Wie eine 1608 wegen Blasphemie verhängte Exekution das eidgenössische Bündnis auf den Prüfstand stellte
Todeswürdiges Verschulden oder fataler Justizirrtum aufgrund religiöser Voreingenommenheit?
In September 1608, Martin Duvoysin, a reformed citizen of Basel, was accused of blasphemous speech in Sursee, Lucerne, and sentenced to death by beheading and cremation. Three Bernese who happened to be passing through witnessed the pronouncement of sentence and the execution which took place immediately afterwards. They were convinced that this sentence was not free of confessional resentment and that Martin Duvoysin had fallen innocently into the clutches of Sursee’s arbitrary justice. This assessment of the incident was made public by their spokesman Gabriel Hermann in two pamphlets, both of which were reprinted several times and caused a great uproar. The Basel church leader Johann Jakob Grynäus was also deeply convinced of Duvoysin’s innocence, which he expressed in a sermon that was also published in print. The grave accusation of judicial murder that circulated widely as a result of these writings forced the Sursee and Lucerne authorities to vehemently counter the accusation, which initially led to a months-long exchange of blows with the Basel and Bern councillors through diplomatic chan-nels, before Lucerne also had its justifications and counterattacks spread in several printed publications. The danger of a further escalation to the point of a full-blown quarrel between the two confessions was certainly in the air, and a Swiss Confederation divided into two camps would have had to worry seriously about its independence. It took the arbitration of the allies, who were not involved in the conflict, at the «gemeine Tagsatzung» of June 1609 to avert the threatening scenario just in time.