1634: THE BAVARIAN CRISIS – snippet 25:



Chapter 12


Exercitium Religionis Privatum






            Mary and Veronica begged off from going to church on the perfectly valid grounds that neither of them was at present of the Reformed, or Calvinist, religious persuasion. Mary wanted to go sight-seeing; Toby Snell, who was not a church member of any variety, said that he would be delighted to escort her. Veronica wanted to lie down in her room. Preferably on her stomach.


            Keith decided to go with the guys. He had a vague recollection that his own denomination, the Disciples of Christ, had split off from the mainstream of Calvinism somewhere along the line, and thought it might be interesting to see the service. He didn’t mind that this involved getting up at five o’clock in the morning. He got up at five o’clock every morning. By six, they were outside the gates of Nürnberg.


            “I don’t deny that there have been tensions,” Durre was saying. “To be perfectly honest, both the Lutheran city council of Nürnberg and the relatively few Reformed whom they have accepted as citizens of the city over the past seventy-five years or so were used to Calvinists who were prosperous businessmen. Very prosperous businessmen from the Netherlands and France, for the most part; merchants, silk manufacturers, dyers, goldsmiths and bankers, other businessmen with substantial fortunes. That was what made them acceptable as citizens of a Lutheran polity.” He shrugged expressively. “The city council has always been cautious, of course. It is responsible to a Catholic emperor, who could use any toleration of ‘sects’ not permitted by the Peace of Augsburg to deprive the city of its independence. It’s not paranoia—think of what Maximilian of Bavaria did to Donauwörth on a similar pretext. So Nürnberg hasn’t permitted a Calvinist congregation to be founded in the city.”


            “Isn’t that a bit inconvenient?” Keith Pilcher asked.


            “In the last century, it was a three-day trip to places in the Upper Palatinate where we could worship. Not legally, of course. And if Nürnberg’s Calvinists had their children baptized by Reformed clergy in the Oberpfalz, they were fined.”


            Keith contemplated a three day trip to church while Durre kept talking. Keith thought that the man could have probably made his fortune as a tour bus guide if he’d been born up-time.


            “But that was in the last century. The last twenty years, it got easier for us. Jacob Geuder, a member of one of Nürnberg’s patrician families, had a fight with the city council. He renounced his citizenship, bought a couple of little estates called Neunhof and Heroldsberg that conveyed him the status of an imperial knight, and took service with the Elector Palatine. He and his wife Sabina Welser accepted the Reformed faith. Their palace, Neunhof bei Lauf, which is where we are headed, is only four hours northeast of the city. Since Geuder died, his son has maintained a Calvinist minister and held services in his palace at Heroldsberg as well. He’s not home right now, however. He’s serving in the Swedish army. Frau Sabina continued to host them at Neunhof as well, until she died two years ago. She was tenacious in defending the right of her ‘guests from elsewhere’ to take part in them, insisting that as members of the free imperial knighthood, they had the right to private exercise of religion.”


            Durre smiled reminiscently at his memories of Frau Sabina’s tenacity. Her defense of exercitium religionis privatum had been a wonder to behold. Then he added, reluctantly, “Of course, it could be said that the Geuder family has been less than generous in allowing the same privilege to their Lutheran subjects. We’ll be able to see the castle from just around this bend. It’s still quite a long distance by road from here, though.”


            Keith looked up at the castle with interest. When he heard “castle,” he still thought, automatically, “pile of dank gray stone.” This was a three-story house. Big, all right, but a house. The bottom floor was painted red, with the shutters trimmed with red and pink zigzag stripes; the middle floor was painted pink, with the shutters ditto; the top floor was a positive explosion of gables and Fachwerk beams painted red, with the stucco in between them painted pink. There was a lost commercial opportunity for Grantville right in front of him. Whoever built this place would have paid a fortune for pink plastic lawn flamingos.


            In a way, he was sorry that Mrs. Simpson had missed it. If she wanted to see sights, this was certainly a sight to see.


            “The city council protested, of course,” Durre was continuing. “But considering that in 1609 it had entered the Protestant Union along with the Calvinist Elector Palatine, it’s position was not as strong as it might have been. Considering that the elector’s regent in Amberg was Geuder’s boss. But with this business in the Upper Palatinate these last few years, things have changed. Most of the people who took exile were professionals: administrators, clergy, teachers, physicians, apothecaries. Not independently wealthy, most of them. People who gain their livelihood, primarily, through being paid by someone else. They brought some money with them, true. Most of the Palatines who had no money at all couldn’t even afford to emigrate. Plus, there’s a limit to the ability of other Protestant territories to absorb refugees. Bayreuth took some; so did Ansbach; a few, mostly clergy, went to Leiden. Most stayed where they were and accepted Maximilian’s forced conversions. But I don’t mind saying—it’s been a challenge for those of us who make money to make enough of it to support the refugees who did arrive in Nürnberg until they could find some way to support themselves. Sometimes there have been four hundred or more on our charity rolls. And, because they have little money, the council has been very sparing with granting them citizenship rights, which makes it even harder for them to find work.”


            Durre gestured exuberantly.


            “So that’s where we are. Still no proper congregation with elders and presbyters in the city or its outlying villages; no minister of our own. And,” he smiled, “a refreshing four-hour trip to church. Isn’t it nice that it’s spring?”




            “Herr Durre,” Keith asked rather cautiously, a while later. “Did you say that the boss guy who authorizes these church services is away from home?”




            “It looks to me like there’s a bunch of bully-boys in the road who think that going to a Calvinist church is the wrong idea.”


            Durre looked. “Oh,” he said. “That has to be Georg Seyfried Koler von Neunhof. Or his men, to be more precise. It’s not likely that he’s with them. He’s a Lutheran, and the co-possessor of patronage rights over the churches in Beerbach and Neunhof. That means, he thinks that he ought to have the right to appoint a clergyman of his choice rather than the Geuders’ appointing a clergyman of their choice. He would not dare to try this if Frau Sabina were still alive.”


            “Do they normally duke these things out on the public roads?” Keith asked.


            “There’s no duke involved here,” Durre said. “What’s important jurisdictionally is that these are imperial knights, directly subject to the emperor, with no intervening authority. That’s why the landlord of something that looks like an estate of a few hundred acres with a small village on it can exercise the cuius regio principle.”


            “Jurisdictionally,” Leopold Cavriani added, “they are independent of Grantville’s administrators in Franconia. Because the knights are mostly Protestant, this region near Nürnberg was not included in the king of Sweden’s assignment of authority, any more than Nürnberg itself or Ansbach and Bayreuth were.”


            Lambert Felser, who had garnered his English vocabulary on the floor of Ollie Reardon’s machine shop rather than from literary works or books on political theory, intervened with an explanation of the alternative meaning of “duke.” Once he had managed to convey the essential meaning of “duke it out,” Durre averred that they did indeed “duke it out” on the roads and in the streets. Unless, of course, they had resorted to lawsuits. Normally, however, people employed both methods.


            To Keith’s relief, the party had paused during this discussion rather than proceeding onward toward the manor house. He noticed that the riders securing the road had already pulled a couple of wagons containing families to the side, barring them from going any farther.


            However, the riders—armed riders—were now coming toward them. Durre started to move forward slowly. Like everyone else, Keith felt obliged to follow.


            Except, apparently, the Cavriani kid. Rather than moving along the track—it could scarcely be dignified with the name of a road, being two ruts with grass growing between them—he kept sidling his horse a little towards the right, while holding the reins in his left hand. Not much, with any step.