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Protestant Resistance – The Schmalkaldic League (1531/35)

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Should the war go so unfavorably, either at the beginning or within five months’ time, that this aid proves too small for the purpose, or if the war is prolonged beyond five months, then, provided that the commanders and the military councilors approve, the League's estates shall be called to a convenient place to discuss and decide how the aid already levied can be enlarged or extended. The aim shall be to pose a powerful force against the foe and his forces, also to see that the previous aid has not been paid out in vain; and that the estates will not have to break off the action in shame and with losses and damages or be coerced into giving up God's truth. Then, the ruling commanders and military councilors shall, as they think best, call the elector, princes, counts, and cities, and other members of this League to assemble as soon as possible at a convenient place on a specified day. There, the members, either in person or through envoys with suitable powers of decision, shall help the whole to discuss the situation and help it decide what to do. Following a thorough discussion, whatever the members, as a whole – based on the understanding, commitment, and pledge of all – decide to be good, useful, and necessary [will have our support], and we should and will conduct and show ourselves to be loyal comrades and unstintingly pledge our life and goods. And whatever is decided, we shall obey promptly and without protest or delay.

If any other estate, whether prince, count, baron, city, or other, wants to join this League, that estate will be assessed a fair share of this levy. And if God so wills that this money is not expended by the expiration of the alliance, at that time each elector, prince, and estate shall recover what he paid.

In order that this alliance will remain as solid as possible, we have decided that we should appoint from the assembly nine military councilors as follows. Namely, we, the elector, 2; the princes of Brunswick and Lüneburg, the aforementioned Prince Wolfgang of Anhalt, and the two counts of Mansfeld, 1; we, Landgrave Philip of Hesse, 2; and also we, the southern cities, 2, and the Saxon and Hanseatic cities, 2. Further, during the six months when we, Duke John Frederick, elector, hold the ruling commandership, we shall fill only one seat in the military council. Likewise, we, Landgrave Philip, shall, during our period of ruling commandership, appoint not more than one military councilor. Each military councilor named by a member shall be presented by name to the two commanders, and when the ruling commander calls a councilor to duty, he shall come unless prevented by some cause. In that case, the members shall send in his place another who is skilled and experienced in these affairs. The ruling commander may call the eight military councilors to duty at any time to a specified place, where they shall be obligated by oath to appear. There they shall deal will all urgent matters and give advice, listen attentively to the commander's views, and if the councilor and the commander can agree, that shall be done.

If it should happen, however, that the council cannot agree, either unanimously or by majority, the decision shall fall to the commander, and his will be the final word. And whatever is decided by a majority of the military council and the commander, or, if the council is split into equal parts, by the commander alone, the commander will execute loyally and without delay or hindrance. He will do this on his own, nor at any time will he entertain or encourage other opinions from outside the military council.

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