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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

And Unterwalden allied themselves with the Duchy of Austria


The

combination looked so threatening and contained such possibilities that Ferdinand of Austria proposed a counter-league among the Romanist cantons; and a _Christian Union_, in which Luzern, Zug, Schwyz, Uri, and Unterwalden allied themselves with the Duchy of Austria, was founded in 1529, having for its professed objects the preservation of the mediaeval religion, with some reforms carried out under the guidance of the ecclesiastical authorities. The Confederates pledged themselves to secure for each other the right to punish heretics. This League had also its possibilities of extension. It was thought that Bavaria and Salzburg might join. The canton of the Valais had already leagued itself with Savoy against Geneva, and brought its ally within the _Christian Union_. The very formation of the Leagues threatened war, and occasions of hostilities were not lacking. Austria was eager to attack Constance, and Bern longed to punish Unterwalden for its unprovoked invasion of Bernese territory. The condition and protection of the Evangelical population in the Common Lands and in the Free Bailiwicks demanded settlement, more especially as the Romanist cantons had promised to support each other in asserting their right to punish heretics. War seemed to be inevitable. Schaffhausen, Appenzell, and the Graubuenden endeavoured to mediate; but as neither Zurich nor Bern would listen to any proposals which did not include the right of free preaching, their efforts were in vain. The situation,
difficult enough, was made worse by the action of the canton of Schwyz, which, having caught a Zurich pastor named Kaiser on its territory, had him condemned and burnt as a heretic. This was the signal for war. It was agreed that the Zurichers should attack the Romanist cantons, while Bern defended the Common Lands, and, if need be, the territory of her sister canton. The plan of campaign was drafted by Zwingli himself, who also laid down the conditions of peace. His proposals were, that the Forest cantons must allow the free preaching of the Gospel within their lands; that they were to forswear pensions from any external Power, and that all who received them should be punished both corporeally and by fine; that the alliance with Austria should be given up; and that a war indemnity should be paid to Zurich and to Bern. While the armies were facing each other the Zurichers received a strong appeal from Hans Oebli, the Landamann of Glarus, to listen to the proposals of the enemy. The common soldiers disliked the internecine strife. They looked upon each other as brothers, and the outposts of both armies were fraternising. In these circumstances the Zurich army (for it was the Swiss custom that the armies on the field concluded treaties) accepted the terms of peace offered by their opponents. The treaty is known as the First Peace of Kappel (June 1529). It provided that the alliance between Austria and the Romanist cantons should be dissolved, and the treaties "pierced and slit" (the parchments were actually cut in pieces by the dagger in sight of all); that in the Common Lands no one was to be persecuted for his religious opinions; that the majority should decide whether the old faith was to be retained or not, and that bailiffs of moderate opinions should be sent to rule them; that neither party should attack the other because of religion; that a war indemnity should be paid by the Romanist cantons to Zurich and Bern (the amount was fixed at 2500 Sonnenkronen); and that the abolition of foreign pensions and mercenary service should be recommended to Luzern and the Forest cantons. The treaty contained the seeds of future war; for the Zurichers believed that they had secured the right of free preaching within the Romanist cantons, while these cantons believed that they had been left to regulate their own internal economy as they pleased. Zwingli would have preferred a settlement after war, and the future justified his apprehensions.


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