Edited by William Byron Forbush This is a book that will never die — one of the great English classics. . . . Reprinted here in its most complete form, it brings to life the days when “a noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid,” “climbed the steep ascent of heaven, ‘mid peril, toil, and pain.” “After the Bible itself, no book so profoundly influenced early Protestant sentiment as the Book of Martyrs. Even in our time, it is still a living force. It is more than a record of persecution. It is an arsenal of controversy, a storehouse of romance, as well as a source of edification.”
Fox’s Book of Martyrs is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
General Persecutions in Germany part 5 of 8
The cruelties used by the imperial troops, under Count Tilly in Saxony, are thus enumerated.
Half strangling, and recovering the persons again repeatedly. Rolling sharp wheels over the fingers and toes. Pinching the thumbs in a vice. Forcing the most filthy things down the throat, by which many were choked. Tying cords round the head so tightly that the blood gushed out of the eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. Fastening burning matches to the fingers, toes, ears, arms, legs, and even the tongue. Putting the powder in the mouth and setting fire to it, by which the head was shattered to pieces. Tying bags of powder to all parts of the body, by which the person was blown up. Drawing cords backward and forwards through the fleshy parts. Making incisions with bodkins and knives in the skin. Running wires through the nose, ears, lips, etc. Hanging Protestants up by the legs, with their heads over a fire, by which they were smoke-dried. Hanging up by one arm until it was dislocated. Hanging upon hooks by the ribs. Forcing people to drink until they burst. Baking many in hot ovens. Fixing weights to the feet, and drawing up several with pulleys. Hanging, stifling, roasting, stabbing, frying, racking, ravishing, ripping open, breaking the bones, rasping off the flesh, tearing with wild horses, drowning, strangling, burning, broiling, crucifying, immuring, poisoning, cutting off tongues, noses, ears, etc., sawing off the limbs, hacking to pieces, and drawing by the heels through the streets.
The enormous cruelties will be a perpetual stain on the memory of Count Tilly, who not only committed but even commanded the troops to put them in practice. Wherever he came, the most horrid barbarities and cruel depredations ensued: famine and conflagration marked his progress: for he destroyed all the provisions he could not take with him, and burnt all the towns before he left them; so that the full result of his conquests were murder, poverty, and desolation.
An aged and pious divine they stripped naked, tied him on his back upon a table, and fastened a large, fierce cat upon his belly. They then pricked and tormented the cat in such a manner that the creature with rage tore his belly open, and gnawed his bowels.
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