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§ 33. The Reformation in Glarus. Tschudi. Glarean.


Valentin Tschudi: Chronik der Reformationsjahre 1521–1533. Mit Glossar und Commentar von Dr. Joh. Strickler. Glarus, 1888 (pp. 258). Publ. in the "Jahrbuch des historischen Vereins des Kantons Glarus," Heft XXIV., also separately issued. The first edition of Tschudi’s Chronik (Beschryb oder Erzellung, etc.) was published by Dr. J. J. Blumer, in vol. IX. of the "Archiv für schweizerische Geschichte," 1853, pp. 332–447, but not in the original spelling and without comments.

Blumer and Heer: Der Kanton Glarus, historisch, geographisch und topographisch beschrieben. St. Gallen, 1846. DR. J. J. Blumer: Die Reformation im Lande Glarus. In the "Jahrbuch des historischen Vereins des Kantons Glarus." Zürich and Glarus, 1873 and 1875 (Heft IX. 9–48; XI. 3–26). H. G. Sulzberger: Die Reformation des Kant. Glarus und des St. Gallischen Bezirks Werdenberg. Heiden, 1875 (pp. 44).

Heinrich Schreiber: Heinrich Loriti Glareanus, gekrönter Dichter, Philolog und Mathematiker aus dem 16ten Jahrhundert. Freiburg, 1837. Otto Fridolin Fritzsche (Prof. of Church Hist. in Zürich): Glarean, sein Leben und seine Schriften. Frauenfeld, 1890 (pp. 136). Comp. also Geiger: Renaissance und Humanismus (1882), pp. 420–423, for a good estimate of Glarean as a humanist.


The canton Glarus with the capital of the same name occupies the narrow Linththal surrounded by high mountains, and borders on the territory of Protestant Zürich and of Catholic Schwyz. It wavered for a good while between the two opposing parties and tried to act as peacemaker. Landammann Hans Aebli of Glarus, a friend of Zwingli and an enemy of the foreign military service, prevented a bloody collision of the Confederates in the first war of Cappel. This is characteristic of the position of that canton.

Glarus was the scene of the first public labors of Zwingli from 1506 to 1516.182182    See above, p. 23 sqq. He gained great influence as a classical scholar, popular preacher, and zealous patriot, but made also enemies among the friends of the foreign military service, the evils of which he had seen in the Italian campaigns. He established a Latin school and educated the sons of the best families, including the Tschudis, who traced their ancestry back to the ninth century. Three of them are connected with the Reformation,—Aegidius and Peter, and their cousin Valentin.

Aegidius (Gilg) Tschudi, the most famous of this family, the Herodotus of Switzerland (1505–1572), studied first with Zwingli, then with Glarean at Basel and Paris, and occupied important public positions, as delegate to the Diet at Einsiedeln (1529), as governor of Sargans, as Landammann of Glarus (1558), and as delegate of Switzerland to the Diet of Augsburg (1559). He also served a short time as officer in the French army. He remained true to the old faith, but enjoyed the confidence of both parties by his moderation. He expressed the highest esteem for Zwingli in a letter of February, 1517.183183    In Zwingli’s Opera, VII. 20 sq. See above, p. 3. His History of Switzerland extends from a.d. 1000 to 1470, and is the chief source of the period before the Reformation. He did not invent, but he embellished the romantic story of Tell and of Grütli, which has been relegated by modern criticism to the realm of innocent poetic fiction.184184    The full title of his history is: Aegidii Tschudiigewesenen Landammanns zu Glarus Chronicon Helveticum oder gründliche Beschreibung der merkwürdigsten Begegnussen löblicher Eidgenossenschaft, first printed in Basel, 1734, ’36, in 2 large fol. vols. The continuation from 1470-1564 is preserved in Ms. in the monastic library at Engelberg. His graphic narrative of Tell, reproduced by John von Müller and dramatized by Schiller, though disproved by modern criticism, will live in story and song. We may apply to it Schiller’s lines:—
   "Alles wiederholt sich nur im Leben,

   Ewig jung ist nur die Phantasie:

   Was sich nie und nirgends hat begeben,

   Das allein weraltet nie."

   See Jakob Vogel: Egid. Tschudi als Staatsmann und Geschichtschreiber. Mit dessen Bildniss. Zürich, 1856. Blumer: Tschudi als Geschichtschreiber, 1874 ("Jahrbuch des Hist. Vereins des Kant. Glarus," pp. 81-100). Georg von Wyss: Die eigenhändige Handschrift der eidgenöss. Chronik des Aeg. Tschudi in der Stadt-Bibl. in Zürich ("Neujahrblatt" of the City Library of Zürich for 1889). Blumer and Von Wyss give the best estimate of Tschudi. Goethe says that Tschudi’s Swiss History and Aventin’s Bavarian History are sufficient to educate a useful public man without any other book.
He wrote also an impartial account of the Cappeler War of 1531.185185    Published from MS. in the "Helvetica," ed. by Jos. Ant. Balthasar, vol. II. Aarau and Berne, 1826 (pp. 165 sqq.).

His elder brother, Peter, was a faithful follower of Zwingli, but died early, at Coire, 1532.186186    See his letters to Zwingli of Dec. 27, 1529, and Dec. 16, 1530, from Coire. In Zwingli’s Opera, VIII. 386 and 562.

Valentin Tschudi also joined the Reformation, but showed the same moderation to the Catholics as his cousin Egidius showed to the Protestants. After studying several years under Zwingli, he went, in 1516, with his two cousins to the classical school of Glarean at Basel, and followed him to Paris. From that city he wrote a Greek letter to Zwingli, Nov. 15, 1520, which is still extant and shows his progress in learning.187187    There are nine of his letters in Zwingli’s Opera, VII. and VIII. On Zwingli’s recommendation, he was elected his successor as pastor at Glarus, and was installed by him, Oct. 12, 1522. Zwingli told the congregation that he had formerly taught them many Roman traditions, but begged them now to adhere exclusively to the Word of God.

Valentin Tschudi adopted a middle way, and was supported by his deacon, Jacob Heer. He pleased both parties by reading mass early in the morning for the old believers, and afterwards preaching an evangelical sermon for the Protestants. He is the first example of a latitudinarian or comprehensive broad-churchman. In 1530 he married, and ceased to read mass, but continued to preach to both parties, and retained the respect of Catholics by his culture and conciliatory manner till his death, in 1555. He defended his moderation and reserve in a long Latin letter to Zwingli, March 15, 1530.188188    In Strickler’s edition of his Chronik, pp. 241-244, and in Zwingli’s Opera,VIII. 433-436. He says that the controversy arose from external ceremonies, and did not touch the rock of faith, which Catholics and Protestants professed alike, and that he deemed it his duty to enjoin on his flock the advice of Paul to the Romans 14, to exercise mutual forbearance, since each stands or falls to the same Lord. The unity of the Spirit is the best guide. He feared that by extreme measures, more harm was done than good, and that the liberty gained may degenerate into license, impiety, and contempt of authority. He begs Zwingli to use his influence for the restoration of order and peace, and signs himself, forever yours" (semper futurus tuus). The same spirit of moderation characterizes his Chronicle of the Reformation period, and it is difficult to find out from this colorless and unimportant narrative, to which of the two parties he belonged.

It is a remarkable fact that the influence of Tschudi’s example is felt to this day in the peaceful joint occupation of the church at Glarus, where the sacrifice of the mass is offered by a priest at the altar, and a sermon preached from the pulpit by a Reformed pastor in the same morning.189189    The old church of Glarus in which Zwingli and Tschudi preached, burned down in 1861; but the same custom is continued in the new Romanesque church, to the satisfaction of both parties. So I was informed by the present pastor, Dr. Buss, in 1890.

Another distinguished man of Glarus and friend of Zwingli in the earlier part of his career, is Heinrich Loriti, or Loreti, better known as Glareanus, after the humanistic fashion of that age.190190    From his native canton, Glarus (Glareana, also Glarona or Clarona; for the natives: Glareanus or Glaronensis). For another derivation see Fritzsche, l.c. p. 8. He was born at Mollis, a small village of that canton, in 1488, studied at Cologne and Basel, sided with Reuchlin in the quarrel with the Dominican obscurantists,191191    He figures in the Epistolae Virorum Obscurorum as a terrible heretic. travelled extensively, was crowned as poet-laureate by the Emperor Maximilian (1512), taught school and lectured successively at Basel (1514), Paris (1517), again at Basel (1522), and Freiburg (since 1529). He acquired great fame as a philologist, poet, geographer, mathematician, musician, and successful teacher. Erasmus called him, in a letter to Zwingli (1514),192192    Zwingli’s Opera, VII. 10. the prince and champion of the Swiss humanists, and in other letters he praised him as a man pure and chaste in morals, amiable in society, well versed in history, mathematics, and music, less in Greek, averse to the subtleties of the schoolmen, bent upon learning Christ from the fountain, and of extraordinary working power. He was full of wit and quaint humor, but conceited, sanguine, irritable, suspicious, and sarcastic. Glarean became acquainted with Zwingli in 1510, and continued to correspond with him till 1523.193193    We have from him twenty-eight letters to Zwingli from July 13, 1510, to Feb. 16, 1623, printed in Zwingli’s Opera, VII. and VIII., from the originals in the State Archives of Zürich. Zwingli’s letters to Glarean are lost, and were probably destroyed after his rupture with the Reformer. He bought books for him at Basel (e.g. the Aldine editions of Lactantius and Tertullian) and sought a place as canon in Zürich. In his last letter to him he called him, the truly Christian theologian, the bishop of the Church of Zürich, his very great friend."194194    "Theologo vere Christiano, Ecclesiae Tigurinae episcopo, amico nostro summo." Zwingli’s Opera, VII. 274. He read Luther’s book on the Babylonian Captivity three times with enthusiasm. But when Erasmus broke both with Zwingli and Luther, he withdrew from the Reformation, and even bitterly opposed Zwingli and Oecolampadius.

He left Basel, Feb. 20, 1529, for Catholic Freiburg, and was soon followed by Erasmus and Amerbach. Here he labored as an esteemed professor of poetry and fruitful author, until his death (1563). He was surrounded by Swiss and German students. He corresponded, now, as confidentially with Aegidius Tschudi as he had formerly corresponded with Zwingli, and co-operated with him in saving a portion of his countrymen for the Catholic faith.195195    There are thirty-eight MS. letters of Glarean to Tschudi, from 1533 to 1561, in the City Library of Zürich; another copy in the cantonal library of Glarus. He gave free vent to his disgust with Protestantism, and yet lamented the evils of the Roman Church, the veniality and immorality of priests who cared more for Venus than for Christ.196196    Nov. 21, 1556: "Omnes clerici ad Venerem magis quam ad Christum inclinant." A fearful charge. He received a Protestant Student from Zürich with the rude words: "You are one of those who carry the gospel in the mouth and the devil in the heart;" but when reminded that he did not show the graces of the muses, he excused himself by his old age, and treated the young man with the greatest civility. He became a pessimist, and expected the speedy collapse of the world. His friendship with Erasmus was continued with interruptions, and at last suffered shipwreck. He charged him once with plagiarism, and Erasmus ignored him in his testament.197197    But Dr. Bonifacius Amerbach, the chief heir, sent Glarean a silver cup of Erasmus. See the Inventarium über die Hinterlassenschaft des Erasmus vom 22 Juli, 1536, p. 13. This curious document of nineteen pages was published in 1889 by Dr. Ludwig Sieber, librarian of the University of Basel. He also published Das Testament des Erasmus vom 22 Jan. 1527, Basel, 1890. It was a misfortune for both that they could not understand the times, which had left them behind. The thirty works of Glarean (twenty-two of them written in Freiburg) are chiefly philological and musical, and have no bearing on theology.198198    The most important is his Dodekachordon (Basel, 1547), which makes an epoch in the history of music. "His theory of the twelve church modes as parallel to the ancient Greek modes, will assure for Glareanus a lasting place among writers on the science of music," (Glover’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1889, vol. I. 598.) Music was to him a sacred art. His editions of Greek and Latin classics with critical notes, especially on Livy, are esteemed and used by modern philologists. Fritzsche gives a full account of his works, pp. 83-127. They were nevertheless put on the Index by Pope Paul IV., in 1559. He bitterly complained of this injustice, caused by ignorance or intrigue, and did all he could, with the aid of Tschudi, to have his name removed, which was done after the seven Catholic cantons had testified that Glarean was a good Christian.199199    His name was left out of the Indexes of the sixteenth century after that of 1559, but strangely reappears again in the Index Matriti, 1667, p. 485. Fritzsche, p. 74.

The Reformation progressed in Glarus at first without much opposition. Fridolin Brunner, pastor at Mollis, wrote to Zwingli, Jan. 15, 1527, that the Gospel was gaining ground in all the churches of the canton. Johann Schindler preached in Schwanden with great effect. The congregations decided for the Reformed preachers, except in Näfels. The reverses at Cappel in 1531 produced a reaction, and caused some losses, but the Reformed Church retained the majority of the population to this day, and with it the preponderance of intelligence, enterprise, wealth, and prosperity, although the numerical relation has recently changed in favor of the Catholics, in consequence of the emigration of Protestants to America, and the immigration of Roman-Catholic laborers, who are attracted by the busy industries (as is the case also in Zürich, Basel, and Geneva).200200    In 1850 the Protestant population of Glarus numbered 26,281; the Catholic, 8,982. In 1888 the proportion was 25,935 to 7,790. See Fritzsche, p. 53.



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