TO THE ELECTOR FREDERICK
Luther narrates negotiations with you Miltitz, whom the Pope had sent to convert this son of Satan. January 1519.
Most Serene High-born Prince, Most Gracious Lord. It is really too bad that your Electoral Highness should have so much annoyance through being involved with my affairs; but seeing necessity and God have willed it so, I beseech you graciously to take it in good part. Herr Karl von Miltitz pointed out yesterday the disgrace and disturbance which have accrued to the Roman Church through me, and I have offered to do all I can to atone for it. So I beg you to ponder the matter, as I wish to do something. To begin with, I shall do nothing more in the affair, and let it, so to speak, bleed to death (if the other party are also silent), for, if my writings had been allowed to circulate freely, the whole thing would have died a natural death long ere now, for all are sick of it. So see to it, for if this precaution be neglected, the matter may assume alarming proportions, and disgrace ensue. For my weapons are ready. Therefore I deem it best that there should be a truce. In the second place, I shall write His Holiness, and submit humbly to him, confessing that in the past I have been too vehement, although I did not intend to injure the Church, but only to show the true reason of my opposition, in combatting, as a faithful son of the Church, the blasphemous teaching which has occasioned so much mischief, and aroused the general indignation against the Roman See. In addition, I shall issue a pamphlet exhorting the people to cleave to the Roman Church, and be obedient and respectful, and
not consider this writing as tending to disgrace the Holy Roman Church, but rather to exalt her; and I shall also admit that I expressed the truth in a too vehement manner, and perhaps at an inopportune time. In the fourth place, Magister Spalatin has proposed that the matter be referred to the verdict of the Archbishop of Salzburg, along with other learned people, whose reputation is above suspicion, while I keep to my appeal. But I fear the Pope will not put up with a judge, and I, too, will not submit to the Pope’s verdict. So, if the first means fail, then the result will be, that the Pope will draw up the conditions, and I shall supply the glossary thereto. This would not be good. I have also talked it over with Karl von Miltitz, who does not think this would suffice, yet does not demand a revocation, but wishes all to express an opinion on the question under discussion.
If your Grace thinks I can do anything more, will you graciously tell me how to act? I shall gladly do or suffer anything that I may not again have to enter the arena of conflict. For nothing will come of the revocation.
Your Electoral Highness’s obedient chaplain, MARTIN LUTHER.