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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 1700 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #210 on: February 04, 2009, 01:29:01 pm »

[paragraph continues] Paul Frankleuen, and the Count Mangolt, were condemned to perpetual silence, and to payment of the sum of 6,000 Rhenish florins to the order, and, in case of disobedience, they were declared to be outlawed. All this, however, did not yet avail, and two years afterwards Jossi was obliged to apply to the emperor for the aid of the temporal arm for the execution of the sentence. The chaplain of the order at Vienna also found that Hans David had still the art to deceive many and gain them over to his cause, and he accordingly took care to have the whole account of his conduct posted up on the church-doors.

Still the unwearied Hans David did not rest. He now went to the Free-tribunal at Waldeck, and had the art to deceive the count by his false representations. He assured him that the order had offered him no less than 15,000 florins and an annuity, if he would let his action drop; that they would have been extremely well content if he had escaped out of prison at Cologne, but that he preferred justice and truth to liberty. The order however succeeded here again in detecting and exposing his arts, and the count honestly confessed that he had been deceived by him. He cast him off forthwith, and Hans David, ceasing to annoy the order, devoted himself to astrology and conjuring for the rest of his days *.

He had, however, caused the order abundance of


p. 396

uneasiness and expense. Existing documents prove that this affair cost them no less than upwards of 1580 ducats, and 7000 florins, which must be in a great measure ascribed to the secret machinations of the Free-tribunals, anxious to depress the Teutonic Knights, who stood in their way.

In 1410 the Wild and Rhein Graf was summoned before the tribunal at Nordernau, and, in 1454, the Duke of Saxony before that at Limburg. The Elector-Palatine found it difficult, in 1448, to defend himself against a sentence passed on him by one of the Fehm-courts. Duke Henry of Bavaria found it necessary on the following occasion, actually to become a frei-schöppe in order to save himself. One Gaspar, of Torringen, had accused him before the tribunal of Waldeck of "having taken from him his hereditary office of Chief Huntsman; of having seized and beaten his huntsmen and servants, taken his hounds, battered down his castle of Torringen, and taken from his wife her property and jewels, in despite of God, honour, and ancient right." The free-count forthwith cited the duke, who applied to the emperor Sigismund, and procured an inhibition to the count. The duke found it necessary, notwithstanding, to appear before the court; but he adopted the expedient of getting himself made a frei-schöppe, and then, probably in consequence of his rank and influence, procured a sentence to be passed in accordance with his wishes. Gaspar, who was probably an injured man, appealed to the emperor, who referred the matter to the Archbishop of Cologne, and. we are not informed how it ended.

But the audacity of the free-counts went so far as even to cite the head of the empire himself before their tribunals. The imperial chancery having, for just and good cause, declared several free-counts and their Tribunal-lord, Walrabe of Waldeck, to be outlawed,

p. 397

three free-counts had the hardihood, in 1470, to cite the emperor Frederic III., with his chancellor, the Bishop of Passau, and the assessors of the chancery-court, to appear before the free-tribunal between the gates of Wünnenberg in the diocese of Paderborn, "there to defend his person and highest honour under penalty of being held to be a disobedient emperor;" and on his not appearing, they had the impudence to cite him again, declaring that, if he did not appear, justice should take its course. Feeble, however, as was the character of the emperor, he did not give way to such assumptions.

Even robbery and spoliation could find a defence with the Fehm-courts. Towards the end of the thirteenth century a count of Teckenburg plundered and ravaged the diocese of Münster. The bishop assembled his own people and called on his allies to aid him, and they took two castles belonging to the count and pushed him to extremity. To extricate himself he accused the bishop, and all those who were with him, before his Fehm-court, and though there were among them the Bishop of Paderborn, three counts, and several knights, the free-count had the boldness to cite them all to appear and defend their 'honour. The affair was eventually amicably arranged and the citation recalled.

These instances may suffice to show how far the Fehm-tribunals had departed from the original object of their institution, and how corrupt and iniquitous they were become.


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Footnotes
393:* The following is one of his predictions, delivered by him, under the name of Master Von Dolete, in the year 1457: "In the ensuing month, September, the sun will appear like a black dragon; cruel winds will blow, the sea will roar, and men will be knocked to pieces by the wind. The sun will then be turned to blood; that betokeneth war in the East and West. A mighty emperor will die; the earth will quake, and few men will remain alive. Wherefore secure your houses and chambers; lay up provisions for thirty days in caverns," &e., &c. The arts of knaves and the language of impostors are the same in all ages and countries.



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