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689 [665]

K. Henry. 6. The Councell of Basill.

MarginaliaO Æneas, you should haue vsed such sinceritie when you were pope. thought to haue played bo peepe. For what doth the declaration of the truth hinder the treatie of peace? Or if it doo hurt, why is not he counted as great an offender, which cōsenteth to him that declareth the truth, as he which doth declare it? What shall we nede any further testimony? MarginaliaBeholde, the princes ambassadours declare Euguenius an enemy vnto the truth. for now the Embassadours of the Princes haue declared Eugenius to be an enemy vnto the truth. But to passe ouer these things, it is sufficient that Eugenius wrote afterward vnto the kyng of Fraunce, that he did vnderstand the bishop of Tournon to be become his enemy.

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MarginaliaArelatensis cōmendeth the Ambassadours. After that þe bishop of Tournon had made an end, Cardinal Arelatensis gaue thankes vnto God, which had so defended his Church, & after great stormes and cloudes, had sent fayre and cleare weather: & commendyng the good will of the Emperour and the Kyng of Fraunce towarde the Church, he also praysed the byshop of Lubecke and Tournon, for that often tymes in the Councell, and also of late at Mentz, they had defēded the authoritie of the Coūcell. But specially he commēded this their present doynges, that they had openly confessed the truth, and had not sequestred them selues from the fayth of the Church.

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MarginaliaThis Councell was gathered to take away the ambition of the Bishops of Rome, that they should not thinke they myght do all thinges according to their owne pleasure: and further to reuoke them frō the care of temporall thinges vnto spirituall thinges, which now they regarded not. Afterward, he entryng into the declaration of the matter, sayd that he was at Pysis and at Constance, and neuer saw a more quyet or deuout Session then this, affirmyng þt this decree was most necessary, to represse the ambition of the Byshops of Rome, whiche exaltyng themselues aboue the vniuersall Church, thought it lawful for them to do all things after their owne pleasure, and that no one man from henceforth should transport the Councell from one place to an other, as Eugenius attempted to do, now to Bononia, now to Florentia, then agayne to Bononia, after to Ferraria, and after that agayne to Florentia, and that hereafter the 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: & therfore by how much this Session was most holy and necessary, by somuch more the assent of the 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 Gabriel Condulmarius was deposed from the Bishopricke of Rome, the principall fathers of the Councell beyng called together in the Chapter house of the great Church, consulted together, whether it were expediēt that a new Bishop should be created out of hand, or deferred for a tyme 

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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 that the election should be done with speede, shewed how daūgerous a thyng it was for such a cōgregation to be without a head: also what a pestiferous sicknes was in all the City, which not onely consumed young men and children: but also men of middle age, and old men in like maner, and that this plague came first by straungers vnto the poore of the Citie, & so had infected the riche, and now was come vnto the fathers of the Councell: amplifiyng moreouer, and encreasing the terrour therof, and making the thyng worse then it was, as the maner is. Neither doth þe decree (said they) any thing let or hinder, wherin 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 voyd. for that is to be vnderstād, when as the sea is voyde at such tyme as there is no Councell holden, neither ought we to tary or make any delay, lest the Princes beyng perswaded by Gabriel, should resist: Vnto whom the deposition of Gabriell, and the election of some other, is to be certified all vnder one message. The other which thought good that there should be a delay, sayd: that the Councell did lacke no head, for somuch as Christ was the head thereof: neither did lacke a ruler, for somuch as it was gouerned by the Presidents & other officers: MarginaliaNote the Christian zeale of these men, which would refuse no daunger for Gods cause. and that no mention should be made of any pestilēce in such a case, seyng that, vnto stout & strong mē, death is not to be feared, neither can any thyng daunt or feare them which contend for the Christian fayth. As for that pestilence which doth now increase and grow in the Citie, for asmuch as iudgement is now geuen, it is to be hoped that 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 their wil, thē to neglect them: and þt it is not to be feared, but that in this case, God will helpe those that are stout and valiaūt. 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. Hereupō Iohn Segouius, a man of excellent learnyng, sayd: Most reuerend fathers, I am diuersly drawē by sundry reasons, to this side and that. But as I way the matter more deepely in my mynde, this is my opinion, that to come to a speedy election, it semeth good, to speake after mās iudgement: but to delay it for two monethes, to speake after Gods iudgement, it seemeth much better. I do iudge that not onely the wordes, but also the meanyng of our decree, ought to be obserued. MarginaliaDaungerous honesty preferred before secure vtilitie. Wherefore, if ye will geue any credite vnto me, folow rather daungerous honesty, then secure vtilitie: albeit that, in deede, vtilitie can not be discerned frō honesty. This opinion of delay tooke place among the fathers, & they determined to stay, for the space of two monethes.

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

Duryng this tyme, the corrupt ayre was nothyng at all purged, but the mortalitie dayly increasing, many dyed and were sicke. Whereupon a sodayne feare came vppon the fathers. Neither were they sufficiently aduised what they might do: for they thought it not to be without daunger, either to depart or to tary. Notwithstandyng they thought it good to tary, & also they caused other to tary: that since they had ouercome famine, and the assaultes of their enemyes on earth, they would not seeme to shrinke for the persecutiō of any plague or sicknes. But for somuch as they could not all be kept there, it was politickly prouided, that the Councell should not seeme to be dissolued for any mās departure. And for the more establishment of the matter, there were certain thynges read before the fathers, whiche they called De Stabilimento, whose authoritie cōtinued long tyme after. MarginaliaA great pestilēce in Basill. Whē as the Dogge dayes were come, and that all herbes wythered with heate, the pestilence increased dayly more & more, that it is vncredible how many dyed. It was to horrible to see the corses hourely caryed through the streates, when on euery side there was weepyng, wayling, & sighyng. There was no house voyde of mournyng: no myrthe or laughter in no place, but matrones bewayling their husbandes, and the husbandes their wiues. Men and womē went through the streates, and durst not speake one vnto an other. Some taryed at home, and other some that went abroad, had perfumes to smell vnto, to preserue them agaynst the plague.

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The common people dyed without number: and like as in the cold Autumne, the leaues of the trees do fall, euen so did the youth of the Citie consume and fall away. The violence of the disease was such, that ye should haue met a man mery in the streate now, and within x. houres heard that he had bene buryed. The number of the dead corses was such also, that they lacked place to bury them in: in somuch that all the Churchyardes were digged vp, and filled with dead corses, & great holes made in the Parish Churches, wheras a great number of corses beyng thrust in together, they couered them ouer with earth. For which cause the fathers were so afrayde, that there appeared no bloud in their faces: MarginaliaLodouicus the prothonotary died of the plague. and specially the sodayne death of Lodouicus the Prothonotary did make all men afrayde, who was a strong man & florishyng in age, and singularly learned in both lawes: whō the same enuious and ragyng sickenes tooke away in a few houres. By and by after, dyed Lodouicus the Patriarke of of Aquileia, a man of great age, and brought vp alwayes in trouble and aduersitie, neither could he see the day of the Popes election which he had long wished for: Notwithstādyng he tooke partly a consolation in that he had sene Gabriell deposed before his death. This mans death was greuous vnto all the fathers, for now they sayd that two pillers of the Councell were decayed and ouerthrowne, meanyng the Prothonotary and the Patriarke, whereof the one by the law: and the other with his deedes defended the veritie of the Councell.

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About the same tyme also dyed the kyng of Arragones Amner in Switzerland, a man of excellent learnyng, beyng byshop of Ebron. The Abbot of Vergilia dyed at Spire, & Iohn the Bishop of Lubecke, betwene Vienna and Buda.

These two last rehearsed, euen at the point of death, did this thyng worthy of remembraunce. When as they perceiued the houre of their death to approche, callyng vnto them certaine graue and wise men, sayd: MarginaliaThe exhoration of those which dyed. All you that be here present, pray to God, that he will conuert such as knowledge Gabriell for hygh Byshop, for in that state they cannot be saued: and professyng themselues that they would dye in the fayth of the Councell of Basill, they departed in the Lord. MarginaliaThe Byshop of Constance dieth. In Boheme also departed the byshop of Constance, which was Embassadour for the Coūcell. There was great feare and tremblyng throughout all the Coūcell. MarginaliaThe Abbot of Dona a true Abbot. There had bene also in the Councell, by a long tyme, the Abbot of Dona, of the Diocesse of Cumana, a man poore vnto the world, but rich vnto God, whō neither flatterynges nor threatnynges could turne away from his good purpose and intēt, chusing rather to begge in the truth of the fathers, then to abounde in riches with the false flatteryng aduersaries.

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Wherupon, after the Lordes were departed, which gaue him his liuyng, he remainyng still, was stricken with the

plague
MM.iij.
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