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333 [333]

uous persecutions moued by the byshops. Againste the christian religion thorow all Englande. Wherof in the story followinge by goddes grace we wyll speake more at large At that time there was a certain counceller named Powes president of Wales. Who being allured by the byshops flattery and rewardes vnder the coulour of frendship betrayed the said Lord Cobham, and brought hym vp to London. When he was come thyther, by the new and cruel lawe, whyche at that time was made by kyng Henry the fyfth, against the Wycklefists, he was condemned both of heresy and treason, and caste into the tower. Not long after being broughte oute from thence hys handes bound behinde hys backe, and layde vpon a hardel he was drawen vnto s. Giles in the fyeld which was the place appoynted for execution, whereas he being hanged vp by the middle wyth a chain, and the fire made vnderneath hym this valiaunt champion of Christ was burned wyth meruelous Constancy the people being very sad and sory. The bishoppes men dilygentlye warning them that no man shoulde praye for hys soule, but that all men should iudge hym damned as one that dyed out of the faithe and obedience of the Byshoppe of Rome. In thys manner he hauinge fynyshed the course of his life, commendinge his soule vnto God, and praying for the saluation of hys ennemyes, after he hadde exhorted the people to the studye of the pure and synceare fayth and religion, he slepte in the Lord An. 1418.

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Thys is not to be forgotten which is reported by many that he should say that he should die here in earth after the sort and manner of Helias, the whyche whether it sprang of the common people wythoute cause, or that it was forshewed by him, I thynk it not without good cōsideratiō, or þt it sprang not without with some gift of prophecy, the end of the matter doth suffyciently proue. For lyke as when Helias should leaue this mortal life, he was caryed in a fiery charyot into immortality: euen so the order of thys mannes death not beinge muche vnlike, follwed the fygure of his departure. For he fyrste of all being lyfted vp vpon the galowes, as into a chariot, and compassed in round aboute wyth flamynge fyre, what other thyng I pray you dyd thys most holy martir of Christ represent then onlye a fygure of a certayne Helias flying vp into heauen. The whych went vp into heauen by a fiery chariot.

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Such (gentle reader) are the frutes of Wyckleffes doctrine, nowe let the papystes marke and cōsider what profyt or frutes their papystical holinesse hathe brought forth vnto the world. If we wyl measure euery mānes doctrine by his frutes, let vs behold thys man whō together wyth an infynite nombre of others, thys mooste optable doctrin of Wickleffe hathe brought forthe. For thus as is before saide, Walden whiche otherwise was his most greuous ennemy reported of the said sir Ihon Oldcastel That he dyd neuer vnderstand howe greate the poyson & spot of sinne was, but onlye by readynge of Wyckleffes woorkes. MarginaliaWalden in hys preface of hys vii boke of doctrynThe whiche I thought good to recite in this place because of Polidore Virgil, whyche in his xxii boke of the story of England calleth hym valiant but a wycked man. MarginaliaPolidore in the xxii bok of the storye of EnglandBut if Polydore had shewed him self, so faithful in the wrytyng of the historye, as he was distant from impiety and wickednes he would nether haue spoken those words, & had defyled so noble an history with fewer lyes.

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¶ Here foloweth thorder and maner of the councel of Basil wyth a brief recapitulatyon of the principal matters decreed and concluded therin, with the ful discourse of the dysputation holdē amongst the bishops vpon viii. conclusions proponed in the same councel. Collected and translated out of the ii. bokes of Eneas Siluius, who was there presente, and at that time a metely good man and afterward was made Cardinal and Pope called Pius secundus. 
Commentary  *  Close
Council of Basel [I]

One of the the more important results of the Council of Constance was the decree 'Frequens', mentioned in Foxe's text, which mandated that a general council was to held at regular intervals. The Council, which was in session from 1431-49, met despite the implacable hostility of Eugenius IV, who tried to dissolve it. In 1439, as Foxe will relate, the Council elected their own pope (or antipope), Felix V. At this point, the Council had over-reached itself by initiating fears of a new schism and it rapidly lost support. Ultimately the Council was out-manoeuvred by Eugenius and accomplished few of its objectives. Yet it was remembered positively by Protestants for its attempts to reform the Church and to restrict papal authority. It is for these reasons, particularly the latter, that Foxe devotes so much attention to it.

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Foxe's account of the Council of Basel was added to the 1563 edition. There is no section about it in either of his two Latin martyrologies. Apart from background material on Martin V, Cardinal Julian and the council at Ferrara, all of which came from Caspar Peucer's continuation of Carion's chronicle (see Chronicon Carionis, ed. Philip Melancthon and Caspar Peucer [Wittenburg, 1580], pp. 634-5), it was taken entirely from the first book of Aeneas Sylvius Picclomini's commentaries on the council. The commentary is devoted to events in the year 1439, when Picclomini was actually attending the council. At this point in his life, Picclomini, who later became Pope Pius II, was an ardent conciliarist and his approving account of the council was quite congenial to Foxe.

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As a result, in the 1563, Foxe followed the first book of Picclomini's account quite closely, although he abridged it. (Foxe would have been able to consult it in Ortwin Gratius' Fasciculus rerum expetendarum ac fugiendarum, where it was printed, or in the 1571 edition of Pius II's Opera omnia, both of which works he is known to have used. For a modern edition of this work, see Aeneas Sylvius Picclomini, De Gestis Concili Basiliensis Commentarium libri II, ed. Denys Hay and W. K. Smith, Second edition [Oxford, 1992]). In the 1570 edition, Foxe further abridged his already abridged version of Picclomini's text. The 1570 version was reprinted without further changes in subsequent editions.

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Most of Foxe's abridgements were relatively innocuous and were made simply to save paper in a book that was expanding to an alarming length. But some of Foxe's deletions were more tendentious. For example, Picclomini relates that Louis d'Aleman, the cardinal of Arles, president of the Council, and a staunch anti-papalist, at a critical juncture, 'quod erat futuram, plurimasque sanctorum reliquias tota urbe perquiri iussit…quae res maxime devotionem adauxit intantum ut vocato postmodum de more Spiritu Sancto nemo lachrymas continuerit' ['considered what was going to happen, and had ordered search to be made for the very many relics of the saints throughout the whole city….This so greatly increased the devotion that when, as usual, the Holy Spirit had been invoked, nobody restrained his tears'] (Picclomini, Commentarium, ed. Hay and Smith, pp. 178-9). Foxe's version of this passage ran: 'Arlatensis considered before what would come to passe. And after theyr prayers made unto almightie GOD, wyth great tears and lamentation that he would send them his holy spirit to aid and assist them, they were greatly comforted and encouraged' (1563, p. 319). Foxe did not want his godly, anti-papalist venerating relics, so this inconvenient passage was simply rewritten.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

IN the 39. session of the Councel of Constans as is before mentioned it was decreed and prouided concerning thorder & times of such general coūcels as shuld hereafter folow the first þt shuld next ensue to be kept the v. yeare after the saide councell of Constās the second to be holden the vii. yere again after that, and so orderly al other to fo-low successiuely from x. yere to x. yere. Wherfore according to this decree followed a general councel v. yeres after the counsell of Constans celebrate and holdē at Sene vnder pope Martin. An. 1424. after the which councel, the terme of vii. yeres being expired, another coūcel was called at Basil in the yere of our lord 1431. The which councel is noted to haue ben the moost troblesome, & to haue endured longer then any other councell before time celebrate & holden in the church. This councel cōtinued almost the space of xvii. yeres, wherin it was concluded as before in the councell of Constans, that the generall councels were aboue the pope, and either of these ii. councels did attribute the chief authority in decreynge and determining vnto the general councell, which is the cause that the contrarye part do derogate frō thauthoriti of both these coūcels

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When as pope Martin the v. had apoynted Iulian cardinal & deacon of s. Angell, hys legate to celebrate & hold a generall councell at Basil for the reformation of the church & roting out of heresies. Within short space after pope Martin died, in whose seat Eugenius þe iiii. succeded, who confirmed vnto the said cardinal Iulian the same autority which his predecessor before had geuen him. Vnto this coūcel of Basil being begon, came themperor Sigismund, who duringe his life time, wyth his presence & autority did protect & defend þe said sinode. after themperors death, Pope Eugenius altring his former mind & purpose would transport the coūcel vnto Bononie, & therby letted & hindred the succes of the coūcel of Basel. And first he held a contrary coūcell at Feraria, and afterward at Florence, for after the death of themperor Sigismund, there was no princes or noble mē, þt toke ani care or respect vnto the councel. Eugenius the pope pretended causes, as touching the Grekes, whyche shuld come vnto the councel, & the vniting of their church vnto þe west church, þe which grekes wold in no wise pas thalpes. Also as touching his own incōmoditi, þt he could not com vnto Basel being so lōg a iorny, & that al mē might haue easy acces vnto Bononia, & that amongst þe Germains which in their own coūtry are so intractable: nothing cā be attemted for their reformaciō, whervpon he cited cardinal Iulian & the fathers of þe coūcel vnto Bononia vnder great penalty. They again cited þe pope, þt ether he shuld come him selfe vnto þe coūcell, or sēd his ambassadors vnder like penalty. For this cause thambassadors of Albert king of the Romains, & of thother princes of Germany, assembled together first at Norenberge, & whē as they could determin nothing there, they assēbled again at Frākford, to appease the dissention betwene the coūcel and þe pope, for it was thoughte, þt the electors of the Empire might best assēble & mete in þt place.

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