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ULRICH VON HUTTEN

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By DAVID FRIEDRICH STRAUSS



translated, with the author's permission, from
the second german edition

By Mrs. G. STURGE



LONDON

DALDY, ISBISTER, & CO.

56, LUDGATE HILL

1874



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PRINTIil) BY VIRTUE AND CO.,



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PREFACE.



A ■\7'E recall the memory of departed friends both in good
and evil times. In the one case we long for their
advice and aid, in the other to make them sharers in our
joy. And as with individuals, so with nations : in times of
affliction and of prosperity they call up the spirits of their
illustrious dead. These are mostly combatants, who have
fought for light against darkness, for culture against bar-
barism, for freedom against despotism, to save their country
from foreign aggression ; and whether their eftbrts were
crowned with victory, or whether they perished in the struggle,
they are equally honoured and beloved by posterity. The
nobleness of a nation depends upon its being comi^assed
about by a cloud of witnesses of this sort, and if any nation
can boast of it, it is the German.

I once called forth a form out of this cloud in an evil time.
It was the time when Germany was lying prostrate after
exhausting throes ; when oppressors, great and small, had
again mastered her, when overbearing neighbours insulted
her, and birds of prey were already hovering over her. It
was the time of the Concordat ; of that servile contract with
Rome, with which, after Austria had taken the lead, the
other states of Germany were threatened. I then exclaimed
— " Is there no Hutten here ? " — and as none appeared



VI PREFACE.

amongst the living, I undertook to restore the portrait of the
departed, and to exhibit it to the German nation. It was
not without effect. Words in season were found in the
knight's invectives against Rome — the foe of light and
liberty; in his earnest appeals to the Germans ;to stand firm
and united against the insolence of the foreigner.

Meanwhile good times have succeeded to bad. Rome in
the spirit of Nemesis of old has fallen to pieces like a rotten
idol, just as she madly thought to heap up her measure be-
yond all bounds. Our insolent neighbour, our oppressor for
centuries, has by her most ruthless assault put an end to our
disunion ; united Germany has hurled her to the ground, and
stands at the head of the nations an object of wonder and
envy. We have an Emperor again, and for the first time
one who is master at home, who seeks nothing abroad, and
will, therefore, be better able to foster internal prosperity,
security, and independence than any of his predecessors.
And now should we not once more think of our Hutten,
when we have attained that for which he was striving all his
life ? — now that he might exclaim : " It is a pleasure to
live " in a far more emphatic sense than in his days. We
should be very ungrateful if we did not recall his memory.

And it is not merely as a guest at our festivals in honour
of victory that we may recall him ; he would not consider that
the matter was at an end with an enthusiastic speech after a
banquet. He would say : " Let us keep holiday to-day,
but let us go with redoubled energy to work to-morrow."
He would remind us that if it is difficult for a nation to
reach an eminence, it is still more difficult to maintain the
position. Though it may take centuries to attain, it is often
lost in a few years. And are we already at the summit ?
If we are united, are we therefore agreed ? If we are strong



PREFACE. Vii

are we also free ? The edifice of our new empire is stately
to behold, but much is still wanting to make it habitable.
The Pope's temporal power is indeed at an end, but his
spiritual power is so far from being so, that his gloomy
hosts, the foes, now as ever, of intellectual progress and
national prosperity, are still in our midst, and even sit in our
Diet. We call ourselves the most cultivated of nations, and
really are so ; but how long shall we suffer that the sources
of knowledge, even in Protestant Germany, should be
rendered turbid by the jealous administration of priestly
obscurantists? Hutten always conceived the power and
greatness of Germany, for which he was so enthusiastic, as
based upon liberal mental culture, untrammeled by clerical
influence or ecclesiastical dogmas ; and as, in the war just
over, he would have been foremost in the fight against the
foe from without, so now he would have been foremost in
combating the foes of liberty and culture from within. This
is the task I propose for him in this book, and I hope it
will be an easier one than it was fourteen years ago, as cir-
cumstances are more favourable in a literary as well as in a
political sense. There was then no complete edition of
Hutten's works; his writings, and still more those of his
coadjutors and opponents, were rare and scattered and
accessible to but few. I was therefore obliged to make long
extracts which encumbered the book and restricted its
circulation. Meanwhile Bocking's complete edition of
Hutten's works has appeared, which has rendered so much
detail needless, as those who wish to verify the quotations,
and to test my portraiture, can refer to this edition, which
should find a place in every good public library. The dili-
gence of German historians has also elucidated many points
in Hutten's career, particularly in his early life, so that



VIU PREFACE.

many corrections have been made, though I have seen no
reason to alter the ground-plan of the work.

And so the knight sets forth again, this time unencum-
bered, and he hopes for a no less friendly reception than
when he came in an evil hour.



Darmstadt, May, 1 8 7 1 .




TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.



A LTHOUGH the life of Ulrich von Hutten cannot have
the special interest for English readers which Dr.
Strauss claims for it for his compatriots, it offers sufficient
interest in itself to render it worthy of a closer acquaintance
than many of them possess ; for though his name is fre-
quently mentioned in connection with the Reformation, he
is, if I mistake not, little more than a name except to those
who have wandered into the more curious paths of literature,
and his writings are almost entirely unknown. His life also
offers a contribution to the history of the beginning of the
Reformation, and from a different point of view from that
commonly presented to us.

No words of mine can so well introduce Hutten to the
reader as the following quotation from a review of the
second German edition of the book ''' : — " In one sense this
is an old book in a new shape, and yet ft deserves the title
of novelty. In the season of despondency and reaction that
followed the miscarriage of popular hopes in Germany after
1848, Dr. Strauss sought, for himself consolation, for his
countrymen encouragement, in the study of Ulrich von

* Spectator, June 15, 1872.



X translator's preface.

Hutten, the scholar-knight and free-lance poet of the Refor-
mation period, literary fellow-worker with Reuchiin and
Erasmus, ardent ally of Luther, and companion in arms of
Franz von Sickingen, that last of the barons — a strange,
daring, indomitable man of queerly chequered nature and
adventures ; buoyant in mind, stout in heart, quick with
blows, alike ready with tongue, pen, and arm ; a type
of dauntlessness in defying might; but above .all in every
circumstance of life, and to the bitter end, never failing in
the unquenchable glow of his passionate desire to see the
German Fatherland freed from outlandish trammels, notably
those of Rome. In this ever-repeated conviction that Ger-
many only need will it to be able to wrench herself free from
foreign influences, lies what marked Hutten out amongst
his literary contemporaries, and what made him a suitable
subject for Dr. Strauss's purpose of keeping up the failing
spirits of his countrymen. Twenty years have passed and
Germany is in possession of what Dr. Strauss, when he
wrote, entertained no hope of living to see accompHshed.
And so in the kindlier atmosphere of bettered conditions,
he has reverted to the contemplation of that same life from
which he had once drawn comfort, and the result is a version
which — we are not afraid of saying too much— constitutes a
model biography. Those who have heard of Dr. Strauss
only as a theological critic of extreme keenness, may be
surprised to be told that he is also a master in Hfe-like por-
traiture, showing men and times as seen, not through the
distorting refraction of some prism, be it panegyrical or de-
tractory, but through the medium of a mind eminently
unprejudiced in personal matters, but essentially capable of
vivid impression. In the manner in which Hutten — a true
man in the fulness of his strangely composite qualities, and
no whit metamorphosed into a hero of semi-divine perfec-



translator's preface. xi

tion — is kept before our sight, simultaneously with the
manifold relations in which he stood towards the great
influences of the age, we have a union of faculties rarely to
be found in the same individual, of the close analytical
thought which distinguished a Hegel, along with that gift of
picturesque conception which was Schiller's distinctive
quality as a historical dramatist.

" Throughout his career Hutten appeared as a sort of
outlaw, always striving hotly at something not within grasp,
and so overreaching himself as to encounter fall after fall
without yet losing heart or spring. It is to this career that
he owes his popularity. The brave failures of the indomit-
able German man — the terse ring of his plain-spoken Ger-
man words — survived in the popular memory when the
elaborate elegancies of Erasmus and Eoban, Crotus and
Mutianus, had all evaporated. Erasmus and Reuchlin,
Luther and Melanchthon, all express admiration for his
parts, and love for his warm-hearted qualities, and over his
grave there arose quite a chorus of lamentations from men
of choice though varied natures. Dr. Strauss has traced
with admirable clearness the manifold relations of Hutten,
and while mingling with the throng of figures which he has
evoked into life — the men who in various degrees contributed
to make up the Reformation movement — it has repeatedly
occurred to us, that more than one likeness suggests itself
between lineaments revived in these pages, and features
in some important actors in that religious movement now
afoot, with what result is yet a problem, in Catholic Ger-
many."

It only remains to say that the book has been consider-
ably abridged in translation ; for, notwithstanding the reduc-
tion of the work in the second edition of which the author
speaks, the abstracts of Hutten's writing were still too long.



Xll TRANSLATOR S PREFACE.

and the biography itself went too much into detail, for
general English readers ; but great care has been taken to
omit nothing of importance, and to preserve the picturesque
character of the narrative.*

Sydenham, August, 1874.



* While the finishing strokes were being put to the translation the
news arrived of the death of Dr. Strauss.



CONTENTS,



BOOK I.

TILTS AND TOURNAMENTS.

T. hutten's lineage, and life in a monastery .
II. university years.— early friends

III. travels and adventures in GERMANY

IV. first visit to ITALY, AND RETURN TO GERMANY

V. MURDER OF HANS HUTTEN BY DUKE ULRICH OF WUR
TEMBERG, AND ULRICH HUTTEN'S AGITATION AGAINST
THE DUKE , .

VI. HUTTEN's SECOND JOURNEY TO ITALY ...
VII. REUGHLIN'S CONTEST WITH THE COLOGNE THEOLOGIANS

AND HUTTEN's SHARE IN IT .

VIII. THE "EPISTOL^ OBSCURORUM VIRORUM "

IX. HUTTEN's CORONATION AS POET, AND SEITLEMENT AT
MAYENCE. — OPPOSITION TO ROME

X. HUTTEN AT AUGSBURG, DURING THE DIET

XI. A CAMPAIGN, AND PROJECT OF MARRIAGE .



PAGE

3

14
30

47



60

79

95
120

141
149
168



XIV CONTENTS.

BOOK II.
HUTTEN IN CONFLICT WITH ROME.

PAGE

I. HUTTEN IN LEARNED LEISURE.— HIS PROSPECTS AND

PLANS l8l

^ II. DECISIVE OPPOSITION TO ROME.— RELATIONS WITH

^^jyajgER 189

III. HUTTEN's JOURNEY TO THE COURT OF ARCHDUKE FER-
DINAND. — DISAPPOINTMENT.— PAPAL PERSECUTION . 212

«-^ IV. HUTTEN AT EBERNBURG WITH FRANZ VON SICKINGEN . 219

..Jk" V. HUTTEN BEGINS TO WRITE GERMAN .... 24O

^ VI.^Jg&ANZ VON^JjC KINGEN AS HUTTEN'S PUPIL, AND THE

HERO OF HIS NEW DIALOGUES 261

Wvil. THE DIET OF ^ WORMS. — HUTTEN' S THREATS . . .275

•-^VIII. PETTY FEUDS, AND ATTEMPTS TO EFFECT AN ALLIANCE

BETWEEN THE NOBLES AND THE CITIES . . . 29O

IX. SICKINGEN'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST TREVES. — HUTTEN' S

DEPARTURE FROM GERMANY . . . . . 305

Jd^X. HUTTEN's CONFLICT WITH F.P^^.gJATTTS .... 315

-^XI, LAST DAYS OF SICKINGEN JiND HUTTEN . . . 347

.J^XII. SENTIMENTS EVOKED BY HUTTEN'S DEATH, AND THE

LAST DAYS OF HIS OLD FRIENDS .... 363



TILTS AND TOURNAMENTS.

SiHceriter citra poinpam.



B




CHAPTER I.

hutten's lineage, and life in a monastery.

/^N the confines of Franconia and Hesse, between the
Vogelsberg, the Spessart, and the Rhon, on the banks
of the Kinzig and the Salza, dwelt from ancient times the
knightly race of the Huttens. It appears from the family-
archives to have been so numerous in the tenth century, to
which time they go back, that it probably existed at a much
earlier period.

The Franconian nobility to which the Huttens belonged
was one of the proudest, most powerful, and warlike con-
federacies in all Germany. After the fall of the house of
Hohenstaufen without a duke, though the bishop of Wiirz-
burg assumed the title, Franconia, divided as it was amongst
various petty rulers, temporal and spiritual, offered an
attractive field for the exploits of an independent nobility.
They got offices and fiefs conferred on them by the neigh-
bouring prelates and counts, and obtained booty in their
raids, with the proceeds of which they built castles, bought
estates, acquired mortgages, and sometimes endowed monas-
teries or founded masses for the dead. They changed
masters as they pleased ; and frequently joined in a warHke
league against one of the greater rulers. They acknow-
ledged no one but the emperor as paramount lord, and
how little that signified in mediaeval times is well known.



4 ULRICH VON HUTTEN.

It was under circumstances such as these that the Hut-
tens rose to eminence. They had but moderate allodial
possessions, and it was chiefly by the aid of the offices and
fiefs conferred on them by the abbots of Fulda, the counts
of Hanau, and the bishops and archbishops of Wiirzburg
and Mayence, that they acquired importance. We find them
as castellans, chamberlains, councillors, and marshals in the
service of these magnates. A few of them entered the
Church j we meet with them as canons of Wiirzburg, Bam-
berg, and Eichstadt ; a Hutten was also abbot of Hers-
feld in the beginning of the fourteenth century. But they
were more in their element at the tournament and in the
field than at the altar. Some of them gained renown in im-
portant campaigns, but they are far more often to be found
in frays and feuds with their neighbours, knd were by no
means the least distinguished in burning villages, driving off
herds of cattle, and plundering the merchants.

The Hutten family was at an early period divided into
several branches, mostly named after the abodes which the
scions of the house had built or obtained possession of.
We find a line at Stolzenberg, Hansen, Gronau, Steckelberg,
Trimberg, Arnstein, Birkenfeld, and Frankenberg. Except
the line to which the hero of diis biography belongs, only
those branches are of any importance to us of which indivi-
dual members crossed his path.

About the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the six-
teenth centuries the Hutten family was very numerous,
and of considerable influence and importance in Franconia.
Ulrich von Hutten reckons not less than thirty of the name
who had served in war under the Emperor Maximilian ; and
Louis von Hutten says, in his proclamation against Duke
Ulrich of Wiirtemberg, that he cannot call half so many
knights to his aid as he, the simple noble. This Louis von



HUTTEN'S LINEAGE. 5

Hutten, founder of the Frankenberg line, by the purchase
of the castle of Vorder-Frankenberg, near Uffenheim, was,
together with Frowin von Hutten, Marshal of Mayence, re-
garded as the head of the family. In his younger days he
had visited Italy, Greece, and Jerusalem. He was wealthy
enough to advance ten thousand florins to Duke Ulrich of
Wiirtemberg, and the same prince afterwards had proof of
his influence to his cost. How Louis assisted his young
cousin Ulrich, and how a disaster in his family was an incen-
tive to Hutten in his career as an author, will appear in the
proper place.

Frowin von Hutten, of the Hansen line, was in high
esteem, first as marshal and then as steward, at the Court of
Mayence. He enjoyed the confidence of two successive
archbishops, and had gained the affection of the Emperor
Maximilian, who conferred many favours on him. Though
not learned himself, he was a patron of learned men, of his
cousin Ulrich among the rest, and was susceptible of bold
and lofty ideas.

About the end of the fifteenth century, Ulrich von Hutten
father of the subject of this biography, was living at Steckel-
berg. This castle, of which but a few ruins now remain,
was situated on a steep hill in the district called Buchau, or
Buchonia from its beech-woods, not far from the source of
the Kinzig, two (German) miles from Schliichtern, six from
Fulda, and about nine from the Maine. At the beginning
of the fifteenth century, Steckelberg, as a fief of Wiirzburg,
was a joint possession of all the lines of the Hutten family,
and about the middle of the century they resolved to admit
thirty-two other joint owners or shareholders, not members
of the family, who should have the right, in consideration of
a sum of money paid down and an annual tribute, of making
the castle, in case of need, a warlike rendezvous. It does



6 ULRICH VON HUTTEN.

not need much acquaintance with those times to know that
this meant little else than to make it a robbers' nest, which
the neighbourhood soon discovered to its cost. The
nuisance became so great, that the feudal lord, the Bishop
of Wiirzburg, felt compelled to interfere. In 1458 he be-
sieged and took the castle, and only returned it to the
owners, under certain restrictions, in the following year.
Perhaps this, or at a later period the Internal Treaty of
Peace (Landfriede),''' spoiled their possession for the share-
holders, for by the end of the century, we find that not only
they, but the joint family owners had retired; so that Ulrich
von Hutten, father of our hero, was left sole owner, and
tried in vain to make his cousins contribute to the cost of
keeping it up.

We have a picture of these knightly abodes, and what
went on in them, from our hero himself, doubtless chiefly
taken from the paternal castle. The buildings were crowded
together within walls and ramparts, and the space for
dweUing-rooms was still further limited and darkened by
armouries and powder-magazines, stables and dog-kennels.
The poor fields, at any rate at Steckelberg, demanded much
labour and yielded but scanty profit, and were tilled by
bondsmen. Arms, horses, and dogs were the lord's dearest
possessions ; mounted retainers, by no means select, some of
them mere bandits, his daily companions. Their coming
and going, the horses, carts, and cattle, kept up a lively
scene at the castle, and at Steckelberg, according to Hutten,
was added the howling of the wolves in the neighbouring
forests.

Amidst these surroundings, a vigorous but hard and coarse

« The Decree of the Diet of Worms, 1495, by which all inde-
pendent warfare amongst members of tlie empire was forbidden, and
the ♦* law of the fist " abolished.— TV.



((U1TI7EESIT'

THE HUTTENS OF STECKELBE^/^^ f - v.

race grew up. Ulrich von Hutten has left a memSr^ft=m===s====^^
one of his works of the ancient simplicity and temperance
of his grandfather Lorenz, whom he had known as a boy.
The worthy man would have neither pepper, saffron, nor
ginger in his house, was clothed only in homespun wool,
and inveighed against the growing luxury of the times. He
held offices at Hanau and Fulda, but in his younger days
had had a share in the plundering expeditions of the joint
owners of Steckelberg.

Lorenz Hutten had three sons, one of whom was the
father of our hero. He was in office at Hanau and Hesse,
had fought in the Imperial army in Hungary, but had been
largely employed in more peaceful affairs by princes and
cities. His wife, Ottilia von Eberstein, bore him four sons
and two daughters. He appears to have been a severe,
reserved man, and his obstinate adherence to a resolution
once taken had momentous consequences to his son. His
mother, whenever her son mentions her, appears in a
motherly and womanly light. He wishes to conceal from
her the mishaps of his youthful wanderings, that he may not
grieve her more than he has already done, and, amidst the
bold adventures of his riper years, her tears fell heavy on
his heart.

In one of his youthful poems, the son gives a description
of his father's wealth, which forms a great contrast to the
want and misery he was exposed to himself, the result of
their disagreement. He speaks of him as the owner of
several villages and castles, of numerous servants and really
princely possessions. But later he says, that his share of
the patrimony would not enable him to live in suitable
style. The elder Ulrich often complained of the burdens of
the repairs to Steckelberg, as it was left on his hands ; still in
1509 he built the round bastion, which may stiU be recog-



8 ULRICH VON HUTTEN.

nised among the ruins, and which bears his name and the
date on the key-stone of the arch of the door.

It was on the 21st of April, 1488, that a son was born to
Knight Ulrich, to whom he gave his own name. Melanch-
thon, who had a weakness for astrology, tried afterwards to
account for bis physical weakness by the position of the
stars at his birth : of far greater significance are the constel-
lations of remarkable events and births around him which
presaged his historical position. Hutten first saw the light
during the latter part of the reign of the Emperor
Frederic III., amidst the commotions occasioned by
remodelHng the constitution of the empire; thirty-three
years after Reuchlin was born, twenty-one after Erasmus,
eighteen after Pirckheimer, sixteen after Mutianus Rufus,
eight after Crotus Rubianus, seven after Franz von Sicken-
gen, five after Luther, four after Zwingli, in the same year
as Eoban Hesse, and nine before Melanchthon. Destiny
afterwards brought him into contact with all these men ;
had he not been Hutten, this would have been of little sig-
nificance ; but even Hutten without this constellation would
not have been what he was.

Ulrich was the first-born : his parents at once destined
him for the Church, which was more often the case with
younger sons. There might have been some pious motive
or vow, or perhaps the boy's physique made him seem ill
adapted for the representative of a warlike race, for he* was
small and weakly. He early showed quickness and fond-
ness for learning, which favoured the idea of an ecclesiastical
career ; and the relations of the family with the Abbey of
Fuida and other Franconian foundations suggested that it
might lead him to honour. So in 1499, when he was in his
eleventh year, his parents took him to the neighbouring
monastery of Fulda, as he himself says, " with devout and



HUTTEN AT FULDA. 9

good intentions," not only that he might receive his school-
ing there, but "with the intent that he should stay and
become a monk."

The Benedictine Abbey of Fulda, founded by the cele-
brated apostle of the Germans, had lost much of its ancient
prestige and wealth, and the times were long gone by when
its school was the most flourishing in Germany. In the
fifteenth century, these ecclesiastical institutions did not
keep pace with the progress of the age. The teacher of the



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