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The Thirty Years War, Complete by Frederich Schiller

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This eBook was produced by David Widger, widger@cecomet.net




Translated from the German




The present is the best collected edition of the important works of
Schiller which is accessible to readers in the English language.
Detached poems or dramas have been translated at various times since
the first publication of the original works; and in several instances
these versions have been incorporated into this collection. Schiller
was not less efficiently qualified by nature for an historian than for
a dramatist. He was formed to excel in all departments of literature,
and the admirable lucidity of style and soundness and impartiality of
judgment displayed in his historical writings will not easily be
surpassed, and will always recommend them as popular expositions of the
periods of which they treat.

Since the publication of the first English edition many corrections and
improvements have been made, with a view to rendering it as acceptable
as possible to English readers; and, notwithstanding the disadvantages
of a translation, the publishers feel sure that Schiller will be
heartily acceptable to English readers, and that the influence of his
writings will continue to increase.

E. B. Eastwick, and originally published abroad for students' use. But
this translation was too strictly literal for general readers. It has
been carefully revised, and some portions have been entirely rewritten
by the Rev. A. J. W. Morrison, who also has so ably translated the

THE CAMP OF WALLENSTEIN was translated by Mr. James Churchill, and first
appeared in "Frazer's Magazine." It is an exceedingly happy version of
what has always been deemed the most untranslatable of Schiller's works.

THE PICCOLOMINI and DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN are the admirable version of
S. T. Coleridge, completed by the addition of all those passages which
he has omitted, and by a restoration of Schiller's own arrangement of
the acts and scenes. It is said, in defence of the variations which
exist between the German original and the version given by Coleridge,
that he translated from a prompter's copy in manuscript, before the
drama had been printed, and that Schiller himself subsequently altered
it, by omitting some passages, adding others, and even engrafting
several of Coleridge's adaptations.

WILHELM TELL is translated by Theodore Martin, Esq., whose well-known
position as a writer, and whose special acquaintance with German
literature make any recommendation superfluous.

DON CARLOS is translated by R. D. Boylan, Esq., and, in the opinion of
competent judges, the version is eminently successful. Mr. Theodore
Martin kindly gave some assistance, and, it is but justice to state,
has enhanced the value of the work by his judicious suggestions.

The translation of MARY STUART is that by the late Joseph Mellish,
who appears to have been on terms of intimate friendship with Schiller.
His version was made from the prompter's copy, before the play was
published, and, like Coleridge's Wallenstein, contains many passages not
found in the printed edition. These are distinguished by brackets. On
the other hand, Mr. Mellish omitted many passages which now form part of
the printed drama, all of which are now added. The translation, as a
whole, stands out from similar works of the time (1800) in almost as
marked a degree as Coleridge's Wallenstein, and some passages exhibit
powers of a high order; a few, however, especially in the earlier
scenes, seemed capable of improvement, and these have been revised,
but, in deference to the translator, with a sparing hand.

THE MAID OF ORLEANS is contributed by Miss Anna Swanwick, whose
translation of Faust has since become well known. It has been.
carefully revised, and is now, for the first time, published complete.

THE BRIDE OF MESSINA, which has been regarded as the poetical
masterpiece of Schiller, and, perhaps of all his works, presents the
greatest difficulties to the translator, is rendered by A. Lodge, Esq.,
M. A. This version, on its first publication in England, a few years
ago, was received with deserved eulogy by distinguished critics. To the
present edition has been prefixed Schiller's Essay on the Use of the
Chorus in Tragedy, in which the author's favorite theory of the "Ideal
of Art" is enforced with great ingenuity and eloquence.


Book I.

Introduction.--General effects of the Reformation.--Revolt of Matthias.
--The Emperor cedes Austria and Hungary to him.--Matthias acknowledged
King of Bohemia.--The Elector of Cologne abjures the Catholic Religion.
--Consequences.--The Elector Palatine.--Dispute respecting the
Succession of Juliers.--Designs of Henry IV. of France.--Formation of
the Union.--The League.--Death of the Emperor Rodolph.--Matthias
succeeds him.--Troubles in Bohemia.--Civil War.--Ferdinand extirpates
the Protestant Religion from Styria.--The Elector Palatine, Frederick
V., is chosen King by the Bohemians.--He accepts the Crown of Bohemia.--
Bethlen Gabor, Prince of Transylvania, invades Austria.--The Duke of
Bavaria and the Princes of the League embrace the cause of Ferdinand.--
The Union arm for Frederick.--The Battle of Prague and total subjection
of Bohemia.

Book II.

State of the Empire.--Of Europe.--Mansfeld.--Christian, Duke of
Brunswick.--Wallenstein raises an Imperial Army at his own expense.
--The King of Denmark defeated.--Death of Mansfeld.--Edict of
Restitution in 1628.--Diet at Ratisbon.--Negociations.--Wallenstein
deprived of the Command.--Gustavus Adolphus.--Swedish Army.--Gustavus
Adolphus takes his leave of the States at Stockholm.--Invasion by the
Swedes.--Their progress in Germany.--Count Tilly takes the Command of
the Imperial Troops.--Treaty with France.--Congress at Leipzig.--Siege
and cruel fate of Magdeburg.--Firmness of the Landgrave of Cassel.--
Junction of the Saxons with the Swedes.--Battle of Leipzig.--
Consequences of that Victory.

Book III.

Situation of Gustavus Adolphus after the Battle of Leipzig.--Progress of
Gustavus Adolphus.--The French invade Lorraine.--Frankfort taken.--
Capitulation of Mentz.--Tilly ordered by Maximilian to protect Bavaria.
--Gustavus Adolphus passes the Lech.--Defeat and Death of Tilly.--
Gustavus takes Munich.--The Saxon Army invades Bohemia, and takes
Prague.--Distress of the Emperor.--Secret Triumph of Wallenstein.--
He offers to Join Gustavus Adolphus.--Wallenstein re-assumes the
Command.--Junction of Wallenstein with the Bavarians.--Gustavus Adolphus
defends Nuremberg.--Attacks Wallenstein's Intrenchments.--Enters
Saxony.--Goes to the succour of the Elector of Saxony.--Marches against
Wallenstein.--Battle of Lutzen.--Death of Gustavus Adolphus.--Situation
of Germany after the Battle of Lutzen.

Book IV.

Closer Alliance between France and Sweden.--Oxenstiern takes the
Direction of Affairs.--Death of the Elector Palatine.--Revolt of the
Swedish Officers.--Duke Bernhard takes Ratisbon.--Wallenstein enters
Silesia.--Forms Treasonable Designs.--Forsaken by the Army.--Retires to
Egra.--His associates put to death.--Wallenstein's death.--His

Book V.

Battle of Nordlingen.--France enters into an Alliance against Austria.--
Treaty of Prague.--Saxony joins the Emperor.--Battle of Wistock gained
by the Swedes.--Battle of Rheinfeld gained by Bernhard, Duke of Weimar.
--He takes Brisach.--His death.--Death of Ferdinand II.--Ferdinand III.
succeeds him.--Celebrated Retreat of Banner in Pomerania.--His
Successes.--Death.--Torstensohn takes the Command.--Death of Richelieu
and Louis XIII.--Swedish Victory at Jankowitz.--French defeated at
Freyburg.--Battle of Nordlingen gained by Turenne and Conde.--Wrangel
takes the Command of the Swedish Army.--Melander made Commander of the
Emperor's Army.--The Elector of Bavaria breaks the Armistice.--He adopts
the same Policy towards the Emperor as France towards the Swedes.--The
Weimerian Cavalry go over to the Swedes.--Conquest of New Prague by
Koenigsmark, and Termination of the Thirty Years' War.



From the beginning of the religious wars in Germany, to the peace of
Munster, scarcely any thing great or remarkable occurred in the
political world of Europe in which the Reformation had not an important
share. All the events of this period, if they did not originate in,
soon became mixed up with, the question of religion, and no state was
either too great or too little to feel directly or indirectly more or
less of its influence.

Against the reformed doctrine and its adherents, the House of Austria
directed, almost exclusively, the whole of its immense political power.
In France, the Reformation had enkindled a civil war which, under four
stormy reigns, shook the kingdom to its foundations, brought foreign
armies into the heart of the country, and for half a century rendered it
the scene of the most mournful disorders. It was the Reformation, too,
that rendered the Spanish yoke intolerable to the Flemings, and awakened
in them both the desire and the courage to throw off its fetters, while
it also principally furnished them with the means of their emancipation.
And as to England, all the evils with which Philip the Second threatened
Elizabeth, were mainly intended in revenge for her having taken his
Protestant subjects under her protection, and placing herself at the
head of a religious party which it was his aim and endeavour to
extirpate. In Germany, the schisms in the church produced also a
lasting political schism, which made that country for more than a
century the theatre of confusion, but at the same time threw up a firm
barrier against political oppression. It was, too, the Reformation
principally that first drew the northern powers, Denmark and Sweden,
into the political system of Europe; and while on the one hand the
Protestant League was strengthened by their adhesion, it on the other
was indispensable to their interests. States which hitherto scarcely
concerned themselves with one another's existence, acquired through the
Reformation an attractive centre of interest, and began to be united by
new political sympathies. And as through its influence new relations
sprang up between citizen and citizen, and between rulers and subjects,
so also entire states were forced by it into new relative positions.
Thus, by a strange course of events, religious disputes were the means
of cementing a closer union among the nations of Europe.

Fearful indeed, and destructive, was the first movement in which this
general political sympathy announced itself; a desolating war of thirty
years, which, from the interior of Bohemia to the mouth of the Scheldt,
and from the banks of the Po to the coasts of the Baltic, devastated
whole countries, destroyed harvests, and reduced towns and villages to
ashes; which opened a grave for many thousand combatants, and for half a
century smothered the glimmering sparks of civilization in Germany, and
threw back the improving manners of the country into their pristine
barbarity and wildness. Yet out of this fearful war Europe came forth
free and independent. In it she first learned to recognize herself as a
community of nations; and this intercommunion of states, which
originated in the thirty years' war, may alone be sufficient to
reconcile the philosopher to its horrors. The hand of industry has
slowly but gradually effaced the traces of its ravages, while its
beneficent influence still survives; and this general sympathy among the
states of Europe, which grew out of the troubles in Bohemia, is our
guarantee for the continuance of that peace which was the result of the
war. As the sparks of destruction found their way from the interior of
Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria, to kindle Germany, France, and the half
of Europe, so also will the torch of civilization make a path for itself
from the latter to enlighten the former countries.

All this was effected by religion. Religion alone could have rendered
possible all that was accomplished, but it was far from being the SOLE
motive of the war. Had not private advantages and state interests been
closely connected with it, vain and powerless would have been the
arguments of theologians; and the cry of the people would never have met
with princes so willing to espouse their cause, nor the new doctrines
have found such numerous, brave, and persevering champions. The
Reformation is undoubtedly owing in a great measure to the invincible
power of truth, or of opinions which were held as such. The abuses in
the old church, the absurdity of many of its dogmas, the extravagance of
its requisitions, necessarily revolted the tempers of men, already
half-won with the promise of a better light, and favourably disposed
them towards the new doctrines. The charm of independence, the rich
plunder of monastic institutions, made the Reformation attractive in the
eyes of princes, and tended not a little to strengthen their inward
convictions. Nothing, however, but political considerations could have
driven them to espouse it. Had not Charles the Fifth, in the
intoxication of success, made an attempt on the independence of the
German States, a Protestant league would scarcely have rushed to arms in
defence of freedom of belief; but for the ambition of the Guises, the
Calvinists in France would never have beheld a Conde or a Coligny at
their head. Without the exaction of the tenth and the twentieth penny,
the See of Rome had never lost the United Netherlands. Princes fought
in self-defence or for aggrandizement, while religious enthusiasm
recruited their armies, and opened to them the treasures of their
subjects. Of the multitude who flocked to their standards, such as were
not lured by the hope of plunder imagined they were fighting for the
truth, while in fact they were shedding their blood for the personal
objects of their princes.

And well was it for the people that, on this occasion, their interests
coincided with those of their princes. To this coincidence alone were
they indebted for their deliverance from popery. Well was it also for
the rulers, that the subject contended too for his own cause, while he
was fighting their battles. Fortunately at this date no European
sovereign was so absolute as to be able, in the pursuit of his political
designs, to dispense with the goodwill of his subjects. Yet how
difficult was it to gain and to set to work this goodwill! The most
impressive arguments drawn from reasons of state fall powerless on the
ear of the subject, who seldom understands, and still more rarely is
interested in them. In such circumstances, the only course open to a
prudent prince is to connect the interests of the cabinet with some one
that sits nearer to the people's heart, if such exists, or if not, to
create it.

In such a position stood the greater part of those princes who embraced
the cause of the Reformation. By a strange concatenation of events, the
divisions of the Church were associated with two circumstances, without
which, in all probability, they would have had a very different
conclusion. These were, the increasing power of the House of Austria,
which threatened the liberties of Europe, and its active zeal for the
old religion. The first aroused the princes, while the second armed the

The abolition of a foreign jurisdiction within their own territories,
the supremacy in ecclesiastical matters, the stopping of the treasure
which had so long flowed to Rome, the rich plunder of religious
foundations, were tempting advantages to every sovereign. Why, then, it
may be asked, did they not operate with equal force upon the princes of
the House of Austria? What prevented this house, particularly in its
German branch, from yielding to the pressing demands of so many of its
subjects, and, after the example of other princes, enriching itself at
the expense of a defenceless clergy? It is difficult to credit that a
belief in the infallibility of the Romish Church had any greater
influence on the pious adherence of this house, than the opposite
conviction had on the revolt of the Protestant princes. In fact,
several circumstances combined to make the Austrian princes zealous
supporters of popery. Spain and Italy, from which Austria derived its
principal strength, were still devoted to the See of Rome with that
blind obedience which, ever since the days of the Gothic dynasty, had
been the peculiar characteristic of the Spaniard. The slightest
approximation, in a Spanish prince, to the obnoxious tenets of Luther
and Calvin, would have alienated for ever the affections of his
subjects, and a defection from the Pope would have cost him the kingdom.
A Spanish prince had no alternative but orthodoxy or abdication. The
same restraint was imposed upon Austria by her Italian dominions, which
she was obliged to treat, if possible, with even greater indulgence;
impatient as they naturally were of a foreign yoke, and possessing also
ready means of shaking it off. In regard to the latter provinces,
moreover, the rival pretensions of France, and the neighbourhood of the
Pope, were motives sufficient to prevent the Emperor from declaring in
favour of a party which strove to annihilate the papal see, and also to
induce him to show the most active zeal in behalf of the old religion.
These general considerations, which must have been equally weighty with
every Spanish monarch, were, in the particular case of Charles V., still
further enforced by peculiar and personal motives. In Italy this
monarch had a formidable rival in the King of France, under whose
protection that country might throw itself the instant that Charles
should incur the slightest suspicion of heresy. Distrust on the part of
the Roman Catholics, and a rupture with the church, would have been
fatal also to many of his most cherished designs. Moreover, when
Charles was first called upon to make his election between the two
parties, the new doctrine had not yet attained to a full and commanding
influence, and there still subsisted a prospect of its reconciliation
with the old. In his son and successor, Philip the Second, a monastic
education combined with a gloomy and despotic disposition to generate an
unmitigated hostility to all innovations in religion; a feeling which
the thought that his most formidable political opponents were also the
enemies of his faith was not calculated to weaken. As his European
possessions, scattered as they were over so many countries, were on all
sides exposed to the seductions of foreign opinions, the progress of the
Reformation in other quarters could not well be a matter of indifference
to him. His immediate interests, therefore, urged him to attach himself
devotedly to the old church, in order to close up the sources of the
heretical contagion. Thus, circumstances naturally placed this prince
at the head of the league which the Roman Catholics formed against the
Reformers. The principles which had actuated the long and active reigns
of Charles V. and Philip the Second, remained a law for their
successors; and the more the breach in the church widened, the firmer
became the attachment of the Spaniards to Roman Catholicism.

The German line of the House of Austria was apparently more unfettered;
but, in reality, though free from many of these restraints, it was yet
confined by others. The possession of the imperial throne--a dignity
it was impossible for a Protestant to hold, (for with what consistency
could an apostate from the Romish Church wear the crown of a Roman
emperor?) bound the successors of Ferdinand I. to the See of Rome.
Ferdinand himself was, from conscientious motives, heartily attached to
it. Besides, the German princes of the House of Austria were not
powerful enough to dispense with the support of Spain, which, however,
they would have forfeited by the least show of leaning towards the new
doctrines. The imperial dignity, also, required them to preserve the
existing political system of Germany, with which the maintenance of
their own authority was closely bound up, but which it was the aim of
the Protestant League to destroy. If to these grounds we add the
indifference of the Protestants to the Emperor's necessities and to the
common dangers of the empire, their encroachments on the temporalities
of the church, and their aggressive violence when they became conscious
of their own power, we can easily conceive how so many concurring
motives must have determined the emperors to the side of popery, and how
their own interests came to be intimately interwoven with those of the
Roman Church. As its fate seemed to depend altogether on the part taken
by Austria, the princes of this house came to be regarded by all Europe
as the pillars of popery. The hatred, therefore, which the Protestants
bore against the latter, was turned exclusively upon Austria; and the
cause became gradually confounded with its protector.

But this irreconcileable enemy of the Reformation--the House of Austria
--by its ambitious projects and the overwhelming force which it could
bring to their support, endangered, in no small degree, the freedom of
Europe, and more especially of the German States. This circumstance
could not fail to rouse the latter from their security, and to render
them vigilant in self-defence. Their ordinary resources were quite
insufficient to resist so formidable a power. Extraordinary exertions
were required from their subjects; and when even these proved far from
adequate, they had recourse to foreign assistance; and, by means of a
common league, they endeavoured to oppose a power which, singly, they
were unable to withstand.

But the strong political inducements which the German princes had to
resist the pretensions of the House of Austria, naturally did not extend
to their subjects. It is only immediate advantages or immediate evils
that set the people in action, and for these a sound policy cannot wait.
Ill then would it have fared with these princes, if by good fortune
another effectual motive had not offered itself, which roused the
passions of the people, and kindled in them an enthusiasm which might be
directed against the political danger, as having with it a common cause
of alarm.

This motive was their avowed hatred of the religion which Austria
protected, and their enthusiastic attachment to a doctrine which that
House was endeavouring to extirpate by fire and sword. Their attachment
was ardent, their hatred invincible. Religious fanaticism anticipates
even the remotest dangers. Enthusiasm never calculates its sacrifices.
What the most pressing danger of the state could not gain from the
citizens, was effected by religious zeal. For the state, or for the
prince, few would have drawn the sword; but for religion, the merchant,
the artist, the peasant, all cheerfully flew to arms. For the state, or
for the prince, even the smallest additional impost would have been
avoided; but for religion the people readily staked at once life,
fortune, and all earthly hopes. It trebled the contributions which
flowed into the exchequer of the princes, and the armies which marched
to the field; and, in the ardent excitement produced in all minds by the
peril to which their faith was exposed, the subject felt not the
pressure of those burdens and privations under which, in cooler moments,
he would have sunk exhausted. The terrors of the Spanish Inquisition,
and the massacre of St. Bartholomew's, procured for the Prince of
Orange, the Admiral Coligny, the British Queen Elizabeth, and the
Protestant princes of Germany, supplies of men and money from their
subjects, to a degree which at present is inconceivable.

But, with all their exertions, they would have effected little against a
power which was an overmatch for any single adversary, however powerful.
At this period of imperfect policy, accidental circumstances alone could
determine distant states to afford one another a mutual support. The
differences of government, of laws, of language, of manners, and of
character, which hitherto had kept whole nations and countries as it
were insulated, and raised a lasting barrier between them, rendered one
state insensible to the distresses of another, save where national
jealousy could indulge a malicious joy at the reverses of a rival. This
barrier the Reformation destroyed. An interest more intense and more
immediate than national aggrandizement or patriotism, and entirely
independent of private utility, began to animate whole states and
individual citizens; an interest capable of uniting numerous and distant
nations, even while it frequently lost its force among the subjects of
the same government. With the inhabitants of Geneva, for instance, of
England, of Germany, or of Holland, the French Calvinist possessed a
common point of union which he had not with his own countrymen. Thus,
in one important particular, he ceased to be the citizen of a single
state, and to confine his views and sympathies to his own country alone.
The sphere of his views became enlarged. He began to calculate his own
fate from that of other nations of the same religious profession, and to
make their cause his own. Now for the first time did princes venture to
bring the affairs of other countries before their own councils; for the
first time could they hope for a willing ear to their own necessities,
and prompt assistance from others. Foreign affairs had now become a
matter of domestic policy, and that aid was readily granted to the
religious confederate which would have been denied to the mere
neighbour, and still more to the distant stranger. The inhabitant of
the Palatinate leaves his native fields to fight side by side with his
religious associate of France, against the common enemy of their faith.
The Huguenot draws his sword against the country which persecutes him,
and sheds his blood in defence of the liberties of Holland. Swiss is
arrayed against Swiss; German against German, to determine, on the banks
of the Loire and the Seine, the succession of the French crown. The
Dane crosses the Eider, and the Swede the Baltic, to break the chains
which are forged for Germany.

It is difficult to say what would have been the fate of the Reformation,
and the liberties of the Empire, had not the formidable power of Austria
declared against them. This, however, appears certain, that nothing so
completely damped the Austrian hopes of universal monarchy, as the
obstinate war which they had to wage against the new religious opinions.
Under no other circumstances could the weaker princes have roused their
subjects to such extraordinary exertions against the ambition of
Austria, or the States themselves have united so closely against the
common enemy.

The power of Austria never stood higher than after the victory which
Charles V. gained over the Germans at Muehlberg. With the treaty of
Smalcalde the freedom of Germany lay, as it seemed, prostrate for ever;
but it revived under Maurice of Saxony, once its most formidable enemy.
All the fruits of the victory of Muehlberg were lost again in the
congress of Passau, and the diet of Augsburg; and every scheme for civil
and religious oppression terminated in the concessions of an equitable

The diet of Augsburg divided Germany into two religious and two
political parties, by recognizing the independent rights and existence
of both. Hitherto the Protestants had been looked on as rebels; they
were henceforth to be regarded as brethren--not indeed through
affection, but necessity. By the Interim, the Confession of Augsburg
was allowed temporarily to take a sisterly place alongside of the olden
religion, though only as a tolerated neighbour.

[A system of Theology so called, prepared by order of the Emperor
Charles V. for the use of Germany, to reconcile the differences
between the Roman Catholics and the Lutherans, which, however, was
rejected by both parties--Ed.]

To every secular state was conceded the right of establishing the
religion it acknowledged as supreme and exclusive within its own
territories, and of forbidding the open profession of its rival.
Subjects were to be free to quit a country where their own religion was
not tolerated. The doctrines of Luther for the first time received a
positive sanction; and if they were trampled under foot in Bavaria and
Austria, they predominated in Saxony and Thuringia. But the sovereigns
alone were to determine what form of religion should prevail within
their territories; the feelings of subjects who had no representatives
in the diet were little attended to in the pacification. In the
ecclesiastical territories, indeed, where the unreformed religion
enjoyed an undisputed supremacy, the free exercise of their religion was
obtained for all who had previously embraced the Protestant doctrines;
but this indulgence rested only on the personal guarantee of Ferdinand,
King of the Romans, by whose endeavours chiefly this peace was effected;
a guarantee, which, being rejected by the Roman Catholic members of the
Diet, and only inserted in the treaty under their protest, could not of
course have the force of law.

If it had been opinions only that thus divided the minds of men, with
what indifference would all have regarded the division! But on these
opinions depended riches, dignities, and rights; and it was this which
so deeply aggravated the evils of division. Of two brothers, as it
were, who had hitherto enjoyed a paternal inheritance in common, one now
remained, while the other was compelled to leave his father's house, and
hence arose the necessity of dividing the patrimony. For this
separation, which he could not have foreseen, the father had made no
provision. By the beneficent donations of pious ancestors the riches of
the church had been accumulating through a thousand years, and these
benefactors were as much the progenitors of the departing brother as of
him who remained. Was the right of inheritance then to be limited to
the paternal house, or to be extended to blood? The gifts had been made
to the church in communion with Rome, because at that time no other
existed,--to the first-born, as it were, because he was as yet the only
son. Was then a right of primogeniture to be admitted in the church, as
in noble families? Were the pretensions of one party to be favoured by
a prescription from times when the claims of the other could not have
come into existence? Could the Lutherans be justly excluded from these
possessions, to which the benevolence of their forefathers had
contributed, merely on the ground that, at the date of their foundation,
the differences between Lutheranism and Romanism were unknown? Both
parties have disputed, and still dispute, with equal plausibility, on
these points. Both alike have found it difficult to prove their right.
Law can be applied only to conceivable cases, and perhaps spiritual
foundations are not among the number of these, and still less where the
conditions of the founders generally extended to a system of doctrines;
for how is it conceivable that a permanent endowment should be made of
opinions left open to change?

What law cannot decide, is usually determined by might, and such was the
case here. The one party held firmly all that could no longer be
wrested from it--the other defended what it still possessed. All the
bishoprics and abbeys which had been secularized BEFORE the peace,
remained with the Protestants; but, by an express clause, the unreformed
Catholics provided that none should thereafter be secularized. Every
impropriator of an ecclesiastical foundation, who held immediately of
the Empire, whether elector, bishop, or abbot, forfeited his benefice
and dignity the moment he embraced the Protestant belief; he was obliged
in that event instantly to resign its emoluments, and the chapter was to
proceed to a new election, exactly as if his place had been vacated by
death. By this sacred anchor of the Ecclesiastical Reservation,
(`Reservatum Ecclesiasticum',) which makes the temporal existence of a
spiritual prince entirely dependent on his fidelity to the olden
religion, the Roman Catholic Church in Germany is still held fast; and
precarious, indeed, would be its situation were this anchor to give way.
The principle of the Ecclesiastical Reservation was strongly opposed by
the Protestants; and though it was at last adopted into the treaty of
peace, its insertion was qualified with the declaration, that parties
had come to no final determination on the point. Could it then be more
binding on the Protestants than Ferdinand's guarantee in favour of
Protestant subjects of ecclesiastical states was upon the Roman
Catholics? Thus were two important subjects of dispute left unsettled
in the treaty of peace, and by them the war was rekindled.

Such was the position of things with regard to religious toleration and
ecclesiastical property: it was the same with regard to rights and
dignities. The existing German system provided only for one church,
because one only was in existence when that system was framed. The
church had now divided; the Diet had broken into two religious parties;
was the whole system of the Empire still exclusively to follow the one?
The emperors had hitherto been members of the Romish Church, because
till now that religion had no rival. But was it his connexion with Rome
which constituted a German emperor, or was it not rather Germany which
was to be represented in its head? The Protestants were now spread over
the whole Empire, and how could they justly still be represented by an
unbroken line of Roman Catholic emperors? In the Imperial Chamber the
German States judge themselves, for they elect the judges; it was the
very end of its institution that they should do so, in order that equal
justice should be dispensed to all; but would this be still possible, if
the representatives of both professions were not equally admissible to a
seat in the Chamber? That one religion only existed in Germany at the
time of its establishment, was accidental; that no one estate should
have the means of legally oppressing another, was the essential purpose
of the institution. Now this object would be entirely frustrated if one
religious party were to have the exclusive power of deciding for the
other. Must, then, the design be sacrificed, because that which was
merely accidental had changed? With great difficulty the Protestants,
at last, obtained for the representatives of their religion a place in
the Supreme Council, but still there was far from being a perfect
equality of voices. To this day no Protestant prince has been raised to
the imperial throne.

Whatever may be said of the equality which the peace of Augsburg was to
have established between the two German churches, the Roman Catholic had
unquestionably still the advantage. All that the Lutheran Church gained
by it was toleration; all that the Romish Church conceded, was a
sacrifice to necessity, not an offering to justice. Very far was it
from being a peace between two equal powers, but a truce between a
sovereign and unconquered rebels. From this principle all the
proceedings of the Roman Catholics against the Protestants seemed to
flow, and still continue to do so. To join the reformed faith was still
a crime, since it was to be visited with so severe a penalty as that
which the Ecclesiastical Reservation held suspended over the apostacy of
the spiritual princes. Even to the last, the Romish Church preferred to
risk to loss of every thing by force, than voluntarily to yield the
smallest matter to justice. The loss was accidental and might be
repaired; but the abandonment of its pretensions, the concession of a
single point to the Protestants, would shake the foundations of the
church itself. Even in the treaty of peace this principle was not lost
sight of. Whatever in this peace was yielded to the Protestants was
always under condition. It was expressly declared, that affairs were to
remain on the stipulated footing only till the next general council,
which was to be called with the view of effecting an union between the
two confessions. Then only, when this last attempt should have failed,
was the religious treaty to become valid and conclusive. However little
hope there might be of such a reconciliation, however little perhaps the
Romanists themselves were in earnest with it, still it was something to
have clogged the peace with these stipulations.

Thus this religious treaty, which was to extinguish for ever the flames
of civil war, was, in fact, but a temporary truce, extorted by force and
necessity; not dictated by justice, nor emanating from just notions
either of religion or toleration. A religious treaty of this kind the
Roman Catholics were as incapable of granting, to be candid, as in truth
the Lutherans were unqualified to receive. Far from evincing a tolerant
spirit towards the Roman Catholics, when it was in their power, they
even oppressed the Calvinists; who indeed just as little deserved
toleration, since they were unwilling to practise it. For such a peace
the times were not yet ripe--the minds of men not yet sufficiently
enlightened. How could one party expect from another what itself was
incapable of performing? What each side saved or gained by the treaty of
Augsburg, it owed to the imposing attitude of strength which it
maintained at the time of its negociation. What was won by force was to
be maintained also by force; if the peace was to be permanent, the two
parties to it must preserve the same relative positions. The boundaries
of the two churches had been marked out with the sword; with the sword
they must be preserved, or woe to that party which should be first
disarmed! A sad and fearful prospect for the tranquillity of Germany,
when peace itself bore so threatening an aspect.

A momentary lull now pervaded the empire; a transitory bond of concord
appeared to unite its scattered limbs into one body, so that for a time
a feeling also for the common weal returned. But the division had
penetrated its inmost being, and to restore its original harmony was
impossible. Carefully as the treaty of peace appeared to have defined
the rights of both parties, its interpretation was nevertheless the
subject of many disputes. In the heat of conflict it had produced a
cessation of hostilities; it covered, not extinguished, the fire, and
unsatisfied claims remained on either side. The Romanists imagined they
had lost too much, the Protestants that they had gained too little; and
the treaty which neither party could venture to violate, was interpreted
by each in its own favour.

The seizure of the ecclesiastical benefices, the motive which had so
strongly tempted the majority of the Protestant princes to embrace the
doctrines of Luther, was not less powerful after than before the peace;
of those whose founders had not held their fiefs immediately of the
empire, such as were not already in their possession would it was
evident soon be so. The whole of Lower Germany was already secularized;
and if it were otherwise in Upper Germany, it was owing to the vehement
resistance of the Catholics, who had there the preponderance. Each
party, where it was the most powerful, oppressed the adherents of the
other; the ecclesiastical princes in particular, as the most defenceless
members of the empire, were incessantly tormented by the ambition of
their Protestant neighbours. Those who were too weak to repel force by
force, took refuge under the wings of justice; and the complaints of
spoliation were heaped up against the Protestants in the Imperial
Chamber, which was ready enough to pursue the accused with judgments,
but found too little support to carry them into effect. The peace which
stipulated for complete religious toleration for the dignitaries of the
Empire, had provided also for the subject, by enabling him, without
interruption, to leave the country in which the exercise of his religion
was prohibited. But from the wrongs which the violence of a sovereign
might inflict on an obnoxious subject; from the nameless oppressions by
which he might harass and annoy the emigrant; from the artful snares in
which subtilty combined with power might enmesh him--from these, the
dead letter of the treaty could afford him no protection. The Catholic
subject of Protestant princes complained loudly of violations of the
religious peace--the Lutherans still more loudly of the oppression they
experienced under their Romanist suzerains. The rancour and animosities
of theologians infused a poison into every occurrence, however
inconsiderable, and inflamed the minds of the people. Happy would it
have been had this theological hatred exhausted its zeal upon the common
enemy, instead of venting its virus on the adherents of a kindred faith!

Unanimity amongst the Protestants might, by preserving the balance
between the contending parties, have prolonged the peace; but as if to
complete the confusion, all concord was quickly broken. The doctrines
which had been propagated by Zuingli in Zurich, and by Calvin in Geneva,
soon spread to Germany, and divided the Protestants among themselves,
with little in unison save their common hatred to popery. The
Protestants of this date bore but slight resemblance to those who, fifty
years before, drew up the Confession of Augsburg; and the cause of the
change is to be sought in that Confession itself. It had prescribed a
positive boundary to the Protestant faith, before the newly awakened
spirit of inquiry had satisfied itself as to the limits it ought to set;
and the Protestants seemed unwittingly to have thrown away much of the
advantage acquired by their rejection of popery. Common complaints of
the Romish hierarchy, and of ecclesiastical abuses, and a common
disapprobation of its dogmas, formed a sufficient centre of union for
the Protestants; but not content with this, they sought a rallying point
in the promulgation of a new and positive creed, in which they sought to
embody the distinctions, the privileges, and the essence of the church,
and to this they referred the convention entered into with their
opponents. It was as professors of this creed that they had acceded to
the treaty; and in the benefits of this peace the advocates of the
confession were alone entitled to participate. In any case, therefore,
the situation of its adherents was embarrassing. If a blind obedience
were yielded to the dicta of the Confession, a lasting bound would be
set to the spirit of inquiry; if, on the other hand, they dissented from
the formulae agreed upon, the point of union would be lost.
Unfortunately both incidents occurred, and the evil results of both were
quickly felt. One party rigorously adhered to the original symbol of
faith, and the other abandoned it, only to adopt another with equal

Nothing could have furnished the common enemy a more plausible defence
of his cause than this dissension; no spectacle could have been more
gratifying to him than the rancour with which the Protestants
alternately persecuted each other. Who could condemn the Roman
Catholics, if they laughed at the audacity with which the Reformers had
presumed to announce the only true belief?--if from Protestants they
borrowed the weapons against Protestants?--if, in the midst of this
clashing of opinions, they held fast to the authority of their own
church, for which, in part, there spoke an honourable antiquity, and a
yet more honourable plurality of voices. But this division placed the
Protestants in still more serious embarrassments. As the covenants of
the treaty applied only to the partisans of the Confession, their
opponents, with some reason, called upon them to explain who were to be
recognized as the adherents of that creed. The Lutherans could not,
without offending conscience, include the Calvinists in their communion,
except at the risk of converting a useful friend into a dangerous enemy,
could they exclude them. This unfortunate difference opened a way for
the machinations of the Jesuits to sow distrust between both parties,
and to destroy the unity of their measures. Fettered by the double fear
of their direct adversaries, and of their opponents among themselves,
the Protestants lost for ever the opportunity of placing their church on
a perfect equality with the Catholic. All these difficulties would have
been avoided, and the defection of the Calvinists would not have
prejudiced the common cause, if the point of union had been placed
simply in the abandonment of Romanism, instead of in the Confession of

But however divided on other points, they concurred in this--that the
security which had resulted from equality of power could only be
maintained by the preservation of that balance. In the meanwhile, the
continual reforms of one party, and the opposing measures of the other,
kept both upon the watch, while the interpretation of the religious
treaty was a never-ending subject of dispute. Each party maintained
that every step taken by its opponent was an infraction of the peace,
while of every movement of its own it was asserted that it was essential
to its maintenance. Yet all the measures of the Catholics did not, as
their opponents alleged, proceed from a spirit of encroachment--many of
them were the necessary precautions of self-defence. The Protestants
had shown unequivocally enough what the Romanists might expect if they
were unfortunate enough to become the weaker party. The greediness of
the former for the property of the church, gave no reason to expect
indulgence;--their bitter hatred left no hope of magnanimity or

But the Protestants, likewise, were excusable if they too placed little
confidence in the sincerity of the Roman Catholics. By the treacherous
and inhuman treatment which their brethren in Spain, France, and the
Netherlands, had suffered; by the disgraceful subterfuge of the Romish
princes, who held that the Pope had power to relieve them from the
obligation of the most solemn oaths; and above all, by the detestable
maxim, that faith was not to be kept with heretics, the Roman Church, in
the eyes of all honest men, had lost its honour. No engagement, no
oath, however sacred, from a Roman Catholic, could satisfy a Protestant.
What security then could the religious peace afford, when, throughout
Germany, the Jesuits represented it as a measure of mere temporary
convenience, and in Rome itself it was solemnly repudiated.

The General Council, to which reference had been made in the treaty, had
already been held in the city of Trent; but, as might have been
foreseen, without accommodating the religious differences, or taking a
single step to effect such accommodation, and even without being
attended by the Protestants. The latter, indeed, were now solemnly
excommunicated by it in the name of the church, whose representative the
Council gave itself out to be. Could, then, a secular treaty, extorted
moreover by force of arms, afford them adequate protection against the
ban of the church; a treaty, too, based on a condition which the
decision of the Council seemed entirely to abolish? There was then a
show of right for violating the peace, if only the Romanists possessed
the power; and henceforward the Protestants were protected by nothing
but the respect for their formidable array.

Other circumstances combined to augment this distrust. Spain, on whose
support the Romanists in Germany chiefly relied, was engaged in a bloody
conflict with the Flemings. By it, the flower of the Spanish troops
were drawn to the confines of Germany. With what ease might they be
introduced within the empire, if a decisive stroke should render their
presence necessary? Germany was at that time a magazine of war for
nearly all the powers of Europe. The religious war had crowded it with
soldiers, whom the peace left destitute; its many independent princes
found it easy to assemble armies, and afterwards, for the sake of gain,
or the interests of party, hire them out to other powers. With German
troops, Philip the Second waged war against the Netherlands, and with
German troops they defended themselves. Every such levy in Germany was
a subject of alarm to the one party or the other, since it might be
intended for their oppression. The arrival of an ambassador, an
extraordinary legate of the Pope, a conference of princes, every unusual
incident, must, it was thought, be pregnant with destruction to some
party. Thus, for nearly half a century, stood Germany, her hand upon
the sword; every rustle of a leaf alarmed her.

Ferdinand the First, King of Hungary, and his excellent son, Maximilian
the Second, held at this memorable epoch the reins of government. With
a heart full of sincerity, with a truly heroic patience, had Ferdinand
brought about the religious peace of Augsburg, and afterwards, in the
Council of Trent, laboured assiduously, though vainly, at the ungrateful
task of reconciling the two religions. Abandoned by his nephew, Philip
of Spain, and hard pressed both in Hungary and Transylvania by the
victorious armies of the Turks, it was not likely that this emperor
would entertain the idea of violating the religious peace, and thereby
destroying his own painful work. The heavy expenses of the perpetually
recurring war with Turkey could not be defrayed by the meagre
contributions of his exhausted hereditary dominions. He stood,
therefore, in need of the assistance of the whole empire; and the
religious peace alone preserved in one body the otherwise divided
empire. Financial necessities made the Protestant as needful to him as
the Romanist, and imposed upon him the obligation of treating both
parties with equal justice, which, amidst so many contradictory claims,
was truly a colossal task. Very far, however, was the result from
answering his expectations. His indulgence of the Protestants served
only to bring upon his successors a war, which death saved himself the
mortification of witnessing. Scarcely more fortunate was his son
Maximilian, with whom perhaps the pressure of circumstances was the only
obstacle, and a longer life perhaps the only want, to his establishing
the new religion upon the imperial throne. Necessity had taught the
father forbearance towards the Protestants--necessity and justice
dictated the same course to the son. The grandson had reason to repent
that he neither listened to justice, nor yielded to necessity.

Maximilian left six sons, of whom the eldest, the Archduke Rodolph,
inherited his dominions, and ascended the imperial throne. The other
brothers were put off with petty appanages. A few mesne fiefs were held
by a collateral branch, which had their uncle, Charles of Styria, at its
head; and even these were afterwards, under his son, Ferdinand the
Second, incorporated with the rest of the family dominions. With this
exception, the whole of the imposing power of Austria was now wielded by
a single, but unfortunately weak hand.

Rodolph the Second was not devoid of those virtues which might have
gained him the esteem of mankind, had the lot of a private station
fallen to him. His character was mild, he loved peace and the sciences,
particularly astronomy, natural history, chemistry, and the study of
antiquities. To these he applied with a passionate zeal, which, at the
very time when the critical posture of affairs demanded all his
attention, and his exhausted finances the most rigid economy, diverted
his attention from state affairs, and involved him in pernicious
expenses. His taste for astronomy soon lost itself in those
astrological reveries to which timid and melancholy temperaments like
his are but too disposed. This, together with a youth passed in Spain,
opened his ears to the evil counsels of the Jesuits, and the influence
of the Spanish court, by which at last he was wholly governed. Ruled by
tastes so little in accordance with the dignity of his station, and
alarmed by ridiculous prophecies, he withdrew, after the Spanish custom,
from the eyes of his subjects, to bury himself amidst his gems and
antiques, or to make experiments in his laboratory, while the most fatal
discords loosened all the bands of the empire, and the flames of
rebellion began to burst out at the very footsteps of his throne. All
access to his person was denied, the most urgent matters were neglected.
The prospect of the rich inheritance of Spain was closed against him,
while he was trying to make up his mind to offer his hand to the Infanta
Isabella. A fearful anarchy threatened the Empire, for though without
an heir of his own body, he could not be persuaded to allow the election
of a King of the Romans. The Austrian States renounced their
allegiance, Hungary and Transylvania threw off his supremacy, and
Bohemia was not slow in following their example. The descendant of the
once so formidable Charles the Fifth was in perpetual danger, either of
losing one part of his possessions to the Turks, or another to the
Protestants, and of sinking, beyond redemption, under the formidable
coalition which a great monarch of Europe had formed against him. The
events which now took place in the interior of Germany were such as
usually happened when either the throne was without an emperor, or the
Emperor without a sense of his imperial dignity. Outraged or abandoned
by their head, the States of the Empire were left to help themselves;
and alliances among themselves must supply the defective authority of
the Emperor. Germany was divided into two leagues, which stood in arms
arrayed against each other: between both, Rodolph, the despised
opponent of the one, and the impotent protector of the other, remained
irresolute and useless, equally unable to destroy the former or to
command the latter. What had the Empire to look for from a prince
incapable even of defending his hereditary dominions against its
domestic enemies? To prevent the utter ruin of the House of Austria,
his own family combined against him; and a powerful party threw itself
into the arms of his brother. Driven from his hereditary dominions,
nothing was now left him to lose but the imperial dignity; and he was
only spared this last disgrace by a timely death.

At this critical moment, when only a supple policy, united with a
vigorous arm, could have maintained the tranquillity of the Empire, its
evil genius gave it a Rodolph for Emperor. At a more peaceful period
the Germanic Union would have managed its own interests, and Rodolph,
like so many others of his rank, might have hidden his deficiencies in a
mysterious obscurity. But the urgent demand for the qualities in which
he was most deficient revealed his incapacity. The position of Germany
called for an emperor who, by his known energies, could give weight to
his resolves; and the hereditary dominions of Rodolph, considerable as
they were, were at present in a situation to occasion the greatest
embarrassment to the governors.

The Austrian princes, it is true were Roman Catholics, and in addition
to that, the supporters of Popery, but their countries were far from
being so. The reformed opinions had penetrated even these, and favoured
by Ferdinand's necessities and Maximilian's mildness, had met with a
rapid success. The Austrian provinces exhibited in miniature what
Germany did on a larger scale. The great nobles and the ritter class or
knights were chiefly evangelical, and in the cities the Protestants had
a decided preponderance. If they succeeded in bringing a few of their
party into the country, they contrived imperceptibly to fill all places
of trust and the magistracy with their own adherents, and to exclude the
Catholics. Against the numerous order of the nobles and knights, and
the deputies from the towns, the voice of a few prelates was powerless;
and the unseemly ridicule and offensive contempt of the former soon
drove them entirely from the provincial diets. Thus the whole of the
Austrian Diet had imperceptibly become Protestant, and the Reformation
was making rapid strides towards its public recognition. The prince was
dependent on the Estates, who had it in their power to grant or refuse
supplies. Accordingly, they availed themselves of the financial
necessities of Ferdinand and his son to extort one religious concession
after another. To the nobles and knights, Maximilian at last conceded
the free exercise of their religion, but only within their own
territories and castles. The intemperate enthusiasm of the Protestant
preachers overstepped the boundaries which prudence had prescribed. In
defiance of the express prohibition, several of them ventured to preach
publicly, not only in the towns, but in Vienna itself, and the people
flocked in crowds to this new doctrine, the best seasoning of which was
personality and abuse. Thus continued food was supplied to fanaticism,
and the hatred of two churches, that were such near neighbours, was
farther envenomed by the sting of an impure zeal.

Among the hereditary dominions of the House of Austria, Hungary and
Transylvania were the most unstable, and the most difficult to retain.
The impossibility of holding these two countries against the
neighbouring and overwhelming power of the Turks, had already driven
Ferdinand to the inglorious expedient of recognizing, by an annual
tribute, the Porte's supremacy over Transylvania; a shameful confession
of weakness, and a still more dangerous temptation to the turbulent
nobility, when they fancied they had any reason to complain of their
master. Not without conditions had the Hungarians submitted to the
House of Austria. They asserted the elective freedom of their crown,
and boldly contended for all those prerogatives of their order which are
inseparable from this freedom of election. The near neighbourhood of
Turkey, the facility of changing masters with impunity, encouraged the
magnates still more in their presumption; discontented with the Austrian
government they threw themselves into the arms of the Turks;
dissatisfied with these, they returned again to their German sovereigns.
The frequency and rapidity of these transitions from one government to
another, had communicated its influences also to their mode of thinking;
and as their country wavered between the Turkish and Austrian rule, so
their minds vacillated between revolt and submission. The more
unfortunate each nation felt itself in being degraded into a province of
a foreign kingdom, the stronger desire did they feel to obey a monarch
chosen from amongst themselves, and thus it was always easy for an
enterprising noble to obtain their support. The nearest Turkish pasha
was always ready to bestow the Hungarian sceptre and crown on a rebel
against Austria; just as ready was Austria to confirm to any adventurer
the possession of provinces which he had wrested from the Porte,
satisfied with preserving thereby the shadow of authority, and with
erecting at the same time a barrier against the Turks. In this way
several of these magnates, Batbori, Boschkai, Ragoczi, and Bethlen
succeeded in establishing themselves, one after another, as tributary
sovereigns in Transylvania and Hungary; and they maintained their ground
by no deeper policy than that of occasionally joining the enemy, in
order to render themselves more formidable to their own prince.

Ferdinand, Maximilian, and Rodolph, who were all sovereigns of Hungary
and Transylvania, exhausted their other territories in endeavouring to
defend these from the hostile inroads of the Turks, and to put down
intestine rebellion. In this quarter destructive wars were succeeded
but by brief truces, which were scarcely less hurtful: far and wide the
land lay waste, while the injured serf had to complain equally of his
enemy and his protector. Into these countries also the Reformation had
penetrated; and protected by the freedom of the States, and under the
cover of the internal disorders, had made a noticeable progress. Here
too it was incautiously attacked, and party spirit thus became yet more
dangerous from religious enthusiasm. Headed by a bold rebel, Boschkai,
the nobles of Hungary and Transylvania raised the standard of rebellion.
The Hungarian insurgents were upon the point of making common cause with
the discontented Protestants in Austria, Moravia, and Bohemia, and
uniting all those countries in one fearful revolt. The downfall of
popery in these lands would then have been inevitable.

Long had the Austrian archdukes, the brothers of the Emperor, beheld
with silent indignation the impending ruin of their house; this last
event hastened their decision. The Archduke Matthias, Maximilian's
second son, Viceroy in Hungary, and Rodolph's presumptive heir, now came
forward as the stay of the falling house of Hapsburg. In his youth,
misled by a false ambition, this prince, disregarding the interests of
his family, had listened to the overtures of the Flemish insurgents, who
invited him into the Netherlands to conduct the defence of their
liberties against the oppression of his own relative, Philip the Second.
Mistaking the voice of an insulated faction for that of the entire
nation, Matthias obeyed the call. But the event answered the
expectations of the men of Brabant as little as his own, and from this
imprudent enterprise he retired with little credit.

Far more honourable was his second appearance in the political world.
Perceiving that his repeated remonstrances with the Emperor were
unavailing, he assembled the archdukes, his brothers and cousins, at
Presburg, and consulted with them on the growing perils of their house,
when they unanimously assigned to him, as the oldest, the duty of
defending that patrimony which a feeble brother was endangering. In his
hands they placed all their powers and rights, and vested him with
sovereign authority, to act at his discretion for the common good.
Matthias immediately opened a communication with the Porte and the
Hungarian rebels, and through his skilful management succeeded in
saving, by a peace with the Turks, the remainder of Hungary, and by a
treaty with the rebels, preserved the claims of Austria to the lost
provinces. But Rodolph, as jealous as he had hitherto been careless of
his sovereign authority, refused to ratify this treaty, which he
regarded as a criminal encroachment on his sovereign rights. He accused
the Archduke of keeping up a secret understanding with the enemy, and of
cherishing treasonable designs on the crown of Hungary.

The activity of Matthias was, in truth, anything but disinterested; the
conduct of the Emperor only accelerated the execution of his ambitious
views. Secure, from motives of gratitude, of the devotion of the
Hungarians, for whom he had so lately obtained the blessings of peace;
assured by his agents of the favourable disposition of the nobles, and
certain of the support of a large party, even in Austria, he now
ventured to assume a bolder attitude, and, sword in hand, to discuss his
grievances with the Emperor. The Protestants in Austria and Moravia,
long ripe for revolt, and now won over to the Archduke by his promises
of toleration, loudly and openly espoused his cause, and their
long-menaced alliance with the Hungarian rebels was actually effected.
Almost at once a formidable conspiracy was planned and matured against
the Emperor. Too late did he resolve to amend his past errors; in vain
did he attempt to break up this fatal alliance. Already the whole
empire was in arms; Hungary, Austria, and Moravia had done homage to
Matthias, who was already on his march to Bohemia to seize the Emperor
in his palace, and to cut at once the sinews of his power.

Bohemia was not a more peaceable possession for Austria than Hungary;
with this difference only, that, in the latter, political
considerations, in the former, religious dissensions, fomented
disorders. In Bohemia, a century before the days of Luther, the first
spark of the religious war had been kindled; a century after Luther, the
first flames of the thirty years' war burst out in Bohemia. The sect
which owed its rise to John Huss, still existed in that country;--it
agreed with the Romish Church in ceremonies and doctrines, with the
single exception of the administration of the Communion, in which the
Hussites communicated in both kinds. This privilege had been conceded
to the followers of Huss by the Council of Basle, in an express treaty,
(the Bohemian Compact); and though it was afterwards disavowed by the
popes, they nevertheless continued to profit by it under the sanction of
the government. As the use of the cup formed the only important
distinction of their body, they were usually designated by the name of
Utraquists; and they readily adopted an appellation which reminded them
of their dearly valued privilege. But under this title lurked also the
far stricter sects of the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren, who differed
from the predominant church in more important particulars, and bore, in
fact, a great resemblance to the German Protestants. Among them both,
the German and Swiss opinions on religion made rapid progress; while the
name of Utraquists, under which they managed to disguise the change of
their principles, shielded them from persecution.

In truth, they had nothing in common with the Utraquists but the name;
essentially, they were altogether Protestant. Confident in the strength
of their party, and the Emperor's toleration under Maximilian, they had
openly avowed their tenets. After the example of the Germans, they drew
up a Confession of their own, in which Lutherans as well as Calvinists
recognized their own doctrines, and they sought to transfer to the new
Confession the privileges of the original Utraquists. In this they were
opposed by their Roman Catholic countrymen, and forced to rest content
with the Emperor's verbal assurance of protection.

As long as Maximilian lived, they enjoyed complete toleration, even
under the new form they had taken. Under his successor the scene
changed. An imperial edict appeared, which deprived the Bohemian
Brethren of their religious freedom. Now these differed in nothing from
the other Utraquists. The sentence, therefore, of their condemnation,
obviously included all the partisans of the Bohemian Confession.
Accordingly, they all combined to oppose the imperial mandate in the
Diet, but without being able to procure its revocation. The Emperor and
the Roman Catholic Estates took their ground on the Compact and the
Bohemian Constitution; in which nothing appeared in favour of a religion
which had not then obtained the voice of the country. Since that time,
how completely had affairs changed! What then formed but an
inconsiderable opinion, had now become the predominant religion of the
country. And what was it then, but a subterfuge to limit a newly
spreading religion by the terms of obsolete treaties? The Bohemian
Protestants appealed to the verbal guarantee of Maximilian, and the
religious freedom of the Germans, with whom they argued they ought to be
on a footing of equality. It was in vain--their appeal was dismissed.

Such was the posture of affairs in Bohemia, when Matthias, already
master of Hungary, Austria, and Moravia, appeared in Kolin, to raise the
Bohemian Estates also against the Emperor. The embarrassment of the
latter was now at its height. Abandoned by all his other subjects, he
placed his last hopes on the Bohemians, who, it might be foreseen, would
take advantage of his necessities to enforce their own demands. After
an interval of many years, he once more appeared publicly in the Diet at
Prague; and to convince the people that he was really still in
existence, orders were given that all the windows should be opened in
the streets through which he was to pass--proof enough how far things
had gone with him. The event justified his fears. The Estates,
conscious of their own power, refused to take a single step until their
privileges were confirmed, and religious toleration fully assured to
them. It was in vain to have recourse now to the old system of evasion.
The Emperor's fate was in their hands, and he must yield to necessity.
At present, however, he only granted their other demands--religious
matters he reserved for consideration at the next Diet.

The Bohemians now took up arms in defence of the Emperor, and a bloody
war between the two brothers was on the point of breaking out. But
Rodolph, who feared nothing so much as remaining in this slavish
dependence on the Estates, waited not for a warlike issue, but hastened
to effect a reconciliation with his brother by more peaceable means. By
a formal act of abdication he resigned to Matthias, what indeed he had
no chance of wresting from him, Austria and the kingdom of Hungary, and
acknowledged him as his successor to the crown of Bohemia.

Dearly enough had the Emperor extricated himself from one difficulty,
only to get immediately involved in another. The settlement of the
religious affairs of Bohemia had been referred to the next Diet, which
was held in 1609. The reformed Bohemians demanded the free exercise of
their faith, as under the former emperors; a Consistory of their own;
the cession of the University of Prague; and the right of electing
`Defenders', or `Protectors' of `Liberty', from their own body. The
answer was the same as before; for the timid Emperor was now entirely
fettered by the unreformed party. However often, and in however
threatening language the Estates renewed their remonstrances, the
Emperor persisted in his first declaration of granting nothing beyond
the old compact. The Diet broke up without coming to a decision; and
the Estates, exasperated against the Emperor, arranged a general meeting
at Prague, upon their own authority, to right themselves.

They appeared at Prague in great force. In defiance of the imperial
prohibition, they carried on their deliberations almost under the very
eyes of the Emperor. The yielding compliance which he began to show,
only proved how much they were feared, and increased their audacity.
Yet on the main point he remained inflexible. They fulfilled their
threats, and at last resolved to establish, by their own power, the free
and universal exercise of their religion, and to abandon the Emperor to
his necessities until he should confirm this resolution. They even went
farther, and elected for themselves the DEFENDERS which the Emperor had
refused them. Ten were nominated by each of the three Estates; they
also determined to raise, as soon as possible, an armed force, at the
head of which Count Thurn, the chief organizer of the revolt, should be
placed as general defender of the liberties of Bohemia. Their
determination brought the Emperor to submission, to which he was now
counselled even by the Spaniards. Apprehensive lest the exasperated
Estates should throw themselves into the arms of the King of Hungary, he
signed the memorable Letter of Majesty for Bohemia, by which, under the
successors of the Emperor, that people justified their rebellion.

The Bohemian Confession, which the States had laid before the Emperor
Maximilian, was, by the Letter of Majesty, placed on a footing of
equality with the olden profession. The Utraquists, for by this title
the Bohemian Protestants continued to designate themselves, were put in
possession of the University of Prague, and allowed a Consistory of
their own, entirely independent of the archiepiscopal see of that city.
All the churches in the cities, villages, and market towns, which they
held at the date of the letter, were secured to them; and if in addition
they wished to erect others, it was permitted to the nobles, and
knights, and the free cities to do so. This last clause in the Letter
of Majesty gave rise to the unfortunate disputes which subsequently
rekindled the flames of war in Europe.

The Letter of Majesty erected the Protestant part of Bohemia into a kind
of republic. The Estates had learned to feel the power which they
gained by perseverance, unity, and harmony in their measures. The
Emperor now retained little more than the shadow of his sovereign
authority; while by the new dignity of the so-called defenders of
liberty, a dangerous stimulus was given to the spirit of revolt. The
example and success of Bohemia afforded a tempting seduction to the
other hereditary dominions of Austria, and all attempted by similar
means to extort similar privileges. The spirit of liberty spread from
one province to another; and as it was chiefly the disunion among the
Austrian princes that had enabled the Protestants so materially to
improve their advantages, they now hastened to effect a reconciliation
between the Emperor and the King of Hungary.

But the reconciliation could not be sincere. The wrong was too great to
be forgiven, and Rodolph continued to nourish at heart an
unextinguishable hatred of Matthias. With grief and indignation he
brooded over the thought, that the Bohemian sceptre was finally to
descend into the hands of his enemy; and the prospect was not more
consoling, even if Matthias should die without issue. In that case,
Ferdinand, Archduke of Graetz, whom he equally disliked, was the head of
the family. To exclude the latter as well as Matthias from the
succession to the throne of Bohemia, he fell upon the project of
diverting that inheritance to Ferdinand's brother, the Archduke Leopold,
Bishop of Passau, who among all his relatives had ever been the dearest
and most deserving. The prejudices of the Bohemians in favour of the
elective freedom of their crown, and their attachment to Leopold's
person, seemed to favour this scheme, in which Rodolph consulted rather
his own partiality and vindictiveness than the good of his house. But
to carry out this project, a military force was requisite, and Rodolph
actually assembled an army in the bishopric of Passau. The object of
this force was hidden from all. An inroad, however, which, for want of
pay it made suddenly and without the Emperor's knowledge into Bohemia,
and the outrages which it there committed, stirred up the whole kingdom
against him. In vain he asserted his innocence to the Bohemian Estates;
they would not believe his protestations; vainly did he attempt to
restrain the violence of his soldiery; they disregarded his orders.
Persuaded that the Emperor's object was to annul the Letter of Majesty,
the Protectors of Liberty armed the whole of Protestant Bohemia, and
invited Matthias into the country. After the dispersion of the force he
had collected at Passau, the Emperor remained helpless at Prague, where
he was kept shut up like a prisoner in his palace, and separated from
all his councillors. In the meantime, Matthias entered Prague amidst
universal rejoicings, where Rodolph was soon afterwards weak enough to
acknowledge him King of Bohemia. So hard a fate befell this Emperor; he
was compelled, during his life, to abdicate in favour of his enemy that
very throne, of which he had been endeavouring to deprive him after his
own death. To complete his degradation, he was obliged, by a personal
act of renunciation, to release his subjects in Bohemia, Silesia, and
Lusatia from their allegiance, and he did it with a broken heart. All,
even those he thought he had most attached to his person, had abandoned
him. When he had signed the instrument, he threw his hat upon the
ground, and gnawed the pen which had rendered so shameful a service.

While Rodolph thus lost one hereditary dominion after another, the
imperial dignity was not much better maintained by him. Each of the
religious parties into which Germany was divided, continued its efforts
to advance itself at the expense of the other, or to guard against its
attacks. The weaker the hand that held the sceptre, and the more the
Protestants and Roman Catholics felt they were left to themselves, the
more vigilant necessarily became their watchfulness, and the greater
their distrust of each other. It was enough that the Emperor was ruled
by Jesuits, and was guided by Spanish counsels, to excite the
apprehension of the Protestants, and to afford a pretext for hostility.
The rash zeal of the Jesuits, which in the pulpit and by the press
disputed the validity of the religious peace, increased this distrust,
and caused their adversaries to see a dangerous design in the most
indifferent measures of the Roman Catholics. Every step taken in the
hereditary dominions of the Emperor, for the repression of the reformed
religion, was sure to draw the attention of all the Protestants of
Germany; and this powerful support which the reformed subjects of
Austria met, or expected to meet with from their religious confederates
in the rest of Germany, was no small cause of their confidence, and of
the rapid success of Matthias. It was the general belief of the Empire,
that they owed the long enjoyment of the religious peace merely to the
difficulties in which the Emperor was placed by the internal troubles in
his dominions, and consequently they were in no haste to relieve him
from them.

Almost all the affairs of the Diet were neglected, either through the
procrastination of the Emperor, or through the fault of the Protestant
Estates, who had determined to make no provision for the common wants of
the Empire till their own grievances were removed. These grievances
related principally to the misgovernment of the Emperor; the violation
of the religious treaty, and the presumptuous usurpations of the Aulic
Council, which in the present reign had begun to extend its jurisdiction
at the expense of the Imperial Chamber. Formerly, in all disputes
between the Estates, which could not be settled by club law, the
Emperors had in the last resort decided of themselves, if the case were
trifling, and in conjunction with the princes, if it were important; or
they determined them by the advice of imperial judges who followed the
court. This superior jurisdiction they had, in the end of the fifteenth
century, assigned to a regular and permanent tribunal, the Imperial
Chamber of Spires, in which the Estates of the Empire, that they might
not be oppressed by the arbitrary appointment of the Emperor, had
reserved to themselves the right of electing the assessors, and of
periodically reviewing its decrees. By the religious peace, these
rights of the Estates, (called the rights of presentation and
visitation,) were extended also to the Lutherans, so that Protestant
judges had a voice in Protestant causes, and a seeming equality obtained
for both religions in this supreme tribunal.

But the enemies of the Reformation and of the freedom of the Estates,
vigilant to take advantage of every incident that favoured their views,
soon found means to neutralize the beneficial effects of this
institution. A supreme jurisdiction over the Imperial States was
gradually and skilfully usurped by a private imperial tribunal, the
Aulic Council in Vienna, a court at first intended merely to advise the
Emperor in the exercise of his undoubted, imperial, and personal
prerogatives; a court, whose members being appointed and paid by him,
had no law but the interest of their master, and no standard of equity
but the advancement of the unreformed religion of which they were
partisans. Before the Aulic Council were now brought several suits
originating between Estates differing in religion, and which, therefore,
properly belonged to the Imperial Chamber. It was not surprising if the
decrees of this tribunal bore traces of their origin; if the interests
of the Roman Church and of the Emperor were preferred to justice by
Roman Catholic judges, and the creatures of the Emperor. Although all
the Estates of Germany seemed to have equal cause for resisting so
perilous an abuse, the Protestants alone, who most sensibly felt it, and
even these not all at once and in a body, came forward as the defenders
of German liberty, which the establishment of so arbitrary a tribunal
had outraged in its most sacred point, the administration of justice.
In fact, Germany would have had little cause to congratulate itself upon
the abolition of club-law, and in the institution of the Imperial
Chamber, if an arbitrary tribunal of the Emperor was allowed to
interfere with the latter. The Estates of the German Empire would
indeed have improved little upon the days of barbarism, if the Chamber
of Justice in which they sat along with the Emperor as judges, and for
which they had abandoned their original princely prerogative, should
cease to be a court of the last resort. But the strangest
contradictions were at this date to be found in the minds of men. The
name of Emperor, a remnant of Roman despotism, was still associated with
an idea of autocracy, which, though it formed a ridiculous inconsistency
with the privileges of the Estates, was nevertheless argued for by
jurists, diffused by the partisans of despotism, and believed by the

To these general grievances was gradually added a chain of singular
incidents, which at length converted the anxiety of the Protestants into
utter distrust. During the Spanish persecutions in the Netherlands,
several Protestant families had taken refuge in Aix-la-Chapelle, an
imperial city, and attached to the Roman Catholic faith, where they
settled and insensibly extended their adherents. Having succeeded by
stratagem in introducing some of their members into the municipal
council, they demanded a church and the public exercise of their
worship, and the demand being unfavourably received, they succeeded by
violence in enforcing it, and also in usurping the entire government of
the city. To see so important a city in Protestant hands was too heavy
a blow for the Emperor and the Roman Catholics. After all the Emperor's
requests and commands for the restoration of the olden government had
proved ineffectual, the Aulic Council proclaimed the city under the ban
of the Empire, which, however, was not put in force till the following

Of yet greater importance were two other attempts of the Protestants to
extend their influence and their power. The Elector Gebhard, of
Cologne, (born Truchsess--[Grand-master of the kitchen.]--of Waldburg,)
conceived for the young Countess Agnes, of Mansfield, Canoness of
Gerresheim, a passion which was not unreturned. As the eyes of all
Germany were directed to this intercourse, the brothers of the Countess,
two zealous Calvinists, demanded satisfaction for the injured honour of
their house, which, as long as the elector remained a Roman Catholic
prelate, could not be repaired by marriage. They threatened the elector
they would wash out this stain in his blood and their sister's, unless
he either abandoned all further connexion with the countess, or
consented to re-establish her reputation at the altar. The elector,
indifferent to all the consequences of this step, listened to nothing
but the voice of love. Whether it was in consequence of his previous
inclination to the reformed doctrines, or that the charms of his
mistress alone effected this wonder, he renounced the Roman Catholic
faith, and led the beautiful Agnes to the altar.

This event was of the greatest importance. By the letter of the clause
reserving the ecclesiastical states from the general operation of the
religious peace, the elector had, by his apostacy, forfeited all right
to the temporalities of his bishopric; and if, in any case, it was
important for the Catholics to enforce the clause, it was so especially
in the case of electorates. On the other hand, the relinquishment of so
high a dignity was a severe sacrifice, and peculiarly so in the case of
a tender husband, who had wished to enhance the value of his heart and
hand by the gift of a principality. Moreover, the Reservatum
Ecclesiasticum was a disputed article of the treaty of Augsburg; and all
the German Protestants were aware of the extreme importance of wresting
this fourth electorate from the opponents of their faith.--[Saxony,
Brandenburg, and the Palatinate were already Protestant.]--The example
had already been set in several of the ecclesiastical benefices of Lower
Germany, and attended with success. Several canons of Cologne had also
already embraced the Protestant confession, and were on the elector's
side, while, in the city itself, he could depend upon the support of a
numerous Protestant party. All these considerations, greatly
strengthened by the persuasions of his friends and relations, and the
promises of several German courts, determined the elector to retain his
dominions, while he changed his religion.

But it was soon apparent that he had entered upon a contest which he
could not carry through. Even the free toleration of the Protestant
service within the territories of Cologne, had already occasioned a
violent opposition on the part of the canons and Roman Catholic
`Estates' of that province. The intervention of the Emperor, and a
papal ban from Rome, which anathematized the elector as an apostate, and
deprived him of all his dignities, temporal and spiritual, armed his own
subjects and chapter against him. The Elector assembled a military
force; the chapter did the same. To ensure also the aid of a strong
arm, they proceeded forthwith to a new election, and chose the Bishop of
Liege, a prince of Bavaria.

A civil war now commenced, which, from the strong interest which both
religious parties in Germany necessarily felt in the conjuncture, was
likely to terminate in a general breaking up of the religious peace.
What most made the Protestants indignant, was that the Pope should have
presumed, by a pretended apostolic power, to deprive a prince of the
empire of his imperial dignities. Even in the golden days of their
spiritual domination, this prerogative of the Pope had been disputed;
how much more likely was it to be questioned at a period when his
authority was entirely disowned by one party, while even with the other
it rested on a tottering foundation. All the Protestant princes took up
the affair warmly against the Emperor; and Henry IV. of France, then
King of Navarre, left no means of negotiation untried to urge the German
princes to the vigorous assertion of their rights. The issue would
decide for ever the liberties of Germany. Four Protestant against three
Roman Catholic voices in the Electoral College must at once have given
the preponderance to the former, and for ever excluded the House of
Austria from the imperial throne.

But the Elector Gebhard had embraced the Calvinist, not the Lutheran
religion; and this circumstance alone was his ruin. The mutual rancour
of these two churches would not permit the Lutheran Estates to regard
the Elector as one of their party, and as such to lend him their
effectual support. All indeed had encouraged, and promised him
assistance; but only one appanaged prince of the Palatine House, the
Palsgrave John Casimir, a zealous Calvinist, kept his word. Despite of
the imperial prohibition, he hastened with his little army into the
territories of Cologne; but without being able to effect any thing,
because the Elector, who was destitute even of the first necessaries,
left him totally without help. So much the more rapid was the progress
of the newly-chosen elector, whom his Bavarian relations and the
Spaniards from the Netherlands supported with the utmost vigour. The
troops of Gebhard, left by their master without pay, abandoned one place
after another to the enemy; by whom others were compelled to surrender.
In his Westphalian territories, Gebhard held out for some time longer,
till here, too, he was at last obliged to yield to superior force.
After several vain attempts in Holland and England to obtain means for
his restoration, he retired into the Chapter of Strasburg, and died dean
of that cathedral; the first sacrifice to the Ecclesiastical
Reservation, or rather to the want of harmony among the German

To this dispute in Cologne was soon added another in Strasburg. Several
Protestant canons of Cologne, who had been included in the same papal
ban with the elector, had taken refuge within this bishopric, where they
likewise held prebends. As the Roman Catholic canons of Strasburg
hesitated to allow them, as being under the ban, the enjoyment of their
prebends, they took violent possession of their benefices, and the
support of a powerful Protestant party among the citizens soon gave them
the preponderance in the chapter. The other canons thereupon retired to
Alsace-Saverne, where, under the protection of the bishop, they
established themselves as the only lawful chapter, and denounced that
which remained in Strasburg as illegal. The latter, in the meantime,
had so strengthened themselves by the reception of several Protestant
colleagues of high rank, that they could venture, upon the death of the
bishop, to nominate a new Protestant bishop in the person of John George
of Brandenburg. The Roman Catholic canons, far from allowing this
election, nominated the Bishop of Metz, a prince of Lorraine, to that
dignity, who announced his promotion by immediately commencing
hostilities against the territories of Strasburg.

That city now took up arms in defence of its Protestant chapter and the
Prince of Brandenburg, while the other party, with the assistance of the
troops of Lorraine, endeavoured to possess themselves of the
temporalities of the chapter. A tedious war was the consequence, which,
according to the spirit of the times, was attended with barbarous
devastations. In vain did the Emperor interpose with his supreme
authority to terminate the dispute; the ecclesiastical property remained
for a long time divided between the two parties, till at last the
Protestant prince, for a moderate pecuniary equivalent, renounced his
claims; and thus, in this dispute also, the Roman Church came off

An occurrence which, soon after the adjustment of this dispute, took
place in Donauwerth, a free city of Suabia, was still more critical for
the whole of Protestant Germany. In this once Roman Catholic city, the
Protestants, during the reigns of Ferdinand and his son, had, in the
usual way, become so completely predominant, that the Roman Catholics
were obliged to content themselves with a church in the Monastery of the
Holy Cross, and for fear of offending the Protestants, were even forced
to suppress the greater part of their religious rites. At length a
fanatical abbot of this monastery ventured to defy the popular
prejudices, and to arrange a public procession, preceded by the cross
and banners flying; but he was soon compelled to desist from the
attempt. When, a year afterwards, encouraged by a favourable imperial
proclamation, the same abbot attempted to renew this procession, the
citizens proceeded to open violence. The inhabitants shut the gates
against the monks on their return, trampled their colours under foot,
and followed them home with clamour and abuse. An imperial citation was
the consequence of this act of violence; and as the exasperated populace
even threatened to assault the imperial commissaries, and all attempts
at an amicable adjustment were frustrated by the fanaticism of the
multitude, the city was at last formally placed under the ban of the
Empire, the execution of which was intrusted to Maximilian, Duke of
Bavaria. The citizens, formerly so insolent, were seized with terror at
the approach of the Bavarian army; pusillanimity now possessed them,
though once so full of defiance, and they laid down their arms without
striking a blow. The total abolition of the Protestant religion within
the walls of the city was the punishment of their rebellion; it was
deprived of its privileges, and, from a free city of Suabia, converted
into a municipal town of Bavaria.

Two circumstances connected with this proceeding must have strongly
excited the attention of the Protestants, even if the interests of
religion had been less powerful on their minds. First of all, the
sentence had been pronounced by the Aulic Council, an arbitrary and
exclusively Roman Catholic tribunal, whose jurisdiction besides had been
so warmly disputed by them; and secondly, its execution had been
intrusted to the Duke of Bavaria, the head of another circle. These
unconstitutional steps seemed to be the harbingers of further violent
measures on the Roman Catholic side, the result, probably, of secret
conferences and dangerous designs, which might perhaps end in the entire
subversion of their religious liberty.

In circumstances where the law of force prevails, and security depends
upon power alone, the weakest party is naturally the most busy to place
itself in a posture of defence. This was now the case in Germany. If
the Roman Catholics really meditated any evil against the Protestants in
Germany, the probability was that the blow would fall on the south
rather than the north, because, in Lower Germany, the Protestants were
connected together through a long unbroken tract of country, and could
therefore easily combine for their mutual support; while those in the
south, detached from each other, and surrounded on all sides by Roman
Catholic states, were exposed to every inroad. If, moreover, as was to
be expected, the Catholics availed themselves of the divisions amongst
the Protestants, and levelled their attack against one of the religious
parties, it was the Calvinists who, as the weaker, and as being besides
excluded from the religious treaty, were apparently in the greatest
danger, and upon them would probably fall the first attack.

Both these circumstances took place in the dominions of the Elector
Palatine, which possessed, in the Duke of Bavaria, a formidable
neighbour, and which, by reason of their defection to Calvinism,
received no protection from the Religious Peace, and had little hope of
succour from the Lutheran states. No country in Germany had experienced
so many revolutions in religion in so short a time as the Palatinate.
In the space of sixty years this country, an unfortunate toy in the
hands of its rulers, had twice adopted the doctrines of Luther, and
twice relinquished them for Calvinism. The Elector Frederick III.
first abandoned the confession of Augsburg, which his eldest son and
successor, Lewis, immediately re-established. The Calvinists throughout
the whole country were deprived of their churches, their preachers and
even their teachers banished beyond the frontiers; while the prince, in
his Lutheran zeal, persecuted them even in his will, by appointing none
but strict and orthodox Lutherans as the guardians of his son, a minor.
But this illegal testament was disregarded by his brother the Count
Palatine, John Casimir, who, by the regulations of the Golden Bull,
assumed the guardianship and administration of the state. Calvinistic
teachers were given to the Elector Frederick IV., then only nine years
of age, who were ordered, if necessary, to drive the Lutheran heresy out
of the soul of their pupil with blows. If such was the treatment of the
sovereign, that of the subjects may be easily conceived.

It was under this Frederick that the Palatine Court exerted itself so
vigorously to unite the Protestant states of Germany in joint measures
against the House of Austria, and, if possible, bring about the
formation of a general confederacy. Besides that this court had always
been guided by the counsels of France, with whom hatred of the House of
Austria was the ruling principle, a regard for his own safety urged him
to secure in time the doubtful assistance of the Lutherans against a
near and overwhelming enemy. Great difficulties, however, opposed this
union, because the Lutherans' dislike of the Reformed was scarcely less
than the common aversion of both to the Romanists. An attempt was first
made to reconcile the two professions, in order to facilitate a
political union; but all these attempts failed, and generally ended in
both parties adhering the more strongly to their respective opinions.
Nothing then remained but to increase the fear and the distrust of the
Evangelicals, and in this way to impress upon them the necessity of this
alliance. The power of the Roman Catholics and the magnitude of the
danger were exaggerated, accidental incidents were ascribed to
deliberate plans, innocent actions misrepresented by invidious
constructions, and the whole conduct of the professors of the olden
religion was interpreted as the result of a well-weighed and systematic
plan, which, in all probability, they were very far from having

The Diet of Ratisbon, to which the Protestants had looked forward with
the hope of obtaining a renewal of the Religious Peace, had broken up
without coming to a decision, and to the former grievances of the
Protestant party was now added the late oppression of Donauwerth. With
incredible speed, the union, so long attempted, was now brought to bear.
A conference took place at Anhausen, in Franconia, at which were present
the Elector Frederick IV., from the Palatinate, the Palsgrave of
Neuburg, two Margraves of Brandenburg, the Margrave of Baden, and the
Duke John Frederick of Wirtemburg,--Lutherans as well as Calvinists,--
who for themselves and their heirs entered into a close confederacy
under the title of the Evangelical Union. The purport of this union
was, that the allied princes should, in all matters relating to religion
and their civil rights, support each other with arms and counsel against
every aggressor, and should all stand as one man; that in case any
member of the alliance should be attacked, he should be assisted by the
rest with an armed force; that, if necessary, the territories, towns,
and castles of the allied states should be open to his troops; and that,
whatever conquests were made, should be divided among all the
confederates, in proportion to the contingent furnished by each.

The direction of the whole confederacy in time of peace was conferred
upon the Elector Palatine, but with a limited power. To meet the
necessary expenses, subsidies were demanded, and a common fund
established. Differences of religion (betwixt the Lutherans and the
Calvinists) were to have no effect on this alliance, which was to
subsist for ten years, every member of the union engaged at the same
time to procure new members to it. The Electorate of Brandenburg
adopted the alliance, that of Saxony rejected it. Hesse-Cashel could
not be prevailed upon to declare itself, the Dukes of Brunswick and
Luneburg also hesitated. But the three cities of the Empire, Strasburg,
Nuremburg, and Ulm, were no unimportant acquisition for the league,
which was in great want of their money, while their example, besides,
might be followed by other imperial cities.

After the formation of this alliance, the confederate states,
dispirited, and singly, little feared, adopted a bolder language.
Through Prince Christian of Anhalt, they laid their common grievances
and demands before the Emperor; among which the principal were the
restoration of Donauwerth, the abolition of the Imperial Court, the
reformation of the Emperor's own administration and that of his
counsellors. For these remonstrances, they chose the moment when the
Emperor had scarcely recovered breath from the troubles in his
hereditary dominions,--when he had lost Hungary and Austria to Matthias,
and had barely preserved his Bohemian throne by the concession of the
Letter of Majesty, and finally, when through the succession of Juliers
he was already threatened with the distant prospect of a new war. No
wonder, then, that this dilatory prince was more irresolute than ever in
his decision, and that the confederates took up arms before he could
bethink himself.

The Roman Catholics regarded this confederacy with a jealous eye; the
Union viewed them and the Emperor with the like distrust; the Emperor
was equally suspicious of both; and thus, on all sides, alarm and
animosity had reached their climax. And, as if to crown the whole, at
this critical conjuncture by the death of the Duke John William of
Juliers, a highly disputable succession became vacant in the territories
of Juliers and Cleves.

Eight competitors laid claim to this territory, the indivisibility of
which had been guaranteed by solemn treaties; and the Emperor, who
seemed disposed to enter upon it as a vacant fief, might be considered
as the ninth. Four of these, the Elector of Brandenburg, the Count
Palatine of Neuburg, the Count Palatine of Deux Ponts, and the Margrave
of Burgau, an Austrian prince, claimed it as a female fief in name of
four princesses, sisters of the late duke. Two others, the Elector of
Saxony, of the line of Albert, and the Duke of Saxony, of the line of
Ernest, laid claim to it under a prior right of reversion granted to
them by the Emperor Frederick III., and confirmed to both Saxon houses
by Maximilian I. The pretensions of some foreign princes were little
regarded. The best right was perhaps on the side of Brandenburg and
Neuburg, and between the claims of these two it was not easy to decide.
Both courts, as soon as the succession was vacant, proceeded to take
possession; Brandenburg beginning, and Neuburg following the example.
Both commenced their dispute with the pen, and would probably have ended
it with the sword; but the interference of the Emperor, by proceeding to
bring the cause before his own cognizance, and, during the progress of
the suit, sequestrating the disputed countries, soon brought the
contending parties to an agreement, in order to avert the common danger.
They agreed to govern the duchy conjointly. In vain did the Emperor
prohibit the Estates from doing homage to their new masters; in vain did
he send his own relation, the Archduke Leopold, Bishop of Passau and
Strasburg, into the territory of Juliers, in order, by his presence, to
strengthen the imperial party. The whole country, with the exception of
Juliers itself, had submitted to the Protestant princes, and in that
capital the imperialists were besieged.

The dispute about the succession of Juliers was an important one to the
whole German empire, and also attracted the attention of several
European courts. It was not so much the question, who was or was not to
possess the Duchy of Juliers;--the real question was, which of the two
religious parties in Germany, the Roman Catholic or the Protestant, was
to be strengthened by so important an accession--for which of the two
RELIGIONS this territory was to be lost or won. The question in short
was, whether Austria was to be allowed to persevere in her usurpations,
and to gratify her lust of dominion by another robbery; or whether the
liberties of Germany, and the balance of power, were to be maintained
against her encroachments. The disputed succession of Juliers,
therefore, was matter which interested all who were favourable to
liberty, and hostile to Austria. The Evangelical Union, Holland,
England, and particularly Henry IV. of France, were drawn into the

This monarch, the flower of whose life had been spent in opposing the
House of Austria and Spain, and by persevering heroism alone had
surmounted the obstacles which this house had thrown between him and the
French throne, had been no idle spectator of the troubles in Germany.
This contest of the Estates with the Emperor was the means of giving and
securing peace to France. The Protestants and the Turks were the two
salutary weights which kept down the Austrian power in the East and
West; but it would rise again in all its terrors, if once it were
allowed to remove this pressure. Henry the Fourth had before his eyes
for half a lifetime, the uninterrupted spectacle of Austrian ambition
and Austrian lust of dominion, which neither adversity nor poverty of
talents, though generally they check all human passions, could
extinguish in a bosom wherein flowed one drop of the blood of Ferdinand
of Arragon. Austrian ambition had destroyed for a century the peace of
Europe, and effected the most violent changes in the heart of its most
considerable states. It had deprived the fields of husbandmen, the
workshops of artisans, to fill the land with enormous armies, and to
cover the commercial sea with hostile fleets. It had imposed upon the
princes of Europe the necessity of fettering the industry of their
subjects by unheard-of imposts; and of wasting in self-defence the best
strength of their states, which was thus lost to the prosperity of their
inhabitants. For Europe there was no peace, for its states no welfare,
for the people's happiness no security or permanence, so long as this
dangerous house was permitted to disturb at pleasure the repose of the

Such considerations clouded the mind of Henry at the close of his
glorious career. What had it not cost him to reduce to order the
troubled chaos into which France had been plunged by the tumult of civil
war, fomented and supported by this very Austria! Every great mind
labours for eternity; and what security had Henry for the endurance of
that prosperity which he had gained for France, so long as Austria and
Spain formed a single power, which did indeed lie exhausted for the
present, but which required only one lucky chance to be speedily
re-united, and to spring up again as formidable as ever. If he would
bequeath to his successors a firmly established throne, and a durable
prosperity to his subjects, this dangerous power must be for ever
disarmed. This was the source of that irreconcileable enmity which
Henry had sworn to the House of Austria, a hatred unextinguishable,
ardent, and well-founded as that of Hannibal against the people of
Romulus, but ennobled by a purer origin.

The other European powers had the same inducements to action as Henry,
but all of them had not that enlightened policy, nor that disinterested
courage to act upon the impulse. All men, without distinction, are
allured by immediate advantages; great minds alone are excited by
distant good. So long as wisdom in its projects calculates upon wisdom,
or relies upon its own strength, it forms none but chimerical schemes,
and runs a risk of making itself the laughter of the world; but it is
certain of success, and may reckon upon aid and admiration when it finds
a place in its intellectual plans for barbarism, rapacity, and
superstition, and can render the selfish passions of mankind the
executors of its purposes.

In the first point of view, Henry's well-known project of expelling the
House of Austria from all its possessions, and dividing the spoil among
the European powers, deserves the title of a chimera, which men have so
liberally bestowed upon it; but did it merit that appellation in the
second? It had never entered into the head of that excellent monarch,
in the choice of those who must be the instruments of his designs, to
reckon on the sufficiency of such motives as animated himself and Sully
to the enterprise. All the states whose co-operation was necessary,
were to be persuaded to the work by the strongest motives that can set a
political power in action. From the Protestants in Germany nothing more
was required than that which, on other grounds, had been long their
object,--their throwing off the Austrian yoke; from the Flemings, a
similar revolt from the Spaniards. To the Pope and all the Italian
republics no inducement could be more powerful than the hope of driving
the Spaniards for ever from their peninsula; for England, nothing more
desirable than a revolution which should free it from its bitterest
enemy. By this division of the Austrian conquests, every power gained
either land or freedom, new possessions or security for the old; and as
all gained, the balance of power remained undisturbed. France might
magnanimously decline a share in the spoil, because by the ruin of
Austria it doubly profited, and was most powerful if it did not become
more powerful. Finally, upon condition of ridding Europe of their
presence, the posterity of Hapsburg were to be allowed the liberty of
augmenting her territories in all the other known or yet undiscovered
portions of the globe. But the dagger of Ravaillac delivered Austria
from her danger, to postpone for some centuries longer the tranquillity
of Europe.

With his view directed to this project, Henry felt the necessity of
taking a prompt and active part in the important events of the
Evangelical Union, and the disputed succession of Juliers. His
emissaries were busy in all the courts of Germany, and the little which
they published or allowed to escape of the great political secrets of
their master, was sufficient to win over minds inflamed by so ardent a
hatred to Austria, and by so strong a desire of aggrandizement. The
prudent policy of Henry cemented the Union still more closely, and the
powerful aid which he bound himself to furnish, raised the courage of
the confederates into the firmest confidence. A numerous French army,
led by the king in person, was to meet the troops of the Union on the
banks of the Rhine, and to assist in effecting the conquest of Juliers
and Cleves; then, in conjunction with the Germans, it was to march into
Italy, (where Savoy, Venice, and the Pope were even now ready with a
powerful reinforcement,) and to overthrow the Spanish dominion in that
quarter. This victorious army was then to penetrate by Lombardy into
the hereditary dominions of Hapsburg; and there, favoured by a general
insurrection of the Protestants, destroy the power of Austria in all its
German territories, in Bohemia, Hungary, and Transylvania. The
Brabanters and Hollanders, supported by French auxiliaries, would in the
meantime shake off the Spanish tyranny in the Netherlands; and thus the
mighty stream which, only a short time before, had so fearfully
overflowed its banks, threatening to overwhelm in its troubled waters
the liberties of Europe, would then roll silent and forgotten behind the
Pyrenean mountains.

At other times, the French had boasted of their rapidity of action, but
upon this occasion they were outstripped by the Germans. An army of the
confederates entered Alsace before Henry made his appearance there, and
an Austrian army, which the Bishop of Strasburg and Passau had assembled
in that quarter for an expedition against Juliers, was dispersed. Henry
IV. had formed his plan as a statesman and a king, but he had intrusted
its execution to plunderers. According to his design, no Roman Catholic
state was to have cause to think this preparation aimed against itself,
or to make the quarrel of Austria its own. Religion was in nowise to be
mixed up with the matter. But how could the German princes forget their
own purposes in furthering the plans of Henry? Actuated as they were by
the desire of aggrandizement and by religious hatred, was it to be
supposed that they would not gratify, in every passing opportunity,
their ruling passions to the utmost? Like vultures, they stooped upon
the territories of the ecclesiastical princes, and always chose those
rich countries for their quarters, though to reach them they must make
ever so wide a detour from their direct route. They levied
contributions as in an enemy's country, seized upon the revenues, and
exacted, by violence, what they could not obtain of free-will. Not to
leave the Roman Catholics in doubt as to the true objects of their
expedition, they announced, openly and intelligibly enough, the fate
that awaited the property of the church. So little had Henry IV. and
the German princes understood each other in their plan of operations, so
much had the excellent king been mistaken in his instruments. It is an
unfailing maxim, that, if policy enjoins an act of violence, its
execution ought never to be entrusted to the violent; and that he only
ought to be trusted with the violation of order by whom order is held

Both the past conduct of the Union, which was condemned even by several
of the evangelical states, and the apprehension of even worse treatment,
aroused the Roman Catholics to something beyond mere inactive
indignation. As to the Emperor, his authority had sunk too low to
afford them any security against such an enemy. It was their Union that
rendered the confederates so formidable and so insolent; and another
union must now be opposed to them.

The Bishop of Wurtzburg formed the plan of the Catholic union, which was
distinguished from the evangelical by the title of the League. The
objects agreed upon were nearly the same as those which constituted the
groundwork of the Union. Bishops formed its principal members, and at
its head was placed Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria. As the only
influential secular member of the confederacy, he was entrusted with far
more extensive powers than the Protestants had committed to their chief.
In addition to the duke's being the sole head of the League's military
power, whereby their operations acquired a speed and weight unattainable
by the Union, they had also the advantage that supplies flowed in much
more regularly from the rich prelates, than the latter could obtain them
from the poor evangelical states. Without offering to the Emperor, as
the sovereign of a Roman Catholic state, any share in their confederacy,
without even communicating its existence to him as emperor, the League
arose at once formidable and threatening; with strength sufficient to
crush the Protestant Union and to maintain itself under three emperors.
It contended, indeed, for Austria, in so far as it fought against the
Protestant princes; but Austria herself had soon cause to tremble before

The arms of the Union had, in the meantime, been tolerably successful in
Juliers and in Alsace; Juliers was closely blockaded, and the whole
bishopric of Strasburg was in their power. But here their splendid
achievements came to an end. No French army appeared upon the Rhine;
for he who was to be its leader, he who was the animating soul of the
whole enterprize, Henry IV., was no more! Their supplies were on the
wane; the Estates refused to grant new subsidies; and the confederate
free cities were offended that their money should be liberally, but
their advice so sparingly called for. Especially were they displeased
at being put to expense for the expedition against Juliers, which had
been expressly excluded from the affairs of the Union--at the united
princes appropriating to themselves large pensions out of the common
treasure--and, above all, at their refusing to give any account of its

The Union was thus verging to its fall, at the moment when the League
started to oppose it in the vigour of its strength. Want of supplies
disabled the confederates from any longer keeping the field. And yet it
was dangerous to lay down their weapons in the sight of an armed enemy.
To secure themselves at least on one side, they hastened to conclude a
peace with their old enemy, the Archduke Leopold; and both parties
agreed to withdraw their troops from Alsace, to exchange prisoners, and
to bury all that had been done in oblivion. Thus ended in nothing all
these promising preparations.

The same imperious tone with which the Union, in the confidence of its
strength, had menaced the Roman Catholics of Germany, was now retorted
by the League upon themselves and their troops. The traces of their
march were pointed out to them, and plainly branded with the hard
epithets they had deserved. The chapters of Wurtzburg, Bamberg,
Strasburg, Mentz, Treves, Cologne, and several others, had experienced
their destructive presence; to all these the damage done was to be made
good, the free passage by land and by water restored, (for the
Protestants had even seized on the navigation of the Rhine,) and
everything replaced on its former footing. Above all, the parties to
the Union were called on to declare expressly and unequivocally its
intentions. It was now their turn to yield to superior strength. They
had not calculated on so formidable an opponent; but they themselves had
taught the Roman Catholics the secret of their strength. It was
humiliating to their pride to sue for peace, but they might think
themselves fortunate in obtaining it. The one party promised
restitution, the other forgiveness. All laid down their arms. The
storm of war once more rolled by, and a temporary calm succeeded. The
insurrection in Bohemia then broke out, which deprived the Emperor of
the last of his hereditary dominions, but in this dispute neither the
Union nor the League took any share.

At length the Emperor died in 1612, as little regretted in his coffin as
noticed on the throne. Long afterwards, when the miseries of succeeding
reigns had made the misfortunes of his reign forgotten, a halo spread
about his memory, and so fearful a night set in upon Germany, that, with
tears of blood, people prayed for the return of such an emperor.

Rodolph never could be prevailed upon to choose a successor in the
empire, and all awaited with anxiety the approaching vacancy of the
throne; but, beyond all hope, Matthias at once ascended it, and without
opposition. The Roman Catholics gave him their voices, because they
hoped the best from his vigour and activity; the Protestants gave him
theirs, because they hoped every thing from his weakness. It is not
difficult to reconcile this contradiction. The one relied on what he
had once appeared; the other judged him by what he seemed at present.

The moment of a new accession is always a day of hope; and the first
Diet of a king in elective monarchies is usually his severest trial.
Every old grievance is brought forward, and new ones are sought out,
that they may be included in the expected reform; quite a new world is
expected to commence with the new reign. The important services which,
in his insurrection, their religious confederates in Austria had
rendered to Matthias, were still fresh in the minds of the Protestant
free cities, and, above all, the price which they had exacted for their
services seemed now to serve them also as a model.

It was by the favour of the Protestant Estates in Austria and Moravia
that Matthias had sought and really found the way to his brother's
throne; but, hurried on by his ambitious views, he never reflected that
a way was thus opened for the States to give laws to their sovereign.
This discovery soon awoke him from the intoxication of success.
Scarcely had he shown himself in triumph to his Austrian subjects, after
his victorious expedition to Bohemia, when a humble petition awaited him
which was quite sufficient to poison his whole triumph. They required,
before doing homage, unlimited religious toleration in the cities and
market towns, perfect equality of rights between Roman Catholics and
Protestants, and a full and equal admissibility of the latter to all
offices of state. In several places, they of themselves assumed these
privileges, and, reckoning on a change of administration, restored the
Protestant religion where the late Emperor had suppressed it. Matthias,
it is true, had not scrupled to make use of the grievances of the
Protestants for his own ends against the Emperor; but it was far from
being his intention to relieve them. By a firm and resolute tone he
hoped to check, at once, these presumptuous demands. He spoke of his
hereditary title to these territories, and would hear of no stipulations
before the act of homage. A like unconditional submission had been
rendered by their neighbours, the inhabitants of Styria, to the Archduke
Ferdinand, who, however, had soon reason to repent of it. Warned by
this example, the Austrian States persisted in their refusal; and, to
avoid being compelled by force to do homage, their deputies (after
urging their Roman Catholic colleagues to a similar resistance)
immediately left the capital, and began to levy troops.

They took steps to renew their old alliance with Hungary, drew the
Protestant princes into their interests, and set themselves seriously to
work to accomplish their object by force of arms.

With the more exorbitant demands of the Hungarians Matthias had not
hesitated to comply. For Hungary was an elective monarchy, and the
republican constitution of the country justified to himself their
demands, and to the Roman Catholic world his concessions. In Austria,
on the contrary, his predecessors had exercised far higher prerogatives,
which he could not relinquish at the demand of the Estates without
incurring the scorn of Roman Catholic Europe, the enmity of Spain and
Rome, and the contempt of his own Roman Catholic subjects. His
exclusively Romish council, among which the Bishop of Vienna, Melchio
Kiesel, had the chief influence, exhorted him to see all the churches
extorted from him by the Protestants, rather than to concede one to them
as a matter of right.

But by ill luck this difficulty occurred at a time when the Emperor
Rodolph was yet alive, and a spectator of this scene, and who might
easily have been tempted to employ against his brother the same weapons
which the latter had successfully directed against him--namely, an
understanding with his rebellious subjects. To avoid this blow,
Matthias willingly availed himself of the offer made by Moravia, to act
as mediator between him and the Estates of Austria. Representatives of
both parties met in Vienna, when the Austrian deputies held language
which would have excited surprise even in the English Parliament. "The
Protestants," they said, "are determined to be not worse treated in
their native country than the handful of Romanists. By the help of his
Protestant nobles had Matthias reduced the Emperor to submission; where
80 Papists were to be found, 300 Protestant barons might be counted.
The example of Rodolph should be a warning to Matthias. He should take
care that he did not lose the terrestrial, in attempting to make
conquests for the celestial." As the Moravian States, instead of using
their powers as mediators for the Emperor's advantage, finally adopted
the cause of their co-religionists of Austria; as the Union in Germany
came forward to afford them its most active support, and as Matthias
dreaded reprisals on the part of the Emperor, he was at length compelled
to make the desired declaration in favour of the Evangelical Church.

This behaviour of the Austrian Estates towards their Archduke was now
imitated by the Protestant Estates of the Empire towards their Emperor,
and they promised themselves the same favourable results. At his first
Diet at Ratisbon in 1613, when the most pressing affairs were waiting
for decision--when a general contribution was indispensable for a war
against Turkey, and against Bethlem Gabor in Transylvania, who by
Turkish aid had forcibly usurped the sovereignty of that land, and even
threatened Hungary--they surprised him with an entirely new demand.
The Roman Catholic votes were still the most numerous in the Diet; and
as every thing was decided by a plurality of voices, the Protestant
party, however closely united, were entirely without consideration. The
advantage of this majority the Roman Catholics were now called on to
relinquish; henceforward no one religious party was to be permitted to
dictate to the other by means of its invariable superiority. And in
truth, if the evangelical religion was really to be represented in the
Diet, it was self-evident that it must not be shut out from the
possibility of making use of that privilege, merely from the
constitution of the Diet itself. Complaints of the judicial usurpations
of the Aulic Council, and of the oppression of the Protestants,
accompanied this demand, and the deputies of the Estates were instructed
to take no part in any general deliberations till a favourable answer
should be given on this preliminary point.

The Diet was torn asunder by this dangerous division, which threatened
to destroy for ever the unity of its deliberations. Sincerely as the
Emperor might have wished, after the example of his father Maximilian,
to preserve a prudent balance between the two religions, the present
conduct of the Protestants seemed to leave him nothing but a critical
choice between the two. In his present necessities a general

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