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The Catholic Triumph – The Edict of Restitution (March 6, 1629)

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To assure an effective enforcement of both the Religious Peace and civil peace, We have therefore decided to order our Imperial commissioners forthwith into the Empire, where they shall demand that their current (illegal) possessors give up what they have taken (whether with or without force), namely archbishoprics, bishoprics, prelacies, monasteries, and other ecclesiastical properties, hospitals, and foundations, which the Catholics possessed at the time of the Treaty of Passau or thereafter, and of which were unjustly deprived. Such offices and foundations shall be given over to persons who are correctly qualified and appointed, so that each shall be accorded what belongs to him, and to which provisions of the much cited Religious Peace entitle him to recover without further ado or avoidable delay.

[In conclusion it is emphasized once more that the Religious Peace applies only to Catholics and to adherents of the Confession of Augsburg, not to other “offensive” doctrines and sects, and especially not to Calvinists.]

Accordingly, We command you, individually and collectively, by pain of punishment dictated by the Religious Peace and the Public Peace, that you do not oppose this, Our final settlement, but that you promote it without delay in your lands and districts and also aid Our commissioners when they ask for a helping hand. To those who are in possession of the aforesaid archbishoprics, bishoprics, prelacies, monasteries, hospitals, benefices, and other ecclesiastical properties, they shall immediately on the announcement of this, Our Imperial edict, make preparations to vacate and restore such bishoprics, prelacies, and other ecclesiastical properties—together with all of their belongings—immediately upon the Imperial commissioners’ orders. If they refuse or show reluctance to obey, not only shall they suffer on account of their notorious disobedience the punishment prescribed in the aforementioned Public Peace and Religious Peace—that is, the Imperial ban and greater ban, also loss of all privileges, rights, and liberties forthwith and without further condemnation and judgment, but We shall perforce proceed to effective enforcement.

[This edict shall be proclaimed in the Circles by their commanders. (7)]

This is Our will. Given in Our city of Vienna on March 6, 1629, the tenth year of Our reign over the Roman Empire, the eleventh over the Hungarian and twelfth over the Bohemian kingdom.

(7) Over each of the Circles stood one or several princes, the commanders, who called the Circle Diets together, presided over them, and administered the Circles’ financial and military affairs – trans.

Source of original German text: Hans Schulz, Der Dreißigjährige Krieg. Tl. 1: Bis zum Tod Gustav Adolfs. Leipzig: Teubner, 1917, pp. 60-78. (Hauptquellen zur neueren Geschichte. H. 22); reprinted in Bernd Roeck, ed., Gegenreformation und Dreißigjähriger Krieg 1555-1648. Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, Volume 4. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1996, pp. 267-76.

English translation: Thomas Brady Jr.

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