The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 9
Author: Various
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With a staff of specialists


The National Alumni

Copyright, 1905, by The National Alumni



PAGE An Outline Narrative of the Great Events, xiii CHARLES F. HORNE

Luther Begins the Reformation in Germany (A.D. 1517), 1 JULIUS KOESTLIN JEAN M. V. AUDIN

Negro Slavery in America Its Introduction by Law (A.D. 1517), 36 SIR ARTHUR HELPS

First Circumnavigation of the Globe (A.D. 1519) Magellan Reaches the Ladrones and Philippines, 41 JOAN BAUTISTA ANTONIO PIGAFETTA

The Field of the Cloth of Gold (A.D. 1520), 59 J. S. BREWER

Cortes Captures the City of Mexico (A.D. 1521), 72 WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT

Liberation of Sweden (A.D. 1523), 79 ERIC GUSTAVE GEIJER

The Peasants' War in Germany (A.D. 1524), 93 J. H. MERLE D'AUBIGNE

France Loses Italy (A.D. 1525) Battle of Pavia, 111 WILLIAM ROBERTSON

Sack of Rome by the Imperial Troops (A.D. 1527), 124 BENVENUTO CELLINI T. ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE

Great Religious Movement in England Fall of Wolsey (A.D. 1529), 137 JOHN RICHARD GREEN

Pizarro Conquers Peru (A.D. 1532), 156 HERNANDO PIZARRO WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT

Calvin is Driven from Paris (A.D. 1533) He Makes Geneva the Stronghold of Protestantism, 176 A. M. FAIRBAIRN JEAN M. V. AUDIN

England Breaks with the Roman Church (A.D. 1534) Destruction of Monasteries, 203 JOHN RICHARD GREEN

Cartier Explores Canada (A.D. 1534), 236 H. H. MILES

Mendoza Settles Buenos Aires (A.D. 1535), 254 ROBERT SOUTHEY

Founding of the Jesuits (A.D. 1540), 261 ISAAC TAYLOR

De Soto Discovers the Mississippi (A.D. 1541), 277 JOHN S. C. ABBOTT

Revolution of Astronomy by Copernicus (A.D. 1543), 285 SIR ROBERT STAWELL BALL

Council of Trent and the Counter-reformation (A.D. 1545) 293 ADOLPHUS W. WARD

Protestant Struggle against Charles V The Smalkaldic War (A.D. 1546), 313 EDWARD ARMSTRONG

Introduction of Christianity into Japan (A.D. 1549), 325 JOHN H. GUBBINS

Collapse of the Power of Charles V (A.D. 1552) France Seizes German Bishoprics, 337 LADY C. C. JACKSON

The Religious Peace of Augsburg (A.D. 1555) Abdication of Charles V 348 WILLIAM ROBERTSON

Akbar Establishes the Mogul Empire in India (A.D. 1556), 366 J. TALBOYS WHEELER

Universal Chronology (A.D. 1517-1557) 385 JOHN RUDD



PAGE Henry VIII during the festivities at Guines—"The Field of the Cloth of Gold"—in courtly dance with one of the French Queen's ladies-in-waiting (page 63), Frontispiece Painting by Adolph Menzel.

Gustavus I (Vasa) addressing his last meeting of the Estates, 79 Painting by L. Hersent.






Our modern world begins with the Protestant Reformation. The term itself is objected to by Catholics, who claim that there was little real reform. But the importance of the event, whether we call it reform or revolution, is undenied. Previous to 1517 the nations of Europe had formed a single spiritual family under the acknowledged leadership of the Pope. The extent of the Holy Father's authority might be disputed, especially when he interfered in affairs of state. Kings had fought against his troops on the field of battle. But in spiritual matters he was still supreme, and when reformers like Huss and Savonarola refused him obedience on questions of doctrine, the very men who had been fighting papal soldiers were shocked by this heretical wickedness. The heretics were burned and the wars resumed. When Alexander Borgia sat upon the papal throne for eleven years, there were even philosophers who drew from his very wickedness an argument for the divine nature of his office. It must be indeed divine, said they, since despite such pollution as his, it had survived and retained its influence.

Some modern critics have even gone so far as to assert that for at least two generations before the Reformation the great majority of the educated classes had ceased to care whether the Christian religion were true or not. The Renaissance had so awakened their interest in the affairs of this world, its artistic beauties and intellectual advance, that they gave no thought to the beyond. But we approach controversial matters scarce within our scope. Suffice it to say that the Reformation brought religion once more into intensest prominence in all men's eyes, and that a large portion of the civilized world broke away from the domination of the Pope. Men insisted on judging for themselves in spiritual matters. Only after three centuries of strife was the privilege granted them. Only within the past century has thought been made everywhere free—at least from direct physical coercion. The last execution by the Spanish Inquisition was in 1826, and the institution was formally abolished in 1835.

The era of open warfare and actual bodily torture between various sects all calling themselves Christian, thus extended over three centuries. These may be divided into four periods. The first is one of fierce dispute but little actual warfare, during which the revolt spread over Europe with Germany as its centre. An agreement between the contestants was still hoped for; the break was not recognized as final until 1555, when, by the Peace of Augsburg, the two German factions definitely agreed to separate and to refrain from interference with each other. Or perhaps it would be better to end the first period with 1556, when the mighty Emperor, Charles V, resigned all his authority, giving Germany to his brother, Ferdinand, who maintained peace there, while Spain passed to Charles' son, Philip II, most resolute and fanatic of Catholics.

The second period began in 1558, when the Protestant queen, Elizabeth, ascended the throne of England. She and Philip of Spain became the champions of their respective faiths; the strife extended over Europe, and soon developed into bitter war. This spread from land to land, and finally returned to Germany as the awful Thirty Years' War.

Then came the third period, during which the religious question was less prominent; but Catholic sovereigns like Louis XIV of France and James II of England still hoped by persecutions to force their subjects to reaccept the ancient faith. These aims were only abandoned with the downfall of Louis' military power before the armies of Marlborough and Eugene, early in the eighteenth century.

During the final hundred years the stubborn contest was confined to the lands still Catholic, in which intellect, under such leaders as Voltaire, struggled with the superstition and prejudice of the masses, and demanded everywhere the freedom it at last attained.

For the present we need look only to the first of these periods, that in which Germany holds the centre of the view.[1] It is an odd coincidence that at the outbreak of the Reformation all the chief states of Europe were ruled by sovereigns of unusual ability, but each one of them a man who obviously thought more of his ambitions, his pleasures, and his political plans than of his religion. Moreover, each of these rulers came to the throne before he was of age, and thus lacked the salutary training of a subordinate position; while, on the other hand, each of them, through varying causes, wielded a power much greater than that of any of his recent predecessors.


Henry VIII of England was the first of these young despots to assume authority. Nine years older than the century, he became king in 1509 at the age of eighteen. His father, Henry VII, had, as we have seen, snatched power from an exhausted aristocracy. He had been what men sneeringly called a "tradesman" king, caring little for the show and splendor of his office, but using it to amass enormous sums of money by means not over-scrupulous. Young Henry VIII, handsome, dashing, and debonair, at once repudiated his father's policy, executed the ministers who had directed it, and was hailed as a liberator by his delighted people. They quite overlooked the fact that he neglected to restore the ill-gotten funds, and soon used them in establishing a far more vigorous tyranny than his father would have dared. Much is forgiven a youthful king if he be but brave and jovial and hearty in his manner. His blunders, his excesses of fury, are put down to his inexperience. Nations are ever yearning for a hero-ruler.

In France a monarch of twenty years, Francis I, ascended the throne in 1515, five years older then than the century. Henry of England had descended from a family of simple Welsh gentlemen, far indeed at one time from the crown; Francis I was also of a new line of kings, only a distant cousin of the childless Louis XII, whom he succeeded. "That great boy of Angouleme will ruin all," groaned Louis on his death-bed. Ruin the prosperity of France, he meant, for Louis had been a good and thoughtful king, cherishing his land and enabling it to rise to the height of wealth and power, justified by its natural resources and the ingenuity of its people.

Francis, the "great boy," even more than his rival Henry, proved bent on being a hero. Like Maximilian of Germany, he sought to be known as the flower of knighthood. To win his ambition he also was possessed of youth and wealth, a gallant bearing, and a devoted people. He had intellect, too, and a love of art. He became the great patron of the later Renaissance. The famous artist Da Vinci died at his court, in his arms, legend says. Artists, literary men, flocked to his service. Paris became the intellectual centre of Europe. France snatched from Italy the supremacy of thought, of genius.

Alas for the fickleness of untried youth! Henry seemed to promise his country freedom and he gave it tyranny. Francis promised his people glory—that is, honor and splendor. In the end he brought them shame and suffering. Charles V of Germany, youngest of this mighty trio, seemed by his wisdom to promise his subjects at least protection; and his reign produced anarchy.

Charles, unlike his rivals, was almost born into power. His father died in the lad's babyhood; his mother went insane. His two grandfathers were the two mightiest potentates of Europe, Ferdinand the Wise of Spain, and Maximilian, head of the great Hapsburg house and Emperor of Germany. Neither had any nearer heir than little Charles. His father's position as ruler of the Netherlands was given him as a child, so that he was really a Fleming by education, a silent, thoughtful, secretive youth, far different from the jovial Henry or the brilliant Francis, but ambitious as either and more conscientious perhaps, a dangerous rival in the race for fame.

Ferdinand died in 1515, and Charles became King of Spain, with all that the title included of power over the Mediterranean and Southern Italy, and all the vast new world of America. Charles was then fifteen, just the age of the century, nine years younger than Henry, five years younger than Francis. Amid the tumult of the opening Reformation in 1519, the aged Maximilian also died, departed not unwillingly, one fancies, from an age whose intricacies had grown too many for his simple soul. The young King of Spain thus became lord of all the vast Hapsburg possessions of Austria, Bohemia, the Netherlands and so on.

He sought to be elected Emperor of Germany also, but here the matter was less easy. Already his rule extended over more of Europe than any sovereign had held since Charlemagne, and Europe took alarm. Henry and Francis both thrust in, each of them suggesting to the German electorial princes that he had claims of his own, and would make an emperor far more suitable than Charles. Henry polished up his German ancestry; Francis recalled that Germans and Frenchmen were both Franks, had been one mighty race under Charlemagne, and surely might become so once again—under his leadership, of course.

The matter was really decided by a fourth party. The Turks had once more become a serious menace to Europe. During the brief reign of Sultan Selim the Ferocious (1512-1520) they crushed Persia and conquered Syria and Egypt. They seized the caliph, spiritual ruler of the Mahometan faith, and declared themselves heads of the Mahometan world. Triumphant over Asia, they were turning upon Europe with renewed energy. Hungary was at its last expiring gasp. Selim's death in 1520 did not stop the invaders, for his son Solyman, a youth of twenty-five, soon proved himself a fourth giant, fitted to be ranked with the three young rulers of the West. He also was a seeker after glory. History calls him the "magnificent," and holds him greatest among the Turkish rulers. It was certainly under him that the Turks advanced farthest into Europe, if that is to be established as the chief measure of Mahometan greatness. In 1526 Solyman utterly crushed the Hungarians at Mohacs. In 1529 he besieged Vienna; and though he failed to capture the Hapsburg capital, yet at a still later period he exacted from the German Emperor Ferdinand a money tribute. His fleets swept the Mediterranean.

This increasing menace of the Turks was much considered by the German electors. At first they refused to add to the power of either of the three monarchs who so assiduously courted them. They chose instead the ablest of their own number, Frederick the Wise, Duke of Saxony. But Frederick proved his wisdom by refusing the task of steering Germany through the troublous seas ahead. He insisted on their electing some ruler strong enough to command obedience, and to gather all Europe against the Turks. So as Charles was after all a German, and of the Hapsburg race which had so long ruled them, they named him Emperor. He was Charles I of Spain, but Charles V of Germany. His rule extended over a wider realm than any monarch has since held.

This success of their younger rival was very differently received by Henry and by Francis. The English King accepted the rebuff good-naturedly; perhaps he had never felt any real hope of success. But Francis was enraged. It was the first check he had met in a career of spectacular success. He invited Henry to their celebrated meeting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold[2] to plan an alliance and revenge. Henry came, but the silent Charles had already managed to enlist his interests by quieter ways; while Francis, by his ostentation and splendor, offended the bluff Englishman. So Henry kept out of the quarrel; but to Charles and Francis it became the main business of their lives. Their reigns thereafter are the story of one long strife between them, rising to such bitterness that at one time they passed the lie and challenged each other to personal combat, over which there was much bustling and bluster, but no result.

To get a full view of this Europe of young men, that beheld the Reformation, we must note one other ruler farther north. Ever since the union of Colmar in 1397, Sweden had been more or less bound to Denmark, the strongest of the northern kingdoms. By the year 1520 the Danish monarch Christian had reduced the Swedes to a state of most cruel vassalage and misery. Only one young noble, Gustavus Vasa, a lad of twenty-three, still held out, and by adventures wild as those of Robin Hood evaded his enemies and at last roused his countrymen to one more revolt. It was successful, and in 1523 Gustavus, by the unanimous election of the Swedes, became the first of a new line of monarchs.[3] He proved as able as a king as he had been daring as an adventurer, and his long reign laid the foundation of Sweden's greatness in the following century. He early accepted the reformed religion, and thus it spread through the Far North almost without a check.


The Reformation began in Germany in 1517, when the Saxon monk Luther—himself then only thirty-four years a sojourner upon our planet—protested against the Church's sale of indulgences. He was not alone in his protest, but only stood forth as the mouthpiece of many earnest men. His prince, that Frederick the Wise who afterward refused to be emperor, upheld him. Maximilian, dying in the early days of the dispute, had kind words of regard for the hero-monk. Even the Pope, Leo X, treated the matter amicably at first. He also was still in early life, having been made pope at thirty-six, an age quite as juvenile for the leadership of the spiritual world as that of the various temporal monarchs for theirs. Leo, being a member of the famous Medici family, was apparently more interested in art than in religion. He wanted to rebuild the gorgeous cathedral of St. Peter, and he did not want to quarrel with Germany. So also Charles V, desiring to be emperor, could scarce antagonize Frederick of Saxony, who could and did secure him his ambition.

Thus in its earliest days Luther's revolt was handled very gently, and it spread with speed. Then Charles, secure upon his throne and gravely Catholic, resolved on firmer methods of stamping out the heresy. He summoned Luther to that famous interview at Worms (1521), where the reformer, threatened with outlawry and all the terror of the empire's power, refused to unsay his preaching, crying out in agony: "Here I stand! I can no other! God help me! Amen!"

Charles in his shrewd, silent way saw that the matter was not to be settled so easily as he had hoped. Already half Germany was on Luther's side. Several leading nobles accompanied him as he left the Emperor's presence. Charles wanted their help against the Turks. So there was more temporizing. Then came war with Francis no tune this for quarrelling with obstinate Teutonic princes and their obstinate protege.

The peasants of Germany did Luther's cause more harm than Charles had done. These ignorant and bitterly oppressed unfortunates, constituting everywhere, remember, the vast majority of the human race, heard impassioned preachings of reform, revolt. To them Rome seemed not the oppressor, but their immediate lords; and, thinking they were obeying Luther's behest, they rose in arms. Some of the more violent reformers joined them. Luther preached against the uprising, but it was not to be checked. Terrible were the excesses of the mobs of brutal peasantry, and all the upper classes of the land were forced in self-defence to turn against them and crush them. Many a noble who had once thought well of the reform, abandoned it in fear and horror at its consequences.[4]

Meanwhile the war with France became more serious. The claims of both Charles and Francis to Italian lands made that unlucky country the theatre of their battles. Francis, with his compact domain and readily gathered resources, proved at first more than a match for the scattered forces and insecure authority of the Emperor. Never had the French monarch's fame stood higher than when in 1525, with an army made confident by repeated victories, he besieged Pavia. The city was the last important stronghold of Charles in Italy; it was reduced almost to surrender.

Then came a fatal blunder. Francis confused the old ways with the new. The German generals had been hopeless of raising the siege, the imperial armies were on the point of disbanding, but as a last resort their leaders advanced and defied the enemy to fight on equal terms. Instead of laughing at the proposal as any modern leader would, Francis, in face of the protest of all his generals, accepted and in true chivalrous fashion fought the wholly unnecessary battle of Pavia. His forces were completely defeated, he himself made prisoner. "All is lost," he wrote home to France, "but honor." Even that too was lost, had he but known. Charles, unchivalrous, determined to make the most of his good-luck, and, for the release of his royal prisoner, demanded such terms as would make France little more than a subject state.[5]

King Francis refused, threatened heroic suicide to save his country; but he wearied of captivity at last and descended to his rival's level. It was the tragic turning-point of the French monarch's life, the not wholly untragic turning-point of larger destinies, ancient chivalry being admitted unsuccessful and wholly out of date. The two monarchs dickered over the terms of release. Charles abated somewhat of his demands, and Francis was made free, having sworn to a treaty which he never meant to keep. He repudiated it on various pleas, and having thus sacrificed honor to regain something of all it had lost him, recommenced the strife with Charles on more equal terms.

The Pope, not the Leo of earlier years, but Clement VII, another Medici, absolved Francis from his treaty oath. This benevolence can scarce be ascribed to religious grounds, for Charles was assuredly a better Catholic than Francis. But as a temporal ruler Clement feared to have in Italy a neighbor so powerful and unchecked as the Emperor was becoming. Charles had his revenge. A German army of "Lutheran heretics" marched into Italy swearing to hang the Pope to the dome of St. Peter's. They stormed Rome, sacked it with such cruelty as rivalled the barbarian plunderings of over a thousand years before; and if they did not hang Clement, it was only because his castle of St. Angelo proved too strong for their assaults. The marvellous art treasures which had been slowly garnered in Rome since the days of Nicholas V, were almost wholly destroyed.[6] Charles hastened to disclaim responsibility for this direct assault upon the head of his Church; but he did not relinquish any of the advantages it gave. He and the Pope arranged an alliance and the Imperial army turned from Rome against Florence, where Pope Clement's family, the Medici, had recently been expelled as rulers. The siege and capture of Florence (1529) mark almost the last fluttering of real independence in Italy. From that time the country remained in the grasp of the Hapsburgs or their heirs and allies. Petty tyrants, minions of Austria or Spain, ruled over the various cities. Their intellectual supremacy passed over to France. Only within the last half-century has a brighter day redawned for Italy, has she ceased to be what she was so long called, "the battle-ground" of other nations.

Meanwhile since neither Pope nor Emperor had found time to offer any vigorous opposition to the German Reformation, it had grown unchecked. In its inception it had unquestionably been a pure and noble movement: but as the "protesting" princes moved further in the matter, it dawned on them that the suppression of the Roman Church meant the suppression of all the bishoprics and abbeys, to which at least half the lands of the empire belonged. Such an opportunity for plunder, and such easy plunder, had never been before. Luther and the other preachers urged that the church property should be used to erect schools and support Protestant divines; but only a small fraction of it was ever surrendered by the princes for these purposes. The Reformation had ceased to be a purely religious movement.

In no country was this new aspect of the revolt so marked as in England. There Henry VIII had grown ever more secure in his power by holding aloof from the jangling that weakened Charles and Francis. He had sunk into a tyrant and a voluptuary. Yet England herself, profiting by almost half a century of peace, was progressing rapidly in culture. She was no longer behind her neighbors. The Renaissance movement can scarce be said to have begun in England before 1500, yet by 1516 her famous chancellor, Sir Thomas More, was writing histories and philosophies. In 1522 the King himself sighed for literary fame and gave opportunity for many future satirists by writing a Latin book against the Lutherans. The Pope conferred upon his royal champion a title, "Defender of the Faith."

As Henry, however, devoted himself more and more to pleasure, the real power in England passed into the hands of his great minister Cardinal Wolsey, who had risen from humble station to be for a time the most influential man in Europe.[7] He even aspired to be pope, with what seemed assured chances of success. But destiny willed otherwise. Henry chanced to fall in love with a lady who insisted on his marrying her. To do this he had to secure from the Pope a divorce from his former Queen, who chanced to be an aunt of the Emperor Charles. What was poor Pope Clement to do? Offend Charles who was just helping him crush the Florentines, or refuse his "Defender of the Faith"? Real reason for the divorce there was none. Clement temporized: and Wolsey with one eye on his own future, helped him.

The result was tempestuous. Wolsey was hurried to his tragic downfall. Henry took matters in his own hands and had his own English bishops divorce him. England joined the ranks of the nations denying the authority of Rome. Sir Thomas More and other nobles who refused to follow Henry's bidding were beheaded. Thomas Cromwell, a new minister, abler perhaps than even Wolsey, and risen from a yet lower sphere of life, directed England's counsel. By one act after another the break with Rome was made complete. A thousand monasteries were suppressed and their wealth added to the crown. Cromwell earned his name, "the hammer of the monks." In 1534 was passed the final "Act of Supremacy," declaring that the King of England and he alone was head of the English Church.[8]

In France, too, was heresy beginning to appear. The young scholar, Jean Calvin, wrote so vigorously against Rome that he was driven to flee from Paris, though King Francis was himself suspected of favoring the free thought of the reformers. Calvin, after many vicissitudes, settled in Geneva and built up there a religious republic, that became intolerant on its own account, and burned heretics who departed from its heresy. But at least Geneva was in earnest. Calvinism spread fast over France; it began crowding Lutheranism from parts of Germany. Geneva became the "Protestant Rome," the centre of the opposition from which ministers went forth to preach the faith.[9]

Science also began to raise its head against the ancient Church. The Polish astronomer Copernicus had long since conceived his idea that the earth was not the centre of the universe. He even pointed out the proofs of his theory to a few brother-scientists; but the Church taught otherwise, so Copernicus kept silent till, on his death-bed, he let his doctrines be published in a book. Then he passed away, bequeathing to posterity the wonderful foundation upon which modern science has so built as to make impossible many of the over-literal teachings of the mediaeval Church.[10]


Nothing but a miracle, it seemed, could save the falling cause of Rome, and there have been men to assert that a miracle occurred. The order of the Jesuits was founded in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola.[11] His followers with intense fanaticism and self-abnegation devoted themselves absolutely to upholding the ancient faith, to trampling out heresy wherever it appeared. They sent out missionaries too, to the New World, to Asia, Africa, and even distant Japan. As Catholicism lost ground in Europe it extended over other continents.[12]

Partly at least under Jesuit influence began the great "Counter-reformation," as it is called, the reform within the Church itself. Even the most faithful Catholics had admitted the need of this. Charles V had long urged the calling of a general council, and one finally assembled in 1545 at Trent. It even tried to win the Lutherans back peaceably into the fold, and, though this hope was soon abandoned, a very marked reform was established within the Church. This Council of Trent held sessions extending over nearly twenty years, and when its labors were completed the entire body of laws and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church were fully established and defined.[13]

The refusal of the Protestants to join the Council of Trent brought matters to a crisis. It placed them definitely outside the pale of the Church, and Charles V could no longer find excuse in his not over-troublous conscience, to avoid taking measures against them. They themselves realized this, and formed a league for mutual support, the Smalkald League; but it was never very harmonious. Thought, made suddenly free, could not be expected to run all in the same channel. The Protestants had divided into Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, and a dozen minor sects, some of which opposed one another more bitterly than they did the Catholics. Toleration was as yet a thing unknown.[14]

The state of affairs was thus one peculiarly fitted for the genius of Charles, who managed so to divide the members of the league that only one of them, the Elector of Saxony, successor to Frederick the Wise, met the Emperor's forces in battle. He was easily overthrown. The league dissolved, and Charles, supported by his Spanish forces, was undisputed master of Germany. He used his power mildly, insisting indeed on the Protestants returning to the Church, but promising them many of the reforms they demanded.

This was the moment of Charles' greatest power (1547). His ancient rivals Henry and Francis both died in this year, the one sunk in sensual sloth, the other in shame and gloom and savage cruelty. In his hatred of Charles, Francis had even in his latter years allied himself with Solyman the Magnificent, and encouraged the Turks in their assault on Germany. Henry's crown fell to a child, Edward VI; that of Francis, to his son, another Henry, the second of France, a young man apparently immersed in sports and pleasures. The Turks had been defeated by Charles' fleets in the Mediterranean. The Council of Trent, at first refractory, seemed yielding to his wishes. Spain, where at one time he had faced a violent revolt against his absolutism, was now wholly submissive. Germany seemed equally overcome. The Emperor was at the summit of his ambitions. Europe lay at his feet.

In 1552, with the suddenness of an earthquake, the Protestant princes of Germany burst into a carefully planned revolt.[15] Maurice, another member of the Saxon house, was their leader. Charles, caught unprepared, had to flee from Germany, crossing the Alps in a litter, while he groaned with gout. Henry of France, in alliance with the rebels, proclaimed himself "Defender of the Liberties of Germany," and invading the land, began seizing what cities and strong places he could. The princes, amazed at their own complete success, sent Henry word that their liberties were now fully secured, and he might desist. But he concluded to keep what he had won. So began the series of aggressions by which France gradually advanced her frontier to the Rhine.

Charles returned with an army the next year, and made peace with his Germans, that he might turn all his fury against Henry, who had thus assumed his father's unforgotten quarrel. A mighty German army laid siege to Henry's most valuable bit of spoils, the strong city of Metz. But the young French nobles, under Francis, Duke of Guise, a new, great general who had risen to the help of France, threw themselves gallantly into the fortress for its defence. Cold, hunger, and pestilence wasted the imperial troops until—one can scarce say they raised the siege, they disappeared, those who did not die had slunk away in fear before the grisly death. Charles accepted his fate with bitter calm, commenting that he saw Fortune was indeed a woman, she deserted an aged emperor for a young king.

The Emperor's life had failed. He had not the heart to begin his plots again. In 1555 he consented to the Peace of Augsburg,[16] which granted complete liberty of faith to the German princes, and so ended the first period of the Reformation. Religion, in this celebrated treaty, was still regarded as a matter in which only monarchs were to be considered. By a peculiar obliquity of vision, the princes denied to their subjects the very thing they demanded for themselves. Each ruler was allowed to establish what creed he chose within his own domains, and then to compel his subjects to accept it.

The following year (1556) Charles with solemn ceremony resigned all his kingdoms—Austria and the Empire to his brother, Spain to his son the celebrated Philip II. Charles himself retired to a Spanish monastery, where two years later he died. He had found life a vanity, indeed.


Of the world of Asia during this time it scarce seems necessary to speak. The Tartars or Mongols, driven back from the borders of the Turkish empire, invaded India and there founded the Mongol or Mogul empire which Akbar pushed to its greatest extent.[17] These Moguls remained emperors of India until its conquest by the English, over two centuries later. Even to our own days their title has come down as a symbol of power, "the Great Mogul."

Portuguese adventurers continued and expanded the trade with Asia, which Vasco da Gama had opened. The Spaniards also sought a share in it, and Jesuit missionaries preached the Christian faith. Magellan, a Portuguese but sailing in the service of Spain, was the first to fulfil the vision of Columbus and find the Indies by sailing westward.[18] He crossed the entire Atlantic and Pacific oceans, discovered the Philippine Islands, and was slain there by the natives. One of his ships completed the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Look also to Spain's achievements in America, a new continent, but one already vastly important because of the broad empires Spaniards were winning there, the enormous wealth that was beginning to pour into the mother-country. Settlement had begun immediately on the discovery. Rich mines were opened and the Indians forced to work in them as slaves. As the unhappy aborigines perished by thousands under the unaccustomed toil, negroes were brought from Africa to supply their places, were driven like wild beasts to the labor.[19] The New World became more like a hell than like the paradise for which Isabella and Columbus planned. Cortes conquered Mexico,[20] rich with gold beyond all that Europe had even dreamed. Pizarro found in Peru[21] a civilization whose remarkable advance we are only lately beginning to realize. And he annihilated it—for gold. Lima was founded, and Buenos Aires, to be twice destroyed by Indians and yet become the metropolis of South America.[22] Even here extended the rivalry of the great European monarchs, Charles and Francis. Cartier, in the service of the latter, refused to acknowledge the claims of Spain to America, and exploring the St. Lawrence planned for France a colonial empire to match that of her enemy.[23] De Leon discovered Florida, and died while seeking there to emulate the successes of Cortes. De Soto discovered the Mississippi[24] and he also perished, lured on in the same knight-errant search for another golden empire to conquer. Who, having read the lives of such adventurers as these, shall ridicule the wildest extravagance in all the romances of chivalry? Wonderland grew real around these men. They achieved impossibilities. The maddest imaginings of the poets, the most fantastic tales of knightly wanderings and successes, seem slight beside the exploits of these daring, dauntless, heartless cavaliers of Spain.



[1] See Luther Begins the Reformation in Germany, page 1.

[2] See The Field of the Cloth of Gold, page 59.

[3] See Liberation of Sweden, page 79.

[4] See The Peasants' War in Germany, page 93.

[5] See France Loses Italy, page 111.

[6] See Sack of Rome by the Imperial Troops, page 124.

[7] See Great Religious Movement in England, page 137.

[8] See England Breaks with the Roman Church, page 203.

[9] See Calvin is Driven from Paris, page 176.

[10] See Revolution of Astronomy by Copernicus, page 285.

[11] See Founding of the Jesuits, page 261.

[12] See Introduction of Christianity into Japan, page 325.

[13] See Council of Trent, page 293.

[14] See Protestant Struggle against Charles V, page 313.

[15] See Collapse of the Power of Charles V, page 337.

[16] See The Religious Peace of Augsburg, page 348.

[17] See Akbar Establishes the Mogul Empire in India, page 366.

[18] See First Circumnavigation of the Globe, page 41.

[19] See Negro Slavery in America, page 36.

[20] See Cortes Captures the City of Mexico, page 72.

[21] See Pizarro Conquers Peru, page 156.

[22] See Mendoza Settles Buenos Aires, page 254.

[23] See Cartier Explores Canada, page 236.

[24] See De Soto Discovers the Mississippi, page 277.


A.D. 1517


It has seldom happened that the story of one man was essentially the history of a great movement and of an epoch in human progress. In the case of Luther, a large part of the world regards his name as a historic epitome. The monk whose "words were half-battles," and whom Carlyle chose for his hero-priest, was chief among the reformers, and in the general view stands for the Reformation itself.

But recognition of Luther's dominating position and representative character should not leave us blind to other factors in the religious revolution which was also an evolution, the achievement not of one man, but of advancing generations with many leaders. Luther had great helpers in his own time and great successors. He also had great predecessors. The Reformation was the religious development of the Renaissance; it had been heralded by Wycliffe, Huss, and Savonarola, and there were many minor prophets of a reformed church before the great German was born.

Luther's Reformation was a revolt against the power and abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. It was directed against certain doctrines as well as certain practices, and especially against evils in the spiritual and temporal government of the Church.

All the reformers aimed at freeing themselves from oppressive rule at Rome, and endeavored to establish a purer faith. The appeal to private judgment as against unquestioning belief was a natural result of the revival of learning as well as of spiritual quickening.

Before Luther's time, however, such revolts against church authority had been quickly suppressed. It is also true that many abuses had been done away by reformation within the Church itself; and that, indeed, was what Luther at first intended. His movement became "too powerful to be put down, and its leaders soon passed beyond the point at which they were willing to reform the Church from within. Finding that the Church would not respond as quickly and as fully to their demands as they wished, they left the Church and attacked it from without." In Germany the administration of the Church had long caused discontent. Through Martin Luther this feeling found powerful utterance, and in him the demand for reforms became irresistibly urgent.

Luther, the son of a poor miner, was born at Eisleben, Saxony, November 10, 1483. He became an Augustinian monk, in 1507 was consecrated a priest, and the next year was made professor of philosophy in the University of Wittenberg. In 1511 he visited Rome, and on his return to Wittenberg was made doctor of theology. He had already become known through the power and independence of his preaching. Although he went to Rome "an insane papist," as he said, and while he was still intensely devoted to the Church and its leaders, he made known his belief in what became the fundamental doctrines of Protestantism, exclusive authority of the Bible—implying the right of private judgment—and justification by faith.

The immediate occasion of Luther's first great protest was the sale of indulgences by the Dominican monk John Tetzel. From early times the church authorities had granted indulgences or remissions of penances imposed on persons guilty of mortal sins, the condition being true penitence. At length the Church began to accept money, not in lieu of penitence, but of the customary penances which usually accompanied it. Before 1517 Luther had given warnings against the abuse of indulgences, without blaming the administration of the Church. But when in that year Tetzel approached the borders of Saxony selling indulgences in the name of the Pope, Leo X, who wanted money for the building of St. Peter's Church in Rome, Luther, with many of the better minds of Germany, was greatly offended by the vender's methods. Against the course of Tetzel Luther took a firm stand, and when the reformer posted his theses (summarized by Koestlin) on the church door at Wittenberg the first great movement of the Reformation in the sixteenth century was inaugurated.

In accordance with the impartial plan of the present work regarding the treatment of controverted matters, it is here sought to satisfy the historic sense, which includes the sense of justice, by giving a presentation of each view of the story—the Protestant by Koestlin, the Catholic by Jean M. V. Audin, whose Life of Luther has been called the "tribunal" before which the great reformer must be summoned for his answer.


Luther longed now to make known to theologians and ecclesiastics generally his thoughts about indulgences, his own principles, his own opinions and doubts, to excite public discussion on the subject, and to awake and maintain the fray. This he did by the ninety-five Latin theses or propositions which he posted on the doors of the Castle Church at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, the eve of All Saints' Day and of the anniversary of the consecration of the church.

These theses were intended as a challenge for disputation. Such public disputations were then very common at the universities and among theologians, and they were meant to serve as means not only of exercising learned thought, but of elucidating the truth. Luther headed his theses as follows:

"Disputation to Explain the Virtue of Indulgences.—In charity, and in the endeavor to bring the truth to light, a disputation on the following propositions will be held at Wittenberg, presided over by the Reverend Father Martin Luther. Those who are unable to attend personally may discuss the question with us by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

It was in accordance with the general custom of that time that, on the occasion of a high festival, particular acts and announcements, and likewise disputations at a university, were arranged, and the doors of a collegiate church were used for posting such notices.

The contents of these theses show that their author really had such a disputation in view. He was resolved to defend with all his might certain fundamental truths to which he firmly adhered. Some points he considered still within the region of dispute; it was his wish and object to make these clear to himself by arguing about them with others.

Recognizing the connection between the system of indulgences and the view of penance entertained by the Church, he starts with considering the nature of true Christian repentance; but he would have this understood in the sense and spirit taught by Christ and the Scriptures. He begins with the thesis: "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when he says repent, desires that the whole life of the believer should be one of repentance." He means, as the subsequent theses express it, that true inward repentance, that sorrow for sin and hatred of one's own sinful self, from which must proceed good works and mortification of the sinful flesh. The pope could only remit his sin to the penitent so far as to declare that God had forgiven it.

Thus then the theses expressly declare that God forgives no man his sin without making him submit himself in humility to the priest who represents him, and that he recognizes the punishments enjoined by the Church in her outward sacrament of penance. But Luther's leading principles are consistently opposed to the customary announcements of indulgences by the Church. The pope, he holds, can only grant indulgences for what the pope and the law of the Church have imposed; nay, the pope himself means absolution from these obligations only, when he promises absolution from all punishment. And it is only the living against whom those punishments are directed which the Church's discipline of penance enjoins; nothing, according to her own laws, can be imposed upon those in another world.

Further on Luther declares: "When true repentance is awakened in a man, full absolution from punishment and sin comes to him without any letters of indulgence." At the same time he says that such a man would willingly undergo self-imposed chastisement, nay, he would even seek and love it.

Still, it is not the indulgences themselves, if understood in the right sense, that he wishes to be attacked, but the loose babble of those who sold them. Blessed, he says, be he who protests against this, but cursed be he who speaks against the truth of apostolic indulgences. He finds it difficult, however, to praise these to the people, and at the same time to teach them the true repentance of the heart. He would have them even taught that a Christian would do better by giving money to the poor than by spending it in buying indulgences, and that he who allows a poor man near him to starve draws down on himself, not indulgences, but the wrath of God. In sharp and scornful language he denounces the iniquitous trader in indulgences, and gives the Pope credit for the same abhorrence for the traffic that he felt himself. Christians must be told, he says, that, if the Pope only knew of it, he would rather see St. Peter's Church in ashes than have it built with the flesh and bones of his sheep.

Agreeably with what the preceding theses had said about the true penitent's earnestness and willingness to suffer, and the temptation offered to a mere carnal sense of security, Luther concludes as follows: "Away therefore with all those prophets who say to Christ's people 'Peace, peace!' when there is no peace, but welcome to all those who bid them seek the Cross of Christ, not the cross which bears the papal arms. Christians must be admonished to follow Christ their Master through torture, death, and hell, and thus through much tribulation, rather than, by a carnal feeling of false security, hope to enter the kingdom of heaven."

The Catholics objected to this doctrine of salvation advanced by Luther that, by trusting to God's free mercy, and by undervaluing good works, it led to moral indolence. But, on the contrary, it was to the very unbending moral earnestness of a Christian conscience, which, indignant at the temptations offered to moral frivolity, to a deceitful feeling of ease in respect to sin and guilt, and to a contempt of the fruits of true morality, rebelled against the false value attached to this indulgence money, that these theses, the germ, so to speak, of the Reformation, owed their origin and prosecution. With the same earnestness he now for the first time publicly attacked the ecclesiastical power of the papacy, in so far namely as, in his conviction, it invaded the territory reserved to himself by the heavenly Lord and Judge. This was what the Pope and his theologians and ecclesiastics could least of all endure.

On the same day that these theses were published, Luther sent a copy of them with a letter to the archbishop Albert, his "revered and gracious lord and shepherd in Christ." After a humble introduction, he begged him most earnestly to prevent the scandalizing and iniquitous harangues with which his agents hawked about their indulgences, and reminded him that he would have to give an account of the souls intrusted to his episcopal care.

The next day he addressed himself to the people from the pulpit in a sermon he had to preach on the festival of All Saints. After exhorting them to seek their salvation in God and Christ alone, and to let the consecration by the Church become a real consecration of the heart, he went on to tell them plainly, with regard to indulgences, that he could only absolve from duties imposed by the Church, and that they dare not rely on him for more, nor delay on his account the duties of true repentance.

Theologians before Luther, and with far more acuteness and penetration than he showed in his theses, had already assailed the whole system of indulgences. And, in regard to any idea on Luther's part of the effects of his theses extending widely in Germany, it may be noticed that not only were they composed in Latin, but that they dealt largely with scholastic expressions and ideas, which a layman would find it difficult to understand.

Nevertheless the theses created a sensation which far surpassed Luther's expectations. In fourteen days, as he tells us, they ran through the whole of Germany, and were immediately translated and circulated in German. They found, indeed, the soil already prepared for them, through the indignation long since and generally aroused by the shameless doings they attacked; though till then nobody, as Luther expresses it, had liked to bell the cat, nobody had dared to expose himself to the blasphemous clamor of the indulgence-mongers and the monks who were in league with them, still less to the threatened charge of heresy. On the other hand, the very impunity with which this traffic in indulgences had been maintained throughout German Christendom had served to increase from day to day the audacity of its promoters.

The task that Luther had now undertaken lay heavy upon his soul. He was sincerely anxious, while fighting for the truth, to remain at peace with his Church, and to serve her by the struggle. Pope Leo, on the contrary, as was consistent with his whole character, treated the matter at first very lightly, and, when it threatened to become dangerous, thought only how, by means of his papal power, to make the restless German monk harmless.

Two expressions of his in these early days of the contest are recorded. "Brother Martin," he said, "is a man of a very fine genius, and this outbreak the mere squabble of envious monks;" and again, "It is a drunken German who has written the theses; he will think differently about them when sober." Three months after the theses had appeared, he ordered the vicar-general of the Augustinians to "quiet down the man," hoping still to extinguish easily the flame. The next step was to institute a tribunal for heretics at Rome for Luther's trial; what its judgment would be was patent from the fact that the single theologian of learning among the judges was Sylvester Prierias. Before this tribunal Luther was cited on August 7th; within sixty days he was to appear there at Rome. Friend and foe could well feel certain that they would look in vain for his return.

Papal influence, meanwhile, had been brought to bear on the elector Frederick[25] to induce him not to take the part of Luther, and the chief agent chosen for working on the Elector and the emperor Maximilian was the papal legate, Cardinal Thomas Vio of Gaeta, called Cajetan, who had made his appearance in Germany. The University of Wittenberg, on the other hand, interposed on behalf of their member, whose theology was popular there, and whose biblical lectures attracted crowds of enthusiastic hearers. He had just been joined at Wittenberg by his fellow-professor Philip Melanchthon, then only twenty-one years old, but already in the first rank of Greek scholars, and the bond of friendship was now formed which lasted through their lives. The university claimed that Luther should at least be tried in Germany. Luther expressed the same wish through Spalatin[26] to his sovereign.

The Pope meanwhile had passed from his previous state of haughty complacency to one of violent haste. Already, on August 23d, thus long before the sixty days had expired, he demanded the Elector to deliver up this "child of the devil," who boasted of his protection, to the legate, to bring away with him. This is clearly shown by two private briefs from the Pope, of August 23d and 25th, the one addressed to the legate, the other to the head of all the Augustinian convents in Saxony, as distinguished from the vicar of those congregations, Staupitz, who already was looked on with suspicion at Rome. These briefs instructed both men to hasten the arrest of the heretic; his adherents were to be secured with him, and every place where he was tolerated laid under the interdict.

In the summer of 1518 a diet was held at Augsburg at which the papal legate attended. The Pope was anxious to obtain its consent to the imposition of a heavy tax throughout the empire, to be applied ostensibly for the war against the Turks, but alleged to be wanted in reality for entirely other objects. The demand for a tax, however, was received with the utmost disfavor both by the diet and the empire; and a long-cherished bitterness of feeling now found expression. An anonymous pamphlet was circulated, from the pen of one Fischer, a prebendary of Wuerzburg, which bluntly declared that the avaricious lords of Rome only wished to cheat the "drunken Germans," and that the real Turks were to be looked for in Italy. This pamphlet reached Wittenberg and fell into the hands of Luther, whom now for the first time we hear denouncing "Roman cunning," though he only charged the Pope himself with allowing his grasping Florentine relations to deceive him.

The diet seized the opportunity offered by this demand for a tax, to bring up a whole list of old grievances; the large sums drawn from German benefices by the Pope under the name of annates, or extorted under other pretexts; the illegal usurpation of ecclesiastical patronage in Germany; the constant infringement of concordats, and so on. The demand itself was refused; and in addition to this, an address was presented to the diet from the bishop and clergy of Liege, inveighing against the lying, thieving, avaricious conduct of the Romish minions, in such sharp and violent tones that Luther, on reading it afterward when printed, thought it only a hoax, and not really an episcopal remonstrance.

This was reason enough why Cajetan, to avoid increasing the excitement, should not attempt to lay hands on the Wittenberg opponent of indulgences. The elector Frederick, from whose hands Cajetan would have to demand Luther, was one of the most powerful and personally respected princes of the empire, and his influence was especially important in view of the election of a new emperor. This Prince went now in person to Cajetan on Luther's behalf, and Cajetan promised him, at the very time that the brief was on its way to him from Rome, that he would hear Luther at Augsburg, treat him with fatherly kindness, and let him depart in safety.

Luther accordingly was sent to Augsburg. It was an anxious time for himself and his friends when he had to leave for that distant place, where the Elector, with all his care, could not employ any physical means for his protection, and to stand accused as a heretic before that papal legate who, from his own theological principles, was bound to condemn him. "My thoughts on the way," said Luther afterward, "were now I must die; and I often lamented the disgrace I should be to my dear parents."

He went thither in humble garb and manner. He made his way on foot till within a short distance of Augsburg, when illness and weakness overcame him, and he was forced to proceed by carriage. Another younger monk of Wittenberg accompanied him, his pupil Leonard Baier. At Nuremberg he was joined by his friend Link, who held an appointment there as preacher. From him he borrowed a monk's frock, his own being too bad for Augsburg. He arrived here on October 7th.

The surroundings he now entered, and the proceedings impending over him, were wholly novel and unaccustomed. But he met with men who received him with kindness and consideration; several of them were gentlemen of Augsburg favorable to him, especially the respected patrician, Dr. Conrad Peutinger, and two counsellors of the Elector. They advised him to behave with prudence, and to observe carefully all the necessary forms to which as yet he was a stranger.

Luther at once announced his arrival to Cajetan, who was anxious to receive him without delay. His friends, however, kept him back until they had obtained a written safe-conduct from the Emperor, who was then hunting in the environs. In the mean time a distinguished friend of Cajetan, one Urbanus of Serralonga, tried to persuade him, in a flippant and, as Luther thought, a downright Italian manner, to come forward and simply pronounce six letters—"Revoco" ("I retract"). Urbanus asked him with a smile if he thought his sovereign would risk his country for his sake. "God forbid!" answered Luther. "Where then do you mean to take refuge?" he went on to ask him. "Under heaven," was Luther's reply.

On October 11th Luther received the letter of safe-conduct, and the next day he appeared before Cajetan. Humbly, as he had been advised, he prostrated himself before the representative of the Pope, who received him graciously and bade him rise.

The Cardinal addressed him civilly and with a courtesy Luther was not accustomed to meet with from his opponents; but he immediately demanded him, in the name and by command of the Pope, to retract his errors, and promise in future to abstain from them and from everything that might disturb the peace of the Church. He pointed out, in particular, two errors in his theses; namely, that the Church's treasure of indulgences did not consist of the merits of Christ, and that faith on the part of the recipient was necessary for the efficacy of the sacrament. With respect to the second point, the religious principles upon which Luther based his doctrine were altogether strange and unintelligible to the scholastic standpoint of Cajetan; mere tittering and laughter followed Luther's observations, and he was required to retract this thesis unconditionally. The first point settled the question of papal authority. The Cardinal-legate could not believe that Luther would venture to resist a papal bull, and thought he had probably not read it. He read him a vigorous lecture of his own on the paramount authority of the pope over council, Church, and Scripture. As to any argument, however, about the theses to be retracted, Cajetan refused from the first to engage in it, and undoubtedly he went further in that direction than he originally desired or intended. His sole wish was, as he said, to give fatherly correction, and with fatherly friendliness to arrange the matter. But in reality, says Luther, it was a blunt, naked, unyielding display of power. Luther could only beg from him further time for consideration.

Luther's friends at Augsburg, and Staupitz, who had just arrived there, now attempted to divert the course of these proceedings, to collect other decisions of importance bearing on the subject, and to give him the opportunity of a public vindication. Accompanied therefore by several jurists friendly to his cause, and by a notary and Staupitz, he laid before the legate next day a short and formal statement of defence. He could not retract unless convicted of error, and to all that he had said he must hold as being Catholic truth. Nevertheless he was only human, and therefore fallible, and he was willing to submit to a legitimate decision of the Church. He offered, at the same time, publicly to justify his theses, and he was ready to hear the judgment of the learned doctors of Basel, Freiburg, Louvain, and even Paris upon them. Cajetan with a smile dismissed Luther and his proposals, but consented to receive a more detailed reply in writing to the principal points discussed the previous day.

On the morrow, October 14th, Luther brought his reply to the legate. But in this document also he insisted clearly and resolutely from the commencement on those very principles which his opponents regarded as destructive of all ecclesiastical authority and of the foundations of Christian belief. Still he entreated Cajetan to intercede with Leo X, that the latter might not harshly thrust out into darkness his soul, which was seeking for the light. But he repeated that he could do nothing against his conscience: one must obey God rather than man, and he had the fullest confidence that he had Scripture on his side. Cajetan, to whom he delivered this reply in person, once more tried to persuade him. They fell into a lively and vehement argument; but Cajetan cut it short with the exclamation, "Revoke." In the event of Luther not revoking or submitting to judgment at Rome, he threatened him and all his friends with excommunication, and whatever place he might go to with an interdict; he had a mandate from the Pope to that effect already in his hands. He then dismissed him with the words, "Revoke, or do not come again into my presence." Nevertheless he spoke in quite a friendly manner after this to Staupitz, urging him to try his best to convert Luther, whom he wished well. Luther, however, wrote the same day to his friend Spalatin, who was with the Elector, and to his friends at Wittenberg, telling them he had refused to yield. Luther added further that an appeal would be drawn up for him in the form best fitted to the occasion. He further hinted to his Wittenberg friends at the possibility of his having to go elsewhere in exile; indeed, his friends already thought of taking him to Paris, where the university still rejected the doctrine of papal absolutism. He concluded this letter by saying that he refused to become a heretic by denying that which had made him a Christian; sooner than do that, he would be burned, exiled, or cursed. The appeal, of which Luther here spoke, was "from the Pope ill-informed to the same when better informed." On October 16th he submitted it, formally prepared, to a public notary.

Luther even addressed, on October 17th, a letter to Cajetan, conceding to him the utmost he thought possible. Moved, as he said, by the persuasions of his dear father Staupitz and his brother Link, he offered to let the whole question of indulgences rest, if only that which drove him to this tragedy were put a stop to; he confessed also to having been too violent and disrespectful in dispute. In after-years he said to his friends, when referring to this concession, that God had never allowed him to sink deeper than when he had yielded so much. The next day, however, he gave notice of his appeal to the legate, and told him he did not wish longer to waste his time in Augsburg. To this letter he received no answer.

Luther waited, however, till the 20th. He and his Augsburg patrons began to suspect whether measures had not already been taken to detain him. They therefore had a small gate in the city wall opened in the night, and sent with him an escort well acquainted with the road. Thus he hastened away, as he himself described it, on a hard-trotting hack, in a simple monk's frock, with only knee-breeches, without boots or spurs, and unarmed. On the first day he rode eight miles, as far as the little town of Monheim. As he entered in the evening an inn and dismounted in the stable, he was unable to stand from fatigue and fell down instantly among the straw. He travelled thus on horseback to Wittenberg, where he arrived, well and joyful, on the anniversary of his ninety-five theses. He had heard on the way of the Pope's brief to Cajetan, but he refused to think it could be genuine. His appeal, meanwhile, was delivered to the Cardinal at Augsburg, who had it posted by his notary on the doors of the cathedral.

Without waiting for an answer direct from Rome, Luther now abandoned all thoughts of success with Leo X. On November 28th he formally and solemnly appealed from the Pope to a general Christian council. By so doing he anticipated the sentence of excommunication which he was daily expecting. With Rome he had broken forever, unless she were to surrender her claims and acquisitions of more than a thousand years.

After once the first restraints of awe were removed with which Luther had regarded the papacy, behind and beyond the matter of the indulgences, and he had learned to know the papal representative at Augsburg, and made a stand against his demands and menaces, and escaped from his dangerous clutches, he enjoyed for the first time the fearless consciousness of freedom. He took a wider survey around him, and saw plainly the deep corruption and ungodliness of the powers arrayed against him. His mind was impelled forward with more energy as his spirit for the fight was stirred within him. Even the prospect that he might have to fly, and the uncertainty whither his flight could be, did not daunt or deter him.

He was really prepared for exile or flight at any moment. At Wittenberg his friends were alarmed by rumors of designs on the part of the Pope against his life and liberty, and insisted on his being placed in safety. Flight to France was continually talked of; had he not followed in his appeal a precedent set by the University of Paris? We certainly cannot see how he could safely have been conveyed thither, or where, indeed, any other and safer place could have been found for him. Some urged that the Elector himself should take him into custody and keep him in a place of safety, and then write to the legate that he held him securely in confinement and was in future responsible for him. Luther proposed this to Spalatin, and added: "I leave the decision of this matter to your discretion; I am in the hands of God and of my friends." The Elector himself, anxious also in this respect, arranged early in December a confidential interview between Luther and Spalatin at the castle of Lichtenberg. He also, as Luther reported to Staupitz, wished that Luther had some other place to be in, but he advised him against going away so hastily to France. His own wish and counsel, however, he refrained as yet from making known. Luther declared that at all events, if a ban of excommunication were to come from Rome, he would not remain longer at Wittenberg. On this point also the Prince kept secret his resolve.

At Rome the bull of excommunication was published as early as June 16th. It had been considered very carefully in the papal consistory. The jurists there were of opinion that Luther should be cited once more, but their views did not prevail. The bull begins with the words, "Arise, O Lord, and avenge thy cause." It proceeds to invoke St. Peter, St. Paul, the whole body of the saints, and the Church. A wild boar had broken into the vineyard of the Lord, a wild beast was there seeking to devour, etc. Of the heresy against which it was directed, the Pope, as he states, had additional reason to complain, since the Germans, among whom it had broken out, had always been regarded by him with such tender affection: he gives them to understand that they owed the empire to the Roman Church. Forty-one propositions from Luther's writings are then rejected and condemned as heretical, or at least scandalous and corrupting, and his works collectively are sentenced to be burned. As to Luther himself, the Pope calls God to witness that he has neglected no means of fatherly love to bring him into the right way. Even now he is ready to follow toward him the example of divine mercy which wills not the death of a sinner, but that he should be converted and live; and so once more he calls upon him to repent, in which case he will receive him graciously like the prodigal son. Sixty days are given him to recant. But if he and his adherents will not repent, they are to be regarded as obstinate heretics and withered branches of the vine of Christ, and must be punished according to law. No doubt the punishment of burning was meant; the bull in fact expressly condemns the proposition of Luther which denounces the burning of heretics. All this was called then at Rome, and has been called even latterly by the papal party, "the tone rather of fatherly sorrow than of penal severity."

The emperor Charles V, before leaving the Netherlands on his journey to Aix-la-Chapelle to be crowned (1520),[27] had already been induced to take his first step against Luther. He had consented to the execution of the sentence in the bull condemning Luther's works to be burned, and had issued orders to that effect throughout the Netherlands. They were burned in public at Louvain, Cologne, and Mainz. At Cologne this was done while he was staying there. It was in this town that the two legates approached the elector Frederick with the demand to have the same done in his territory, and to execute due punishment on the heretic himself, or at least to keep him close prisoner or to deliver him over to the Pope. Frederick, however, refused, saying that Luther must first be heard by impartial judges. Erasmus also, who was then staying at Cologne, expressed himself to the same effect, in an opinion obtained from him by Frederick through Spalatin. At an interview with the Elector he said to him: "Luther has committed two great faults: he has touched the Pope on his crown and the monks on their bellies." The burning of Luther's books at Mainz was effected without hinderance, and the legates in triumph proceeded to carry out their mission elsewhere.

Luther, however, lost no time in following up their execution of the bull with his reply. On December 10th he posted a public announcement that the next morning, at nine o'clock, the anti-Christian decretals, that is, the papal law-books, would be burned, and he invited all the Wittenberg students to attend. He chose for this purpose a spot in front of the Elster gate, to the east of the town, near the Augustinian convent. A multitude poured forth to the scene. With Luther appeared a number of other doctors and masters, and among them Melanchthon and Carlstadt. After one of the masters of art had built up a pile, Luther laid the decretals upon it, and the former applied the fire. Luther then threw the papal bull into the flames, with the words, "Because thou hast vexed the Holy One of the Lord,[28] let the everlasting fire consume thee." While Luther with the other teachers returned to the town, some hundreds of students remained upon the scene and sang a Te Deum, and a Dirge for the decretals. After the ten o'clock meal, some of the young students, grotesquely attired, drove through the town in a large carriage, with a banner, emblazoned with a bull, four yards in length, amid the blowing of brass trumpets and other absurdities. They collected from all quarters a mass of scholastic and papal writings, and hastened with them and the bull to the pile, which their companions had meanwhile kept alight. Another Te Deum was then sung, with a requiem, and the hymn, "O du armer Judas."

Luther at his lecture the next day told his hearers with great earnestness and emotion what he had done. The papal chair, he said, would yet have to be burned. Unless with all their hearts they abjured the kingdom of the pope, they could not obtain salvation.

By this bold act, Luther consummated his final rupture with the papal system, which for centuries had dominated the Christian world and had identified itself with Christianity. The news of it must also have made the fire which his words had kindled throughout Germany blaze out in all its violence. He saw now, as he wrote to Staupitz, a storm raging, such as only the last day could allay, so fiercely were passions aroused on both sides. Germany was then, in fact, in a state of excitement and tension more critical than at any other period of her history.

The announcement of the retractation required from Luther by the bull was to have been sent to Rome within one hundred twenty days. Luther had given his answer. The Pope declared that the time of grace had expired; and on January 3d Leo X finally pronounced the ban against Luther and his followers, and an interdict on the places where they were harbored.

Never did the most momentous issue in the fortunes of the German nation and church rest so entirely with one man as they did now with the Emperor. Everything depended on this whether he, as head of the empire, should take the great work in hand, or should fling his authority and might into the opposite scale. Charles had been welcomed in Germany as one whose youthful heart seemed likely to respond to the newly awakened life and aspirations, as the son of an old German princely family, who by his election as emperor had won a triumph over the foreign king Francis, supported though the latter was by the Pope. Rumor now alleged that he was in the hands of the Mendicant friars; the Franciscan Glapio was his confessor and influential adviser, the very man who had instigated the burning of Luther's works.

He was, however, by no means so dependent on those about him as might have been supposed. His counsellors, in the general interests of his government, pursued an independent line of policy, and Charles himself, even in these his youthful days, knew to assert his independence as a monarch and display his cleverness as a statesman. He saw the prudence of cultivating friendship and contracting if possible an alliance with the Pope. The pressure desirable for this purpose could now be supplied by means of the very danger with which the papacy was threatened by the great German heresy, and against which Rome so sorely needed the aid of a temporal power. At the same time, Charles was far too astute to allow his regard for the Pope, and his desire for the unity of the Church, to entangle his policy in measures for which his own power was inadequate, or by which his authority might be shaken and possibly destroyed. Strengthened as was his monarchical power in Spain, in Germany he found it hemmed in and fettered by the estates of the empire and the whole contexture of political relations.

Such were the main points of view which determined for Charles V his conduct toward Luther and his cause. Luther thus was at least a passive sharer in the game of high policy, ecclesiastical and temporal, now being played, and had to pursue his own course accordingly.

The imperial court was quickly enough acquainted with the state of feeling in Germany. The Emperor showed himself prudent at this juncture, and accessible to opinions differing from his own, however small cause his proclamations gave to the friends of Luther to hope for any positive act of favor on his part.

While Charles was on his way up the Rhine to hold, at the beginning of the new year, a diet at Worms, the elector Frederick approached him with the request that Luther should at least be heard before the Emperor took any proceedings against him. The Emperor informed him in reply that he might bring Luther for this purpose to Worms, promising that the monk should not be molested.

The Emperor, on March 6th, issued a citation to Luther, summoning him to Worms to give "information concerning his doctrines and books." An imperial herald was sent to conduct him. In the event of his disobeying the citation, or refusing to retract, the estates declared their consent to treat him as an open heretic. Luther, therefore, had to renounce at once all hope of having the truth touching his articles of faith tested fairly at Worms by the standard of God's word in Scripture. Spalatin indicated to him the points on which he would in any case be expected to make a public recantation.

Luther formed his resolve at once on the two points required of him. He determined to obey the summons to the diet, and, if there unconvicted of error, to refuse the recantation demanded. The Emperor's citation was delivered to him on March 26th by the imperial herald, Kaspar Sturm, who was to accompany him to Worms. Within twenty-one days after its receipt, Luther was to appear before the Emperor; he was due therefore at Worms on April 16th at the latest.

On April 2d, the Tuesday after Easter, he set out on his way to Worms. His friend Amsdorf and the Pomeranian nobleman Peter Swaven, who was then studying at Wittenberg, accompanied him. He took with him also, according to the rules of the order, a brother of the order, John Pezensteiner. The Wittenberg magistracy provided carriages and horses.

The way led past Leipzig, through Thuringia from Naumburg to Eisenach, southward past Berka, Hersfeld, Gruenberg, Friedberg, Frankfort, and Oppenheim. The herald rode on before in his coat-of-arms, and announced the man whose word had everywhere so mightily stirred the minds of people, and for whose future behavior and fate friend and foe were alike anxious. Everywhere people collected to catch a glimpse of him. On April 6th he was very solemnly received at Erfurt. The large majority of the university there were by this time full of enthusiasm for his cause.

Meanwhile at Worms disquietude and suspense prevailed on both sides. Hutten[29] from the castle of Ebernburg sent threatening and angry letters to the papal legates, who became really anxious lest a blow might be struck from that quarter. Some anxious friends of Luther's were afraid that, according to papal law, the safe-conduct would not be observed in the case of a condemned heretic. Spalatin himself sent from Worms a second warning to Luther after he had left Frankfort, intimating that he would suffer the fate of Huss.

But Luther continued on his way. To Spalatin he replied, though Huss were burned, yet the truth was not burned; he would go to Worms though there were as many devils there as there were tiles on the roofs of the houses.

On April 16th, at ten o'clock in the morning, Luther entered Worms. He sat in an open carriage with his three companions from Wittenberg, clothed in his monk's habit. He was accompanied by a large number of men on horseback, some of whom, like Jonas, had joined him earlier in his journey; others, like some gentlemen belonging to the Elector's court, had ridden out from Worms to receive him. The imperial herald rode on before. The watchman blew a horn from the tower of the cathedral on seeing the procession approach the gate. Thousands streamed hither to see Luther. The gentlemen of the court escorted him into the house of the Knights of St. John, where he lodged with two counsellors of the Elector. As he stepped from his carriage he said, "God will be with me." Aleander, writing to Rome, said that he looked around with the eyes of a demon. Crowds of distinguished men, ecclesiastics and laymen, who were anxious to know him personally, flocked daily to see him.

On the evening of the following day he had to appear before the diet, which was assembled in the Bishop's palace, the residence of the Emperor, not far from where Luther was lodging. He was conducted thither by side streets, it being impossible to get through the crowds assembled in the main thoroughfare to see him. On his way into the hall where the diet was assembled, tradition tells us how the famous warrior, George von Frundsberg, clapped him on the shoulder and said: "My poor monk! my poor monk! thou art on thy way to make such a stand as I and many of my knights have never done in our toughest battles. If thou art sure of the justice of thy cause, then forward in the name of God, and be of good courage—God will not forsake thee." The Elector had given Luther as his advocate the lawyer Jerome Schurf, his Wittenberg colleague and friend.

When at length, after waiting two hours, Luther was admitted to the diet, Eck, the official of the Archbishop of Treves, put to him simply, in the name of the Emperor, two questions, whether he acknowledged the books—pointing to them on a bench beside him—to be his own, and next, whether he would retract their contents or persist in them. Schurf here exclaimed, "Let the titles of the books be named." Eck then read them out. Among them there were some merely edifying writings, such as A Commentary on the Lord's Prayer, which had never been made the subject of complaint.

Luther was not prepared for this proceeding, and possibly the first sight of the august assembly made him nervous. He answered in a low voice, and as if frightened, that the books were his, but that since the question as to their contents concerned the highest of all things, the Word of God and the salvation of souls, he must beware of giving a rash answer, and must therefore humbly entreat further time for consideration. After a short deliberation the Emperor instructed Eck to reply that he would, out of his clemency, grant him a respite till the next day.

So Luther had again, on April 18th, a Thursday, to appear before the diet. Again he had to wait two hours till six o'clock. He stood there in the hall among the dense crowd, talking unconstrained and cheerfully with the ambassador of the diet, Peutinger, his patron at Augsburg. After he was called in, Eck began by reproaching him for having wanted time for consideration. He then put the second question to him in a form more befitting and more conformable with the wishes of the members of the diet: "Wilt thou defend all the books acknowledged by thee to be thine, or recant some part?" Luther now answered with firmness and modesty, in a well-considered speech. He divided his works into three classes. In some of them he had set forth simple evangelical truths, professed alike by friend and foe. Those he could on no account retract. In others he had attacked corrupt laws and doctrines of the papacy, which no one could deny had miserably vexed and martyred the consciences of Christians, and had tyrannically devoured the property of the German nation: if he were to retract these books, he would make himself a cloak for wickedness and tyranny.

In the third class of his books he had written against individuals who endeavored to shield that tyranny and to subvert godly doctrine. Against these he freely confessed that he had been more violent than was befitting. Yet even these writings it was impossible for him to retract without lending a hand to tyranny and godlessness. But in defence of his books he could only say in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?" If anyone could do so, let him produce his evidence and confute him from the sacred writings, the Old Testament and the Gospel, and he would be the first to throw his books into the fire. And now, as in the course of his speech he had sounded a new challenge to the papacy, so he concluded by an earnest warning to Emperor and empire, lest, by endeavoring to promote peace by a condemnation of the divine Word, they might rather bring a dreadful deluge of evils, and thus give an unhappy and inauspicious beginning to the reign of the noble young Emperor. He said not these things as if the great personages who heard him stood in any need of his admonitions, but because it was a duty that he owed to his native Germany, and he could not neglect to discharge it.

Luther, like Eck, spoke in Latin, and then, by desire, repeated his speech with equal firmness in German. Schurf, who was standing by his side, declared afterward with pride, "how Martin had made this answer with such bravery and modest candor, with eyes upraised to heaven, that he and everyone were astonished."

The princes held a short consultation after this harangue. Then Eck, commissioned by the Emperor, sharply reproved him for having spoken impertinently and not really answered the question put to him. He rejected his demand that evidence from Scripture might be brought against him by declaring that his heresies had already been condemned by the Church, and in particular by the Council of Constance, and such judgments must suffice if anything were to be held settled in Christianity. He promised him, however, if he would retract the offensive articles, that his other writings should be fairly dealt with, and finally demanded a plain answer "without horns" to the question whether he intended to adhere to all he had written or would retract any part of it?

To this Luther replied he would give an answer "with neither horns nor teeth." Unless he were refuted by proofs from Scripture, or by evident reason, his conscience bound him to adhere to the Word of God which he had quoted in his defence. Popes and councils, as was clear, had often erred and contradicted themselves. He could not, therefore, and he would not, retreat anything, for it was neither safe nor honest to act against one's conscience.

Eck exchanged only a few more words with him in reply to his assertion that councils had erred. "You cannot prove that," said Eck. "I will pledge myself to do it," was Luther's answer. Pressed and threatened by his enemy, he concluded with the famous words: "Here I stand, I can do no otherwise. God help me. Amen."

The Emperor reluctantly broke up the diet at about eight o'clock in the evening. Darkness had meanwhile come on; the hall was lighted with torches, and the audience were in a state of general excitement and agitation. Luther was led out; whereupon an uproar arose among the Germans, who thought that he had been taken prisoner. As he stood among the heated crowd, Duke Erich of Brunswick sent him a silver tankard of Eimbeck beer, after having first drunk of it himself.

On reaching his lodging, "Luther," to use the words of a Nuremberger present there, "stretched out his hands, and with a joyful countenance exclaimed, 'I am through! I am through!'" Spalatin says: "He entered the lodging so courageous, comforted, and joyful in the Lord that he said before others and myself, 'if he had a thousand heads, he would rather have them all cut off than make one recantation.'" He relates also how the elector Frederick, before his supper, sent for him from Luther's dwelling, took him into his room and expressed to him his astonishment and delight at Luther's speech. "How excellently did Father Martin speak both in Latin and German before the Emperor and the orders! He was bold enough, if not too much so." The Emperor, on the contrary, had been so little impressed by Luther's personality, and had understood so little of it, that he fancied the writings ascribed to him must have been written by someone else. Many of his Spaniards had pursued Luther, as he left the diet, with hisses and shouts of scorn.

Luther, by refusing thus point-blank to retract, effectually destroyed whatever hopes of mediation or reconciliation had been entertained by the milder and more moderate adherents of the Church who still wished for reform. Nor was any union possible with those who, while looking to a truly representative council as the best safeguard against the tyranny of a pope, were anxious also to obtain at such a council a secure and final settlement of all questions of Christian faith and morals. It was these very councils about which Eck purposely called on Luther for a declaration; and Luther's words on this point might well have been considered by the Elector as "too bold."

Luther remained faithful to himself. True it was that he had often formerly spoken of yielding in mere externals, and of the duty of living in love and harmony, and respecting the weaknesses of others; and his conduct during the elaboration of his own church system will show us how well he knew to accommodate himself to the time, and, where perfection was impossible, to be content with what was imperfect. But the question here was not about externals, or whether a given proceeding were judicious or not for the attainment of an object admittedly good. It was a question of confessing or denying the truth—the highest and holiest truths, as he expressed it—relating to God and the salvation of man. In this matter his conscience was bound.

And the trial thus offered for his endurance was not yet over. On the morning of the 19th the Emperor sent word to the estates that he would now send Luther back in safety to Wittenberg, but treat him as a heretic. The majority insisted on attempting further negotiations with him through a committee specially appointed. These were conducted accordingly by the Elector of Treves. The friendliness and the visible interest in his cause with which Luther now was urged were more calculated to move him than Eck's behavior at the diet. He himself bore witness afterward how the Archbishop had shown himself more than gracious to him and would willingly have arranged matters peaceably. Instead of being urged simply to retract all his propositions condemned by the Pope, or his writings directed against the papacy, he was referred in particular to those articles in which he rejected the decisions of the Council of Constance. He was desired to submit in confidence to a verdict of the Emperor and the empire when his books should be submitted to judges beyond suspicion. After that he should at least accept the decision of a future council, unfettered by any acknowledgment of the previous sentence of the Pope.

So freely and independently of the Pope did this committee of the German Diet, including several bishops and Duke George of Saxony, proceed in negotiating with a papal heretic. But everything was shipwrecked on Luther's firm reservation that the decision must not be contrary to the Word of God; and on that question his conscience would not allow him to renounce the right of judging for himself. After two days' negotiations, he thus, on April 25th, according to Spalatin, declared himself to the Archbishop: "Most gracious Lord, I cannot yield; it must happen with me as God wills," and continued: "I beg of your grace that you will obtain for me the gracious permission of his imperial majesty that I may go home again, for I have now been here for ten days and nothing yet has been effected." Three hours later the Emperor sent word to Luther that he might return to the place he came from, and should be given a safe-conduct for twenty-one days, but would not be allowed to preach on the way.

Free residence, however, and protection at Wittenberg, in case Luther were condemned by the empire, was more than even Frederick the Wise would be able to assure him. But he had already laid his plan for the emergency. Spalatin refers to it in these words: "Now was my most gracious Lord somewhat disheartened; he was certainly fond of Dr. Martin, and was also most unwilling to act against the Word of God or to bring upon himself the displeasure of the Emperor. Accordingly, he devised means how to get Dr. Martin out of the way for a time, until matters might be quietly settled, and caused Luther also to be informed, the evening before he left Worms, of his scheme for getting him out of the way. At this Dr. Martin, out of deference to his Elector, was submissively content, though certainly, then and at all times, he would much rather have gone courageously to the attack."

The very next morning, Friday, the 26th, Luther departed. The imperial herald went behind him, so as not to attract notice. They took the usual road to Eisenach. At Friedberg Luther dismissed the herald, giving him a letter to the Emperor and the estates, in which he defended his conduct at Worms, and his refusal to trust in the decision of men, by saying that when God's Word and things eternal were at stake, one's trust and dependence should be placed, not on one man or many men, but on God alone. At Hersfeld, where Abbot Crato, in spite of the ban, received him with all marks of honor, and again at Eisenach, he preached, notwithstanding the Emperor's prohibition, not daring to let the Word of God be bound.

From Eisenach, while Swaven, Schurf, and several other of his companions went straight on, he struck southward, together with Amsdorf and Brother Pezensteiner, in order to go and see his relations at Moehra. Here, after spending the night at the house of his uncle Heinz, he preached the next morning, Saturday, May 4th. Then, accompanied by some of his relations, he took the road through Schweina, past the castle of Altenstein, and then across the back of the Thuringian Forest to Waltershausen and Gotha. Toward evening, when near Altenstein, he bade leave of his relations. About half an hour farther on, at a spot where the road enters the wooded heights, and, ascending between hills along a brook, leads to an old chapel, which even then was in ruins and has now quite disappeared, armed horsemen attacked the carriage, ordered it to stop with threats and curses, pulled Luther out of it, and then hurried him away at full speed. Pezensteiner had run away as soon as he saw them approach. Amsdorf and the coachman were allowed to pass on; the former was in the secret, and pretended to be terrified, to avoid any suspicion on the part of his companion.

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