AN ATTEMPT AT COMPROMISE
LUTHER did not leave Wittenberg. We do not know whence came the rift in the threatening clouds which had been gathering around him so thickly that even the elector felt that he could give him no guarantee of safety. Whatever the cause, the decided ring of Frederick's reply to Cajetan on December 8, 1518, marks a new self-assurance on the part of the elector, and the fact that the brief and sturdy document was at once given circulation in Germany both by the prince's secretary and by Martin himself1 indicates that the Saxon ruler felt his position assured enough to come into the open in claiming a hearing for the professor.
The political game between the German princes and Rome was becoming more and more intertwined with Luther's struggle against Roman authority. At the Augsburg Diet the princes had, as we have seen, presented their gravamina against the Church, and Spalatin, reporting on Frederick's action in this body, records with satisfaction that his prince opposed an indulgence suggested by Cajetan for a war against the Turks. In December, 1518, the elector and Duke George met in Jena to consider Cajetan's request for a tax to support the same cause, and Spalatin writes to Martin to inquire whether such a war might be approved on the basis of Scripture.2 Martin, therefore, who three years earlier had intimated to Spalatin that he regarded the elector "seven times blind" in spiritual matters, although the wisest of men in temporal affairs,3 evidently draws new courage from Frederick's attitude about the turn of the year. His letters bear the stamp of increasing self-confidence, which at times finds vigorous expression.4____________________