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orders of men were required to assist, with their persons and fortunes, in carrying this decree into execution; and such as refused to obey it were declared incapable of acting as judges or of appearing as parties in the Imperial Chamber, the supreme court of judicature in the empire. To all which was subjoined a promise, that an application should be made to the Pope, requiring him to call a general council within six months, in order to terminate all controversies by its sovereign decisions."'2 0
In pursuance of this promise, Charles corresponded with the Pope respecting a council. Clement, as usual, hesitated and objected. Still the emperor urged the matter, and at length the Pope signified that he was willing to convene the long-desired assembly, on the following conditions ;-that the objects for which it should be called should be, to obtain subsidies against the Turks, restore the Lutherans to the faith, suppress heresies, and punish the refractory, but not a word about reformation ; that the emperor himself should be present; that it should be holden in Italy, at Bologna, Placentia, or Mantua ; that none should have the right of suffrage but those who had enjoyed it by prescription already; and that the Lutherans should both desire it and engage to obey its decrees.
It was easy to see that the Pope was insincere. Nevertheless, to save appearances, he despatched letters to the European princes and states, informing them of his determination, and requesting their assistance, either in person or by their ambassadors, whenever the council should be summoned.21 It seems that at Rome it was seriously believed that his Holiness was in earnest, and so great was the panic in consequence that the price of public offices fell in the market to almost nothing !23
The number and power of the Protestants continued
20 Robertson, book v. Le Plat, ii. 479–501.
21 Le Plat, ii. 501-503. On one occasion Clement had sent the Emperor two bulls, either of which might be used by him, at his discretion. By the one, he deprived the elector of Saxony, a Protestant, of his right of suffrage in the choice of an emperor, because he was a heretic; by the other, he granted him the right, although he was a heretic! Pallav. lib. iii. c. 9. s. 2.
22 Vilissinium pretium,“ a most mean price,” says Pallavicini, to whom we are indebted for this curious fact." Lib. iii. c. 7. 8. 1.
to increase, and for the present Charles was obliged to relinquish the hope of forcing them back to popery. By the peace of Nuremburg, established in July 1532, it was arranged that the decree of the diet of Augsburg should be suspended, and that all molestations on account of religion should cease till the convocation of a general council, which the emperor once more promised should take place within six months; but that if it did not. another diet should be summoned, to determine on some mode of settling the religious differences of Germany.? 3 In the latter end of the year, the Pope and emperor met at Bologna. The result of their conference was that the former sent a nuncio and the latter an ambassador to the German princes, to negotiate with them respecting the place, mode of proceeding, &c. of the proposed council.3 4 But the wily pontiff had offered such conditions as he well knew the Protestant princes would not accept. In fact, Clement had resolved that a council should not be assembled while he possessed the power to prevent it. He succeeded: by pretexts, excuses, and artifices, he deferred the dreaded meeting, and kept all Europe at bay till his death, which took place, Sept. 25, 1534.
Paul III. who succeeded Clement, professed great zeal for the reformation of abuses, and would have it believed that he was extremely desirous of a council. Scarcely ever did the cardinals meet in consistory but the Pope harangued them on the necessity of reform, which, he said, must begin with themselves. But his own conduct gave little hope that any efficient measures would be adopted. Only two months after his elevation to the pontificate he gave cardinals' hats to two lads, one aged 14, the other 16, the sons of his own illegiti. mate children!
Early in 1535 nuncios were sent to all the European sovereigns, announcing the Pope's intention respecting a council, and soliciting their co-operation. Peter Paul Vergerio was selected for Germany. - He was instructed to confine himself to one point, viz. the place where the council should be held; for the Pope judged that if the Protestants would allow him the right to summon the meeting, and the choice of time and place, every thing else would be easily settled. Vergerio met the Protestant princes at Smalcald, but they refused to accept his proposals, and declared that they would not submit to any council unless it were free, and held in Germany.
23 Le Plat, ii. 503–510. 24 Le Plat, ii. 510_515.
25 Le Plat, ii. 519. An interesting account of an interview between Luther and Vergerio, and of the conversion of the lat
The bull for the convocation of the council was issued in June 1536, and May 23, in the following year was appointed for the meeting of the assembly; the place was Mantua.2 6 Nuncios were despatched to the European courts with the intelligence. Vorstius, who was sent to the German Protestant princes, was specially enjoined to avoid all disputations with the heretics; such proceedings were found to be dangerous. The princes were again assembled at Smalcald, and they again rejected the council for the same reasons as be. fore.37 The Pope was further mortified by the refusal of the Duke of Mantua to receive the assembly in his city, unless an extra garrison were sent, to be placed absolutely under his control, and supported by his Holiness. In consequence, the council was prorogued till Nov. 1, and afterwards till May 1, 1538, on which day the prelates were summoned to meet at Vicenza, a city in the Venetian territories. 2 8 Three legates were de. puted to preside in the name of the Pope, the Cardinals Campeggio, Simonetta, and Aleander. They repaired to Vicenza at the time appointed, but not a single bishop appeared; for the Emperor and the King of France were at war, and travelling was unsafe. Consequently, the council was prorogued till the following Easter, and afterwards during the good pleasure of the Pope, 2 9 who it may be supposed, was heartily glad of an opportunity to postpone to an indefinite period a meeting which the pontiffs seemed to hold in utmost dread.
It was probably with a wish to prevent the council entirely that Paul appointed a commission, consisting of
ter to Protestantism, is given by Mr. Scott in his Continuation of Milner's History, vol. i. p. 407-415, 452_457. 26 Le Plat, ii. 526.
27 Jbid. 575-584. 28 Ibid. 588-591.
29 Ibid. 630-632.
four cardinals and five bishops, to examine all abuses and ascertain where reform was most needed. Their report, which proved a most important document, by some means got abroad, and was immediately printed and widely circulated in Germany, where it greatly aided the reformation. It presented a deplorable view of the corruptions and vices of the Papal court. 3 0
During the next three years the Roman Catholics and Protestants were busily employed in supporting their respective interests. Attempts were made from time to time to reconcile the contending parties, especially at the diets of Haguenau and Ratisbon;31 but the breach was too wide to be healed. The Roman Catholics, with the emperor at their head, saw no remedy but a council. The Protestants only desired to be let alone, and uniformly refused to submit to the decrees of an assembly convened by the Pope, managed by his agents, and held in his dominions. But the wishes of the more powerful party prevailed; at the diet of Spire, held early in 1542, it was agreed that the council should be holden in the city of Trent. A bull was issued, summoning the prelates of Christendom to meet in that place on the first of November.
30 Le Plat, ii. 596-605. Preservative against Popery, vol. i. p. 79–84. “The reformation proposed in this place was indeed extremely superficial and partial: yet it contains some particulars which scarcely could have been expected from the pens of those that composed it. They complained, for instance, of the pride and ignorance of the bishops, and proposed that, none should receive orders but learned and pious men; and that. therefore, care should be taken to have proper masters to instruct the yonth. They condemned translations from one benefice to another, grants of reserration, non-residence, and plaralities. They proposed that some convents should be abolished; that the liberty of the press should be restrained and limited; that the colloquies of Erasmus should be suppressed; that no ecclesiastic should enjoy a benefice out of his own country; that no cardinal should have a bishopric; that the questors of St. Anthony, and several other saints, shonld be abolished; and, which was the best of all their proposals, that the effects and personal estates of ecclesiasties should be given to the poor. They concluded with complaining of the prodigious number of indigent and ragged priests that frequented St. Peter's church; and declared that it was a great scandal to see the whores lodged so magnificently at Rome, and riding throngh the streets on fine mules, while the cardinals and other ecclesiastics accompanied them in a most courteous and familiar manner."'--Mosheim, cent. xvi. sect. l.
31 A, D, 1540, 1541. Le Plat, iik 1-127.
Three legates were appointed to preside in the coun: cil, in the name of the Pope, cardinals Parasi, Moron, and Pole; ihe first, observes father Paul, because he was a skilful canonist; the second, because he was a good politician, and well acquainted with business; and the third, that it might appear that England, though separated from Rome, had a share in the transactions of the assembly.32 They were instructed to signify their arrival to the sovereigns of Europe, to avoid disputes with the heretics, to do nothing till a sufficient number of prelates had arrived from Italy, Germany, France, and Spain, and even then to wait for further orders from the Pope.
The time chosen was extremely inopportune, as the emperor and the King of France were then at war. Till peace was restored, there could be no hope of a prosperous issue. Nevertheless, some Italian bishops were directed by the Pope to proceed to Trent, and the emperor sent three ambassadors and a few Neapolitan prelates; but the Germans, French, and Spaniards were prevented from leaving home on account of the war, and without them the council could not be held. Consequently, after the legates had waited eight months in vain, they were recalled, and the council suspended during the good pleasure of the Roman Pontiff. 33
At a diet held at Spire in 1544, the affairs of religion were again seriously discussed. The emperor so much needed the assistance of the Protestants in his wars that he was glad to court them by compliances which in his more prosperous days he would have disdained. The Papal legate was prohibited from attending the diet, and it was enacted that the penal statutes should be suspended till a general or national council had been held. Meanwhile, Protestants and Roman Catholics were exhorted to live in peace, and some civil privileges, were bestowed on the former, of which their presumed heresy had deprived them. 34
Nothing could exceed the grief and anger of the Pope on this occasion. That any thing like equality of rights should be granted to heretics, and that a German diet
32 Lib. i. sect. 69.
33 Le Plat, iii. 195-200. 34 Pallav. lib. v. c. 5. sect. 3.