LEAGUE OF THE FIVE CANTONS AGAINST THE REFORMATION, 1565
with papered seal, 2 sides folio and conjugate leaf, this copy with scribal address, apparently on behalf of Lussi, "to my honoured friend Cavaglier Sebastiano Ruscha [Rusca] at Venice", visa endorsement at Bellinzona dated 4th May 1565, no place, 10th April 1565.
In 1524 the 'Five Cantons' (the original three, joined by Zug and Lucerne), viewing with dismay the spread of reformed doctrines from the north, formed the present League. In 1531 they defeated the forces of Zürich and the radical protestant Huldrych Zwingli was killed. The Catholic cantons strengthened their arm by putting under state control many rights previously held by the bishops. Bellinzona lies at the foot of the main route south-east from Uri to north Italy via the St Gotthard. It is the capital of the Ticino, then a bailiwick by conquest of the Swiss Confederation, now a full Canton. Melchior knew it well – his uncle was High Bailiff and in 1544 Melchior went there and learnt Italian. He took up a military career, commanded the Swiss mercenaries fighting on behalf of the Pope in central Italy in !557, and on 1st July 1560 signed with Venice an agreement to provide a Regiment of 12 Troops. The Rusca family were long prominent in the Ticino, and built the existing Montebello Castle at Bellinzona, one of the three at this World Heritage site. High Bailiff of Bellinzona himself in 1558, Melchior got to know Charles Borromeo, Pius IV's nephew and from 1560 reforming Archbishop of Milan. In 1560, Lussi appealed to Pius IV to reconvene the Council of Trent. After some delay, the Five Cantons, later joined by Fribourg and Soleure, chose him as their lay representative, one of a handful of Swiss delegates (1562-1563). The cantons received the decrees with some circumspection, but gradually the Counter-Reformation gained momentum. To further the work, Lussi founded a Capuchin friary at his native Stans, chief town of Nidwalden, (in this document 'that part of Unterwalden below the Forest of Kerns'), of which he was Ammann 11 times between 1561 and 1595. In the second half of the 16th century, Lussi was second in importance only to Ludwig Pfyffer of Lucerne in Catholic Switzerland. (Transcription)  Instructio, quam Nos infrascripti Quinque Cantones composuimus,  atque in mandatis dedimus, Nobili cum primis, atque strenuo  D. Melchiori Lussi Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Equiti aureato, pridem  Subsilvaniae Amano infra nemus Kerns, nostro singulari, atque  fidelissimo oratori apud Sanctissimum Dominum Nostrum nostro omnium nomine  praeponendam, atque exequendam, Cui quoque Pontifex  Maximus fidem adhibere velit modis omnibus ut sequitur,  Nos Schultetius, Aman, Senatus, Cives & Patriotae Quinque veterum  Catholicorum Cantonum, veteris magnae ligae superioris  Alemaniae, Lucernae, Uraniae, Suitiae, Subsilvaniae[,] eorum  qui supra & infra nemus Tugii, una cum appendentibus  Notum Facimus Tenore huius per Nos datae Instructionis,  quod quandoquidem Nos & potissimum Nostri Egregij Maiores  semper se, ut obedientes filios, atque membra Sanctae Cristianae  Romanae Ecclesiae atque Appostolicae Sedis, cum periculo etiam vitae,  sanguinisque sui effusione praestiterunt, unde et Deffensores  libertatis Ecclesiasticae nominati sunt, quodquidem tam  clarum nomen, Divina opitulante gratia conabimur thueri,  Idem igitur, atque tam iniqua periculosaque considerantes  tempora quibus iam degimus, cum Sanctissimo in Cristo Patre  Pientissmoque Domino Pio huius nominis Quartae Papae Sanctae Romanae  Ecclesiae Pontifice Maximo certam, inviolabilemque amicitiam  fedus, atque unionem contraximus, atque conclusimus, velut idem  fedus in scripta rellatum sonat, quo Navicula Petri, atque  certa illa antiqua cristiana catholicaque fides, nec non  utriusque partis Civitates, Terrae hominesque commodius deffendi, [Side 2]  protegi, et conservari queantet perinde ad assertionem,  propagationem & confirmationem huiusmodi federis Nos  praedicti .5. veteres Cristiani, atque Catholici Cantones  Helvetici unanimiter ellegimus, atque destinavimus, nostrum  Oratorem comissariumve Nobilem, Clarum, atque strenuum  D. Melchiorem Lussi, Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Equitem aureatum  pridem Amanum Subsilvaniae, ut nomine omnium  nostrum, atque ex plena commissione nostra, ad Sanctissimum  Dominum Papam se conferat, atque nostro nomine huiusmodi  amicitiam, atque fedus sanciat, Et quicquid tenore  nostrae commissionis in hac re intendit, agit, perficit sive  permitit, id pollicemur atque promittimus Nos per nostram  fidem honorisque conservationem, Nos ratum habituros  & bona fide re ipsa executuros, Nam in hijs, ei scilicet  omnem potestatem concessimus. Testimonio huius Instructionis  qu[a]e nostro omnium nomine cum sigillo nostrorum cum primis 43] fidelium, dilectorumque confederatorum Lucernensium  communita est, traditaque feria 3a. post Dominicam  passionis Cristi Anno a Nativitate Domini Nostri Jesu  Cristi .1565. [Verso] Al Magnifico Signore mio sempre honorato Il Signore Cavaglier Sebastiano Ruscha Venetia [Endorsement] 4 Maij 1565. Il collonello Lussi: [...] da Belinzona al Cath Ecc[le]sia [...] dallui con avisi de elli parti de Liga conclusa per sua mano tra li cantoni Catho[li]ci et Sua S[anti]ta. [Signature] C. [?Ferdinando] (Translation) The Instructions, which We, the Five Cantons below-written, have drawn up and issued in our orders to the noble, outstanding and assiduous Melchior Lussi, Golden Knight of the Holy Roman Church, formerly Ammann of that part of Unterwalden below Kerns [i.e. Nidwalden], our outstanding and most faithful spokesman to Our Most Holy Lord [the Pope], for him to put in hand and carry out in the name of us all, and to which the Supreme Pontiff wishes to adhere in every way, namely as follows: We the Mayor ['Schultetus', 'Schultheiss'], Ammann, Senate, Citizens and Compatriots of [each of] the Five Old Catholic Cantons, of the old and great league of Upper Alemania, namely Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and those living above and below the Forest of Zug, with their dependencies, make known by the tenor of these Our Instructions, Whereas We and especially our excellent forebears have always shown ourselves obedient sons and members of the Holy Christian Roman Church and of the Apostolic See, they even putting their lives in danger and shedding their blood, whence they have been called the Defenders of the Liberty of the Church, which famous title, with the help of God's grace, we shall endeavour to maintain, We therefore, considering this, and in what evil and dangerous times we live, have contracted and concluded with our most Holy Father in Christ, the most pious Pius, fourth of that name, Pope of the Holy Roman Church and Supreme Pontiff, a sure and inviolable friendship, treaty and union, as if the same treaty were already reduced to writing, whereby the Boat of St Peter, and that sure ancient Christian and Catholic faith, together with the Cities, Lands and People of both parties, may be more appropriately defended, protected and preserved,
And further, in assertion, furtherance and confirmation of this treaty, We the said Five Old Christian and Catholic Helvetic Cantons have unanimously chosen and appointed as our Spokesman and Commissioner the Noble, Renowned and Steadfast Melchior Lussi, Golden Knight of the Holy Roman Church, formerly Ammann of Unterwalden [sic, its eastern part Nidwalden] that in the name of us all, and under our plenary commission, he repair to the Most Holy Pope, and in our name ratify this friendship and treaty, And whatever by the tenor of our Commission he purposes, acts and completes or allows in this matter, We engage and promise, on our faith and on the preservation of our honour, to consider agreed and to execute in good faith, For in these matters we have granted him full power. In Witness, these Instructions are confirmed in the name of us all by our seal but in particular that of our faithful and beloved Confederates the people of Lucerne, and delivered the Tuesday [10th] following Passion Sunday [8th April] in the Year of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ 1565. [Verso] To the Illustrious my ever honoured the Cavaliere Sebastiano Ruscha, Venice. [Endorsement] 4th May 1565. Colonel Lussi [? proceeding] from Bellinzona to the Catholic Church with a notice from the members of the League concluded by their hand between the Catholic Cantons and His Holiness. [Signature] C. [? Ferdinando]
Stock ref: 13672