A Famouse Cronicle of Oure Time, Called Sleidanes Commentaries

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Introductory notes

A famous cronicle of our time(1560) is the title of John Daus's (Dawes) translation of the Commentarium de statu religionis et reipublicae(1555) of the celebrated annalist and historian Johannes Sleidanus (1506-1560). Born Johannes Philippson in Schleiden, from where he derived his Latin name, Sleidan was educated in Liege, Cologne, Paris and Orleans. He was a dedicated archivist of Protestant documents, particularly letters, and was commissioned by the Schmalkaldic League to compose a history of the times. He has been called the Father of Reformation History and lauded by modern historians for his impartiality and factual accuracy. His Protestant colleagues apparently were not happy with his work, and even Melanchthon, whom Sleidan idolized, wrote in a letter that "neither is the work good, nor is anything good said". The availability of his work in English led to his being studied widely in England; he is cited by Donne and Milton. The selections from Sleidan’s work vividly highlight episodes in 16th century European history, such as the sufferings caused by the siege of Munster.

Cronicle of oure time, called
Sleidane's Commentaries, concerning
the state of Religion and common wealth, during
the raigne of the Emperour Charles the fift,
with the Argumentes set before every Booke,
conteyninge the summe or effecte of the
Booke following.
Translated out of Latin into Englishe,
by John Daus.
Here unto is added also an Apology of
the Authoure.

PUBLISHED FOR Nicholas Englande
[Page cxxvii.]


The tenth Booke of Sleidanes Commentaries, concerning the state of Religion, and the
common Weale, during the reigne of the Empyre of Charles the fyfte.
The argument of the tenth Booke

THe citie of Munster through the preachyng of Barnarde Rotman, receaved the Gospell wherupon the clergie with theyr byshop forsoke the place, neverthelesse a reconcilement was made by the Lantgrave. There came thether out of Hollande an Anabaptiste called John of Leiden, who having wonne Rotman and divers others, infected the whole citie with his poyson, in so muche as they of that secte being set on mischief, became stronger, had all thinges in common, and married many wylles. John of Leiden, after the death of John Matthewe, is declared the chiefest Prophet and shortly after kyng universall having his cheyalry, and power of life and death. The citie being beseged, a metinge was appointed at confluence to enforce the siege. The Anabaptistes had sent letters to the Lantgrave, and a booke of their doctrine, whiche Luther than impugned. The citie being in extreme famine, at the last was surprysed and wonne. The kyng and his companions were taken prisoners, whose execution is after recited. About this busines of Munster was an assemblie appointed at Wormes. The Duke of savope besegyng Geneva, is repoulsed. The kyng of Fraunce prepareth an armie to go towardes Millan, and by this occasion here is mentioned of the ryght whiche he pretendeth to have there. The Emperour beynge advertysed of his enterprises, commeth to Rome and accuseth the kyng, and solliciteth the Pope to holde a counsell. The Protestauntes make a league with the kyng of Englande. The Pope publisheth the counsell to be kept at Mantua. There is warre betwyxt the Emperour and the Frenche kynge. The Archebyshop of Collon reformeth his countreis.

NOWe must we come to the siege of Munster, the Metropolitane citie of Westphalia. But first are certen thinges to be repeted, even from the beginning untyll such tyme as the citie was finally taken, and the chief malefactours executed. I spake of Thomas Muncer in the fist boke, howe he reysed a tumulte of the communaltie, and shewed what his doctrine was, and also howe he endeth his lyfe. Out of his schole procedeth a kynde of prople, whiche for their practise and doctrine, are called Anabaptistes, of whom also is some thing mentioned before, for thei prohibite the christening of children, and are then selves baptised again, affirming that all others ought to do lykewyse, and take away al efficacitie from the former baptisme. They pretende certen outwarde holynes. They teache howe it is not lawful for the christians to go to the law, nor to beare office, nor to take an othe, neither to have any thynge private, yt al things ought to be conmon unto al men. [...]



A booke of y [...]ries of scripture.

afterwardes by tormentes being examined of their beliefe, and kynde of lyfe, and the fortification of the citie: They make aunswere howe they only have the true doctrine, and that woulde they witnesse and stande to the death. For since the Apostles tyme hitherto, the worde of God was never preached ryghtly: neither hath there bene any justice. And that there be foure Prophetes, wherof two are juste, David and John Leidane, and two unjuste, the byshop of Rome, & Luther, who is worse than the other is. Being damaunded why they did expulse the innocent people out of the citie contrary to their fidelitie and promyse, taking their goodes, their wyves and their childre, and by what place of Scripture they could prove, and defend this their justice? They say that nowe is the tyme come, wherin Christ sayd, how the meke should possesse the earth. And y after the same sorte in times paste, God gave the goodes of the Egiptians unto the people of Israell. Afterwardes speakyng of the numbre of men and victualles within the citie, they affirmed that diverse and many had above five wives. Moreover howe they loked dayly for a greater power out of Hollande and Friselande. So sone as they should come, the kyng would marche forwarde with his whole Armie to subdue and conquere the world, destroying kinges and Princes, for that they had not ministred justice. After their racking, whan they persevered styl in their purpose, and would acknowledge no Magistrate, besides their owne kynge, they were rewarded with the losse of their heades. Neverthelesse one escaped. But nowe was the citie on every syde so narrouly and straightlye besieged, that there was no waye to go out. Wherfore the citezens fearing famine, & being carefull for their owne perill, thought to apprehende the kynge, and sende hym to the byshop bounde. But the king hearing therof, chose out twelve amonges them all, whiche he thought were moste faithful unto him and called them Dukes, and appointed to every of them a garde, and some part of the towne to kepe, lest there should aryse anye tumulte amonges the people. Than maketh he promyse to the multitude, howe at Easter they should be delivered, both from siege and penurie But unto the twelve Dukes whiche he chose, he promised more ample thinges a great deale, telling them howe they shoulde have the chiefe rule and government, namyng also what countreis, townes and Castels, he would geve unto every one of them. He sayd, he would only spare the Lantgrave, for that he trusted that he woulde take his parte at the length. I shewed you before of the assemblie appointed at Confluence, in the moneth of Decembre, for the states of the province of Rhine. Unto whom also Friderick the Prince Electour of Saxony, annexed him selfe of his owne accorde. In this assemblie, after consultation had, was decreed to ayde the byshop of Munster immediately, with thre hundreth horsemen, and thre thousande footemen ,[Page cxxiii]for syxe monethes: over the whiche garryson and the whole warre also, Wiricke, Countie Obersted had the charge. They decreed moreover, to sollicite the residue of the states imperiall for their ayde. And because the Emperour was in Spayne, to entreate king Ferdinando, that against the moneth of Aprill, he assigne a generall metyng for the same purpose.

After this they admonishe them that were beseged, by their letters earnestly wrytten, that they should leave & forsake theire enterprise, whiche was so dishonest and wicked, as nothynge could be more: And unlesse thei would obey, and submit them selves unto their laweful magistrate, they do proteste that the byshop (who nowe besegeth them) shal not wante the ayde of the whole Empyre. This was at the ende of Decembre. And at the Ides of January, in the yeare a M .D. xxv. Thei write again with many wordes in dede, but to smal purpose, yet so as they conmended and mainteined their quarel: but unto that, whiche was objected unto them for makynge of a kynge, they aunswered nothynge at all. Howe be it in theyr letters to the Lantgrave, they go about to excuse the matter, speakinge many thynges of the salle and destruction of all wickedmen, and of the deliveraunce and kyngdome of the Godly in this lyfe. And sende him withall, the booke of Restauration, before mentioned, admonyshyng him to amende, and that he attempte no warre against them, as other wycked Prynces doe, for they are holy men and good people. The Lantgrave readinge over their booke and their letters, noted what he thought blame worthy, and conmaunded his learned men to aunswer it. And for as muche as they had in fewe wordes and those abscure written that their king was not so muche of theirs, as of Gods appointment, he demaundeth of then, wherfore they did not expresse those places of Scripture, wherby they thought it lawefull thus to doe? And why they dyd not confirme the thynge before with signes and wonders? For of the conminge of Christe, God had declared longe before by all the Prophetes, so evidently, that it was well knowen, not only of what house or familie, but also whan and where he should be borne. They had also requested that the matter might be heard, wherunto the Lantgrave answered, that the same might not now take place. For so much as they had taken upon them the aucthoritie of the sworde, and had bene the workers of so muche mischiefe: For all men see what marke they shoute at, certenly to subverte all lawes and common wealth.

And lyke as their intente is wicked and detestable, so is nowe their requeste to have their cause heard, fayned and dissembled. He doubtles sent unto then faythful preachers and ministers of the churche, of whome they were ryghtlye instructed. And where as they nowe contenpning their doctrine, do resist the magistrate, take other mens goodes, mary sondrye wyves, & have chosen them a newe kynge. Where also they denye that Christe toke[Page] the humane nature of the virgyn Mary, where they affirme that man hath free wyll, where they compell men to make their goodes conmon, where they saye there is no remission for a sinner that falleth, all these thynges are against the lawes both of God and man.

Whan this answer was brought unto then, they wryte agayne, and sende a booke with all compyled in the vulgare tongue, of the misteries And againe in an Epistle they amplefie their cause, and defende their opinions. And in this booke they devide the course and tyme of the whole worlde into thre partes, & the fyrst age from Adam to Noe, they saye was destroyed with the Deluge of water, the second wherein we are nowe at this daye, shalbe consumed with fyre, but the thyrde shall be cleane a newe worlde, wherein justice shall reigne: neverthelesse before this last tyme shall appeare, this present age must be pourged by fyre, but that shall not be tofore that Antichriste shall be revealed, and his power utterly abolyshed. Than shall it come to passe, that the scate of David, whiche is decayed, shal be newly erected, and Christe shall possesse his kyngdome here in earth, and the wrytinges of the Prophetes shall be accomplyshed. And that this present worlde now, is lyke the tyme of Esaw. For justice kepeth silence, and the Godly are persecuted. But as after the captivitie of Babylon, so nowe also the tyme of restauration is at hande, to delyver us from all these myseries, and to rendre unto the wycked aboundantly after their demerites, as in the Apocalipse is declared: And that in this same Restauration goeth before the worlde to come, to the intent that all the ungodlye beynge destroyed, the house and seate of justice, myght be prepared and beautified.

Whan the Lantgrave had red this booke, he set in hande the Ministers of his churche to wryte against it. The residue of the states imperial assembled at Essinge, do mislyke the doinges of them that were at conffuence, affirming that they had no authoritie to impose or charge them with any burthen, unlesse it had bene by the consent of the Emperour and all states. In the moneth of February, Corne within the citie waxed very scarse, in so muche that some also died for honger and wante of meate. It fortuned that one of the Quenes, pitieng the people had sayde to the rest, howe she supposed that God woulde not that men should peryshe thus with famine.

The kyng whiche had his stoore houses furnyshed at home, not only for necessitie, but also for riot and voluptuousnes, after he knewe it, brought her forthe in to the Market place, and all the reste with her, and commaundynge her to knele downe, stroke of her heade, and whan she was dead, uttered her to have played the whore.

This done the residewe syng, and gyve thankes to God the heavenlye father. After that the kynge daunceth wyth them and exhorteth [Page cxxxiiii]the rest of the multitude, whiche had nothynge lefte them but breade and salte, to dauncynge and mery pastymes. Whan Easter came and no deliveraunce appered at all, the kyng whiche had promysed so stoutely, to inucnte some excuse, fayned him selfe sicke for the space of syxe dayes: After he commeth abroade amonges the people, and telleth then howe he hath ryden on a blynde Asse, and that God the father hathe Wherfore they are now made cleane, and delyvered from every spotte. And this to be the deliveraunce whiche he promysed, wherwith they ought to holde them contented. Luther amonges other thynges whiche he set forth in the vulgar tongue, about this tyme, wrote also of this tragedye of Munster.

Alas sayeth he, howe should I complayne or lamente those wretched men? for the thynge it selfe declareth, that there dwell devylles thycke and threfolde: but yet ought we to praye the infinite mercy of God herein, and have good cause so to doe. For albeit that for the contempt of the Gospell, the reproche of Goddes holy name, and the shedyng of innocent bloud, Germany hath justly deserved to be plaged, yet hathe God hetherto restrayned the force and violence of Sathan, and hath not permitted him to have the reignes at libertie, but mercifully admonysheth us, and by this tragedye of Munster, nothinge at all artificious, calleth us to the amendement of lyfe. For unlesse God had brydeled hym, and holden hym backe, I doubte not, but that moste subtille fynde, and wylie artificer, would have handled the matter farre other wyse. But nowe that God hathe made a restraynte, he rageth and tourmoyleth, not so muche as he woulde, but so much as he is permitted. For the wycked spirite, that seketh the subversion of the Christian fayth, goeth not this way to worke, to perswade the marriage of many wyves. For seyng both the unlawfulnes and the fylthye beastlynes of the thynge, is apparent in the syght of all men, he perceiveth well enough that men woulde abhorre it. In dede the politicke and civile governement may through this meane be disturbed, but the kingdom of Christ must be attempted with other weapons and Ingines.

He that would circumvente and deceave men, maye not affectate rule and government, and playe the tyraunt: For all men disalowe and see playnely what his intente is. But he must attayne thereunto by secrete meanes, as it were by certen bypathes. To goe in olde and evyll favoured apparell, to looke with a grave countenaunce, to hange downe the heade towardes the grounde, to Faste, to handle no Money, to absteyne from Flesshe, to abhorre Matrimonye, to eschewe bearynge of offyce as a prophane thynge, to refuse governemente, and to professe a wounderfull lowelynes of mynde.



After they had great altercation with the Princes, about contribution. At the length they condescended to give ayde for fyve monethes, twenty thousand crownes monethly, they decreed moreover that what tyme the citie should be wonne or taken, the innocent people should be spared, and that such good men, as either be there beseged, or els are fled thence, should be restored to their goodes. Whan this decree was made, the byshop of Munster delivereth his armie unto Obersten. But where as the money was over negligently levied, and almost in dede to late, there coulde no notable exploicte be done. And the captaynes them selves, for lacke of money, were oftener than ones in daunger of their lyves, through the sedicion of the souldiours. What tyme the matter was brought to suche an extremitie within the citie, that many died dayly for famine, many also departed thence, and went a broade so pyned and hongerstorven, that their very ennemies had pitie and compassion upon them: The Captaines sent worde to the townes men, that in case they would deliver the king & certen others, they should have no harme. Whiche albeit the citezens woulde fayne have done, yet were they so afrayde of the kynges crueltie, & vigilancie, that they durst attempte nothynge, for he was so obstinate, that so long as any thyng remayned for him selfe & a fewe others to eate, he would never rendre. Wherfore the captaynes wryte againe, and bidde them sende out no more from hence forth, not so muche as women or children. This was the first day of June: The next day they wrote an answer,complayning that their matter could not be heard, and said they were afflicted without desert of their parte: For if any man coulde detecte them of errour, they would do as should become them. After this they doe expounde a certen place of Daniel, of the fourth beast which was much more cruell than all the rest. The conclusion of their letters was, that they would through Gods helpe persever styl in this confession of the veritie. All whiche thinges were thus wrytten after the kynges mynde. But whan thynges were brought to a marvelous extremitie in the citie, two certen men escaped out, the one of them was taken of the souldiours, the other upon his fidelitie came to the byshop, and eyther of then shewed the meane how to wynne the citie.

Countie Obersten and the byshop, hearyng bothe their tales, the two and twenty of June, sommoned the towne, charging the citezens to rendre it up and yelde them selves, that the people might be saved, and not perysh thus for honger. They cause Rotman to aunswer on the walles, the kynge standing there by, in suche sorte as they would not relent nor chaunge their purpose. Two dayes after about aleven a clock in the nyght, [Page cxxxvi]the fotemen were brought closely to the citie, and certen chosen souldiours, through the condvict of the two men escaped, got over the dyche up to walle, and slewe the watche: others followyng then, fynde the posterne gate open, and about five hondreth with certen captaynes and ensignes entred the citie. Than the tounes men being assembled together, stayed the reste that would lykewyse have invaded, and longe it was or ever they coulde put them backe and shut the gate, that done, they geve charge by and by upon those that wer come in, and slew many of them.

And whan they had foughten sore by the space of one houre or two, the souldiours that were enclosed, stept to the next gate, that was kept with a small garde, and breake it open perforce, and so made way for their fellowes without, which immediatly pressed in with a strong power. And wheras the townes men at the first made resistaunce, and kept the market place, whiche they had wel fortified for their own defence, at the last the matter being desperate, and many of them stayne, at the first encountre, they craved and founde mercy. But the kynge & Cnipperdoling were taken at the same instante: Botman being out of all hope to live, running amonges his ennemies where they were thickest was stayne, lest he should come into their handes alyve. han the Citie was won, the Byshop toke to hym selfe the munition and half the spoyle, after discharging his armie, he reserveth to him selfe two enseignes only to asiste him in the citie.



And certenly reason would it should so be. For the Emperour gave none occasion of this warre, but was fully resolved this sommer to have warred upon the Barbarians and the ennemies of our Religion. Notwithstanding the Frenche kynge immediatly after the death of Fraunces Sfortia Duke of Millan (albeit he hath no right nor title therunto, & a composition made touchyng the whole matter certen yeares paste) contrary to the convenauntes sought to renewe warre, and to recover Lumbardy. And at the same tyme passing the Alpes with a great armie, invaded the Duke of Savoye, a Prynce of the Empyre, to the intent that having ones subdued his countrey, he might have the way open to passe further. And nowe that the Emperour hath levied an armie to resiste hym, as he was in dede constreined, I am informed that he craveth nowe ayde agayne of you. Neverthelesse for as muche as he breakyng his fidelitie hath commenced warres a freshe, I desyre you that you doe not assiste hym.

Whereby you shall do the Emperour and me pleasure, and preserve the quiet of your owne common wealth, In this meane while the Protestantes had sent an Ambassade to the Emperour in Italy, to make their purgation in that he had charged them by letters to have taken the churche goodes, and further more to complayne of the judges of the Emperiall chamber. But before the Ambassadours were arrived, the Emperoure, the seventhe of Julye, had sent letters to the Protestauntes, from the Towne of Savilie. signifieng how he hath at al tymes both present and absent, by his letters and Ambassadours, sought the quiet of Germany, and hath both promysed them peace in theyr Relygion, and also perfourmed the same. And nowe for as muche as the Frenche kynge, against whome he is enforced to rayse an armie, maye peraventure by false suggestion perswade with them, that he would now take occasion to breake that treuce of Religion, therfore hath he thought good to admonyshe them by his letters, to beleve no suche thinge, but assure them selves, that he woulde observe his promyse, neyther would he move warre upon any man for religion, nor styre up any trouble in Germany: for all this preparation of warre is to mainteyne his ryght and authoritie. Wherfor let them quiet them selves, and styre not, what so ever they shal heare: For this shall be both to hym acceptable, and to them also profitable.

Whan the Emperours power was come altogether, he marched through the myddest of Italye with a stronge armie, tyll he came in to provynce of Fraunce. The kynge had incamped hym selfe at Avignion, betwyxte the Ryvers of Rhosne and Druence, and destroyinge the countrey. Whereinto he perceived the Emperour woulde come, and kepyng hym selfe from gevynge the battell, he brought his ennemies into great perplexitie and myserie.

[Page cxli]

For the Emperour enforced through the penurie and scarscitie of all thynges, and the losse of manye thousandes, whiche died for famine and pestilence, and also for the death of Anthony Levie, dischargeth the reste of his Armye and retourneth to Genes.

An other Armie of his, that warred this sommer in Uermandoys, beseged the towne of Peronne, by the condvicte of Henry Erle of Nassowe, but prevayling not, levied the siege about the same time that the Emperour retyred in the province, and the reporte of eyther newes brought unto Paris the same daye, rejoysed the citie exceadynglye. For they were in verye great feare, and the Preachers in their Sermons to the people inuehed sore against the Emperour. And the kynges Lieutenauntes began to intrenche the cytie, and kepte the gates with watche and warde. William Furstemberge a Germane, served the Frenche kynge in this warre.

About the begynning of this warre ended his lyfe the Frenche, the Daulphin, eyghtene yeares of age, the reporte went that he was poysoned, and one Sebastian de moute Cuculo an Italian, beyng had in suspicion, was fyrste racked, and after torne in pieces with sondrye horses at Lions. And the kynge afterwardes in his letters to the Prynces of Germanye, amonges other made a grevous complainte hereof, against Anthony Levie, and Ferdinando Gonzage the Emperours Lieutenauntes, in whome he layd all the blame. Herman Archebyshop of Collon, of long tyme intending a reformation of his churche, holdeth at this tyme a counsell of his owne province, callynge to it as the maner is, the Byshoppes within his jurisdiction, of Liege, Utreicht, Munster, Osenbridge, and Myndes. Herein were decrees made of ceremonies and doctrine, and after set forth in a booke compyled by John Gropper wherein were al Popyshe Ceremonies for the moste parte paynted out with new colours, whiche booke dyd not contente the Byshop than, as hereafter shalbe declared.

About this tyme also in the moneth of July, Erasmus of Roterdam ,an olde man of thre score and ten yeares, and was buried at Basill. Howe excellently learned, and howe eloquent a man he was, and howe muche al learnyng is bounde to hym, his own workes shall testifie. By occasion of puttyng downe papistrie in Englande, and suppressing of certen Abbeyes, under thre hundreth markes of yearely valewe, there arose a commotion in Lynkcolneshyre, in a market towne they call Lowthe, styred up by Doctour Mackerell a false Monke, who named him selfe captayne Cobblar, and after that it was appeased by the Duke of Southfolke the kynges Lyeutenaunt, an other began in Yorke shyre, a grear deale worse.



And nowe also is the counsell proroged untyll the kalendes of Novenbre. And yet not the place appointed where it should be holden: and the faulte is imputed to the Duke of Mantua. Is not this to delude the whole worlde? The Duke of Mantua is surely blameles, which wyll not receive so great a multitude into his citie being unfurnyshed of a garrison, but all the blame is to be ascribed to him alone, who doeth nothing syncerely, but worketh al thinges by craft and collusion. And now in case he shall assigne an other place for the purpose, he wyll eyther appointe it in some citie of his owne, or of some Prince yt is bound to him: For he hath him self ryght ample and large dominions, and in the same many goodly cities, which his predecessours have gotten by force and subtiltie, & he with as small fidelitie kepeth.

But seing there is no hope to have a true counsel, as men of witte and judgement do suppose, he thinketh it best, that every Magistrate in his own dominions seke the reformation of Religion. And if perchaunce the Bishop should objecte unto them, custome, the same taketh no place. For even by the testimonie of Cypriane, custome that is grounded upon no counsell, as he hath sayde before, but if any man have an other way that is better, he wil not refuse it. The Emperour remained al this yere in Spaine, but his armie in Flaunders, by the condvict of Counte de Bure, wan by assaulte the towne and castel of Sanpulle in Artois, in the moneth of January, and put al to the sworde, and from thence went and beseged the citie of Terowen, but yet in vayne. There at the length was a truce taken for ten monethes in those parties only: For in Piedmonte was hote warre neverthelesse, and the town of Cherie was taken by invain assaulte of the imperialles, who made a wonderfull slaughter both of souldiours and citezens. And whan after the garrison of Turrin suffered great penury, being on every syde beseged, and stopped from virtualles, the Frenche kyng in harvest tyme, levied a power and sente thether his eldest sonne Henry the Daulphin, and Mommorancie, who making waye and entring perforce, releved their present famine. In the moneth of October, the armie of kyng Ferdinando, wherin were the horsemen of Saxony, and Meissen, of Franckonie, and Austriche, the Carinthians, Bohemers and Hongarians, whome the Germaines cal Hussares, beseged the towne Exechium upon the Ryver of Drave, whiche was kept with a strong garryson of the Turkes. And destroyed. where they tracted the tyme, and were constrayned for wante of victualles to levie the siege, in the retire they fel into the lappes of their ennemies, which had layd for them ambusches in the woodes, and kept all the straytes, that they could no way escape. In this distresse firste certen Centurions and captaynes of souldiours, and the Hongarians fled, after also went Cacianer the kinges Lieutenaunt. But the reste who detested the shame of running away, exhorting themselves unto [Page]manhode, especially the horsemen of Almaigne, aboade the charge and violent force of their ennemies, but in fine, being vanquished of the greater numbre, were all for the moste parte slayne, and manye of the captaynes taken prisoners, and led to Constantinople in to moste miserable captivitie.

The fourth Ides of Octobre, the kyng of Englande had a sonne borne at Hamptoncourt, Prince Edwarde, by Quene Jane Semer, whome he maried after the death of Quene Anne. In the meane whyle the byshop of Rome, for so muche as truce was taken be twyxt Fraunce and Flaunders, went about to procure the like also in al other places, to the entent that through this occasion he might worke his purpose, and ceased not tyll he had brought it to passe. The bishops devise was, as it is reported, that setting them at peace, he myght stire them up against the kyng of England, whom he hated unto the death and against the Lutherians. About this tyme also Christina the Emperours nece by his syster Quene of Denmarke, Duchesse of Millan, leaving Italy, retourneth into Flaunders, through Germanye, and there was a treaty of a mariage betwene her and William Duke of Cleave, but it toke not effect. Than also the men of Gelderland began to rebelle against their Prince Charles Egmonde, whiche was al his lyfe tyme of the Frenche parte, and therfore sore hated of the Burgundians: and than as it was sayd, went about to make his country Frenche. He was so chased out by his owne people every where in this outragious tumulte, that he had scarsly a towne or two lefte hym to flye into. He was alwayes a great mainteiner of the bishop of Romes doctrine, Paule the third in the first beginning of his byshoprike, made his two yonge nephewes Cardinalles, as before is wrytten. For the whiche thing being evyll reported of, he vouched saufe to call other worthy men also, both in nobilitie and learning to the same degre of honour, partly to asswage the envie and displeasure, partely to have mete champions, whiche were able to defende hym by their learnyng and eloquence, amonges whome was Caspar Contarene, Reginalde Poole, John Bellie, Frederick Fregose, unto whom within a shorte space after, he added moreover Sadolete, Alexander, and Bembus. And purposed also Erasinus, as in a certen Epistle to a frend of his, Erasinus himselfe reporteth. There remayne also certen Epistles written of Sadolet to Erasinus, wherin after he hath spoken muche of the great good wyl of the byshop towardes hym, he sayth that within shorte tyme he wyl avaunce him to hyghe dignitie. Contarenus was a noble man & a Senatour of Venise, for his learnyng ryght famous, and beyonde all expectation, whan he had craved nothynge, was sodaynly promoted to this dignitie.



The people of Jewes wer led awaye captive into Assiria and Babilon, for contemnyng the prophetes, & for a newe Religion and worsshipping, which they themselves had devysed: and at the length was utterly distroyed, & Hierusalem quite overthrowne for crucifying the sonne of God. The most triumphante Empires of the world in time past, of Babilon, Persia, and Grece, being now subdewed by the Turkes, have so cleane lost theyr religion, lawes, comonwelth and all theyr dignitie, for the selfe same causes, that there is at this day in maner no token of christianitie there remayning: and wher partly they forsoke, and partlilothed gods benefites, they fel into horrible darknes, and most filthy bondage. Whether was this any soden alteration: for the Turkes maintened warre sixe hondreth yeres and above, beefore they conquered Grece. Whiche happened than at the lengthe, what tyme they beyng so ofte provoked and warned, wolde never amend, but heaped up sinne upon synne. Now if a man should compare those kingdomes, that wer of such power & dignitie, wherein florisshed so many excellente wittes, with this very rude and beastly common welth of the Turkes, he shall fynde that syns Noes floud there never chaunced a greater calamitie.

And yf they so stronge and mightye nations were not able to resiste so weake a people, as the Turkes wer, at the beginnyng, god thus avengyng the synnes of the people, what maye we looke for, which in dede are gyltye of the same fault, but in so much the worse case, for that we be matched with anenemie that is strong out of measure? we see how God doeth plage us, chiefly in these parties wyth warre famyne, and pestilence: The most cruell enemie hathe taken of late Offen the chiefe citie of the Realme? he hathe brent & spoyled the land of Bohema: And what miserie have we not suffered these sixtene yeres? howe moche blod hathe bene spilte & how many thousand peopele led a waye in to most miserable captyuitie? for certenly now is the Turkes power so increased that he is far exalted above all other kinges. And for by cause he obteyneth at oure handes in a maner contynuall victories he perceyveth him self to bee the scourge of God and that no man is able to escape his vengeaunce Seing therfore that our synnes be so great and many, what have we to truste unto, or howe shall we defende our selves agaynste him?

Assuredly there is but one only remedy. All thinges are in the handes of god: it is god that geveth and taketh awaye empires, whiche woundeth and healeth, who provoketh us to repentaunce, by offering us the knowledg of his word, which thing in dede he doth ever before he plageth. So sent he Jonas the prophet to the Ninivites, and forgave then for that they repented: So loked he mercyfully upon Nabuchodonosor [Page clxxxvi]the kyng of Assirians, followyng the counsell of Daniel. And certenly moste myghty kyng, we knowe none other meane or remedye, than that Gods worde may be purely taught, and the people exhorted to amendement of life, to the entent that being ful of confidence, they may boldely withstande the Turkishe violence, for herein consisteth oure salvation that we serve God ryghtly. Wherfore seing that manye errours are crept into the churche, whiche in this our tyme are disclosed, and that lately in the counsel of the Empyre, diverse opinions wer agreed upon, and for a certen tyme peace graunted for Religion, and the Byshop commaunded to refonrme their churches: We beseche your hyghnes to geve commaundement that the Gospell be preached sincerely, especially that article of justification, whiche teacheth that our synnes are forgiven through Christ only. Agayne that men be excited unto love and charitable workes, whiche are the true fruictes & tokens of fayth. Moreover let them be made afrayd to synne, and accustome them selves to geve God thankes, that of his mere mercy we are delyvered through Christ from synne, death, and hell, and made inheritours of the heavenly kingdome: that such as desyre, may receive the Lordes supper after the maner of the primative church, And that also the Byshoppes be conmaunded according to the decree of the Empyre newly made, to redresse that is amisse in the churche, that they appoincte mete ministers to instructe the people, and rejecte not the true preachers as they have ever done heretofore.

And let not your grace thinke that we make this sute unto you, for that we either seke for any more libertie, or intende at any tyme to disobey: for we confesse that our whole salvation consisteth in Christe only, and that the knoweledge of the Gospell, must be adourned with godly living, & acknowledge it our bounden dutie to shewe unto you all obedience, as farre forth as our goodes and lyfe wyll extende. And seing it is so, we doe humbly beseche you to suffer us to enjoye the benefite of this last decree, and that suche as shall followe the fourme of Religion of us before rehearsed, be not indaungered therfore. For so shal you have faith full ministers of your churches, whiche are nowe many vacant and boyde of any, and men shall with more hardines warre against that moste terrible ennemy, unto whome for our ingratitude and wickednes, God hath given so many victories and conquestes hitherto.

This is a selection from the original text


gospel, house, penury, religion, soldier, tyrant, war

Source text

Title: A Famouse Cronicle of Oure Time, Called Sleidanes Commentaries

Author: Johannes Sleidanus

Publisher: John Daie

Publication date: 1560

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 19848a Physical description: [6], ccccxliiii, ccccxlix-cccclxx, [18] leaves Copy from: Cambridge University Library Reel position: STC / 1391:01

Digital edition

Original author(s): Johannes Sleidanus

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) title page
  • 2 ) image number: 133
  • 3 ) image numbers: 139-140
  • 4 ) image number: 142
  • 5 ) image number: 147
  • 6 ) image number: 160
  • 7 ) image number: 192


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > chronicle histories

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.