Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 19, To John of Chlum

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LETTER XIX.[1]

 

TO JOHN OF CHLUM.

 

[He alludes to the injuries which he had to suffer from the Council and deputies.]

 

If my letter has not yet been sent to Bohemia, keep it, and do not send it, for harm might come from it.

The Emperor might well ask who was to be judge, since the Council has not cited me to appear before him, nor have I been accused in his presence. Nevertheless, the Council has cast me into prison, and ordered its procurator to proceed against me.

If I obtain a public audience, I ask, noble and excellent Seignior John, that the Emperor should be present, and a place near him assigned to me, in order that he may hear me with facility. I also pray, that you, with the Seignior Wenceslaus, and my other protectors, be present, if you can, and hear the words that Jesus Christ, my procurator, shall put in my mouth, that whether I live or die, you may be unto me true witnesses, that impostors may not say that I abjured the truth which I preached.

Know, that in presence of witnesses and notaries, I demanded, in my prison, from the commissioners, that they would send me an advocate and procurator; they promised to do so, and afterwards refused them to me. I then confided myself to the Lord Jesus, that he may enlighten, plead, and judge my cause. I do not think that there are other subjects of accusation against me than these: First, The obstacle I raised against the publication of the bull of the Crusades: they are in possession of my treatise; they have read it to me, and I have acknowledged it. Secondly, They accuse me of having officiated when under excommunication. Thirdly, My appeal to the Pope is imputed to me as a crime: they read this appeal in my presence, and, before all, I joyfully exclaimed that this appeal should be mine. Lastly, in the fourth place, I am accused of having left behind me at Prague a writing which my enemies have interpreted against me, and in which I said—“I quit the city without a safe-conduct.” You will answer this by saying, when I left Prague, I had no safe-conduct from the Pope; and, in fact, I had none; and I was not aware, when I wrote that letter, that you were to accompany me in my journey. . . . . . . . . . .

After the public audience, should I obtain it, may the Emperor not permit me to be cast again into prison,—may I gather the fruits of your good counsels, and of those of your friends; and, if it should please God, tell the Emperor several things, for the advantage of Christendom, and for his own good.

 

 
  1. Hist. et Monum. Johann. Huss, Epist. xlix.