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The Imperial Diet’s Response to the Peasants’ War, Speyer (August 1526)

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10.) So that this assistance should not lead to disputes or misunderstanding between those who go to give assistance and those who receive it, [it was stipulated that] the electors, princes, prelates, counts, and estates who are asked for help and assistance by the others shall provide the strongest support possible on horseback and by foot against the disobedient subjects for one month—including the march there and back— at their own expense and risk. If the assistance is needed for more than a month, however, then the one who needed help should compensate and settle with those who provided the help provided beyond the month’s time. In addition, the helper should deal with the one he helps in a reasonable, friendly, neighborly way on account of this assistance and behave as he would like to have done if the circumstances were reversed.

11.) And, as it was considered and observed at the present imperial diet how in many places the clerical and secular [authorities] face danger to life and limb, and that their interest, rents, dues, and tithes are withheld and they are impeded from collecting these, and [because] no one shall be deprived of his rightful property, [it was decided] that every authority, ecclesiastical and secular, shall faithfully protect and defend their subjects, ecclesiastical and secular, against violence and injustice according to the terms of the public peace and the ordinances of the Holy Roman Empire, so that, until a future council, peace, unity, and equality might reign between the ecclesiastical and secular [authorities] and neither clerical nor secular persons should have reason to complain of being unfairly assaulted or dispossessed. Furthermore, they shall deal with each other in a friendly and reasonable manner as each estate deserves, merits, and is due.

Source of original German text: Quellen zur Geschichte des Bauernkrieges, compiled and edited by Günther Franz. Darmstadt: WBG, 1963, pp. 593-601.

Translation: Ellen Yutzy Glebe

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