Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Flight of the Earls (Author: Tadhg Ó Cianáin)

section 76

From there they and their horses went in boats across Lake Lugano, which separates Italy and Helvetia, the country of the Swiss, from each other. The lake is only three leagues in width. They had traversed forty-six leagues of the country of the Swiss, and it was strong, well fortified, uneven, mountainous, extensive, having bad roads, and no supremacy, rule or claim to submission by any king or prince in the world over the inhabitants. In themselves they form a strange, remarkable, peculiar state. They make their selection of a system for the government of the country each year. They have fourteen important cities. Half of them are Catholics and the other half are heretics, and by agreement and great oaths they are bound to one another for their defence and protection against any neighbour in the world who should endeavour to injure them or oppose them in upholding the public good with moderation and appropriateness. The names of the aforesaid cities are Lucerne, Bâle, Valais, Soluthurn, Zug, Schwyz, Zürich, Bern, Uri, Stanz, Glarus, Fribourg, Schaffhausen, and Appenzell. It is said of the people of this country that they are the most just, honest, and untreacherous in the world, and the most faithful to their promises. They allow no robbery or murder to be done in their country without punishing it at once. Because of their perfect honour they alone are guards to the Catholic kings and princes of Christendom.