Today with Zwingli: The First War of Kappel

Originally published in Froschauer's of Zurich...

On the 16th of June Huldrych Zwingli was asked by the Zurich city council to write ‘Articles of Peace’ on the basis of which the First Kappel War could be brought to an end.  He did so, in eight brief articles.  Four of these were of primary importance and as Schaff puts it these four articles were non-negotiable-

1) That the Word of God be preached freely in the entire confederacy, but that no one be forced to abolish the mass, the images, and other ceremonies which will fall of themselves under the influence of scriptural preaching; 2) that all foreign military pensions be abolished; 3) that the originators and the dispensers of foreign pensions be punished while the armies are still in the field; 4) that the Forest Cantons pay the cost of war preparations, and that Schwyz pay one thousand guilders for the support of the orphans of Kaiser (Schlosser) who had recently been burnt there as a heretic.

The first Kappel War wasn’t much of a war at all though-

The hostile armies faced each other from Cappel and Baar, but hesitated to advance. Catholic guards would cross over the border to be taken prisoners by the Zürichers, who had an abundance of provision, and sent them back well fed and clothed. Or they would place a large bucket of milk on the border line and asked the Zürichers for bread, who supplied them richly; whereupon both parties peacefully enjoyed a common meal, and when one took a morsel on the enemy’s side, he was reminded not to cross the frontier. The soldiers remembered that they were Swiss confederates, and that many of them had fought side by side on foreign battlefields.

Unfortunately the peace the parties reached would be broken two years later at the Second Kappel War, where Zwingli, while serving as Chaplain, would be killed.

Schaff goes on to observe of the Peace Accord of 1529

After several negotiations, a treaty of Peace was concluded June 25, 1529, between Zürich, Bern, Basel, St. Gall, and the cities of Mühlhausen and Biel on the one hand, and the five Catholic Cantons on the other. The deputies of Glarus, Solothurn, Schaffhausen, Appenzell, Graubünden, Sargans, Strassburg, and Constanz acted as mediators.  The treaty was not all that Zwingli desired, especially as regards the abolition of the pensions and the punishment of the dispensers of pensions (wherein he was not supported by Bern), but upon the whole it was favorable to the cause of the Reformation.

So it took less than 10 days for the parties to come to final terms.  Zwingli, it has to be noted, wasn’t a party to the negotiations- that was left to the government.  His role was simply that of theological adviser since it was his Reforming effort that had brought about the breach between the Cantons.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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