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837 [837]

K. Henry. 6. The Councell of Basill.

quent, speaking for him & his fellowes, sayd, þt he heard, how þt they were euill spoken of amōgest some, in þt they had not honoured their king in that most sacred Session, whom it becommed speciallye to exalt & defende the fayth: which also for that cause aboue all other kynges was named most christen: notwithstāding he said þt they had a lawfull excuse, in that it was conuenient that they which were sent to intreate peace, should do nothing wherby their ambassade should be stopped or letted. MarginaliaTwo kindes of iniustice.Also there are ij. kindes of iniustice (sayd he) wherby either thinges are done that should not be done, or things that should not be done, are done. The first doth not alwaies binde, because it is conuenient to haue respecte of time, place, and person. But the last doth alwayes bynde, wherein, he sayd, they were not culpable. But as tou- touching the first poynt, they might seeme vnto some to haue erred, because they were not present at the Sessiō: but yet in this poynt they had sufficiēt to answer, forsomuche as, if they had beene present at that Session, they should haue bene vnmete to haue intreated anye peace with Eugenius: And therefore albeit they were wantyng at so holy a busines, in that poynt they followed the example of Paule, which albeit he desired to be dissolued & to be wt Christ, yet for the further profit & aduancement of þe church, it was deferred. So likewise he sayd, þt they had now done, for þt they were not absent because they doubted of the conclusions (which they iudged to bee most true and holy, & wherunto they would sticke euen vnto death) but because they would not be vnmete for þe treaty of peace for which they came: and yet that which they had not done in their own person, they had fulfilled (sayd he) by theyr seruauntes & housholde, whom altogether they cōmaunded to reuerēce þe Session. I would þt I had bene then in þe place of some great prelate: MarginaliaO Æneas, you should haue vsed such sinceritie whē you were pope.surely they should not haue gon vnpunished, which thought to haue played bo peepe. For what doth the declaration of the truth hinder the treaty of peace? Or if it do hurt, why is not he counted as great an offender, which consenteth to him that declareth the truth, as he which doth declare it? What shall we nede any further testimonye? MarginaliaBeholde, the princes ambassadours declare Euguenius an enemy vnto the truth.for now the Ambassadours of the Princes haue declared Eugenius to be an enemye vnto þe truth. But to passe ouer these thinges, it is sufficient that Eugenius wrote afterwarde vnto the king of Fraunce, þt he dyd vnderstand the bishop of Turnon to be become his enemye.

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MarginaliaArelatensis cōmendeth the ambassadours.After that the bishop of Tournon had made an end, Cardinall Arelatensis gaue thankes vnto God, whiche had so defended hys Churche, and after great stormes and cloudes, had sent faire and cleare weather: and cōmendyng the good will of the Emperour and the king of Fraunce toward the churche, he also praysed the byshops of Lubecke and Turnon, for that oftētymes in the councel, and also of late at Mentz, they had defēded the autoritie of the councell. But speciallye he commended this their present doynges, that they had openly confessed the truthe, and had not sequestred themselues from the fayth of the church.

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MarginaliaThis Councell was gathered to take away the ambition of the Byshops of Rome, that they should not thinke they mught do all thinges according to their own pleasure: and further to reuoke them from the care of temporall thinges vnto spirituall thinges, which now they regarded not.Afterward, he entryng into the declaration of the mater, sayd that he was at Pysis and at Constance, and neuer saw a more quiet or deuout session, then this, affyrming þt this decre was most necessary, to represse þe ambition of þe bishops of Rome, which exalting thēselues aboue the vniuersal church, thought it lawful for thē to do all things after their own pleasure, & that no one mā frō henceforth should transport the coūcel frō one place to an other, as Eugenius attempted to do, now to Bononia, now to Florentia, thē again to Bononia, after to Ferraria, & after that again to Florētia, and þt hereafter þe bishops should withdraw their mindes from the carefulnes of temporall goodes, which (as he himselfe dyd see) had no mynde at all on spirituall matters: and therfore by how much this session was most holy & necessary, byso much more þe assent of þe ambassadors was most laudable & acceptable to all the fathers. These wordes thus spoken, he rose vp, and the congregation was dissolued.

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Now, after that Gabriell Condulmarius was deposed from the byshopricke of Rome, the principall fathers of the Councell being called together in the chapter house of þe great church, cōsulted together, whether it were expedient þt a new bishop should be created out of hand, or deferred for a time.  

Commentary  *  Close
Council of Basle [II]

In the 1563 edition, Foxe reprinted almost all of the second book of Aeneas Sylvius Picclomini's Commentaries on the Council of Basel, which describes the election of Amadeus, the duke of Savoy, as anti-pope Felix V by the Council. (Cf. Aeneas Sylvius Picclomini, De Gestis Concili Basiliensis Commentarium libri II, ed. Denys Hay and W. K. Smith, second edition, [Oxford, 1997], 189-255 with 1563, pp. 320-330). In the 1570, edition, simply to save space (and paper which was running short in this edition), Foxe made a series of cuts to this material. The editing was actually quite skillfully done; Foxe removed a considerable amount of extraneous detail - e.g., passages detailing the complicated system adopted for electing the anti-pope at Basel, the seating arrangements of the conclave and the ceremonial that took place - while preserving the substance of the theological and ecclesialogical debates.

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In the 1563 edition, Foxe also introduced a letter written by Cardinal Julian Caeserini, the papal legate in Germany to Eugenius IV, urging the pope not to dissolve the Council of Vienna. The letter was taken from Ortwin Gratius, Fasciculus rerum expetendarum ac fugiendarum (Cologne, 1535), fos. 32r-34r; Foxe's version is complete and accurate. In the same edition, Foxe also introduced a narrative of the summoning of the Hussites to the Council of Basel and of Cardinal Caeserini's oration to them. Although Foxe declares that this material came from Picclomini's Commentaries, it actually came from Picclomini's history of Bohemia. (Although Foxe definitely used the history elsewhere, in this case he was probably repeating the excerpt of it in Gratius' Fasciculus, fos. 156r-160r). Foxe continued to mine Gratius's collection by reprinting a petition from the Hussites to the Council of Basel (cf. Gratius, Fasciculus, fo. 180r-v). Significantly, Foxe did not reprint the response of the Council - whose members, because of their anti-papalism, Foxe was depicting as heroes - which defended communion in one kind and not having the Scriptures in the vernacular (see Gratius, Fasciculus, fos. 180v-181r). And a description of reforms enacted by the Council of Basel also came from Gratius (see Fasciculus, fos. 34v-35v). Ironically, one item, a letter from Martin Meyer to Picclomini, which Foxe states came from Gratius's Fasciculus, actually came from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus Testium Veritatis (Strasbourg, 1562), p. 318.

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In 1570, in addition to pruning the lengthy extract from Picclomini's Commentaries, Foxe also deleted the letter from Cardinal Caesarini to Eugenius IV. However, he added a laudatory description of Felix V, of the accession of Albert II and of the capture and rescue of the cardinal of Arles, from Conrad of Lichtenau, Abbatis Ursprengensis Chronici, ed. Caspar Hedio (Basel, 1569), pp. 392-3 and 397-8. Foxe also expanded the account of the Hussites and the Council of Basel with extracts from Johannes Cochlaeus, Historiae Hussitarum (Mainz, 1549), pp. 257-8, 260-2 and 267-71. The 1570 version was reprinted without change in the 1576 edition. The letter of Cardinal Caesarini, which had been deleted from the 1570 edition, was restored in 1583.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

MarginaliaThe councell doth deliberate vpon the popes election.Such as thought good þt the election shoulde be done with speede, shewed how daungerous a thing it was, for such a congregatiō to be wtout a head: also what a pestiferous sicknes was in all þe citie, which not only consumed yong mē & children: but also men of myddle age, & old mē in lyke maner, and that this plage came first by straungers vnto þe poore of þe citie, & so had infected þe riche, & now was come vnto the fathers of the Councell: amplifieng moreouer, and encreasing the terrour therof, and making the thing worse thē it was, as the maner is. Neither doth the decree (sayd they) any thing let or hinder, wherein it is prouided that there should be delay of. lx. dayes after the sea is voyde: MarginaliaLx. dayes must be delayd after the sea is voyde.for that is to be vnderstande, when as the sea is voyde at such time as there is no Councell holden, neither ought wee to tary or make any delaye, lest the Princes beyng perswaded by Gabriell, should resist: Vnto whom the deposition of Gabriell, and the election of some other, is to bee certified all vnder one message. The other whiche thought good that there should be a delay, sayd: that the Councell did lacke no head, for somuch as Christ was the head therof: neither dyd lacke a ruler, for somuch as it was gouerned by the Presidentes and other officers: MarginaliaNote the Christian zeale of these men, which woulde refuse no daunger for Gods cause.and þt no mentiō should be made of any pestilence in such a case, seing that, vnto stout & strong men, death is not to be feared, neither can any thyng daunt or feare them whiche contend for the Christian faith. As for that pestilence whiche doth nowe increase & grow in the Citie, for asmuch as iudgement is now geuē, it is to be hoped þt it will asswage, whiche was thought to haue come for the neglectyng of iustice. Also that in so doubtfull a matter, they ought rather to vse the princes agaynst theyr will, then to neglect them: and þt it is not to be feared, but that in this case, God wil helpe those that are stout and valiaunt. The matter beyng thus discussed amongest them, (albeit that there was as many myndes, as there was men) yet it seemed vnto them all, that it was most profitable to chuse the Byshop by and by, but most honest to deferre it.

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MarginaliaIohn Segonius.Here vppon Ihon Segouius, a man of excellent learnyng, sayd: Most reuerent fathers, I am diuersly drawn by sundry reasons, to this side and that. But as I way the matter more depely in my mind, this is my opinion, that to come to a spedy election, it semeth good, to speake after mans iudgement: but to delay it for. ij. monethes, to speake after gods iudgement, it semeth much better. I do iudge that not only the wordes, but also the meanyng of our decree, ought to be obserued. MarginaliaDaūgerous honestye preferred before secure vtilitie.Wherfore, if ye will geue any credite vnto me, folow rather daungerous honesty, then secure vtility: albeit that, in dede, vtilitie can not be discerned from honesty. This opinion of delay tooke place among the fathers, and they determined to stay, for the space of. ij. monethes.

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In the meane tyme, messengers were sent vnto the princes to declare the deposition of Eugenius by the Synode, and publish it abroad.

Duryng this tyme, the corrupt aire was nothing at all purged, but the mortalitie dayly increasing, many dyed and were sicke. Whereupon a sodaine feare came vpon the fathers. Neither were they sufficiently aduised what they might do: for they thought it not to be without daunger, eyther to depart or to tary. Notwithstanding they thought it good to tarye, and also they caused other to tary: that since they had ouercome famine, and

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