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History of the Christian Church, Volume VIII: Modern Christianity. The Swiss Reformation.
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§ 49. The Second Peace of Cappel. November, 1531.


Besides the works already quoted, see Werner Biel’s account of the immediate consequences of the war of Cappel in the "Archiv für Schweizerische Reformationsgeschichte" (Rom. Cath.), vol. III. 641–680. He was at that time the secretary of the city of Zürich. The articles of the Peace in Hottinger, Schweizergeschichte, VII. 497 sqq., and in Bluntschli, l.c. II. 269–276 (comp. I. 332 sqq.).


Few great battles have had so much effect upon the course of history as the little battle of Cappel. It arrested forever the progress of the Reformation in German Switzerland, and helped to check the progress of Protestantism in Germany. It encouraged the Roman Catholic reaction, which soon afterwards assumed the character of a formidable Counter-Reformation. But, while the march of Protestantism was arrested in its original homes, it made new progress in French Switzerland, in France, Holland, and the British Isles.

King Ferdinand of Austria gave the messenger of the Five Cantons who brought him the news of their victory at Cappel, fifty guilders, and forthwith informed his brother Charles V. at Brussels of the fall of "the great heretic Zwingli," which he thought was the first favorable event for the faith of the Catholic Church. The Emperor lost no time to congratulate the Forest Cantons on their victory, and to promise them his own aid and the aid of the pope, of his brother, and the Catholic princes, in case the Protestants should persevere in their opposition. The pope had already sent men and means for the support of his party.

The disaster of Cappel was a prelude to the disaster of Mühlberg on the Elbe, where Charles V. defeated the Smalcaldian League of the Lutheran princes, April 24, 1547. Luther was spared the humiliation. The victorious emperor stood on his grave at Wittenberg, but declined to make war upon the dead by digging up and burning his bones, as he was advised to do by his Spanish generals.

The war of Cappel was continued for a few weeks. Zürich rallied her forces as best she could. Bern, Basel, and Schaffhausen sent troops, but rather reluctantly, and under the demoralizing effect of defeat. There was a want of harmony and able leadership in the Protestant camp. The Forest Cantons achieved another victory on the Gubel (Oct. 24), and plundered and wasted the territory of Zürich; but as the winter approached, and as they did not receive the promised aid from Austria, they were inclined to peace. Bern acted as mediator.

The second religious Peace (the so-called Zweite Landsfriede) was signed Nov. 20, 1531,296296    It was concluded Nov. 16, but dated Nov. 20. between the Five Forest Cantons and the Zürichers, on the meadows of Teynikon, near Baar, in the territory of Zug, and confirmed Nov. 24 at Aarau by the consent of Bern, Glarus, Freiburg, and Appenzell. It secured mutual toleration, but with a decided advantage to the Roman Catholics.

The chief provisions of the eight articles as regards religion were these: —

1. The Five Cantons and their associates are to be left undisturbed in their "true, undoubted, Christian faith"; the Zürichers and their associates may likewise retain their "faith," but with the exception of Bremgarten, Mellingen, Rapperschwil, Toggenburg, Gaster, and Wesen. Legal toleration or parity was thus recognized, but in a manner which implies a slight reproach of the Reformed creed as a departure from the truth. Mutual recrimination was again prohibited, as in 1529.297297    The following is the Swiss-German text of the first article (Bluntschli, II. 271), which may be compared with the first article of the Peace of 1529 (see above, p. 171 sq.): "Zum ersten sollent und wollent Wir, die von Zürich, unsre getrüwe liebe Eydgenossen von den V Orten [i.e. the Five Forest Cantons of the old confederacy], dessglichen auch ihr lieb Mitbürger und Landlüt von Wallis und alle ihre Mithaften, si syegent geistlich oder weltlich, by ihrem waaren ungezwyffleten, christenlichen Glauben jetzt und hernach in ihren eignen Städten, Landen, Gebieten und Herrlichkeiten gänzlich ungearguirt und ungedisputirt blyben lassen, all böss Fünd, Uszüg, Gefährd und Arglist vermieden und hintangesetzt.—Hinwiderum so wöllent Wir, von den V Orten, unser Eydgnossen von Zürich und ihre eigne Mitverwandten by ihrem Glauben auch blyben lassen. Wir von den V Orten behaltend uns in diesem Frieden luter vor alle, die uns sampt und sonders mit Burg und Landrecht, auch in ander Wäg verwandt sind, auch all die, so uns Hilf, Rath, Bystand und Zuzug bewiesen und gethan, also dass die harin luter mit uns begriffen und verfaszt syn söllent.—Hinwiederum so behaltent Wir von Zürich uns vor, das die, so uns Hilf, Rath, Bystand und Zuzug gethan vor und in disem Krieg es sye in Abschlagung der Profiant oder in ander Weg, dass die auch in diesem Frieden vergriffen syn söllent.—Wyter so behaltend Wir, von den V Orten uns vor und durgent luter us, die us den fryen Aemptern im Ergöuw, Bremgarten, und Mellingen, so sich denen von Bern anhängig gemacht, ihnen zuzogen, und, uns zu überziehen, Vorschub gethan, dessglychen sie die Berner noch ufenthaltend, desshalben ihnen viellichter der Frieden nit annehmlich syn, zudem unsser Nothdurft zu Usführung des Kriegs gegen den Berneren will erforderen, dass man dosselbst Durchzug haben möcht, desshalb wir sie jetzmalen zu diesem Frieden nit begriffen lassent. Dessglychen behaltend Wir auch luter vor, die von Rapperschwyl, Toggenburg, Gastern und die von Wesen, so unsser Eydgnossen von Zürich nutzit angahnt noch verwandt sind, dass die in disem Frieden auch usgeschlossen und nit begriffen syn söllent, doch dass nach Gnaden und in Ziemlichkeit mit ihnen gehandlet werd, mit Straf oder mit Recht."
   Bluntschli (I. 337) thus comments on this article: "Auch jetzt wieder musste zunächst das Princip, dass beide Confessionen Geltung haben, das Princip der Parität, den verschiedenen eidgenössischen Ständen gegenüber anerkannt werden. Aber die Form, wie das geschah, war verletzend für die Reformirten. Es lag darin offenbar ein Hohn gegen diese, dass sie zu einem Vert?—age ihre Zustimmung geben mussten, in welchem der katholische Glaube als der ’reine, unbezweifelte, christliche Glaube,’ die Confession der Reformirten dagegen nur als ’ein Glaube,’ schlechthin bezeichnet ward; ein Spott, der immerhin von ungleicher Würdigung der beiden Confessionen ausging und insofern dem wahren Geiste des paritätischen Staatsprincips widersprach. Diese Herabsetzung und Demüthigung der Reformirten lag zwar nur in dem Ausdruck, nicht in dem Inhalt dieser Bestimmung. Aber gerade darum war sie um so weniger zu rechtfertigen. Sie reizte und erbitterte bloss den einen Theil, und kitzelte nur den Hochmuth des andern Theils. Wollte man ernstlich und auf die Dauer Frieden, so durfte man nicht solcher Gehässigkeitden Lauf lassen."

2. Both parties retain their rights and liberties in the common bailiwicks: those who had accepted the new faith might retain it; but those who preferred the old faith should be free to return to it, and to restore the mass, and the images. In mixed congregations the church property is to be divided according to population.

Zürich was required to give up her league with foreign cities, as the Five Cantons had been compelled in 1529 to break their alliance with Austria. Thus all leagues with foreign powers, whether papal or Protestant, were forbidden in Switzerland as unpatriotic. Zürich had to refund the damages of two hundred and fifty crowns for war expenses, and one hundred crowns for the family of Kaiser, which had been imposed upon the Forest Cantons in 1529. Bern agreed in addition to pay three thousand crowns for injury to property in the territory of Zug.

The two treaties of peace agree in the principle of toleration (as far as it was understood in those days, and forced upon the two parties by circumstances), but with the opposite application to the neutral territory of the bailiwicks, where the Catholic minority was protected against further aggression. The treaty of 1529 meant a toleration chiefly in the interest and to the advantage of Protestantism; the treaty of 1531, a toleration in the interest of Romanism.



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