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History of the Christian Church, Volume VIII: Modern Christianity. The Swiss Reformation.
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§ 43. The First Peace of Cappel. June, 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.

The first and most important of the Eighteen Articles of the treaty recognizes, for the first time in Europe, the principle of parity or legal equality of the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches,—a principle which twenty-six years afterwards was recognized also in Germany (by the Augsburger Religionsfriede of 1555), but which was not finally settled there till after the bloody baptism of the Thirty Years’ War, in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), against which the Pope of Rome still protests in vain. That article guarantees to the Reformed and Roman Catholic Cantons religious freedom in the form of mutual toleration, and to the common bailiwicks the right to decide by majority the question whether they would remain Catholics or become Protestants.264264    The Swiss German text of the first Article of the first Landsfriede of Cappel is as follows (Bluntschli, II. 257): "Des ersten von wägen des Göttlichen worts, diewyl und nieman zum glouben bezwungen sol werden, das dann die fünff ort und die iren, des selben ouch nitt genötiget. Aber die zügewandten und vogthien, wo man mitt einandern zü beherschen hat, belangend, wo die selben die mess abgestellt und die bilder verbränt oder abgethan, das die selben an lib eer und güt, nitt gestraaft söllind werden. Wo aber die mess and ander ceremonien noch vorhanden, die söllend nitt gezwungen, ouch inen keine predicanten, so es nitt durch den meertheyl erkendt wirt, geschickt, uffgestellt oder gegäben werden, sunder was under inen den kylchgenossen die uff oder abzüthünd, dessglychen mitt der Spys, die Gott nitt verbotten zü essen, gemeret wird, daby sol es biss uff der kylchgenossen gefallen blyben; und dhein teyl dem andern sinen glouben, weder smehen noch straafen."
   Bluntschli (a great authority in Swiss as well as international law) thus explains this article (I. 324): "In ihm ist bereits das Princip der Parität, d.h. der staatlichen Gleichberechtigung, beider christlichen Confessionenenthalten. Es ist anerkannt, dass kein Ort [Canton] den andern, dass auch die Eidgenossenscha ft nicht einzelne Orte zur Beibehaltung oder zur Abänderung ihres christlichen Glaubens zwingen dürfe. Die katholischen Stände verzichteten somit hierin den reformirten gegenüber ausdrücklich auf die Festhaltung des alten Rechtes des Mittelalters, wornach jede energische Abweichung von dem katholischen Glauben als ein Verbrechen behandelt und der Krieg gegen die Ketzer als Pflicht angesehen ward. Sie erkannten das Princip der Glaubensfreiheit, welches von den Reformirten zuerst verkündigt worden war, nun den Reformirten Orten gegenüber an, nahmen es aber gleichzeitig auch für sich selber in Anspruch. Und hin wieder gestanden die Reformirten Stände dieFolgerichtigkeit dieses Schlusses zu, und verzichteten darauf, die Orte zur Annahme der Reformation zu nöthigen." Comp. the treaty of Ilanz, p. 139.
The treaty also provided for the payment of the expenses of the war by the five cantons, and for an indemnity to the family of the martyred Kaiser. The abolition of the foreign pensions was not demanded, but recommended to the Roman Catholic Cantons. The alliance with Austria was broken. The document which contained the treasonable treaty was cut to pieces by Aebli in the presence of Zwingli and the army of Zürich.265265    The treaty of peace is given by Bullinger, II. 185 sqq. and 212; by Escher and Hottinger, in the "Archiv für schweizerische Geschichte und Landeskunde," Zürich, 1827, vol. I.; and by Bluntschli, l.c. II. 255-269 (Comp. I. 323-331).

The Catholics returned to their homes discontented. The Zürichers had reason to be thankful; still more the Berners, who had triumphed with their policy of moderation.

Zwingli wavered between hopes and fears for the future, but his trust was in God. He wrote (June 30) to Conrad Som, minister at Ulm: "We have brought peace with us, which for us, I hope, is quite honorable; for we did not go forth to shed blood.266266    "Denn wir uff blutvergiessen nit uszogen." We have sent back our foes with a wet blanket. Their compact with Austria was cut to pieces before mine eyes in the camp by the Landammann of Glarus, June 26, at 11 A. M. ... God has shown again to the mighty ones that they cannot prevail against him, and that we may gain victory without a stroke if we hold to him."267267    Opera, VIII. 310 sq.

He gave vent to his conflicting feelings in a poem which he composed in the camp (during the peace negotiations), together with the music, and which became almost as popular in Switzerland as Luther’s contemporaneous, but more powerful and more famous "Ein feste Burg," is to this day in Germany. It breathes the same spirit of trust in God.268268    Bullinger reports: "Dieses Lied wurde hernach weit und breit, auch an der Fürsten Höfen und in den Städten von Musicis gesungen und geblasen." On the other poems of Zwingli, see above, p. 44 sq.


"Do thou direct thy chariot,Lord,

And guide it at thy will;

Without thy aid our strength is vain,

And useless all our skill.

Look down upon thy saints brought low,

And grant them victory o’er the foe.


"Beloved Pastor, who hast saved

Our souls from death and sin,

Uplift thy voice, awake thy sheep

That slumbering lie within

Thy fold, and curb with thy right hand

The rage of Satan’s furious band.


"Send down thy peace, and banish strife,

Let bitterness depart;

Revive the spirit of the past

In every Switzer’s heart:

Then shalt thy church forever sing

The praises of her heavenly King."269269    This is a free version of H. White (from Merle D’Aubigné), with some necessary changes. The original, in the Swiss German, was sung at the Zwingli festivals in 1884, and, with great effect, at the unveiling of the Zwingli statue in Zürich, August, 1885. It is as follows:-
   "Herr, nun heb den Wagen selb’!’

   Schelb [schief] wird sust [sonst]

   All unser Fahrt.

   Das brächt Lust

   Der Widerpart,

   Die dick

   Veracht so freventlich.

   

   Gott, erhoch den Namen dyn

   In der Straf

   Der bösen Böck!

   Dyne Schaaf

   Wiedrum erweck,

   Die dich

   Lieb haben inniglich!

   

   Hilf, dass alle Bitterkeit

   Scheide feer [fern],

   Und alte TreuWiederkeer

   Unde werde neu:

   Dass wir

   Ewig tobsingen Dir."



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