Posted by: Democratic Thinker | September 30, 2014

Butchery of Seventy Protestants

Considerations by the Way

A Sixteenth Century Roman Catholic expresses his concerns over actions carried out under the Cloak of Infallibility.

We shall not presume to anticipate the judgment of our fellow-citizens throughout the Union on these important letters, by interposing any comments of our own.—Four Letters on the Important Subject of Government, 1802.



Butchery of Seventy Protestants.


IN the year 1560, Pope Pius the Fourth commenced a general persecution of the protestants throughout the Italian states, when great numbers of every age, sex, and condition, suffered martyrdom. Concerning the cruelties practised upon this occasion, a learned and humane Roman Catholic thus speaks in a letter to a nobleman:

“I cannot, my lord, forbear disclosing my sentiments with respect to the persecution now carrying on. I think it cruel and unnecessary; I tremble at the manner of putting to death, as it resembles more the slaughter of calves and sheep, than the execution of human beings. I will relate to your lordship a dreadful scene, of which I was myself an eye-witness: seventy protestants were cooped up in one filthy dungeon together; the executioner went in among them, picked out one from among the rest, blindfolded him, led him out to an open place before the prison, and cut his throat with the greatest composure. He then calmly walked into the prison again, bloody as he was, and with the knife in his hand selected another, and despatched him in the same manner; and this, my lord, he repeated, till the whole number were put to death. I leave it to your lordship’s feelings to judge of my sensations upon the occasion; my tears now wash the paper upon which I give you the recital. Another thing I must mention, the patience with which they met death: they seemed all resignation and piety, fervently praying to God, and cheerfully encountering their fate. I cannot reflect without shuddering, how the executioner held the bloody knife between his teeth; what a dreadful figure he appeared, all covered with blood, and with what unconcern he executed his barbarous office!”

—John Foxe, Book of Martyrs.