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733 [709]

K. Henry. 7. Maximilianus Emperour. Pope Alexander. 6.

chief pastour of the Church, and all the Clergy, haue suffered no small reuenewes of the Ecclesiasticall dignities, to be caryed out of our dominion by the Prelates and Clergy that are absent, whose faultes committed by humaine frailty, with Constantine our predecessour, we haue not disdeyned to hyde and couer. But for somuch as through our liberalitie, the decay of Gods honour is risen, it is our part to foresee (whiche are elect vnto the Empire without any desert) that amōgest all other affaires of peace and warre, the Churches do not decay, Religion quayle not, or Gods true worshyp be not diminished: which we haue manifestly experimented and dayly do perceiue by the insatiable couetousnes of some, which are neuer satisfied in gettyng of benefices: through whose absence (being but residēt onely vpē one) Gods honour and worshyp is diminished, houses decay, Churches decrease, the Ecclesiasticall libertie is hurt, learnyng and monumentes are lost and destroyed, hospitalitie and almes diminished, and by their vnsaciable gredynes, such of the Clergy as for their learnyng and vertue were worthy of benefices, and their wisedome, profitable in commō wealthes, are hindered and put backe. MarginaliaNo man to haue two Canonships or prebends at once. Wherfore, accordyng to the office and duety of our estate, for the loue of the encrease of Gods honor, we exhorte and require that no man from hence forth, hauyng any Canonshyp or Vicarage in one Citie of our Empire, shall occupy or possesse a prebend in an other Churche of the same Citie, except he gyue ouer the first, within a yeares space, vnto some person fitte and profitable for the church: neither that he do by vniust quarels, vexe or trouble any mā in gettyng of benefices, neither that any man do falsly fayne himselfe to haue bene of the Emperours houshold, which hath not bene comprehended within the league and agrement made by the Princes, neither that any man attempt to take away the patronages from any lay man, or aggrauate the small prebendes of Curates of Churches, with pensions, neither that they do vse in gettyng of benefices and Bulles, any fraude, deceite, false instrumentes, corrupt witnesses and cloked Symonie, neither that any man presume to obteine any regresse, or other thyng contrary to the sacred Canons, right, honesty, equitie and reason, vpon payne of the most greuous offence of treason: the which we will that, not onely they, goyng so contrarye to God and all honestye: but also all their fauourers, which do helpe, counsayle, harbour or gyue them any thyng, all their messengers and writers, proctours, suretyes and other their frendes, shal incurre, and receiue condigne punishment for so great offence and contempt of our commaundement. From Oenepont. 

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I.e., Innsbruck.


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¶ Here ensueth the copy of a letter writen vnto the Emperour Maximilian.

¶ To our most victorious Lorde Maximilian the Emperour, Iacobus Selestadiensis, 
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This is the celebrated humanist Jacob Wimpheling.

most humble commendations.

MOst victorious Emperour, when 

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This letter from Jacob Wimpheling to Maximilian is translated fromMatthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), pp. 326-7.

I had read your maiesties Epistle, and receiued instructions of your Secretary, I prepared my selfe with all my whole endeuour, to satisfie your maiesties desire: For euen from my youth hetherto, I haue applyed all my care and study, first for the honour of your maiestie, and consequently for for the amplifying of the Germaine nation, and sacred Romaine Empire. Albeit I know my selfe farre vnable to satisfie your desire and purpose, and there are many which can fulfill this matter much better, which haue greater learning and experience of these common matters. There be also with other Princes, and in the Senates of common wealthes, many excellent learned men, which can exonerate and beautifie Germany, and perswade to reduce all the Clergy vnto a Christian discipline, and to an vnity and peace of the vniuersall Church. Wherein not onely your Maiestie, but also your predecessours, as Charles the great, and his sonne Ludouicus Pius, the Othoes, Cōrades, Friderickes, and Henrikes, and last of all, Sigismundus, haue with all labour and diligēce trauailed, beyng stirred thereunto, vndoubtedly through the zeale and charitie which they bare vnto almighty God, and thankefulnes vnto Christ, for his benefites which he hath bestowed vpon mankynd, and specially for the benefite of his most bitter passion. For Christ became not poore for vs, that we should lyue in all riote and wantonnes vpon his patrimonie, and shew forth our ambition and couetousnes: neither did he suffer hunger that we should glut vp our selues: or suffered labours, chastitie, and greuous tormentes, that we should liue in idlenes, wantonnes, and all kynde of voluptuosnes. Neither they which were contributers and benefa ctors to churches, induyng the ministers therof with theyr temporall riches, had any such respect herein, that the clergy should lyue onely in idlenes, hauyng all thynges at their wyll, without labour. Surely there was an other cause why that they in tymes past dyd empouerishe themselues and theyrs to endow the church: verily that they might the better attend vnto diuine seruice, without care of want of lyuyng (which they might easily gette and gather out of the fieldes, woods, medowes, and waters) and to the intent that they should liberally geue almes vnto the poore Christians wydowes, orphanes, aged and sicke persons. For in the institutions of the canonicall profession, which we suppose was written by the commaundement of Ludouicus Pius the emperour, and allowed by the counsayle of the bishops, thus it is read: The goodes of the Church (as it is alledged by the fathers, and conteyned in the chapters before) are the vowes of the faythfull, and patrimony of the poore. For the faythful, thorow the feruentnes of their fayth, & loue of Christ beyng inflamed, hauyng an earnest desire of that heauenly kyngdome, haue enriched the holy church wyth theyr own goods, that thereby the souldiours of Christ myght be nourished, the church adourned, the poore refreshed, & captiues accordyng to the oportunitie of tyme, redemed. Wherefore such as haue the administration of those goodes, ought diligently to be loked vpon, that they do not conuert them vnto theyr owne proper vse, but rather, accordyng to their substaunce and possibilitie, they do not neglect them in whome Christ is fed and clothed. Prosper is also of the same mynd, affirmyng that holye men dyd not chalenge the Churche goodes to theyr owne vse, as their owne proper goodes, but as thynges commended vnto the poore, to be deuided amongest them: For that is to contemne that which a man possesseth, not to possesse a thing for himself, but for others, neyther to couet the Church goods wyth couetousnesse, to haue them hymselfe, but to take them with a godly zeale to helpe other. That which the church hath, is common to all them which haue nothyng, neyther ought they to geue any thyng of that vnto them, (sayeth he) which haue of theyr owne: for to geue vnto them which haue inough, is but to cast thynges away. Ex Illyrico.

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MarginaliaPope Alexander. 6. To returne now to the order of popes where we left before speaking of Innocentius 8. pag. 842. after the sayde Innocentius, next succeded Pope Alexander þe 6. In which Alexander among other horrible thynges, this is one to be noted, 

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Foxe has two, not entirely consistent accounts, of Alexander VI's holding the Turkish prince Djem hostage. One comes from John Bale's Catalogus(pp. 626-27). The other is from Sebastion Munster, Cosmographia (Basel, 1559),p. 965.

that when Gemes (Peucerus nameth hym Demes) brother to Baiazetes the great Turke, MarginaliaThe pope poysoneth Gemes the yurkes brother, being committed to his custody.
Ex Paul. Iouio. lib. 2.
Ex Peucero. lib. 5.
Ex Hieronym. Mario.
was committed by the Rhodians, to the safe custody, first of Pope Innocent, then of Alexander the 6. for whose kepyng the Pope receyued euery yere 40000 crowns: yet notwithstanding, whē Pope Alexander afterward was compelled to send the sayd Gemes to Lewes xi. the French kyng for a pledge: because the French kyng should not procure the great Turkes fauour, by sendyng his brother Gemes to hym to be slayne, he beyng hyred by the Turke, caused the said Gemes to be poisoned, who in hys iourney going toward the French kyng, dyed at Terracina. Ex Hieronymo Mario.

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MarginaliaThe pope setteth the great turke agaynst the French kyng. Moreouer in þe sayd Hieronymus Marius it appeareth, that this Alexander takyng displeasure with the foresayde Lewys the French kyng, about the winnyng of Neaples, sent to Baiazetes the Turke, to fight agaynst the foresayd Lewys. Ex eodem.

Munsterus lib. 4. Cosmog. MarginaliaEx Seb. Mūstero lib . 4. Cosmograph. Declaryng the foresayd history of Gemes somethyng otherwyse, first calleth hym Zyzymus, and sayth, that he was first committed by the Rhodians to the French kyng. And when as Ioannes Huniades afore mentioned, did labour to the French king to haue him, thinkyng by that meanes to obtayne a noble victory against the Turke, as it was not vnlike: this Alexander the Pope, thorough his fraudulent flattery, gotte hym of the Frenche Kyng, into his owne handes: by whose meanes the sayde Gemes afterwarde was poysoned, as is in maner before expressed.

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MarginaliaMancinellus writing agaynst the wickednes of the pope, loste his landes and tounge. Vnto these poysoned actes 

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This story of Alexander VI's mutilation of a writer who denounced him is taken from Matthias Flacius, Catalogus testium veritatis (Basel, 1562), p. 576.

of the Pope, let vs also adioyne his malicious wickednes, with lyke fury exercised vpō Antonius Mancinellus: which Mancinellus beyng a man of excellent learnyng, because he wrote an eloquent oratiō agaynst his wicked maners & filthy life, with other vices, he therfore commaunded both his handes and his tong to be cut of, playing much like with him, as Antonius the tyrant once did with M. Cicero, for writyng agaynst hys horrible lyfe. 
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Mark Anthony ordered the Roman orator Cicero killed after Cicero had denounced him in a series of speeches.

MarginaliaPoyson requited with poyson. At length, as one poyson requireth an other, this poysoned Pope, as he was sitting with his Cardinals, & other riche Senatours of Rome at dinner, hys seruauntes vnwares brought to him a wronge bottell, wherby both he was poysoned, and hys Cardinalls about hym. 
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The stories of Alexander VI's death and of the statue of the angel struck by lightning are from Bale, Catalogus, p. 634.

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