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The Thirty Years War, Complete by Frederich Schiller

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contribution from the Estates was indispensable to him; and yet he could
not conciliate the one party without sacrificing the support of the
other. Insecure as he felt his situation to be in his own hereditary
dominions, he could not but tremble at the idea, however remote, of an
open war with the Protestants. But the eyes of the whole Roman Catholic
world, which were attentively regarding his conduct, the remonstrances
of the Roman Catholic Estates, and of the Courts of Rome and Spain, as
little permitted him to favour the Protestant at the expense of the
Romish religion.

So critical a situation would have paralysed a greater mind than
Matthias; and his own prudence would scarcely have extricated him from
his dilemma. But the interests of the Roman Catholics were closely
interwoven with the imperial authority; if they suffered this to fall,
the ecclesiastical princes in particular would be without a bulwark
against the attacks of the Protestants. Now, then, that they saw the
Emperor wavering, they thought it high time to reassure his sinking
courage. They imparted to him the secret of their League, and
acquainted him with its whole constitution, resources and power. Little
comforting as such a revelation must have been to the Emperor, the
prospect of so powerful a support gave him greater boldness to oppose
the Protestants. Their demands were rejected, and the Diet broke up
without coming to a decision. But Matthias was the victim of this
dispute. The Protestants refused him their supplies, and made him alone
suffer for the inflexibility of the Roman Catholics.

The Turks, however, appeared willing to prolong the cessation of
hostilities, and Bethlem Gabor was left in peaceable possession of
Transylvania. The empire was now free from foreign enemies; and even at
home, in the midst of all these fearful disputes, peace still reigned.
An unexpected accident had given a singular turn to the dispute as to
the succession of Juliers. This duchy was still ruled conjointly by the
Electoral House of Brandenburg and the Palatine of Neuburg; and a
marriage between the Prince of Neuburg and a Princess of Brandenburg was
to have inseparably united the interests of the two houses. But the
whole scheme was upset by a box on the ear, which, in a drunken brawl,
the Elector of Brandenburg unfortunately inflicted upon his intended
son-in-law. From this moment the good understanding between the two
houses was at an end. The Prince of Neuburg embraced popery. The hand
of a princess of Bavaria rewarded his apostacy, and the strong support
of Bavaria and Spain was the natural result of both. To secure to the
Palatine the exclusive possession of Juliers, the Spanish troops from
the Netherlands were marched into the Palatinate. To rid himself of
these guests, the Elector of Brandenburg called the Flemings to his
assistance, whom he sought to propitiate by embracing the Calvinist
religion. Both Spanish and Dutch armies appeared, but, as it seemed,
only to make conquests for themselves.

The neighbouring war of the Netherlands seemed now about to be decided
on German ground; and what an inexhaustible mine of combustibles lay
here ready for it! The Protestants saw with consternation the Spaniards
establishing themselves upon the Lower Rhine; with still greater anxiety
did the Roman Catholics see the Hollanders bursting through the
frontiers of the empire. It was in the west that the mine was expected
to explode which had long been dug under the whole of Germany. To the
west, apprehension and anxiety turned; but the spark which kindled the
flame came unexpectedly from the east.

The tranquillity which Rodolph II.'s 'Letter of Majesty' had established
in Bohemia lasted for some time, under the administration of Matthias,
till the nomination of a new heir to this kingdom in the person of
Ferdinand of Gratz.

This prince, whom we shall afterwards become better acquainted with
under the title of Ferdinand II., Emperor of Germany, had, by the
violent extirpation of the Protestant religion within his hereditary
dominions, announced himself as an inexorable zealot for popery, and was
consequently looked upon by the Roman Catholic part of Bohemia as the
future pillar of their church. The declining health of the Emperor
brought on this hour rapidly; and, relying on so powerful a supporter,
the Bohemian Papists began to treat the Protestants with little
moderation. The Protestant vassals of Roman Catholic nobles, in
particular, experienced the harshest treatment. At length several of
the former were incautious enough to speak somewhat loudly of their
hopes, and by threatening hints to awaken among the Protestants a
suspicion of their future sovereign. But this mistrust would never have
broken out into actual violence, had the Roman Catholics confined
themselves to general expressions, and not by attacks on individuals
furnished the discontent of the people with enterprising leaders.

Henry Matthias, Count Thurn, not a native of Bohemia, but proprietor of
some estates in that kingdom, had, by his zeal for the Protestant cause,
and an enthusiastic attachment to his newly adopted country, gained the
entire confidence of the Utraquists, which opened him the way to the
most important posts. He had fought with great glory against the Turks,
and won by a flattering address the hearts of the multitude. Of a hot
and impetuous disposition, which loved tumult because his talents shone
in it--rash and thoughtless enough to undertake things which cold
prudence and a calmer temper would not have ventured upon--unscrupulous
enough, where the gratification of his passions was concerned, to sport
with the fate of thousands, and at the same time politic enough to hold
in leading-strings such a people as the Bohemians then were. He had
already taken an active part in the troubles under Rodolph's
administration; and the Letter of Majesty which the States had extorted
from that Emperor, was chiefly to be laid to his merit. The court had
intrusted to him, as burgrave or castellan of Calstein, the custody of
the Bohemian crown, and of the national charter. But the nation had
placed in his hands something far more important--ITSELF--with the
office of defender or protector of the faith. The aristocracy by which
the Emperor was ruled, imprudently deprived him of this harmless
guardianship of the dead, to leave him his full influence over the
living. They took from him his office of burgrave, or constable of the
castle, which had rendered him dependent on the court, thereby opening
his eyes to the importance of the other which remained, and wounded his
vanity, which yet was the thing that made his ambition harmless. From
this moment he was actuated solely by a desire of revenge; and the
opportunity of gratifying it was not long wanting.

In the Royal Letter which the Bohemians had extorted from Rodolph II.,
as well as in the German religious treaty, one material article remained
undetermined. All the privileges granted by the latter to the
Protestants, were conceived in favour of the Estates or governing
bodies, not of the subjects; for only to those of the ecclesiastical
states had a toleration, and that precarious, been conceded. The
Bohemian Letter of Majesty, in the same manner, spoke only of the
Estates and imperial towns, the magistrates of which had contrived to
obtain equal privileges with the former. These alone were free to erect
churches and schools, and openly to celebrate their Protestant worship;
in all other towns, it was left entirely to the government to which they
belonged, to determine the religion of the inhabitants. The Estates of
the Empire had availed themselves of this privilege in its fullest
extent; the secular indeed without opposition; while the ecclesiastical,
in whose case the declaration of Ferdinand had limited this privilege,
disputed, not without reason, the validity of that limitation. What was
a disputed point in the religious treaty, was left still more doubtful
in the Letter of Majesty; in the former, the construction was not
doubtful, but it was a question how far obedience might be compulsory;
in the latter, the interpretation was left to the states. The subjects
of the ecclesiastical Estates in Bohemia thought themselves entitled to
the same rights which the declaration of Ferdinand secured to the
subjects of German bishops, they considered themselves on an equality
with the subjects of imperial towns, because they looked upon the
ecclesiastical property as part of the royal demesnes. In the little
town of Klostergrab, subject to the Archbishop of Prague; and in
Braunau, which belonged to the abbot of that monastery, churches were
founded by the Protestants, and completed notwithstanding the opposition
of their superiors, and the disapprobation of the Emperor.

In the meantime, the vigilance of the defenders had somewhat relaxed,
and the court thought it might venture on a decisive step. By the
Emperor's orders, the church at Klostergrab was pulled down; that at
Braunau forcibly shut up, and the most turbulent of the citizens thrown
into prison. A general commotion among the Protestants was the
consequence of this measure; a loud outcry was everywhere raised at this
violation of the Letter of Majesty; and Count Thurn, animated by
revenge, and particularly called upon by his office of defender, showed
himself not a little busy in inflaming the minds of the people. At his
instigation deputies were summoned to Prague from every circle in the
empire, to concert the necessary measures against the common danger. It
was resolved to petition the Emperor to press for the liberation of the
prisoners. The answer of the Emperor, already offensive to the states,
from its being addressed, not to them, but to his viceroy, denounced
their conduct as illegal and rebellious, justified what had been done at
Klostergrab and Braunau as the result of an imperial mandate, and
contained some passages that might be construed into threats.

Count Thurn did not fail to augment the unfavourable impression which
this imperial edict made upon the assembled Estates. He pointed out to
them the danger in which all who had signed the petition were involved,
and sought by working on their resentment and fears to hurry them into
violent resolutions. To have caused their immediate revolt against the
Emperor, would have been, as yet, too bold a measure. It was only step
by step that he would lead them on to this unavoidable result. He held
it, therefore, advisable first to direct their indignation against the
Emperor's counsellors; and for that purpose circulated a report, that
the imperial proclamation had been drawn up by the government at Prague,
and only signed in Vienna. Among the imperial delegates, the chief
objects of the popular hatred, were the President of the Chamber,
Slawata, and Baron Martinitz, who had been elected in place of Count
Thurn, Burgrave of Calstein. Both had long before evinced pretty openly
their hostile feelings towards the Protestants, by alone refusing to be
present at the sitting at which the Letter of Majesty had been inserted
in the Bohemian constitution. A threat was made at the time to make
them responsible for every violation of the Letter of Majesty; and from
this moment, whatever evil befell the Protestants was set down, and not
without reason, to their account. Of all the Roman Catholic nobles,
these two had treated their Protestant vassals with the greatest
harshness. They were accused of hunting them with dogs to the mass, and
of endeavouring to drive them to popery by a denial of the rites of
baptism, marriage, and burial. Against two characters so unpopular the
public indignation was easily excited, and they were marked out for a
sacrifice to the general indignation.

On the 23rd of May, 1618, the deputies appeared armed, and in great
numbers, at the royal palace, and forced their way into the hall where
the Commissioners Sternberg, Martinitz, Lobkowitz, and Slawata were
assembled. In a threatening tone they demanded to know from each of
them, whether he had taken any part, or had consented to, the imperial
proclamation. Sternberg received them with composure, Martinitz and
Slawata with defiance. This decided their fate; Sternberg and
Lobkowitz, less hated, and more feared, were led by the arm out of the
room; Martinitz and Slawata were seized, dragged to a window, and
precipitated from a height of eighty feet, into the castle trench.
Their creature, the secretary Fabricius, was thrown after them. This
singular mode of execution naturally excited the surprise of civilized
nations. The Bohemians justified it as a national custom, and saw
nothing remarkable in the whole affair, excepting that any one should
have got up again safe and sound after such a fall. A dunghill, on
which the imperial commissioners chanced to be deposited, had saved them
from injury.

It was not to be expected that this summary mode of proceeding would
much increase the favour of the parties with the Emperor, but this was
the very position to which Count Thurn wished to bring them. If, from
the fear of uncertain danger, they had permitted themselves such an act
of violence, the certain expectation of punishment, and the now urgent
necessity of making themselves secure, would plunge them still deeper
into guilt. By this brutal act of self-redress, no room was left for
irresolution or repentance, and it seemed as if a single crime could be
absolved only by a series of violences. As the deed itself could not be
undone, nothing was left but to disarm the hand of punishment. Thirty
directors were appointed to organise a regular insurrection. They
seized upon all the offices of state, and all the imperial revenues,
took into their own service the royal functionaries and the soldiers,
and summoned the whole Bohemian nation to avenge the common cause. The
Jesuits, whom the common hatred accused as the instigators of every
previous oppression, were banished the kingdom, and this harsh measure
the Estates found it necessary to justify in a formal manifesto. These
various steps were taken for the preservation of the royal authority and
the laws--the language of all rebels till fortune has decided in their

The emotion which the news of the Bohemian insurrection excited at the
imperial court, was much less lively than such intelligence deserved.
The Emperor Matthias was no longer the resolute spirit that formerly
sought out his king and master in the very bosom of his people, and
hurled him from three thrones. The confidence and courage which had
animated him in an usurpation, deserted him in a legitimate
self-defence. The Bohemian rebels had first taken up arms, and the
nature of circumstances drove him to join them. But he could not hope
to confine such a war to Bohemia. In all the territories under his
dominion, the Protestants were united by a dangerous sympathy--the
common danger of their religion might suddenly combine them all into a
formidable republic. What could he oppose to such an enemy, if the
Protestant portion of his subjects deserted him? And would not both
parties exhaust themselves in so ruinous a civil war? How much was at
stake if he lost; and if he won, whom else would he destroy but his own

Considerations such as these inclined the Emperor and his council to
concessions and pacific measures, but it was in this very spirit of
concession that, as others would have it, lay the origin of the evil.
The Archduke Ferdinand of Gratz congratulated the Emperor upon an event,
which would justify in the eyes of all Europe the severest measures
against the Bohemian Protestants. "Disobedience, lawlessness, and
insurrection," he said, "went always hand-in-hand with Protestantism.
Every privilege which had been conceded to the Estates by himself and
his predecessor, had had no other effect than to raise their demands.
All the measures of the heretics were aimed against the imperial
authority. Step by step had they advanced from defiance to defiance up
to this last aggression; in a short time they would assail all that
remained to be assailed, in the person of the Emperor. In arms alone
was there any safety against such an enemy--peace and subordination
could be only established upon the ruins of their dangerous privileges;
security for the Catholic belief was to be found only in the total
destruction of this sect. Uncertain, it was true, might be the event of
the war, but inevitable was the ruin if it were pretermitted. The
confiscation of the lands of the rebels would richly indemnify them for
its expenses, while the terror of punishment would teach the other
states the wisdom of a prompt obedience in future." Were the Bohemian
Protestants to blame, if they armed themselves in time against the
enforcement of such maxims? The insurrection in Bohemia, besides, was
directed only against the successor of the Emperor, not against himself,
who had done nothing to justify the alarm of the Protestants. To
exclude this prince from the Bohemian throne, arms had before been taken
up under Matthias, though as long as this Emperor lived, his subjects
had kept within the bounds of an apparent submission.

But Bohemia was in arms, and unarmed, the Emperor dared not even offer
them peace. For this purpose, Spain supplied gold, and promised to send
troops from Italy and the Netherlands. Count Bucquoi, a native of the
Netherlands, was named generalissimo, because no native could be
trusted, and Count Dampierre, another foreigner, commanded under him.
Before the army took the field, the Emperor endeavoured to bring about
an amicable arrangement, by the publication of a manifesto. In this he
assured the Bohemians, "that he held sacred the Letter of Majesty--that
he had not formed any resolutions inimical to their religion or their
privileges, and that his present preparations were forced upon him by
their own. As soon as the nation laid down their arms, he also would
disband his army." But this gracious letter failed of its effect,
because the leaders of the insurrection contrived to hide from the
people the Emperor's good intentions. Instead of this, they circulated
the most alarming reports from the pulpit, and by pamphlets, and
terrified the deluded populace with threatened horrors of another Saint
Bartholomew's that existed only in their own imagination. All Bohemia,
with the exception of three towns, Budweiss, Krummau, and Pilsen, took
part in this insurrection. These three towns, inhabited principally by
Roman Catholics, alone had the courage, in this general revolt, to hold
out for the Emperor, who promised them assistance. But it could not
escape Count Thurn, how dangerous it was to leave in hostile hands three
places of such importance, which would at all times keep open for the
imperial troops an entrance into the kingdom. With prompt determination
he appeared before Budweiss and Krummau, in the hope of terrifying them
into a surrender. Krummau surrendered, but all his attacks were
steadfastly repulsed by Budweiss.

And now, too, the Emperor began to show more earnestness and energy.
Bucquoi and Dampierre, with two armies, fell upon the Bohemian
territories, which they treated as a hostile country. But the imperial
generals found the march to Prague more difficult than they had
expected. Every pass, every position that was the least tenable, must
be opened by the sword, and resistance increased at each fresh step they
took, for the outrages of their troops, chiefly consisting of Hungarians
and Walloons, drove their friends to revolt and their enemies to
despair. But even now that his troops had penetrated into Bohemia, the
Emperor continued to offer the Estates peace, and to show himself ready
for an amicable adjustment. But the new prospects which opened upon
them, raised the courage of the revolters. Moravia espoused their
party; and from Germany appeared to them a defender equally intrepid and
unexpected, in the person of Count Mansfeld.

The heads of the Evangelic Union had been silent but not inactive
spectators of the movements in Bohemia. Both were contending for the
same cause, and against the same enemy. In the fate of the Bohemians,
their confederates in the faith might read their own; and the cause of
this people was represented as of solemn concern to the whole German
union. True to these principles, the Unionists supported the courage of
the insurgents by promises of assistance; and a fortunate accident now
enabled them, beyond their hopes, to fulfil them.

The instrument by which the House of Austria was humbled in Germany, was
Peter Ernest, Count Mansfeld, the son of a distinguished Austrian
officer, Ernest von Mansfeld, who for some time had commanded with
repute the Spanish army in the Netherlands. His first campaigns in
Juliers and Alsace had been made in the service of this house, and under
the banner of the Archduke Leopold, against the Protestant religion and
the liberties of Germany. But insensibly won by the principles of this
religion, he abandoned a leader whose selfishness denied him the
reimbursement of the monies expended in his cause, and he transferred
his zeal and a victorious sword to the Evangelic Union. It happened
just then that the Duke of Savoy, an ally of the Union, demanded
assistance in a war against Spain. They assigned to him their newly
acquired servant, and Mansfeld received instructions to raise an army of
4000 men in Germany, in the cause and in the pay of the duke. The army
was ready to march at the very moment when the flames of war burst out
in Bohemia, and the duke, who at the time did not stand in need of its
services, placed it at the disposal of the Union. Nothing could be more
welcome to these troops than the prospect of aiding their confederates
in Bohemia, at the cost of a third party. Mansfeld received orders
forthwith to march with these 4000 men into that kingdom; and a
pretended Bohemian commission was given to blind the public as to the
true author of this levy.

This Mansfeld now appeared in Bohemia, and, by the occupation of Pilsen,
strongly fortified and favourable to the Emperor, obtained a firm
footing in the country. The courage of the rebels was farther increased
by succours which the Silesian States despatched to their assistance.
Between these and the Imperialists, several battles were fought, far
indeed from decisive, but only on that account the more destructive,
which served as the prelude to a more serious war. To check the vigour
of his military operations, a negotiation was entered into with the
Emperor, and a disposition was shown to accept the proffered mediation
of Saxony. But before the event could prove how little sincerity there
was in these proposals, the Emperor was removed from the scene by death.

What now had Matthias done to justify the expectations which he had
excited by the overthrow of his predecessor? Was it worth while to
ascend a brother's throne through guilt, and then maintain it with so
little dignity, and leave it with so little renown? As long as Matthias
sat on the throne, he had to atone for the imprudence by which he had
gained it. To enjoy the regal dignity a few years sooner, he had
shackled the free exercise of its prerogatives. The slender portion of
independence left him by the growing power of the Estates, was still
farther lessened by the encroachments of his relations. Sickly and
childless he saw the attention of the world turned to an ambitious heir
who was impatiently anticipating his fate; and who, by his interference
with the closing administration, was already opening his own.

With Matthias, the reigning line of the German House of Austria was in a
manner extinct; for of all the sons of Maximilian, one only was now
alive, the weak and childless Archduke Albert, in the Netherlands, who
had already renounced his claims to the inheritance in favour of the
line of Gratz. The Spanish House had also, in a secret bond, resigned
its pretensions to the Austrian possessions in behalf of the Archduke
Ferdinand of Styria, in whom the branch of Hapsburg was about to put
forth new shoots, and the former greatness of Austria to experience a

The father of Ferdinand was the Archduke Charles of Carniola, Carinthia,
and Styria, the youngest brother of the Emperor Maximilian II.; his
mother a princess of Bavaria. Having lost his father at twelve years of
age, he was intrusted by the archduchess to the guardianship of her
brother William, Duke of Bavaria, under whose eyes he was instructed and
educated by Jesuits at the Academy of Ingolstadt. What principles he
was likely to imbibe by his intercourse with a prince, who from motives
of devotion had abdicated his government, may be easily conceived. Care
was taken to point out to him, on the one hand, the weak indulgence of
Maximilian's house towards the adherents of the new doctrines, and the
consequent troubles of their dominions; on the other, the blessings of
Bavaria, and the inflexible religious zeal of its rulers; between these
two examples he was left to choose for himself.

Formed in this school to be a stout champion of the faith, and a prompt
instrument of the church, he left Bavaria, after a residence of five
years, to assume the government of his hereditary dominions. The
Estates of Carniola, Carinthia, and Styria, who, before doing homage,
demanded a guarantee for freedom of religion, were told that religious
liberty has nothing to do with their allegiance. The oath was put to
them without conditions, and unconditionally taken. Many years,
however, elapsed, ere the designs which had been planned at Ingolstadt
were ripe for execution. Before attempting to carry them into effect,
he sought in person at Loretto the favour of the Virgin, and received
the apostolic benediction in Rome at the feet of Clement VIII.

These designs were nothing less than the expulsion of Protestantism from
a country where it had the advantage of numbers, and had been legally
recognized by a formal act of toleration, granted by his father to the
noble and knightly estates of the land. A grant so formally ratified
could not be revoked without danger; but no difficulties could deter the
pious pupil of the Jesuits. The example of other states, both Roman
Catholic and Protestant, which within their own territories had
exercised unquestioned a right of reformation, and the abuse which the
Estates of Styria made of their religious liberties, would serve as a
justification of this violent procedure. Under the shelter of an absurd
positive law, those of equity and prudence might, it was thought, be
safely despised. In the execution of these unrighteous designs,
Ferdinand did, it must be owned, display no common courage and
perseverance. Without tumult, and we may add, without cruelty, he
suppressed the Protestant service in one town after another, and in a
few years, to the astonishment of Germany, this dangerous work was
brought to a successful end.

But, while the Roman Catholics admired him as a hero, and the champion
of the church, the Protestants began to combine against him as against
their most dangerous enemy. And yet Matthias's intention to bequeath to
him the succession, met with little or no opposition in the elective
states of Austria. Even the Bohemians agreed to receive him as their
future king, on very favourable conditions. It was not until
afterwards, when they had experienced the pernicious influence of his
councils on the administration of the Emperor, that their anxiety was
first excited; and then several projects, in his handwriting, which an
unlucky chance threw into their hands, as they plainly evinced his
disposition towards them, carried their apprehension to the utmost
pitch. In particular, they were alarmed by a secret family compact with
Spain, by which, in default of heirs-male of his own body, Ferdinand
bequeathed to that crown the kingdom of Bohemia, without first
consulting the wishes of that nation, and without regard to its right of
free election. The many enemies, too, which by his reforms in Styria
that prince had provoked among the Protestants, were very prejudicial to
his interests in Bohemia; and some Styrian emigrants, who had taken
refuge there, bringing with them into their adopted country hearts
overflowing with a desire of revenge, were particularly active in
exciting the flame of revolt. Thus ill-affected did Ferdinand find the
Bohemians, when he succeeded Matthias.

So bad an understanding between the nation and the candidate for the
throne, would have raised a storm even in the most peaceable succession;
how much more so at the present moment, before the ardour of
insurrection had cooled; when the nation had just recovered its dignity,
and reasserted its rights; when they still held arms in their hands, and
the consciousness of unity had awakened an enthusiastic reliance on
their own strength; when by past success, by the promises of foreign
assistance, and by visionary expectations of the future, their courage
had been raised to an undoubting confidence. Disregarding the rights
already conferred on Ferdinand, the Estates declared the throne vacant,
and their right of election entirely unfettered. All hopes of their
peaceful submission were at an end, and if Ferdinand wished still to
wear the crown of Bohemia, he must choose between purchasing it at the
sacrifice of all that would make a crown desirable, or winning it sword
in hand.

But with what means was it to be won? Turn his eyes where he would, the
fire of revolt was burning. Silesia had already joined the insurgents
in Bohemia; Moravia was on the point of following its example. In Upper
and Lower Austria the spirit of liberty was awake, as it had been under
Rodolph, and the Estates refused to do homage. Hungary was menaced with
an inroad by Prince Bethlen Gabor, on the side of Transylvania; a secret
arming among the Turks spread consternation among the provinces to the
eastward; and, to complete his perplexities, the Protestants also, in
his hereditary dominions, stimulated by the general example, were again
raising their heads. In that quarter, their numbers were overwhelming;
in most places they had possession of the revenues which Ferdinand would
need for the maintenance of the war. The neutral began to waver, the
faithful to be discouraged, the turbulent alone to be animated and
confident. One half of Germany encouraged the rebels, the other
inactively awaited the issue; Spanish assistance was still very remote.
The moment which had brought him every thing, threatened also to deprive
him of all.

And when he now, yielding to the stern law of necessity, made overtures
to the Bohemian rebels, all his proposals for peace were insolently
rejected. Count Thurn, at the head of an army, entered Moravia to bring
this province, which alone continued to waver, to a decision. The
appearance of their friends is the signal of revolt for the Moravian
Protestants. Bruenn is taken, the remainder of the country yields with
free will, throughout the province government and religion are changed.
Swelling as it flows, the torrent of rebellion pours down upon Austria,
where a party, holding similar sentiments, receives it with a joyful
concurrence. Henceforth, there should be no more distinctions of
religion; equality of rights should be guaranteed to all Christian
churches. They hear that a foreign force has been invited into the
country to oppress the Bohemians. Let them be sought out, and the
enemies of liberty pursued to the ends of the earth. Not an arm is
raised in defence of the Archduke, and the rebels, at length, encamp
before Vienna to besiege their sovereign.

Ferdinand had sent his children from Gratz, where they were no longer
safe, to the Tyrol; he himself awaited the insurgents in his capital. A
handful of soldiers was all he could oppose to the enraged multitude;
these few were without pay or provisions, and therefore little to be
depended on. Vienna was unprepared for a long siege. The party of the
Protestants, ready at any moment to join the Bohemians, had the
preponderance in the city; those in the country had already begun to
levy troops against him. Already, in imagination, the Protestant
populace saw the Emperor shut up in a monastery, his territories
divided, and his children educated as Protestants. Confiding in secret,
and surrounded by public enemies, he saw the chasm every moment widening
to engulf his hopes and even himself. The Bohemian bullets were already
falling upon the imperial palace, when sixteen Austrian barons forcibly
entered his chamber, and inveighing against him with loud and bitter
reproaches, endeavoured to force him into a confederation with the
Bohemians. One of them, seizing him by the button of his doublet,
demanded, in a tone of menace, "Ferdinand, wilt thou sign it?"

Who would not be pardoned had he wavered in this frightful situation?
Yet Ferdinand still remembered the dignity of a Roman emperor. No
alternative seemed left to him but an immediate flight or submission;
laymen urged him to the one, priests to the other. If he abandoned the
city, it would fall into the enemy's hands; with Vienna, Austria was
lost; with Austria, the imperial throne. Ferdinand abandoned not his
capital, and as little would he hear of conditions.

The Archduke is still engaged in altercation with the deputed barons,
when all at once a sound of trumpets is heard in the palace square.
Terror and astonishment take possession of all present; a fearful report
pervades the palace; one deputy after another disappears. Many of the
nobility and the citizens hastily take refuge in the camp of Thurn.
This sudden change is effected by a regiment of Dampierre's cuirassiers,
who at that moment marched into the city to defend the Archduke. A body
of infantry soon followed; reassured by their appearance, several of the
Roman Catholic citizens, and even the students themselves, take up arms.
A report which arrived just at the same time from Bohemia made his
deliverance complete. The Flemish general, Bucquoi, had totally
defeated Count Mansfeld at Budweiss, and was marching upon Prague. The
Bohemians hastily broke up their camp before Vienna to protect their own

And now also the passes were free which the enemy had taken possession
of, in order to obstruct Ferdinand's progress to his coronation at
Frankfort. If the accession to the imperial throne was important for
the plans of the King of Hungary, it was of still greater consequence at
the present moment, when his nomination as Emperor would afford the most
unsuspicious and decisive proof of the dignity of his person, and of the
justice of his cause, while, at the same time, it would give him a hope
of support from the Empire. But the same cabal which opposed him in his
hereditary dominions, laboured also to counteract him in his canvass for
the imperial dignity. No Austrian prince, they maintained, ought to
ascend the throne; least of all Ferdinand, the bigoted persecutor of
their religion, the slave of Spain and of the Jesuits. To prevent this,
the crown had been offered, even during the lifetime of Matthias, to the
Duke of Bavaria, and on his refusal, to the Duke of Savoy. As some
difficulty was experienced in settling with the latter the conditions of
acceptance, it was sought, at all events, to delay the election till
some decisive blow in Austria or Bohemia should annihilate all the hopes
of Ferdinand, and incapacitate him from any competition for this
dignity. The members of the Union left no stone unturned to gain over
from Ferdinand the Electorate of Saxony, which was bound to Austrian
interests; they represented to this court the dangers with which the
Protestant religion, and even the constitution of the empire, were
threatened by the principles of this prince and his Spanish alliance.
By the elevation of Ferdinand to the imperial throne, Germany, they
further asserted, would be involved in the private quarrels of this
prince, and bring upon itself the arms of Bohemia. But in spite of all
opposing influences, the day of election was fixed, Ferdinand summoned
to it as lawful king of Bohemia, and his electoral vote, after a
fruitless resistance on the part of the Bohemian Estates, acknowledged
to be good. The votes of the three ecclesiastical electorates were for
him, Saxony was favourable to him, Brandenburg made no opposition, and a
decided majority declared him Emperor in 1619. Thus he saw the most
doubtful of his crowns placed first of all on his head; but a few days
after he lost that which he had reckoned among the most certain of his
possessions. While he was thus elected Emperor in Frankfort, he was in
Prague deprived of the Bohemian throne.

Almost all of his German hereditary dominions had in the meantime
entered into a formidable league with the Bohemians, whose insolence now
exceeded all bounds. In a general Diet, the latter, on the 17th of
August, 1619, proclaimed the Emperor an enemy to the Bohemian religion
and liberties, who by his pernicious counsels had alienated from them
the affections of the late Emperor, had furnished troops to oppress
them, had given their country as a prey to foreigners, and finally, in
contravention of the national rights, had bequeathed the crown, by a
secret compact, to Spain: they therefore declared that he had forfeited
whatever title he might otherwise have had to the crown, and immediately
proceeded to a new election. As this sentence was pronounced by
Protestants, their choice could not well fall upon a Roman Catholic
prince, though, to save appearances, some voices were raised for Bavaria
and Savoy. But the violent religious animosities which divided the
evangelical and the reformed parties among the Protestants, impeded for
some time the election even of a Protestant king; till at last the
address and activity of the Calvinists carried the day from the
numerical superiority of the Lutherans.

Among all the princes who were competitors for this dignity, the Elector
Palatine Frederick V. had the best grounded claims on the confidence
and gratitude of the Bohemians; and among them all, there was no one in
whose case the private interests of particular Estates, and the
attachment of the people, seemed to be justified by so many
considerations of state. Frederick V. was of a free and lively spirit,
of great goodness of heart, and regal liberality. He was the head of
the Calvinistic party in Germany, the leader of the Union, whose
resources were at his disposal, a near relation of the Duke of Bavaria,
and a son-in-law of the King of Great Britain, who might lend him his
powerful support. All these considerations were prominently and
successfully brought forward by the Calvinists, and Frederick V. was
chosen king by the Assembly at Prague, amidst prayers and tears of joy.

The whole proceedings of the Diet at Prague had been premeditated, and
Frederick himself had taken too active a share in the matter to feel at
all surprised at the offer made to him by the Bohemians. But now the
immediate glitter of this throne dazzled him, and the magnitude both of
his elevation and his delinquency made his weak mind to tremble. After
the usual manner of pusillanimous spirits, he sought to confirm himself
in his purpose by the opinions of others; but these opinions had no
weight with him when they ran counter to his own cherished wishes.
Saxony and Bavaria, of whom he sought advice, all his brother electors,
all who compared the magnitude of the design with his capacities and
resources, warned him of the danger into which he was about to rush.
Even King James of England preferred to see his son-in-law deprived of
this crown, than that the sacred majesty of kings should be outraged by
so dangerous a precedent. But of what avail was the voice of prudence
against the seductive glitter of a crown? In the moment of boldest
determination, when they are indignantly rejecting the consecrated
branch of a race which had governed them for two centuries, a free
people throws itself into his arms. Confiding in his courage, they
choose him as their leader in the dangerous career of glory and liberty.
To him, as to its born champion, an oppressed religion looks for shelter
and support against its persecutors. Could he have the weakness to
listen to his fears, and to betray the cause of religion and liberty?
This religion proclaims to him its own preponderance, and the weakness
of its rival,--two-thirds of the power of Austria are now in arms
against Austria itself, while a formidable confederacy, already formed
in Transylvania, would, by a hostile attack, further distract even the
weak remnant of its power. Could inducements such as these fail to
awaken his ambition, or such hopes to animate and inflame his

A few moments of calm consideration would have sufficed to show the
danger of the undertaking, and the comparative worthlessness of the
prize. But the temptation spoke to his feelings; the warning only to
his reason. It was his misfortune that his nearest and most influential
counsellors espoused the side of his passions. The aggrandizement of
their master's power opened to the ambition and avarice of his Palatine
servants an unlimited field for their gratification; this anticipated
triumph of their church kindled the ardour of the Calvinistic fanatic.
Could a mind so weak as that of Ferdinand resist the delusions of his
counsellors, who exaggerated his resources and his strength, as much as
they underrated those of his enemies; or the exhortations of his
preachers, who announced the effusions of their fanatical zeal as the
immediate inspiration of heaven? The dreams of astrology filled his mind
with visionary hopes; even love conspired, with its irresistible
fascination, to complete the seduction. "Had you," demanded the
Electress, "confidence enough in yourself to accept the hand of a king's
daughter, and have you misgivings about taking a crown which is
voluntarily offered you? I would rather eat bread at thy kingly table,
than feast at thy electoral board."

Frederick accepted the Bohemian crown. The coronation was celebrated
with unexampled pomp at Prague, for the nation displayed all its riches
in honour of its own work. Silesia and Moravia, the adjoining provinces
to Bohemia, followed their example, and did homage to Frederick. The
reformed faith was enthroned in all the churches of the kingdom; the
rejoicings were unbounded, their attachment to their new king bordered
on adoration. Denmark and Sweden, Holland and Venice, and several of
the Dutch states, acknowledged him as lawful sovereign, and Frederick
now prepared to maintain his new acquisition.

His principal hopes rested on Prince Bethlen Gabor of Transylvania.
This formidable enemy of Austria, and of the Roman Catholic church, not
content with the principality which, with the assistance of the Turks,
he had wrested from his legitimate prince, Gabriel Bathori, gladly
seized this opportunity of aggrandizing himself at the expense of
Austria, which had hesitated to acknowledge him as sovereign of
Transylvania. An attack upon Hungary and Austria was concerted with the
Bohemian rebels, and both armies were to unite before the capital.
Meantime, Bethlen Gabor, under the mask of friendship, disguised the
true object of his warlike preparations, artfully promising the Emperor
to lure the Bohemians into the toils, by a pretended offer of
assistance, and to deliver up to him alive the leaders of the
insurrection. All at once, however, he appeared in a hostile attitude
in Upper Hungary. Before him went terror, and devastation behind; all
opposition yielded, and at Presburg he received the Hungarian crown.
The Emperor's brother, who governed in Vienna, trembled for the capital.
He hastily summoned General Bucquoi to his assistance, and the retreat
of the Imperialists drew the Bohemians, a second time, before the walls
of Vienna. Reinforced by twelve thousand Transylvanians, and soon after
joined by the victorious army of Bethlen Gabor, they again menaced the
capital with assault; all the country round Vienna was laid waste, the
navigation of the Danube closed, all supplies cut off, and the horrors
of famine were threatened. Ferdinand, hastily recalled to his capital
by this urgent danger, saw himself a second time on the brink of ruin.
But want of provisions, and the inclement weather, finally compelled the
Bohemians to go into quarters, a defeat in Hungary recalled Bethlen
Gabor, and thus once more had fortune rescued the Emperor.

In a few weeks the scene was changed, and by his prudence and activity
Ferdinand improved his position as rapidly as Frederick, by indolence
and impolicy, ruined his. The Estates of Lower Austria were regained to
their allegiance by a confirmation of their privileges; and the few who
still held out were declared guilty of `lese-majeste' and high treason.
During the election of Frankfort, he had contrived, by personal
representations, to win over to his cause the ecclesiastical electors,
and also Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, at Munich. The whole issue of the
war, the fate of Frederick and the Emperor, were now dependent on the
part which the Union and the League should take in the troubles of
Bohemia. It was evidently of importance to all the Protestants of
Germany that the King of Bohemia should be supported, while it was
equally the interest of the Roman Catholics to prevent the ruin of the
Emperor. If the Protestants succeeded in Bohemia, all the Roman
Catholic princes in Germany might tremble for their possessions; if they
failed, the Emperor would give laws to Protestant Germany. Thus
Ferdinand put the League, Frederick the Union, in motion. The ties of
relationship and a personal attachment to the Emperor, his
brother-in-law, with whom he had been educated at Ingolstadt, zeal for
the Roman Catholic religion, which seemed to be in the most imminent
peril, and the suggestions of the Jesuits, combined with the suspicious
movements of the Union, moved the Duke of Bavaria, and all the princes
of the League, to make the cause of Ferdinand their own.

According to the terms of a treaty with the Emperor, which assured to
the Duke of Bavaria compensation for all the expenses of the war, or the
losses he might sustain, Maximilian took, with full powers, the command
of the troops of the League, which were ordered to march to the
assistance of the Emperor against the Bohemian rebels. The leaders of
the Union, instead of delaying by every means this dangerous coalition
of the League with the Emperor, did every thing in their power to
accelerate it. Could they, they thought, but once drive the Roman
Catholic League to take an open part in the Bohemian war, they might
reckon on similar measures from all the members and allies of the Union.
Without some open step taken by the Roman Catholics against the Union,
no effectual confederacy of the Protestant powers was to be looked for.
They seized, therefore, the present emergency of the troubles in Bohemia
to demand from the Roman Catholics the abolition of their past
grievances, and full security for the future exercise of their religion.
They addressed this demand, which was moreover couched in threatening
language, to the Duke of Bavaria, as the head of the Roman Catholics,
and they insisted on an immediate and categorical answer. Maximilian
might decide for or against them, still their point was gained; his
concession, if he yielded, would deprive the Roman Catholic party of its
most powerful protector; his refusal would arm the whole Protestant
party, and render inevitable a war in which they hoped to be the
conquerors. Maximilian, firmly attached to the opposite party from so
many other considerations, took the demands of the Union as a formal
declaration of hostilities, and quickened his preparations. While
Bavaria and the League were thus arming in the Emperor's cause,
negotiations for a subsidy were opened with the Spanish court. All the
difficulties with which the indolent policy of that ministry met this
demand were happily surmounted by the imperial ambassador at Madrid,
Count Khevenhuller. In addition to a subsidy of a million of florins,
which from time to time were doled out by this court, an attack upon the
Lower Palatinate, from the side of the Spanish Netherlands, was at the
same time agreed upon.

During these attempts to draw all the Roman Catholic powers into the
League, every exertion was made against the counter-league of the
Protestants. To this end, it was important to alarm the Elector of
Saxony and the other Evangelical powers, and accordingly the Union were
diligent in propagating a rumour that the preparations of the League had
for their object to deprive them of the ecclesiastical foundations they
had secularized. A written assurance to the contrary calmed the fears
of the Duke of Saxony, whom moreover private jealousy of the Palatine,
and the insinuations of his chaplain, who was in the pay of Austria, and
mortification at having been passed over by the Bohemians in the
election to the throne, strongly inclined to the side of Austria. The
fanaticism of the Lutherans could never forgive the reformed party for
having drawn, as they expressed it, so many fair provinces into the gulf
of Calvinism, and rejecting the Roman Antichrist only to make way for an
Helvetian one.

While Ferdinand used every effort to improve the unfavourable situation
of his affairs, Frederick was daily injuring his good cause. By his
close and questionable connexion with the Prince of Transylvania, the
open ally of the Porte, he gave offence to weak minds; and a general
rumour accused him of furthering his own ambition at the expense of
Christendom, and arming the Turks against Germany. His inconsiderate
zeal for the Calvinistic scheme irritated the Lutherans of Bohemia, his
attacks on image-worship incensed the Papists of this kingdom against
him. New and oppressive imposts alienated the affections of all his
subjects. The disappointed hopes of the Bohemian nobles cooled their
zeal; the absence of foreign succours abated their confidence. Instead
of devoting himself with untiring energies to the affairs of his
kingdom, Frederick wasted his time in amusements; instead of filling his
treasury by a wise economy, he squandered his revenues by a needless
theatrical pomp, and a misplaced munificence. With a light-minded
carelessness, he did but gaze at himself in his new dignity, and in the
ill-timed desire to enjoy his crown, he forgot the more pressing duty of
securing it on his head.

But greatly as men had erred in their opinion of him, Frederick himself
had not less miscalculated his foreign resources. Most of the members
of the Union considered the affairs of Bohemia as foreign to the real
object of their confederacy; others, who were devoted to him, were
overawed by fear of the Emperor. Saxony and Hesse Darmstadt had already
been gained over by Ferdinand; Lower Austria, on which side a powerful
diversion had been looked for, had made its submission to the Emperor;
and Bethlen Gabor had concluded a truce with him. By its embassies, the
court of Vienna had induced Denmark to remain inactive, and to occupy
Sweden in a war with the Poles. The republic of Holland had enough to
do to defend itself against the arms of the Spaniards; Venice and Saxony
remained inactive; King James of England was overreached by the artifice
of Spain. One friend after another withdrew; one hope vanished after
another--so rapidly in a few months was every thing changed.

In the mean time, the leaders of the Union assembled an army;--the
Emperor and the League did the same. The troops of the latter were
assembled under the banners of Maximilian at Donauwerth, those of the
Union at Ulm, under the Margrave of Anspach. The decisive moment seemed
at length to have arrived which was to end these long dissensions by a
vigorous blow, and irrevocably to settle the relation of the two
churches in Germany. Anxiously on the stretch was the expectation of
both parties. How great then was their astonishment when suddenly the
intelligence of peace arrived, and both armies separated without
striking a blow!

The intervention of France effected this peace, which was equally
acceptable to both parties. The French cabinet, no longer swayed by the
counsels of Henry the Great, and whose maxims of state were perhaps not
applicable to the present condition of that kingdom, was now far less
alarmed at the preponderance of Austria, than of the increase which
would accrue to the strength of the Calvinists, if the Palatine house
should be able to retain the throne of Bohemia. Involved at the time in
a dangerous conflict with its own Calvinistic subjects, it was of the
utmost importance to France that the Protestant faction in Bohemia
should be suppressed before the Huguenots could copy their dangerous
example. In order therefore to facilitate the Emperor's operations
against the Bohemians, she offered her mediation to the Union and the
League, and effected this unexpected treaty, of which the main article
was, "That the Union should abandon all interference in the affairs of
Bohemia, and confine the aid which they might afford to Frederick the
Fifth, to his Palatine territories." To this disgraceful treaty, the
Union were moved by the firmness of Maximilian, and the fear of being
pressed at once by the troops of the League, and a new Imperial army
which was on its march from the Netherlands.

The whole force of Bavaria and the League was now at the disposal of the
Emperor to be employed against the Bohemians, who by the pacification of
Ulm were abandoned to their fate. With a rapid movement, and before a
rumour of the proceedings at Ulm could reach there, Maximilian appeared
in Upper Austria, when the Estates, surprised and unprepared for an
enemy, purchased the Emperor's pardon by an immediate and unconditional
submission. In Lower Austria, the duke formed a junction with the
troops from the Low Countries under Bucquoi, and without loss of time
the united Imperial and Bavarian forces, amounting to 50,000 men,
entered Bohemia. All the Bohemian troops, which were dispersed over
Lower Austria and Moravia, were driven before them; every town which
attempted resistance was quickly taken by storm; others, terrified by
the report of the punishment inflicted on these, voluntarily opened
their gates; nothing in short interrupted the impetuous career of
Maximilian. The Bohemian army, commanded by the brave Prince Christian
of Anhalt, retreated to the neighbourhood of Prague; where, under the
walls of the city, Maximilian offered him battle.

The wretched condition in which he hoped to surprise the insurgents,
justified the rapidity of the duke's movements, and secured him the
victory. Frederick's army did not amount to 30,000 men. Eight thousand
of these were furnished by the Prince of Anhalt; 10,000 were Hungarians,
whom Bethlen Gabor had despatched to his assistance. An inroad of the
Elector of Saxony upon Lusatia, had cut off all succours from that
country, and from Silesia; the pacification of Austria put an end to all
his expectations from that quarter; Bethlen Gabor, his most powerful
ally, remained inactive in Transylvania; the Union had betrayed his
cause to the Emperor. Nothing remained to him but his Bohemians; and
they were without goodwill to his cause, and without unity and courage.
The Bohemian magnates were indignant that German generals should be put
over their heads; Count Mansfeld remained in Pilsen, at a distance from
the camp, to avoid the mortification of serving under Anhalt and
Hohenlohe. The soldiers, in want of necessaries, became dispirited; and
the little discipline that was observed, gave occasion to bitter
complaints from the peasantry. It was in vain that Frederick made his
appearance in the camp, in the hope of reviving the courage of the
soldiers by his presence, and of kindling the emulation of the nobles by
his example.

The Bohemians had begun to entrench themselves on the White Mountain
near Prague, when they were attacked by the Imperial and Bavarian
armies, on the 8th November, 1620. In the beginning of the action, some
advantages were gained by the cavalry of the Prince of Anhalt; but the
superior numbers of the enemy soon neutralized them. The charge of the
Bavarians and Walloons was irresistible. The Hungarian cavalry was the
first to retreat. The Bohemian infantry soon followed their example;
and the Germans were at last carried along with them in the general
flight. Ten cannons, composing the whole of Frederick's artillery, were
taken by the enemy; four thousand Bohemians fell in the flight and on
the field; while of the Imperialists and soldiers of the League only a
few hundred were killed. In less than an hour this decisive action was

Frederick was seated at table in Prague, while his army was thus cut to
pieces. It is probable that he had not expected the attack on this day,
since he had ordered an entertainment for it. A messenger summoned him
from table, to show him from the walls the whole frightful scene. He
requested a cessation of hostilities for twenty-four hours for
deliberation; but eight was all the Duke of Bavaria would allow him.
Frederick availed himself of these to fly by night from the capital,
with his wife, and the chief officers of his army. This flight was so
hurried, that the Prince of Anhalt left behind him his most private
papers, and Frederick his crown. "I know now what I am," said this
unfortunate prince to those who endeavoured to comfort him; "there are
virtues which misfortune only can teach us, and it is in adversity alone
that princes learn to know themselves."

Prague was not irretrievably lost when Frederick's pusillanimity
abandoned it. The light troops of Mansfeld were still in Pilsen, and
were not engaged in the action. Bethlen Gabor might at any moment have
assumed an offensive attitude, and drawn off the Emperor's army to the
Hungarian frontier. The defeated Bohemians might rally. Sickness,
famine, and the inclement weather, might wear out the enemy; but all
these hopes disappeared before the immediate alarm. Frederick dreaded
the fickleness of the Bohemians, who might probably yield to the
temptation to purchase, by the surrender of his person, the pardon of
the Emperor.

Thurn, and those of this party who were in the same condemnation with
him, found it equally inexpedient to await their destiny within the
walls of Prague. They retired towards Moravia, with a view of seeking
refuge in Transylvania. Frederick fled to Breslau, where, however, he
only remained a short time. He removed from thence to the court of the
Elector of Brandenburg, and finally took shelter in Holland.

The battle of Prague had decided the fate of Bohemia. Prague
surrendered the next day to the victors; the other towns followed the
example of the capital. The Estates did homage without conditions, and
the same was done by those of Silesia and Moravia. The Emperor allowed
three months to elapse, before instituting any inquiry into the past.
Reassured by this apparent clemency, many who, at first, had fled in
terror appeared again in the capital. All at once, however, the storm
burst forth; forty-eight of the most active among the insurgents were
arrested on the same day and hour, and tried by an extraordinary
commission, composed of native Bohemians and Austrians. Of these,
twenty-seven, and of the common people an immense number, expired on the
scaffold. The absenting offenders were summoned to appear to their
trial, and failing to do so, condemned to death, as traitors and
offenders against his Catholic Majesty, their estates confiscated, and
their names affixed to the gallows. The property also of the rebels who
had fallen in the field was seized. This tyranny might have been borne,
as it affected individuals only, and while the ruin of one enriched
another; but more intolerable was the oppression which extended to the
whole kingdom, without exception. All the Protestant preachers were
banished from the country; the Bohemians first, and afterwards those of
Germany. The `Letter of Majesty', Ferdinand tore with his own hand, and
burnt the seal. Seven years after the battle of Prague, the toleration
of the Protestant religion within the kingdom was entirely revoked. But
whatever violence the Emperor allowed himself against the religious
privileges of his subjects, he carefully abstained from interfering with
their political constitution; and while he deprived them of the liberty
of thought, he magnanimously left them the prerogative of taxing

The victory of the White Mountain put Ferdinand in possession of all his
dominions. It even invested him with greater authority over them than
his predecessors enjoyed, since their allegiance had been
unconditionally pledged to him, and no Letter of Majesty now existed to
limit his sovereignty. All his wishes were now gratified, to a degree
surpassing his most sanguine expectations.

It was now in his power to dismiss his allies, and disband his army. If
he was just, there was an end of the war--if he was both magnanimous and
just, punishment was also at an end. The fate of Germany was in his
hands; the happiness and misery of millions depended on the resolution
he should take. Never was so great a decision resting on a single mind;
never did the blindness of one man produce so much ruin.

Book II.

The resolution which Ferdinand now adopted, gave to the war a new
direction, a new scene, and new actors. From a rebellion in Bohemia,
and the chastisement of rebels, a war extended first to Germany, and
afterwards to Europe. It is, therefore, necessary to take a general
survey of the state of affairs both in Germany and the rest of Europe.

Unequally as the territory of Germany and the privileges of its members
were divided among the Roman Catholics and the Protestants, neither
party could hope to maintain itself against the encroachments of its
adversary otherwise than by a prudent use of its peculiar advantages,
and by a politic union among themselves. If the Roman Catholics were
the more numerous party, and more favoured by the constitution of the
empire, the Protestants, on the other hand, had the advantage of
possessing a more compact and populous line of territories, valiant
princes, a warlike nobility, numerous armies, flourishing free towns,
the command of the sea, and even at the worst, certainty of support from
Roman Catholic states. If the Catholics could arm Spain and Italy in
their favour, the republics of Venice, Holland, and England, opened
their treasures to the Protestants, while the states of the North and
the formidable power of Turkey, stood ready to afford them prompt
assistance. Brandenburg, Saxony, and the Palatinate, opposed three
Protestant to three Ecclesiastical votes in the Electoral College; while
to the Elector of Bohemia, as to the Archduke of Austria, the possession
of the Imperial dignity was an important check, if the Protestants
properly availed themselves of it. The sword of the Union might keep
within its sheath the sword of the League; or if matters actually came
to a war, might make the issue of it doubtful. But, unfortunately,
private interests dissolved the band of union which should have held
together the Protestant members of the empire. This critical
conjuncture found none but second-rate actors on the political stage,
and the decisive moment was neglected because the courageous were
deficient in power, and the powerful in sagacity, courage, and

The Elector of Saxony was placed at the head of the German Protestants,
by the services of his ancestor Maurice, by the extent of his
territories, and by the influence of his electoral vote. Upon the
resolution he might adopt, the fate of the contending parties seemed to
depend; and John George was not insensible to the advantages which this
important situation procured him. Equally valuable as an ally, both to
the Emperor and to the Protestant Union, he cautiously avoided
committing himself to either party; neither trusting himself by any
irrevocable declaration entirely to the gratitude of the Emperor, nor
renouncing the advantages which were to be gained from his fears.
Uninfected by the contagion of religious and romantic enthusiasm which
hurried sovereign after sovereign to risk both crown and life on the
hazard of war, John George aspired to the more solid renown of improving
and advancing the interests of his territories. His cotemporaries
accused him of forsaking the Protestant cause in the very midst of the
storm; of preferring the aggrandizement of his house to the emancipation
of his country; of exposing the whole Evangelical or Lutheran church of
Germany to ruin, rather than raise an arm in defence of the Reformed or
Calvinists; of injuring the common cause by his suspicious friendship
more seriously than the open enmity of its avowed opponents. But it
would have been well if his accusers had imitated the wise policy of the
Elector. If, despite of the prudent policy, the Saxons, like all
others, groaned at the cruelties which marked the Emperor's progress; if
all Germany was a witness how Ferdinand deceived his confederates and
trifled with his engagements; if even the Elector himself at last
perceived this--the more shame to the Emperor who could so basely betray
such implicit confidence.

If an excessive reliance on the Emperor, and the hope of enlarging his
territories, tied the hands of the Elector of Saxony, the weak George
William, Elector of Brandenburg, was still more shamefully fettered by
fear of Austria, and of the loss of his dominions. What was made a
reproach against these princes would have preserved to the Elector
Palatine his fame and his kingdom. A rash confidence in his untried
strength, the influence of French counsels, and the temptation of a
crown, had seduced that unfortunate prince into an enterprise for which
he had neither adequate genius nor political capacity. The partition of
his territories among discordant princes, enfeebled the Palatinate,
which, united, might have made a longer resistance.

This partition of territory was equally injurious to the House of Hesse,
in which, between Darmstadt and Cassel, religious dissensions had
occasioned a fatal division. The line of Darmstadt, adhering to the
Confession of Augsburg, had placed itself under the Emperor's
protection, who favoured it at the expense of the Calvinists of Cassel.
While his religious confederates were shedding their blood for their
faith and their liberties, the Landgrave of Darmstadt was won over by
the Emperor's gold. But William of Cassel, every way worthy of his
ancestor who, a century before, had defended the freedom of Germany
against the formidable Charles V., espoused the cause of danger and of
honour. Superior to that pusillanimity which made far more powerful
princes bow before Ferdinand's might, the Landgrave William was the
first to join the hero of Sweden, and to set an example to the princes
of Germany which all had hesitated to begin. The boldness of his
resolve was equalled by the steadfastness of his perseverance and the
valour of his exploits. He placed himself with unshrinking resolution
before his bleeding country, and boldly confronted the fearful enemy,
whose hands were still reeking from the carnage of Magdeburg.

The Landgrave William deserves to descend to immortality with the heroic
race of Ernest. Thy day of vengeance was long delayed, unfortunate John
Frederick! Noble! never-to-be-forgotten prince! Slowly but brightly it
broke. Thy times returned, and thy heroic spirit descended on thy
grandson. An intrepid race of princes issues from the Thuringian
forests, to shame, by immortal deeds, the unjust sentence which robbed
thee of the electoral crown--to avenge thy offended shade by heaps of
bloody sacrifice. The sentence of the conqueror could deprive thee of
thy territories, but not that spirit of patriotism which staked them,
nor that chivalrous courage which, a century afterwards, was destined to
shake the throne of his descendant. Thy vengeance and that of Germany
whetted the sacred sword, and one heroic hand after the other wielded
the irresistible steel. As men, they achieved what as sovereigns they
dared not undertake; they met in a glorious cause as the valiant
soldiers of liberty. Too weak in territory to attack the enemy with
their own forces, they directed foreign artillery against them, and led
foreign banners to victory.

The liberties of Germany, abandoned by the more powerful states, who,
however, enjoyed most of the prosperity accruing from them, were
defended by a few princes for whom they were almost without value. The
possession of territories and dignities deadened courage; the want of
both made heroes. While Saxony, Brandenburg, and the rest drew back in
terror, Anhalt, Mansfeld, the Prince of Weimar and others were shedding
their blood in the field. The Dukes of Pomerania, Mecklenburg,
Luneburg, and Wirtemberg, and the free cities of Upper Germany, to whom
the name of EMPEROR was of course a formidable one, anxiously avoided a
contest with such an opponent, and crouched murmuring beneath his mighty

Austria and Roman Catholic Germany possessed in Maximilian of Bavaria a
champion as prudent as he was powerful. Adhering throughout the war to
one fixed plan, never divided between his religion and his political
interests; not the slavish dependent of Austria, who was labouring for
HIS advancement, and trembled before her powerful protector, Maximilian
earned the territories and dignities that rewarded his exertions. The
other Roman Catholic states, which were chiefly Ecclesiastical, too
unwarlike to resist the multitudes whom the prosperity of their
territories allured, became the victims of the war one after another,
and were contented to persecute in the cabinet and in the pulpit, the
enemy whom they could not openly oppose in the field. All of them,
slaves either to Austria or Bavaria, sunk into insignificance by the
side of Maximilian; in his hand alone their united power could be
rendered available.

The formidable monarchy which Charles V. and his son had unnaturally
constructed of the Netherlands, Milan, and the two Sicilies, and their
distant possessions in the East and West Indies, was under Philip III.
and Philip IV. fast verging to decay. Swollen to a sudden greatness by
unfruitful gold, this power was now sinking under a visible decline,
neglecting, as it did, agriculture, the natural support of states. The
conquests in the West Indies had reduced Spain itself to poverty, while
they enriched the markets of Europe; the bankers of Antwerp, Venice, and
Genoa, were making profit on the gold which was still buried in the
mines of Peru. For the sake of India, Spain had been depopulated, while
the treasures drawn from thence were wasted in the re-conquest of
Holland, in the chimerical project of changing the succession to the
crown of France, and in an unfortunate attack upon England. But the
pride of this court had survived its greatness, as the hate of its
enemies had outlived its power. Distrust of the Protestants suggested
to the ministry of Philip III. the dangerous policy of his father; and
the reliance of the Roman Catholics in Germany on Spanish assistance,
was as firm as their belief in the wonder-working bones of the martyrs.
External splendour concealed the inward wounds at which the life-blood
of this monarchy was oozing; and the belief of its strength survived,
because it still maintained the lofty tone of its golden days. Slaves
in their palaces, and strangers even upon their own thrones, the Spanish
nominal kings still gave laws to their German relations; though it is
very doubtful if the support they afforded was worth the dependence by
which the emperors purchased it. The fate of Europe was decided behind
the Pyrenees by ignorant monks or vindictive favourites. Yet, even in
its debasement, a power must always be formidable, which yields to none
in extent; which, from custom, if not from the steadfastness of its
views, adhered faithfully to one system of policy; which possessed
well-disciplined armies and consummate generals; which, where the sword
failed, did not scruple to employ the dagger; and converted even its
ambassadors into incendiaries and assassins. What it had lost in three
quarters of the globe, it now sought to regain to the eastward, and all
Europe was at its mercy, if it could succeed in its long cherished
design of uniting with the hereditary dominions of Austria all that lay
between the Alps and the Adriatic.

To the great alarm of the native states, this formidable power had
gained a footing in Italy, where its continual encroachments made the
neighbouring sovereigns to tremble for their own possessions. The Pope
himself was in the most dangerous situation; hemmed in on both sides by
the Spanish Viceroys of Naples on the one side, and that of Milan upon
the other. Venice was confined between the Austrian Tyrol and the
Spanish territories in Milan. Savoy was surrounded by the latter and
France. Hence the wavering and equivocal policy, which from the time of
Charles V. had been pursued by the Italian States. The double
character which pertained to the Popes made them perpetually vacillate
between two contradictory systems of policy. If the successors of St.
Peter found in the Spanish princes their most obedient disciples, and
the most steadfast supporters of the Papal See, yet the princes of the
States of the Church had in these monarchs their most dangerous
neighbours, and most formidable opponents. If, in the one capacity,
their dearest wish was the destruction of the Protestants, and the
triumph of Austria, in the other, they had reason to bless the arms of
the Protestants, which disabled a dangerous enemy. The one or the other
sentiment prevailed, according as the love of temporal dominion, or zeal
for spiritual supremacy, predominated in the mind of the Pope. But the
policy of Rome was, on the whole, directed to immediate dangers; and it
is well known how far more powerful is the apprehension of losing a
present good, than anxiety to recover a long lost possession. And thus
it becomes intelligible how the Pope should first combine with Austria
for the destruction of heresy, and then conspire with these very
heretics for the destruction of Austria. Strangely blended are the
threads of human affairs! What would have become of the Reformation,
and of the liberties of Germany, if the Bishop of Rome and the Prince of
Rome had had but one interest?

France had lost with its great Henry all its importance and all its
weight in the political balance of Europe. A turbulent minority had
destroyed all the benefits of the able administration of Henry.
Incapable ministers, the creatures of court intrigue, squandered in a
few years the treasures which Sully's economy and Henry's frugality had
amassed. Scarce able to maintain their ground against internal
factions, they were compelled to resign to other hands the helm of
European affairs. The same civil war which armed Germany against
itself, excited a similar commotion in France; and Louis XIII. attained
majority only to wage a war with his own mother and his Protestant
subjects. This party, which had been kept quiet by Henry's enlightened
policy, now seized the opportunity to take up arms, and, under the
command of some adventurous leaders, began to form themselves into a
party within the state, and to fix on the strong and powerful town of
Rochelle as the capital of their intended kingdom. Too little of a
statesman to suppress, by a prudent toleration, this civil commotion in
its birth, and too little master of the resources of his kingdom to
direct them with energy, Louis XIII. was reduced to the degradation of
purchasing the submission of the rebels by large sums of money. Though
policy might incline him, in one point of view, to assist the Bohemian
insurgents against Austria, the son of Henry the Fourth was now
compelled to be an inactive spectator of their destruction, happy enough
if the Calvinists in his own dominions did not unseasonably bethink them
of their confederates beyond the Rhine. A great mind at the helm of
state would have reduced the Protestants in France to obedience, while
it employed them to fight for the independence of their German brethren.
But Henry IV. was no more, and Richelieu had not yet revived his system
of policy.

While the glory of France was thus upon the wane, the emancipated
republic of Holland was completing the fabric of its greatness. The
enthusiastic courage had not yet died away which, enkindled by the House
of Orange, had converted this mercantile people into a nation of heroes,
and had enabled them to maintain their independence in a bloody war
against the Spanish monarchy. Aware how much they owed their own
liberty to foreign support, these republicans were ready to assist their
German brethren in a similar cause, and the more so, as both were
opposed to the same enemy, and the liberty of Germany was the best
warrant for that of Holland. But a republic which had still to battle
for its very existence, which, with all its wonderful exertions, was
scarce a match for the formidable enemy within its own territories,
could not be expected to withdraw its troops from the necessary work of
self-defence to employ them with a magnanimous policy in protecting
foreign states.

England too, though now united with Scotland, no longer possessed, under
the weak James, that influence in the affairs of Europe which the
governing mind of Elizabeth had procured for it. Convinced that the
welfare of her dominions depended on the security of the Protestants,
this politic princess had never swerved from the principle of promoting
every enterprise which had for its object the diminution of the Austrian
power. Her successor was no less devoid of capacity to comprehend, than
of vigour to execute, her views. While the economical Elizabeth spared
not her treasures to support the Flemings against Spain, and Henry IV.
against the League, James abandoned his daughter, his son-in-law, and
his grandchild, to the fury of their enemies. While he exhausted his
learning to establish the divine right of kings, he allowed his own
dignity to sink into the dust; while he exerted his rhetoric to prove
the absolute authority of kings, he reminded the people of theirs; and
by a useless profusion, sacrificed the chief of his sovereign rights--
that of dispensing with his parliament, and thus depriving liberty of
its organ. An innate horror at the sight of a naked sword averted him
from the most just of wars; while his favourite Buckingham practised on
his weakness, and his own complacent vanity rendered him an easy dupe of
Spanish artifice. While his son-in-law was ruined, and the inheritance
of his grandson given to others, this weak prince was imbibing, with
satisfaction, the incense which was offered to him by Austria and Spain.
To divert his attention from the German war, he was amused with the
proposal of a Spanish marriage for his son, and the ridiculous parent
encouraged the romantic youth in the foolish project of paying his
addresses in person to the Spanish princess. But his son lost his
bride, as his son-in-law lost the crown of Bohemia and the Palatine
Electorate; and death alone saved him from the danger of closing his
pacific reign by a war at home, which he never had courage to maintain,
even at a distance.

The domestic disturbances which his misgovernment had gradually excited
burst forth under his unfortunate son, and forced him, after some
unimportant attempts, to renounce all further participation in the
German war, in order to stem within his own kingdom the rage of faction.

Two illustrious monarchs, far unequal in personal reputation, but equal
in power and desire of fame, made the North at this time to be
respected. Under the long and active reign of Christian IV., Denmark
had risen into importance. The personal qualifications of this prince,
an excellent navy, a formidable army, well-ordered finances, and prudent
alliances, had combined to give her prosperity at home and influence
abroad. Gustavus Vasa had rescued Sweden from vassalage, reformed it by
wise laws, and had introduced, for the first time, this newly-organized
state into the field of European politics. What this great prince had
merely sketched in rude outline, was filled up by Gustavus Adolphus, his
still greater grandson.

These two kingdoms, once unnaturally united and enfeebled by their
union, had been violently separated at the time of the Reformation, and
this separation was the epoch of their prosperity. Injurious as this
compulsory union had proved to both kingdoms, equally necessary to each
apart were neighbourly friendship and harmony. On both the evangelical
church leaned; both had the same seas to protect; a common interest
ought to unite them against the same enemy. But the hatred which had
dissolved the union of these monarchies continued long after their
separation to divide the two nations. The Danish kings could not
abandon their pretensions to the Swedish crown, nor the Swedes banish
the remembrance of Danish oppression. The contiguous boundaries of the
two kingdoms constantly furnished materials for international quarrels,
while the watchful jealousy of both kings, and the unavoidable collision
of their commercial interests in the North Seas, were inexhaustible
sources of dispute.

Among the means of which Gustavus Vasa, the founder of the Swedish
monarchy, availed himself to strengthen his new edifice, the Reformation
had been one of the principal. A fundamental law of the kingdom
excluded the adherents of popery from all offices of the state, and
prohibited every future sovereign of Sweden from altering the religious
constitution of the kingdom. But the second son and second successor of
Gustavus had relapsed into popery, and his son Sigismund, also king of
Poland, had been guilty of measures which menaced both the constitution
and the established church. Headed by Charles, Duke of Sudermania, the
third son of Gustavus, the Estates made a courageous resistance, which
terminated, at last, in an open civil war between the uncle and nephew,
and between the King and the people. Duke Charles, administrator of the
kingdom during the absence of the king, had availed himself of
Sigismund's long residence in Poland, and the just displeasure of the
states, to ingratiate himself with the nation, and gradually to prepare
his way to the throne. His views were not a little forwarded by
Sigismund's imprudence. A general Diet ventured to abolish, in favour
of the Protector, the rule of primogeniture which Gustavus had
established in the succession, and placed the Duke of Sudermania on the
throne, from which Sigismund, with his whole posterity, were solemnly
excluded. The son of the new king (who reigned under the name of
Charles IX.) was Gustavus Adolphus, whom, as the son of a usurper, the
adherents of Sigismund refused to recognize. But if the obligations
between monarchy and subjects are reciprocal, and states are not to be
transmitted, like a lifeless heirloom, from hand to hand, a nation
acting with unanimity must have the power of renouncing their allegiance
to a sovereign who has violated his obligations to them, and of filling
his place by a worthier object.

Gustavus Adolphus had not completed his seventeenth year, when the
Swedish throne became vacant by the death of his father. But the early
maturity of his genius enabled the Estates to abridge in his favour the
legal period of minority. With a glorious conquest over himself he
commenced a reign which was to have victory for its constant attendant,
a career which was to begin and end in success. The young Countess of
Brahe, the daughter of a subject, had gained his early affections, and
he had resolved to share with her the Swedish throne. But, constrained
by time and circumstances, he made his attachment yield to the higher
duties of a king, and heroism again took exclusive possession of a heart
which was not destined by nature to confine itself within the limits of
quiet domestic happiness.

Christian IV. of Denmark, who had ascended the throne before the birth
of Gustavus, in an inroad upon Sweden, had gained some considerable
advantages over the father of that hero. Gustavus Adolphus hastened to
put an end to this destructive war, and by prudent sacrifices obtained a
peace, in order to turn his arms against the Czar of Muscovy. The
questionable fame of a conqueror never tempted him to spend the blood of
his subjects in unjust wars; but he never shrunk from a just one. His
arms were successful against Russia, and Sweden was augmented by several
important provinces on the east.

In the meantime, Sigismund of Poland retained against the son the same
sentiments of hostility which the father had provoked, and left no
artifice untried to shake the allegiance of his subjects, to cool the
ardour of his friends, and to embitter his enemies. Neither the great
qualities of his rival, nor the repeated proofs of devotion which Sweden
gave to her loved monarch, could extinguish in this infatuated prince
the foolish hope of regaining his lost throne. All Gustavus's overtures
were haughtily rejected. Unwillingly was this really peaceful king
involved in a tedious war with Poland, in which the whole of Livonia and
Polish Prussia were successively conquered. Though constantly
victorious, Gustavus Adolphus was always the first to hold out the hand
of peace.

This contest between Sweden and Poland falls somewhere about the
beginning of the Thirty Years' War in Germany, with which it is in some
measure connected. It was enough that Sigismund, himself a Roman
Catholic, was disputing the Swedish crown with a Protestant prince, to
assure him the active support of Spain and Austria; while a double
relationship to the Emperor gave him a still stronger claim to his
protection. It was his reliance on this powerful assistance that
chiefly encouraged the King of Poland to continue the war, which had
hitherto turned out so unfavourably for him, and the courts of Madrid
and Vienna failed not to encourage him by high-sounding promises. While
Sigismund lost one place after another in Livonia, Courland, and
Prussia, he saw his ally in Germany advancing from conquest after
conquest to unlimited power. No wonder then if his aversion to peace
kept pace with his losses. The vehemence with which he nourished his
chimerical hopes blinded him to the artful policy of his confederates,
who at his expense were keeping the Swedish hero employed, in order to
overturn, without opposition, the liberties of Germany, and then to
seize on the exhausted North as an easy conquest. One circumstance
which had not been calculated on--the magnanimity of Gustavus--
overthrew this deceitful policy. An eight years' war in Poland, so far
from exhausting the power of Sweden, had only served to mature the
military genius of Gustavus, to inure the Swedish army to warfare, and
insensibly to perfect that system of tactics by which they were
afterwards to perform such wonders in Germany.

After this necessary digression on the existing circumstances of Europe,
I now resume the thread of my history.

Ferdinand had regained his dominions, but had not indemnified himself
for the expenses of recovering them. A sum of forty millions of
florins, which the confiscations in Bohemia and Moravia had produced,
would have sufficed to reimburse both himself and his allies; but the
Jesuits and his favourites soon squandered this sum, large as it was.
Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, to whose victorious arm, principally, the
Emperor owed the recovery of his dominions; who, in the service of
religion and the Emperor, had sacrificed his near relation, had the
strongest claims on his gratitude; and moreover, in a treaty which,
before the war, the duke had concluded with the Emperor, he had
expressly stipulated for the reimbursement of all expenses. Ferdinand
felt the full weight of the obligation imposed upon him by this treaty
and by these services, but he was not disposed to discharge it at his
own cost. His purpose was to bestow a brilliant reward upon the duke,
but without detriment to himself. How could this be done better than at
the expense of the unfortunate prince who, by his revolt, had given the
Emperor a right to punish him, and whose offences might be painted in
colours strong enough to justify the most violent measures under the
appearance of law. That, then, Maximilian may be rewarded, Frederick
must be further persecuted and totally ruined; and to defray the
expenses of the old war, a new one must be commenced.

But a still stronger motive combined to enforce the first. Hitherto
Ferdinand had been contending for existence alone; he had been
fulfilling no other duty than that of self-defence. But now, when
victory gave him freedom to act, a higher duty occurred to him, and he
remembered the vow which he had made at Loretto and at Rome, to his
generalissima, the Holy Virgin, to extend her worship even at the risk
of his crown and life. With this object, the oppression of the
Protestants was inseparably connected. More favourable circumstances
for its accomplishment could not offer than those which presented
themselves at the close of the Bohemian war. Neither the power, nor a
pretext of right, were now wanting to enable him to place the Palatinate
in the hands of the Catholics, and the importance of this change to the
Catholic interests in Germany would be incalculable. Thus, in rewarding
the Duke of Bavaria with the spoils of his relation, he at once
gratified his meanest passions and fulfilled his most exalted duties; he
crushed an enemy whom he hated, and spared his avarice a painful
sacrifice, while he believed he was winning a heavenly crown.

In the Emperor's cabinet, the ruin of Frederick had been resolved upon
long before fortune had decided against him; but it was only after this
event that they ventured to direct against him the thunders of arbitrary
power. A decree of the Emperor, destitute of all the formalities
required on such occasions by the laws of the Empire, pronounced the
Elector, and three other princes who had borne arms for him at Silesia
and Bohemia, as offenders against the imperial majesty, and disturbers
of the public peace, under the ban of the empire, and deprived them of
their titles and territories. The execution of this sentence against
Frederick, namely the seizure of his lands, was, in further contempt of
law, committed to Spain as Sovereign of the circle of Burgundy, to the
Duke of Bavaria, and the League. Had the Evangelic Union been worthy of
the name it bore, and of the cause which it pretended to defend,
insuperable obstacles might have prevented the execution of the
sentence; but it was hopeless for a power which was far from a match
even for the Spanish troops in the Lower Palatinate, to contend against
the united strength of the Emperor, Bavaria, and the League. The
sentence of proscription pronounced upon the Elector soon detached the
free cities from the Union; and the princes quickly followed their
example. Fortunate in preserving their own dominions, they abandoned
the Elector, their former chief, to the Emperor's mercy, renounced the
Union, and vowed never to revive it again.

But while thus ingloriously the German princes deserted the unfortunate
Frederick, and while Bohemia, Silesia, and Moravia submitted to the
Emperor, a single man, a soldier of fortune, whose only treasure was his
sword, Ernest Count Mansfeld, dared, in the Bohemian town of Pilsen, to
defy the whole power of Austria. Left without assistance after the
battle of Prague by the Elector, to whose service he had devoted
himself, and even uncertain whether Frederick would thank him for his
perseverance, he alone for some time held out against the imperialists,
till the garrison, mutinying for want of pay, sold the town to the
Emperor. Undismayed by this reverse, he immediately commenced new
levies in the Upper Palatinate, and enlisted the disbanded troops of the
Union. A new army of 20,000 men was soon assembled under his banners,
the more formidable to the provinces which might be the object of its
attack, because it must subsist by plunder. Uncertain where this swarm
might light, the neighbouring bishops trembled for their rich
possessions, which offered a tempting prey to its ravages. But, pressed
by the Duke of Bavaria, who now entered the Upper Palatinate, Mansfeld
was compelled to retire. Eluding, by a successful stratagem, the
Bavarian general, Tilly, who was in pursuit of him, he suddenly appeared
in the Lower Palatinate, and there wreaked upon the bishoprics of the
Rhine the severities he had designed for those of Franconia. While the
imperial and Bavarian allies thus overran Bohemia, the Spanish general,
Spinola, had penetrated with a numerous army from the Netherlands into
the Lower Palatinate, which, however, the pacification of Ulm permitted
the Union to defend. But their measures were so badly concerted, that
one place after another fell into the hands of the Spaniards; and at
last, when the Union broke up, the greater part of the country was in
the possession of Spain. The Spanish general, Corduba, who commanded
these troops after the recall of Spinola, hastily raised the siege of
Frankenthal, when Mansfeld entered the Lower Palatinate. But instead of
driving the Spaniards out of this province, he hastened across the Rhine
to secure for his needy troops shelter and subsistence in Alsace. The
open countries on which this swarm of maurauders threw themselves were
converted into frightful deserts, and only by enormous contributions
could the cities purchase an exemption from plunder. Reinforced by this
expedition, Mansfeld again appeared on the Rhine to cover the Lower

So long as such an arm fought for him, the cause of the Elector
Frederick was not irretrievably lost. New prospects began to open, and
misfortune raised up friends who had been silent during his prosperity.
King James of England, who had looked on with indifference while his
son-in-law lost the Bohemian crown, was aroused from his insensibility
when the very existence of his daughter and grandson was at stake, and
the victorious enemy ventured an attack upon the Electorate. Late
enough, he at last opened his treasures, and hastened to afford supplies
of money and troops, first to the Union, which at that time was
defending the Lower Palatinate, and afterwards, when they retired, to
Count Mansfeld. By his means his near relation, Christian, King of
Denmark, was induced to afford his active support. At the same time,
the approaching expiration of the truce between Spain and Holland
deprived the Emperor of all the supplies which otherwise he might expect
from the side of the Netherlands. More important still was the
assistance which the Palatinate received from Transylvania and Hungary.
The cessation of hostilities between Gabor and the Emperor was scarcely
at an end, when this old and formidable enemy of Austria overran Hungary
anew, and caused himself to be crowned king in Presburg. So rapid was
his progress that, to protect Austria and Hungary, Boucquoi was obliged
to evacuate Bohemia. This brave general met his death at the siege of
Neuhausel, as, shortly before, the no less valiant Dampierre had fallen
before Presburg. Gabor's march into the Austrian territory was
irresistible; the old Count Thurn, and several other distinguished
Bohemians, had united their hatred and their strength with this
irreconcileable enemy of Austria. A vigorous attack on the side of
Germany, while Gabor pressed the Emperor on that of Hungary, might have
retrieved the fortunes of Frederick; but, unfortunately, the Bohemians
and Germans had always laid down their arms when Gabor took the field;
and the latter was always exhausted at the very moment that the former
began to recover their vigour.

Meanwhile Frederick had not delayed to join his protector Mansfeld. In
disguise he entered the Lower Palatinate, of which the possession was at
that time disputed between Mansfeld and the Bavarian general, Tilly, the
Upper Palatinate having been long conquered. A ray of hope shone upon
him as, from the wreck of the Union, new friends came forward. A former
member of the Union, George Frederick, Margrave of Baden, had for some
time been engaged in assembling a military force, which soon amounted to
a considerable army. Its destination was kept a secret till he suddenly
took the field and joined Mansfeld. Before commencing the war, he
resigned his Margraviate to his son, in the hope of eluding, by this
precaution, the Emperor's revenge, if his enterprize should be
unsuccessful. His neighbour, the Duke of Wirtemberg, likewise began to
augment his military force. The courage of the Palatine revived, and he
laboured assiduously to renew the Protestant Union. It was now time for
Tilly to consult for his own safety, and he hastily summoned the Spanish
troops, under Corduba, to his assistance. But while the enemy was
uniting his strength, Mansfeld and the Margrave separated, and the
latter was defeated by the Bavarian general near Wimpfen (1622).

To defend a king whom his nearest relation persecuted, and who was
deserted even by his own father-in-law, there had come forward an
adventurer without money, and whose very legitimacy was questioned. A
sovereign had resigned possessions over which he reigned in peace, to
hazard the uncertain fortune of war in behalf of a stranger. And now
another soldier of fortune, poor in territorial possessions, but rich in
illustrious ancestry, undertook the defence of a cause which the former
despaired of. Christian, Duke of Brunswick, administrator of
Halberstadt, seemed to have learnt from Count Mansfeld the secret of
keeping in the field an army of 20,000 men without money. Impelled by
youthful presumption, and influenced partly by the wish of establishing
his reputation at the expense of the Roman Catholic priesthood, whom he
cordially detested, and partly by a thirst for plunder, he assembled a
considerable army in Lower Saxony, under the pretext of espousing the
defence of Frederick, and of the liberties of Germany. "God's Friend,
Priest's Foe", was the motto he chose for his coinage, which was struck
out of church plate; and his conduct belied one half at least of the

The progress of these banditti was, as usual, marked by the most
frightful devastation. Enriched by the spoils of the chapters of Lower
Saxony and Westphalia, they gathered strength to plunder the bishoprics
upon the Upper Rhine. Driven from thence, both by friends and foes, the
Administrator approached the town of Hoechst on the Maine, which he
crossed after a murderous action with Tilly, who disputed with him the
passage of the river. With the loss of half his army he reached the
opposite bank, where he quickly collected his shattered troops, and
formed a junction with Mansfeld. Pursued by Tilly, this united host
threw itself again into Alsace, to repeat their former ravages. While
the Elector Frederick followed, almost like a fugitive mendicant, this
swarm of plunderers which acknowledged him as its lord, and dignified
itself with his name, his friends were busily endeavouring to effect a
reconciliation between him and the Emperor. Ferdinand took care not to
deprive them of all hope of seeing the Palatine restored to his
dominion. Full of artifice and dissimulation, he pretended to be
willing to enter into a negotiation, hoping thereby to cool their ardour
in the field, and to prevent them from driving matters to extremity.
James I., ever the dupe of Spanish cunning, contributed not a little, by
his foolish intermeddling, to promote the Emperor's schemes. Ferdinand
insisted that Frederick, if he would appeal to his clemency, should,
first of all, lay down his arms, and James considered this demand
extremely reasonable. At his instigation, the Elector dismissed his
only real defenders, Count Mansfeld and the Administrator, and in
Holland awaited his own fate from the mercy of the Emperor.

Mansfeld and Duke Christian were now at a loss for some new name; the
cause of the Elector had not set them in motion, so his dismissal could
not disarm them. War was their object; it was all the same to them in
whose cause or name it was waged. After some vain attempts on the part
of Mansfeld to be received into the Emperor's service, both marched into
Lorraine, where the excesses of their troops spread terror even to the
heart of France. Here they long waited in vain for a master willing to
purchase their services; till the Dutch, pressed by the Spanish General
Spinola, offered to take them into pay. After a bloody fight at Fleurus
with the Spaniards, who attempted to intercept them, they reached
Holland, where their appearance compelled the Spanish general forthwith
to raise the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom. But even Holland was soon weary
of these dangerous guests, and availed herself of the first moment to
get rid of their unwelcome assistance. Mansfeld allowed his troops to
recruit themselves for new enterprises in the fertile province of East
Friezeland. Duke Christian, passionately enamoured of the Electress
Palatine, with whom he had become acquainted in Holland, and more
disposed for war than ever, led back his army into Lower Saxony, bearing
that princess's glove in his hat, and on his standards the motto "All
for God and Her". Neither of these adventurers had as yet run their
career in this war.

All the imperial territories were now free from the enemy; the Union was
dissolved; the Margrave of Baden, Duke Christian, and Mansfeld, driven
from the field, and the Palatinate overrun by the executive troops of
the empire. Manheim and Heidelberg were in possession of Bavaria, and
Frankenthal was shortly afterwards ceded to the Spaniards. The
Palatine, in a distant corner of Holland, awaited the disgraceful
permission to appease, by abject submission, the vengeance of the
Emperor; and an Electoral Diet was at last summoned to decide his fate.
That fate, however, had been long before decided at the court of the
Emperor; though now, for the first time, were circumstances favourable
for giving publicity to the decision. After his past measures towards
the Elector, Ferdinand believed that a sincere reconciliation was not to
be hoped for. The violent course he had once begun, must be completed
successfully, or recoil upon himself. What was already lost was
irrecoverable; Frederick could never hope to regain his dominions; and a
prince without territory and without subjects had little chance of
retaining the electoral crown. Deeply as the Palatine had offended
against the House of Austria, the services of the Duke of Bavaria were
no less meritorious. If the House of Austria and the Roman Catholic
church had much to dread from the resentment and religious rancour of
the Palatine family, they had as much to hope from the gratitude and
religious zeal of the Bavarian. Lastly, by the cession of the Palatine
Electorate to Bavaria, the Roman Catholic religion would obtain a
decisive preponderance in the Electoral College, and secure a permanent
triumph in Germany.

The last circumstance was sufficient to win the support of the three
Ecclesiastical Electors to this innovation; and among the Protestants
the vote of Saxony was alone of any importance. But could John George
be expected to dispute with the Emperor a right, without which he would
expose to question his own title to the electoral dignity? To a prince
whom descent, dignity, and political power placed at the head of the
Protestant church in Germany, nothing, it is true, ought to be more
sacred than the defence of the rights of that church against all the
encroachments of the Roman Catholics. But the question here was not
whether the interests of the Protestants were to be supported against
the Roman Catholics, but which of two religions equally detested, the
Calvinistic and the Popish, was to triumph over the other; to which of
the two enemies, equally dangerous, the Palatinate was to be assigned;
and in this clashing of opposite duties, it was natural that private
hate and private gain should determine the event. The born protector of
the liberties of Germany, and of the Protestant religion, encouraged the
Emperor to dispose of the Palatinate by his imperial prerogative; and to
apprehend no resistance on the part of Saxony to his measures on the
mere ground of form. If the Elector was afterwards disposed to retract
this consent, Ferdinand himself, by driving the Evangelical preachers
from Bohemia, was the cause of this change of opinion; and, in the eyes
of the Elector, the transference of the Palatine Electorate to Bavaria
ceased to be illegal, as soon as Ferdinand was prevailed upon to cede
Lusatia to Saxony, in consideration of six millions of dollars, as the
expenses of the war.

Thus, in defiance of all Protestant Germany, and in mockery of the
fundamental laws of the empire, which, as his election, he had sworn to
maintain, Ferdinand at Ratisbon solemnly invested the Duke of Bavaria
with the Palatinate, without prejudice, as the form ran, to the rights
which the relations or descendants of Frederick might afterwards
establish. That unfortunate prince thus saw himself irrevocably driven
from his possessions, without having been even heard before the tribunal
which condemned him--a privilege which the law allows to the meanest
subject, and even to the most atrocious criminal.

This violent step at last opened the eyes of the King of England; and as
the negociations for the marriage of his son with the Infanta of Spain
were now broken off, James began seriously to espouse the cause of his
son-in-law. A change in the French ministry had placed Cardinal
Richelieu at the head of affairs, and this fallen kingdom soon began to
feel that a great mind was at the helm of state. The attempts of the
Spanish Viceroy in Milan to gain possession of the Valtelline, and thus
to form a junction with the Austrian hereditary dominions, revived the
olden dread of this power, and with it the policy of Henry the Great.
The marriage of the Prince of Wales with Henrietta of France,
established a close union between the two crowns; and to this alliance,
Holland, Denmark, and some of the Italian states presently acceded. Its
object was to expel, by force of arms, Spain from the Valtelline, and to
compel Austria to reinstate Frederick; but only the first of these
designs was prosecuted with vigour. James I. died, and Charles I.,
involved in disputes with his Parliament, could not bestow attention on
the affairs of Germany. Savoy and Venice withheld their assistance; and
the French minister thought it necessary to subdue the Huguenots at
home, before he supported the German Protestants against the Emperor.
Great as were the hopes which had been formed from this alliance, they
were yet equalled by the disappointment of the event.

Mansfeld, deprived of all support, remained inactive on the Lower Rhine;
and Duke Christian of Brunswick, after an unsuccessful campaign, was a
second time driven out of Germany. A fresh irruption of Bethlen Gabor
into Moravia, frustrated by the want of support from the Germans,
terminated, like all the rest, in a formal peace with the Emperor. The
Union was no more; no Protestant prince was in arms; and on the
frontiers of Lower Germany, the Bavarian General Tilly, at the head of a
victorious army, encamped in the Protestant territory. The movements of
the Duke of Brunswick had drawn him into this quarter, and even into the
circle of Lower Saxony, when he made himself master of the
Administrator's magazines at Lippstadt. The necessity of observing this
enemy, and preventing him from new inroads, was the pretext assigned for
continuing Tilly's stay in the country. But, in truth, both Mansfeld
and Duke Christian had, from want of money, disbanded their armies, and
Count Tilly had no enemy to dread. Why, then, still burden the country
with his presence?

It is difficult, amidst the uproar of contending parties, to distinguish
the voice of truth; but certainly it was matter for alarm that the
League did not lay down its arms. The premature rejoicings of the Roman
Catholics, too, were calculated to increase apprehension. The Emperor
and the League stood armed and victorious in Germany without a power to
oppose them, should they venture to attack the Protestant states and to
annul the religious treaty. Had Ferdinand been in reality far from
disposed to abuse his conquests, still the defenceless position of the
Protestants was most likely to suggest the temptation. Obsolete
conventions could not bind a prince who thought that he owed all to
religion, and believed that a religious creed would sanctify any deed,
however violent. Upper Germany was already overpowered. Lower Germany
alone could check his despotic authority. Here the Protestants still
predominated; the church had been forcibly deprived of most of its
endowments; and the present appeared a favourable moment for recovering
these lost possessions. A great part of the strength of the Lower
German princes consisted in these Chapters, and the plea of restoring
its own to the church, afforded an excellent pretext for weakening these

Unpardonable would have been their negligence, had they remained
inactive in this danger. The remembrance of the ravages which Tilly's
army had committed in Lower Saxony was too recent not to arouse the
Estates to measures of defence. With all haste, the circle of Lower
Saxony began to arm itself. Extraordinary contributions were levied,
troops collected, and magazines filled. Negociations for subsidies were
set on foot with Venice, Holland, and England. They deliberated, too,
what power should be placed at the head of the confederacy. The kings
of the Sound and the Baltic, the natural allies of this circle, would
not see with indifference the Emperor treating it as a conqueror, and
establishing himself as their neighbour on the shores of the North Sea.
The twofold interests of religion and policy urged them to put a stop to
his progress in Lower Germany. Christian IV. of Denmark, as Duke of
Holstein, was himself a prince of this circle, and by considerations
equally powerful, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was induced to join the

These two kings vied with each other for the honour of defending Lower
Saxony, and of opposing the formidable power of Austria. Each offered
to raise a well-disciplined army, and to lead it in person. His
victorious campaigns against Moscow and Poland gave weight to the
promises of the King of Sweden. The shores of the Baltic were full of
the name of Gustavus. But the fame of his rival excited the envy of the
Danish monarch; and the more success he promised himself in this
campaign, the less disposed was he to show any favour to his envied
neighbour. Both laid their conditions and plans before the English
ministry, and Christian IV. finally succeeded in outbidding his rival.
Gustavus Adolphus, for his own security, had demanded the cession of
some places of strength in Germany, where he himself had no territories,
to afford, in case of need, a place of refuge for his troops. Christian
IV. possessed Holstein and Jutland, through which, in the event of a
defeat, he could always secure a retreat.

Eager to get the start of his competitor, the King of Denmark hastened
to take the field. Appointed generalissimo of the circle of Lower
Saxony, he soon had an army of 60,000 men in motion; the administrator
of Magdeburg, and the Dukes of Brunswick and Mecklenburgh, entered into
an alliance with him. Encouraged by the hope of assistance from
England, and the possession of so large a force, he flattered himself he
should be able to terminate the war in a single campaign.

At Vienna, it was officially notified that the only object of these
preparations was the protection of the circle, and the maintenance of
peace. But the negociations with Holland, England, and even France, the
extraordinary exertions of the circle, and the raising of so formidable
an army, seemed to have something more in view than defensive
operations, and to contemplate nothing less than the complete
restoration of the Elector Palatine, and the humiliation of the dreaded
power of Austria.

After negociations, exhortations, commands, and threats had in vain been
employed by the Emperor in order to induce the King of Denmark and the
circle of Lower Saxony to lay down their arms, hostilities commenced,
and Lower Germany became the theatre of war. Count Tilly, marching
along the left bank of the Weser, made himself master of all the passes
as far as Minden. After an unsuccessful attack on Nieuburg, he crossed
the river and overran the principality of Calemberg, in which he
quartered his troops. The king conducted his operations on the right
bank of the river, and spread his forces over the territories of
Brunswick, but having weakened his main body by too powerful
detachments, he could not engage in any enterprise of importance. Aware
of his opponent's superiority, he avoided a decisive action as anxiously
as the general of the League sought it.

With the exception of the troops from the Spanish Netherlands, which had
poured into the Lower Palatinate, the Emperor had hitherto made use only
of the arms of Bavaria and the League in Germany. Maximilian conducted
the war as executor of the ban of the empire, and Tilly, who commanded
the army of execution, was in the Bavarian service. The Emperor owed
superiority in the field to Bavaria and the League, and his fortunes
were in their hands. This dependence on their goodwill, but ill
accorded with the grand schemes, which the brilliant commencement of the
war had led the imperial cabinet to form.

However active the League had shown itself in the Emperor's defence,
while thereby it secured its own welfare, it could not be expected that
it would enter as readily into his views of conquest. Or, if they still
continued to lend their armies for that purpose, it was too much to be
feared that they would share with the Emperor nothing but general odium,
while they appropriated to themselves all advantages. A strong army
under his own orders could alone free him from this debasing dependence
upon Bavaria, and restore to him his former pre-eminence in Germany.
But the war had already exhausted the imperial dominions, and they were
unequal to the expense of such an armament. In these circumstances,
nothing could be more welcome to the Emperor than the proposal with
which one of his officers surprised him.

This was Count Wallenstein, an experienced officer, and the richest
nobleman in Bohemia. From his earliest youth he had been in the service
of the House of Austria, and several campaigns against the Turks,
Venetians, Bohemians, Hungarians, and Transylvanians had established his
reputation. He was present as colonel at the battle of Prague, and
afterwards, as major-general, had defeated a Hungarian force in Moravia.
The Emperor's gratitude was equal to his services, and a large share of
the confiscated estates of the Bohemian insurgents was their reward.
Possessed of immense property, excited by ambitious views, confident in
his own good fortune, and still more encouraged by the existing state of
circumstances, he offered, at his own expense and that of his friends,
to raise and clothe an army for the Emperor, and even undertook the cost
of maintaining it, if he were allowed to augment it to 50,000 men. The
project was universally ridiculed as the chimerical offspring of a
visionary brain; but the offer was highly valuable, if its promises
should be but partially fulfilled. Certain circles in Bohemia were
assigned to him as depots, with authority to appoint his own officers.
In a few months he had 20,000 men under arms, with which, quitting the
Austrian territories, he soon afterwards appeared on the frontiers of
Lower Saxony with 30,000. The Emperor had lent this armament nothing
but his name. The reputation of the general, the prospect of rapid
promotion, and the hope of plunder, attracted to his standard
adventurers from all quarters of Germany; and even sovereign princes,
stimulated by the desire of glory or of gain, offered to raise regiments
for the service of Austria.

Now, therefore, for the first time in this war, an imperial army
appeared in Germany;--an event which if it was menacing to the
Protestants, was scarcely more acceptable to the Catholics. Wallenstein
had orders to unite his army with the troops of the League, and in
conjunction with the Bavarian general to attack the King of Denmark.
But long jealous of Tilly's fame, he showed no disposition to share with
him the laurels of the campaign, or in the splendour of his rival's
achievements to dim the lustre of his own. His plan of operations was
to support the latter, but to act entirely independent of him. As he
had not resources, like Tilly, for supplying the wants of his army, he
was obliged to march his troops into fertile countries which had not as
yet suffered from war. Disobeying, therefore, the order to form a
junction with the general of the League, he marched into the territories
of Halberstadt and Magdeburg, and at Dessau made himself master of the
Elbe. All the lands on either bank of this river were at his command,
and from them he could either attack the King of Denmark in the rear,
or, if prudent, enter the territories of that prince.

Christian IV. was fully aware of the danger of his situation between
two such powerful armies. He had already been joined by the
administrator of Halberstadt, who had lately returned from Holland; he
now also acknowledged Mansfeld, whom previously he had refused to
recognise, and supported him to the best of his ability. Mansfeld amply
requited this service. He alone kept at bay the army of Wallenstein
upon the Elbe, and prevented its junction with that of Tilly, and a
combined attack on the King of Denmark. Notwithstanding the enemy's
superiority, this intrepid general even approached the bridge of Dessau,
and ventured to entrench himself in presence of the imperial lines. But
attacked in the rear by the whole force of the Imperialists, he was
obliged to yield to superior numbers, and to abandon his post with the
loss of 3,000 killed. After this defeat, Mansfeld withdrew into
Brandenburg, where he soon recruited and reinforced his army; and
suddenly turned into Silesia, with the view of marching from thence into
Hungary; and, in conjunction with Bethlen Gabor, carrying the war into
the heart of Austria. As the Austrian dominions in that quarter were
entirely defenceless, Wallenstein received immediate orders to leave the
King of Denmark, and if possible to intercept Mansfeld's progress
through Silesia.

The diversion which this movement of Mansfeld had made in the plans of
Wallenstein, enabled the king to detach a part of his force into
Westphalia, to seize the bishoprics of Munster and Osnaburg. To check
this movement, Tilly suddenly moved from the Weser; but the operations
of Duke Christian, who threatened the territories of the League with an
inroad in the direction of Hesse, and to remove thither the seat of war,
recalled him as rapidly from Westphalia. In order to keep open his
communication with these provinces, and to prevent the junction of the
enemy with the Landgrave of Hesse, Tilly hastily seized all the tenable
posts on the Werha and Fulda, and took up a strong position in Minden,
at the foot of the Hessian Mountains, and at the confluence of these
rivers with the Weser. He soon made himself master of Goettingen, the
key of Brunswick and Hesse, and was meditating a similar attack upon
Nordheim, when the king advanced upon him with his whole army. After
throwing into this place the necessary supplies for a long siege, the
latter attempted to open a new passage through Eichsfeld and Thuringia,
into the territories of the League. He had already reached Duderstadt,
when Tilly, by forced marches, came up with him. As the army of Tilly,
which had been reinforced by some of Wallenstein's regiments, was
superior in numbers to his own, the king, to avoid a battle, retreated
towards Brunswick. But Tilly incessantly harassed his retreat, and
after three days' skirmishing, he was at length obliged to await the
enemy near the village of Lutter in Barenberg. The Danes began the
attack with great bravery, and thrice did their intrepid monarch lead
them in person against the enemy; but at length the superior numbers and
discipline of the Imperialists prevailed, and the general of the League
obtained a complete victory. The Danes lost sixty standards, and their
whole artillery, baggage, and ammunition. Several officers of
distinction and about 4,000 men were killed in the field of battle; and
several companies of foot, in the flight, who had thrown themselves into
the town-house of Lutter, laid down their arms and surrendered to the

The king fled with his cavalry, and soon collected the wreck of his army
which had survived this serious defeat. Tilly pursued his victory, made
himself master of the Weser and Brunswick, and forced the king to retire
into Bremen. Rendered more cautious by defeat, the latter now stood
upon the defensive; and determined at all events to prevent the enemy
from crossing the Elbe. But while he threw garrisons into every tenable
place, he reduced his own diminished army to inactivity; and one after
another his scattered troops were either defeated or dispersed. The
forces of the League, in command of the Weser, spread themselves along
the Elbe and Havel, and everywhere drove the Danes before them. Tilly
himself crossing the Elbe penetrated with his victorious army into
Brandenburg, while Wallenstein entered Holstein to remove the seat of
war to the king's own dominions.

This general had just returned from Hungary whither he had pursued
Mansfeld, without being able to obstruct his march, or prevent his
junction with Bethlen Gabor. Constantly persecuted by fortune, but
always superior to his fate, Mansfeld had made his way against countless
difficulties, through Silesia and Hungary to Transylvania, where, after
all, he was not very welcome. Relying upon the assistance of England,
and a powerful diversion in Lower Saxony, Gabor had again broken the
truce with the Emperor. But in place of the expected diversion in his
favour, Mansfeld had drawn upon himself the whole strength of
Wallenstein, and instead of bringing, required, pecuniary assistance.
The want of concert in the Protestant counsels cooled Gabor's ardour;
and he hastened, as usual, to avert the coming storm by a speedy peace.
Firmly determined, however, to break it, with the first ray of hope, he
directed Mansfeld in the mean time to apply for assistance to Venice.

Cut off from Germany, and unable to support the weak remnant of his
troops in Hungary, Mansfeld sold his artillery and baggage train, and
disbanded his soldiers. With a few followers, he proceeded through
Bosnia and Dalmatia, towards Venice. New schemes swelled his bosom; but
his career was ended. Fate, which had so restlessly sported with him
throughout, now prepared for him a peaceful grave in Dalmatia. Death
overtook him in the vicinity of Zara in 1626, and a short time before
him died the faithful companion of his fortunes, Christian, Duke of
Brunswick--two men worthy of immortality, had they but been as superior
to their times as they were to their adversities.

The King of Denmark, with his whole army, was unable to cope with Tilly
alone; much less, therefore, with a shattered force could he hold his
ground against the two imperial generals. The Danes retired from all
their posts on the Weser, the Elbe, and the Havel, and the army of
Wallenstein poured like a torrent into Brandenburg, Mecklenburg,
Holstein and Sleswick. That general, too proud to act in conjunction
with another, had dispatched Tilly across the Elbe, to watch, as he gave
out, the motions of the Dutch in that quarter; but in reality that he
might terminate the war against the king, and reap for himself the
fruits of Tilly's conquests. Christian had now lost all his fortresses
in the German States, with the exception of Gluckstadt; his armies were
defeated or dispersed; no assistance came from Germany; from England,
little consolation; while his confederates in Lower Saxony were at the
mercy of the conqueror. The Landgrave of Hesse Cassel had been forced
by Tilly, soon after the battle of Lutter, to renounce the Danish
alliance. Wallenstein's formidable appearance before Berlin reduced the
Elector of Brandenburgh to submission, and compelled him to recognise,
as legitimate, Maximilian's title to the Palatine Electorate. The
greater part of Mecklenburgh was now overrun by imperial troops; and
both dukes, as adherents of the King of Denmark, placed under the ban of
the empire, and driven from their dominions. The defence of the German
liberties against illegal encroachments, was punished as a crime
deserving the loss of all dignities and territories; and yet this was
but the prelude to the still more crying enormities which shortly

The secret how Wallenstein had purposed to fulfil his extravagant
designs was now manifest. He had learned the lesson from Count
Mansfeld; but the scholar surpassed his master. On the principle that
war must support war, Mansfeld and the Duke of Brunswick had subsisted
their troops by contributions levied indiscriminately on friend and
enemy; but this predatory life was attended with all the inconvenience
and insecurity which accompany robbery. Like a fugitive banditti, they
were obliged to steal through exasperated and vigilant enemies; to roam
from one end of Germany to another; to watch their opportunity with
anxiety; and to abandon the most fertile territories whenever they were
defended by a superior army. If Mansfeld and Duke Christian had done
such great things in the face of these difficulties, what might not be
expected if the obstacles were removed; when the army raised was
numerous enough to overawe in itself the most powerful states of the
empire; when the name of the Emperor insured impunity to every outrage;
and when, under the highest authority, and at the head of an
overwhelming force, the same system of warfare was pursued, which these
two adventurers had hitherto adopted at their own risk, and with only an
untrained multitude?

Wallenstein had all this in view when he made his bold offer to the
Emperor, which now seemed extravagant to no one. The more his army was
augmented, the less cause was there to fear for its subsistence, because
it could irresistibly bear down upon the refractory states; the more
violent its outrages, the more probable was impunity. Towards hostile
states it had the plea of right; towards the favourably disposed it
could allege necessity. The inequality, too, with which it dealt out
its oppressions, prevented any dangerous union among the states; while
the exhaustion of their territories deprived them of the power of
vengeance. Thus the whole of Germany became a kind of magazine for the
imperial army, and the Emperor was enabled to deal with the other states
as absolutely as with his own hereditary dominions. Universal was the

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