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The War Begins – The Defenestration of Prague (May 1618)

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At this the four lords regent went to the window in the corner and answered that they were bound and sworn by oath to keep everything that they were told and discussed in the council secret at all times and not to reveal anything that was told them. Even more so was this the case as advisors of His Imperial Majesty, territorial officers and lords regent of the Bohemian Kingdom. Outside of the council could they say very little of that which had been discussed in the council, or [even] what they had and had not discussed, and they [the Utraquist party] should expect no confession. [ . . . ]

When, however, the aforementioned Utraquist lords were not satisfied, especially the Lord Count von Thurn, who remarked: “Since this is a very serious question, the burgrave and the lord great prior (6) can answer. Otherwise we do not intend to leave the Bohemian chancellery until we have received a clear answer.” And in this moment Lord Hans Litwin von Rziczan revealed the pistols which had hidden on his belt under his cloak, drew them and fired menacingly. [Then] he went up to Lord von Martinicz, kicked him defiantly, and straddled him, so that the supreme burgrave said after a short conversation: “Because the lords are not content and practically force us, we wish to declare together before God the Almighty, publicly to you and the entire world, that we have protested to the highest degree and take all those lords present as our witnesses, that His Imperial Majesty should in no way be unhappy with us, [ . . . ] that we were forced to give this answer and that we can say with good conscience that we did not advise the text which contradicts His Majesty’s letter. And because we see nothing in it that is offensive, much less so in those passages to which you have referred, that there is nothing to be condemned, as we have found, so if it should please you, we should allow said Imperial letter to be read immediately for better reference."

At this they began an intense discussion, especially Lord Count von Thurn and von Fels, Wilhelm Popel the senior, Bohuslav Berka, Wenzl Wilhelm von Ruppa, Joachim Andreas Schlick, Hans Litwin von Rziczan, Albrecht Hans Smirzicky, and Lord Ulbrich Kinsky called loudly, "The Imperial letter clearly goes against His Majesty’s letter." Again they said: “Lord supreme burgrave and lord grand prior, we know full well that the two of you are pious and did not advise this or wish to harm us, so Lord Slawata and Lord von Martinicz must have convinced and misled you.”

(6) Matthew Lobkowitz – trans.

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