TO THE ELECTOR FREDERICK OF SAXONY
The founder of Wittenberg University, who did so much to protect the pure gospel, — upon a tax levied.
November or December 1517.
Most gracious and dear lord, Elector Frederick of Saxony. Some time ago I was promised, through Dr. Hersfelder, a new robe, so I now wish to remind your Grace of it. But I would beg, gracious lord, that if Pfeffinger is to arrange the matter, as he did before, he would do it in reality, for he is very good at spinning fine words, but these do not always produce good cloth. I have heard through Prior Lange at
Erfurt that your Electoral Grace is displeased with our worthy Father Staupitz because of something he has written. So I called upon him when he came to see you at Torgau, and said I could not bear to think His Excellence was in disgrace with your Grace. I soon found that no one had such a high place
in his heart as the Elector of Saxony, and he does not know how he can have offended except by loving you too much. I pray your Grace would continue to him your favor, even as he has ever been loyal to you. Thus I wish to prove my fidelity to you, to let you see I merit my Court dress.I have also heard that at the end of the present financial year your Grace purposes laying another and heavier tax upon us, so I beseech you do not despise a poor beggar’s prayer, for my heart, as well as the hearts
of many who love you dearly, are, because of the extra tax, very heavy, and it has robbed your Electoral Highness of much of your good name and favor among the people. God has endowed your Grace with great wisdom, so that no one sees farther in these matters than you; but sometimes God wills it so that great wisdom may learn something from one with less, so that one may depend on God alone, who, it is to be hoped, may spare you to us for our good, and afterwards preserve your soul unto life eternal. Amen. Your Electoral Highness’s obedient chaplain,
MARTIN LUTHER. (De Wette.)
Luther’s first German letter; his extant letters till this date are all in Latin.
Luther at the General Assembly of Augustinian monks at Heidelberg, where he publicly defended his theses. Luther cited to appear at Rome, but the Elector arranged he should appear at Augsburg instead, before Cajetan.