunciations against their foes as impious Canaanites and heathen. Political and religious interests, vari.
Diar. Bel. Hus., 154, 155.
ously combined, had served to widen the divisions that already existed in the views and sentiments of such as bore the common name of Huss. The three principal parties were the Catholics, the Utraquists or Calixtines, so called from their devotion to the communion of the chalice or cup, and the Taborites. The first had lost much of their influence, or had become merged in the party of the Calixtines. These last were called the limping Hussites, by those who were more radical than themselves in their views of reform. And yet they were the most consistent and intelligent in their demands. They held to the com
. munion of the cup, the free preaching of the word of God, the severe repression of public sins, as well of clergy as of laity, and the wrong of allowing to the priests landed property, or a share in the civi! administration. The Calixtines were, in fact, the moderate or conservative party. They numbered among them the most influential men of Bohemia, and it was not long before they were joined by Archbishop Conrad himself.
The Taborites were so called, as composing mainly the
army which founded the city of Tabor, of which they continued to retain possession. They were the soldiers of reform, and shared a deeper enthusiasm in the cause for which they bled, than their more peaceful brethren. They had lost, far more than their compatriots, all regard for the authority of
popes, councils, or the church of Rome. They rejected altogether a hierarchy of priests, nor would they allow any mere outward symbol or external ceremonial, as a spot upon the purity of a scriptural worship.
Many of them went beyond the views of Huss, Jerome, and Jacobel, whom they still reverenced, and rejected entirely the doctrine of transubstantiation. A great majority of the Taborites belonged to the lower classes, and some of them were excessively ignorant. Some doubtless, in rejecting priestly rule, gave themselves over to wholesale license. Contempt for the horrid vices and cupidity of the sacerdotal order would naturally smooth the way to violence and outrage, especially when that order became the aggressors. In this terrible reaction, the lower and more ignorant class would act a prominent part. Their leaders would almost insensibly be forced to conform to their tastes and yield to their prejudices. These were the men, some wild and raving in their vengeance, some more scriptural and even evangelical in their sentiments, who composed that terrible force that supplied Zisca with his armies, and made the name of Hussite terrible over all Europe.
Among the Taborites, and enjoying the liberty which they allowed, were mingled persons of other sects from which they must be carefully distinguished. The freedom which was vindicated in Bohemia, drew to it the free-thinkers and heretics of other lands. Some of these were possessed of a spirit, and adopted sentiments, utterly discordant with those of the Hussites. Among them were the Adamites,, whose views of clothing much resembled those of the more fanatical of the early Quakers, who exposed themselves half naked to the public gaze. On other points they rendered themselves still more obnoxious.
* Æneas Sylvius, ch. xli.
1 Diar. Bel. Hus.