Plottings and Schemes Against Zwingli

zwingli198When priests and monks had been degraded from their positions (so to speak) and a mandate had been issued against the pensioners as we call them, the enemy turned to plots to try if by any means they might destroy the man. I will be silent about the secret plots that may be known to me, and will tell you about those known to people in general. Some one came to his house after midnight and prayed him to come to a man at the point of death. The deacon replying for the master of the house that he would do whatever was necessary himself (for Zwingli was not to be disturbed during the night because of his daily duties), the visitor objected so strongly that the suspicions of the deacon were aroused that he had some plot on foot.

The deacon therefore, going as if he would tell his master all about it, frustrated the marauder by closing the door and leaving him outside. In the morning the facts were discovered, that he was to have been gagged and carried away secretly in a boat. Shortly after a horse was got ready to be used for the same purpose.

Again we saw a waylayer (it was said he was from Zug) in the city girded with the longest kind of sword openly wandering about without a cloak watching for a favourable opportunity to run across the man and kill him. The man was reported and taken into custody, and disappeared.

And one of my favorites

Two Zurichers under the influence of liquor—I will not mention their names though I know them—threw stones one night against Zwingli’s house and breaking his windows behaved so cruelly, basely, and inhumanly with their shouts and curses and blows that none of the neighbours dared to protest even through the windows. So they kept on till they had used up their stones, their words, and their strength.

The tumult was reported to the mayor in the morning, the gates were shut and armed men searched for the offenders in vain in every nook and cranny of the city until certain prostitutes who knew about their hiding places, not being adepts in concealing, unintentionally betrayed one of them; the other had already escaped.

The fellow was dragged from the wine cask of a certain priest and taken to prison by the enraged crowd. After many trials he was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and for some weeks he lay in captivity until he was released by request of Bern.

And again

Zwingli sometimes dined away from home with friends or entertainers. Therefore returning he was almost always escorted, without being aware of it, by good citizens, lest evil should befall him on the way. And the Senate in this perilous time placed watchers around his house at night.

And finally, concerning the pension he received from Rome which certain unsavory characters in our day use as a cudgel with which to beat the poor dead man, not satisfied with respecting his work and instead endeavoring only to besmirch the deceased in order to make him a toady of the same Antichrist they serve-

See, I beseech you, what unjust accusations were brought against the man that he should have to be protected in this way! They called him “a pensionary” because not knowing it was wrong he received at one time an annual pension from the Roman pontiff. He himself indeed excused this offence to his Germans thus: “The dealings which I once had with the Pope ceased years ago. I thought then it was allowable to receive a pension from the pontiff to defend his way. But having realised the sin of it, I gave up the whole business. Therefore the deputies (factores), as they are called, accuse me of wrong in the matter, and being angry at my giving up the pension, impute to me what I have done as a sin because they persuade men that by receiving the pontifical pension they serve God.”

And to Berthold Haller and Caspar Megander, he thus writes of the gifts of princes: “I esteem the glory of Christ and if you prefer mine own also more than all the wealth of all the princes, not to mention the moderate munificence of one king. In times past I have learned what gifts meant, so that in old age desire after them is not possible.”

[From the biography of Zwingli by Oswald Myconius]