Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 15, To John of Chlum

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For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to John of Chlum (3 January 1415).



[He exhorts his friends to beware of the snares of his adversaries, who, like the Corycæans, listen to and envenom all things.][2]

I have passed nearly the whole of last night in answering in writing the articles that Paletz has drawn up; he labours directly for the purpose of procuring my condemnation. May God pardon him, and be my aid!

They affirm that the article concerning the depriving the clergy of their property is heretical. Make the Emperor understand that if this article is condemned as a heresy, it will follow that he himself, as well as his father the Emperor and King of Bohemia,[3] will be condemned as heretics, for having stripped the bishops of temporal wealth. Do not send a letter by any one whom you can not answer for as for yourself.

Tell Doctor Schmitz to beware of coming here, or Master Jerome, or any of our friends.

I am astonished that the Emperor has forgotten me, and does not communicate with me. Perhaps I shall be condemned before I have said a word to him. It is for him to see if it is to his honour to act thus.

Noble and good Seignior John, my excellent benefactor, my intrepid defender, I conjure you not to let yourself be troubled on my account, nor for the losses from which yon suffer; Almighty God will reward you with usury. Salute, I pray you, our Bohemian Lords; I do not know any thing concerning them, but I think that the Seignior Wenceslaus Duba is here, as well as Henry Latzembock.

If you decide upon any thing, let me know of it. Let John Bradazk, who is so dear to me, pray to God, with all the others, for me, and cause the Emperor to ask for the answers signed by my hand; those I have drawn up for the articles of Wycliffe, as well as for those imputed to myself.

Let these answers be copied, but not shewn more than is necessary, and let the copies not be too much multiplied, in order that the articles may remain quite distinct. I know not if the petition will be read which I forwarded to the Patriarch, to lay before the Council. I think he will not present it. If it pleased God, the Emperor, by means of one or two articles, might reduce to nothing the conclusions of the Doctors of Prague, concerning the subtraction of property, the donation of Constantine, and alms. I did not wish to deny these articles. It would be necessary for the Emperor to allege some good motives, and that these were suggested to him by some one who is not one of ours. If I was free, I would speak alone with the Emperor. See him, in order that the affair which concerns you, and to which you are attached, should not be secretly transferred elsewhere, to prevent your interfering in it any longer.

Let Master John Cardinal be prudent, for those he imagines to be friends are spies; and I have heard it said by several of those who questioned me, A certain John Cardinal has confounded together the Pope and the Cardinals, in saying that they were all simonists. Let Master Cardinal keep as much as possible under the imperial roof, that his person may not be seized as mine was.[4] No one has done me so much harm as Paletz. May God forgive him! Paletz has directed everything. He insisted upon citing all the persons who adhered to my opinions, that they might be constrained to abjure. He has said, in my prison, that all those who came to hear me, maintained that the material bread remained after consecration.

I am surprised none of our Bohemians visit my prison; perhaps they act all for the best. Let this paper be torn directly after it is read.

Send by the bearer of this letter another shirt. Seignior John, insist with the Bohemians, that the citation of all those who are called upon to appear, may be annulled; that the Emperor may consider his heritage, and not suffer any ill-disposed person to harm it. Why can I not speak to him once before being condemned? for I came here after his desire, and with the promise that I should be permitted to return safe and sound to Bohemia.

  1. Hist. et Monum. Johann. Huss, Epist. liv.
  2. Luther adds: “Male loquentes etiam Gardinali Hostiensi.” He is deceived when he takes the Cardinal Osti for Master John Cardinal, referred to in this letter: the latter was a Doctor of Prague, and a friend of John Huss. The manner in which Huss expresses himself on this subject, suffices to shew Luther’s error.
  3. The Emperor Charles IV.
  4. This alone is sufficient to prove that the person in question was not Cardinal Osti, President of the Council.