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

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Then they turned to the other two lords, i.e. Wilhelm Slawata and von Martinicz, and said: “You are enemies of us and our religion, who wanted to keep us from our Majesty’s letter. You also persecuted your subjects who are Utraquists in his Imperial Majesty’s territories, especially in Crumau and Straschitz. [You have] tried to force them to [adopt] your religion against their will, or expelled them from their properties. [You] displaced the Utraquist pastors in Imperial appointments and replaced them with Catholic priests, and furloughed and released captains and other servants in Imperial territories, replacing them with those of your Catholic religion.” First Lord Slawata answered: "I am no foe of the Utraquist lords and have not acted against his Majesty’s letter, nor forced my subjects to [adopt] a religion.” At this Lord Wilhelm Popel broke in with these words: “Didn’t you force those in Tel?!?!” Lord Slawata continued: “No, I never forced them, but I allowed whoever did not want to be an obliging Catholic to sell his property within a fixed time and to leave my territory unhindered with the money, even the richest, and to seek his fortune elsewhere. And anyway it is not fitting to interfere with the territory of Tel?, because it is not in the Bohemian kingdom but rather in the Margraviate of Moravia.” And Lord von Martinicz answered: “I am too weak to be the enemy of these lords or damage them. As far as my subjects are concerned, I did motivate them to [adopt] the holy Catholic faith, but without any special force, rather with appropriate measures, and even before the letter from His Majesty, which I was subsequently able to obtain. And those were converted with proper instruction and faithful reprimands. [ . . . ] The appointing of the pastors, however, is not our privilege but rather His princely Grace has allowed the Archbishop of Prague [to do so] because the current, but also the previous Imperial Majesty had, before and after the distribution of the Letter of Majesty (7) commanded them to fill each and every position (8) with pastors. Thus those pastors which had been appointed by the Archbishop of Prague in his territories, who had been consecrated to the priesthood and placed in the Imperial Majesty's parishes and positions in his obedience, but had then fallen away from the true faith and the Holy Catholic Church, at the same time wantonly neglecting their obedience to the Archbishop, they had been displaced and others appointed in their stead, which is clearly allowed and within the rights according to the agreement between the Catholics and Utraquists.”

At this point Lord Wilhelm Popel spoke about how at the last Bohemian Diet where the king had been elected we had been deceived and allowed that in the royal declaration concerning the privileges of the Letter of Majesty nothing was set down in detail but only a general list of the privileges. In this way our pious, honest Lord Count Thurn was denied the position of burgrave to Carlstein and lost the use of the corresponding property. Von Martinicz then responded that decisions reached in the Bohemian Diet of His Majesty and as king of Bohemia had been approved by all three estates and they must remain unchanged. Then Martinicz turned to Count Thurn and said: “Lord Count, this man shall be my witness and cannot deny what I have said, rather he must recognize it as proper truth, just as I have professed it at the transition of the offices in the presence of His Majesty and the other lords and high officers of the territory. After His Imperial Majesty promoted the man one level, namely to the office of supreme judge of the feudal court, but entrusted to me the office of burgrave to Carlstein, for which I did not wish to desire to do him harm und furthermore he had back then quickly been left by His Imperial Majesty, even had requested, that I should be satisfied with this, if Your Majesty wished to grant him this request. Your Imperial Majesty, however, did not desire this, rather wanted to remain with the previous resolution and the former distribution of offices, so that the lord had to take an oath as the supreme judge of the feudal court before me, and I, who had taken an oath as the burgrave to Carlstein, had to comply. And thus in this matter I am innocent and falsely accused.”

(7) The so-called Letter of Majesty is also included in this project.– trans.
(8) The German uses the term “Collatur” which is the right to appoint the holder of an office or stipend – trans.

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