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

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After this text (or one along these lines) had been read aloud, the speaker loudly asked everyone present with these words: “Are you in favor of this? All in favor say ‘aye.’” Then nearly everyone, even their closest relatives, answered with a great cry. Then the same Lord Wenzl Wilhelm von Ruppa approached the two lords and said: “I am very sorry, my heart is heavy because of what is happening. I have long feared and predicted this; nothing good will come of it.”

To this the two men answered, one after the other: “It is known to all that we were unable at the territorial parliament of 1609 to become involved in matters dealing with religion or sign anything with a good conscience. We have answered on this point at that time to the lords and the others from all three Utraquist estates and appropriately apologized. Because the signature of the Imperial Letter of Majesty had nothing to do with us, just like the amnesties, which were issued by His Imperial Majesty himself and not by us, and contained in the decision of the parliament, it was neither necessary nor prudent for us to sign them. The compromise, however, was signed by those lords who had reached it and we had not assisted, so that there our signature was also unnecessary, just as in the other articles of faith and ecclesiastical matters. Because we—as simple people—had little to say or do with those matters, we were not inclined to act against our conscience or to amend the record in the Landtafel. Similarly, in the ecclesiastical matter concerning Braunau, clearly a matter for His Imperial Majesty, it was not appropriate for us to seek an agreement with those lords, for with such negotiations and compromises we Catholics have already lost a great deal, but rather the lords should have brought the entire matter to the complete estate and brought their demands or supposed justice peacefully before the proper avenues. As concerns however the present accusations, we promptly and publically answered at that time before all the lords with a clear protest, that this evil suspicion conceived against us is unfounded, and that all such accusations must be sufficiently proven within the system of justice. And we protest again [ . . . ] that one should have respect of our position with His Imperial Majesty and our office and not employ violence against us, or physically attack us in the slightest.”

To which Lord Wilhelm Popel said: “We are taking no regents but rather the evil enemies--to us all and the common peace." “To which Lord v. Ruppa quickly added: “Yes, let us issue an apology [i.e. a defense] accordingly so that the whole word can see that we acted honorably and in good faith.” Then Lord Wilhelm Popel and a few others turned to the other two regents and said: “Lord supreme burgrave and Lord grand prior, you should be along your way, we intend to do nothing bad to you, but we intend to have justice with these other two." And then they attempted to take the supreme burgrave out by the hand.

Then Lord von Martinicz took the supreme burgrave by the left sleeve of his coat and addressed him with these words: “Lord supreme burgrave, my dear father, I beg your grace not to leave and to part from us, for we regents should not abandon each other, but rather suffer good and bad together and inseparably, should stand together in life and death." At this the supreme burgrave pulled himself out of their grasp and wanted to remain in the chancellery, holding up his hands to prevent any sudden violence. Several others, however, then physically took the supreme burgrave and the lord grand prior to the door of the chancellery and led them away.

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