Toggenburg War

Toggenburg War the name given to an outbreak between Protestants and Catholics in Toggenburg (or Tockenburg), a district of the canton of St. Gall, Switzerland. The dispute between the Toggenburgers and the abbot of St. Gall, Leodegar Buirgisser, appeared at first to be purely political, and related mainly to the labor in road-building, which the abbot had enforced upon those under his jurisdiction. At first even Catholic localities, such as Schwyz, took part with the Toggenburgers against the abbot, without regard to ecclesiastical differences. But the confessional differences soon led to serious disturbances. In the lower country, especially in Hennau, the majority were Catholics. About Easter, in 1709, they closed the church against the evangelical party, and the result was a scuffle, in which many were wounded. Alarmed at this treatment, the Protestants sought shelter in the neighboring churches, but encouraged by their neighbors of Oberglatt, they returned in a week to Hennau, and sought to enter the church. The Catholic priest refused them, but, seeing the Protestants assembled in large numbers in the churchyard, counseled submission. But the Protestant minister was at this moment felled to the earth by a stone, and a severe struggle ensued. The priest was roughly handled, but was rescued by a member of the council, and one of his followers killed. The Reformed preacher, a native of Basle, was recalled, and a citizen of Zurich substituted, who was obliged to disguise himself for fear of the Catholics. The Catholic priest, after an absence of six weeks, was restored to his parish, under the protection of the abbot. The different cantons now took sides with the contending parties, and party feeling ran very high. Attempts were made, however, at mediation. An assembly was held at Baden, May 29, 1709, arbitrators were appointed, and proceedings begun; but all in vain. In the spring of 1712 the war broke out. It began in Toggenburg. The city of Wyl, to which the forces of the abbot had retired, was captured; the commander, Felber, was most shockingly mangled by his own people, and his corpse was thrown into the Sitter. Nabholz, at the head of the victors, marched to St. Gall, and seized the Thurgau and the Rhine valley. Meantime, the theatre of the war extended to the shores of the Reuss and the Aar. A murderous conflict, "the battle of the bushes," gave the Bernese a bloody victory. The city of Baden surrendered to Zurich, and was allowed to retain its Catholic worship, but did not dare to interfere with the erection of a Reformed Church outside of the walls of the city. Through the interference of pope Clement IX, the fire of war, which seemed about to be extinguished, was again stirred; and while the government was hesitating, the Catholic cantons of Schwyz, Unterwalden, and Zug, to the number of 4000, stormed the village of Sins. Bloody battles were fought il the vicinity of Lake Zurich, and at Bellenschantze. In Lucerne, the government was compelled by an uprising of the people to enter into the war. The Catholic parties to the war, about 12,000 strong, assembled at Mury. The Bernese were encamped at Vilmergen, and the great battle was fought on St. James's Day, July 25, and was not decided until six P.M., when the victory of the Reformers was complete. The peace, which was concluded in August at Aarau, provided religious liberty for Toggenburg. See Hagenbach, Hist. of the Church in the 18th and 19th Cent. 1, 34 sq.

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