The peasants feared him more than they did their master.
The crown paid the landlord in obligations representing the capitalized rent, and the peasants had to pay the crown, for forty-nine years, 6% interest on this capital.
The closing of the French market to Sicilian produce, the devastation wrought by the phylloxera and the decrease of the sulphur trade had combined to produce in Sicily a discontent of which Socialist agitators took advantage to organize the workmen of the towns and the peasants of the country into groups known as fasci.
He helped to crush the rising of the peasants under Thomas Munzer in Thuringia in 1525; he was a member of the league of Schmalkalden, and took part in all the movements of the Protestants against Charles V.
In a few weeks he collected thousands of so-called Kuruczok (a corruption of Cruciati), consisting for the most part of small yeomen, peasants, wandering students, friars and parish priests, the humblest and most oppressed portion of the community, to whom alone a crusade against the Turk could have the slightest attraction.