Fifty thousand boys and girls were persuaded by some pestilent dreamers that their childish innocence would effect what their immoral fathers had failed to accomplish, and so left their homes on an expedition to capture the Holy Land.
An Inquisition tribunal was established in the capital in 1571, and in 1574 its first auto-da-fe was celebrated with the burning of " twenty-one pestilent Lutherans."
Erasmus only ventures to say in his friend's defence " that while he was chancellor no man was put to death for these pestilent opinions, while so many suffered death in France and the Low Countries."
Then he was liable to be seized and put to death as a pestilent heretic. There only remained to draft and publish the edict containing the ban.
As he characterized his opponents in general as the "pestilent herd of libertine scribblers with which the island is overrun," it is no matter of surprise that the book made him many bitter enemies.