Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Thirty Years War, Complete by Frederich Schiller

Part 3 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

clamour for redress before the imperial throne; but there was nothing to
fear from the revenge of the injured princes, so long as they appealed
for justice. The general discontent was directed equally against the
Emperor, who had lent his name to these barbarities, and the general who
exceeded his power, and openly abused the authority of his master. They
applied to the Emperor for protection against the outrages of his
general; but Wallenstein had no sooner felt himself absolute in the
army, than he threw off his obedience to his sovereign.

The exhaustion of the enemy made a speedy peace probable; yet
Wallenstein continued to augment the imperial armies until they were at
least 100,000 men strong. Numberless commissions to colonelcies and
inferior commands, the regal pomp of the commander-in-chief, immoderate
largesses to his favourites, (for he never gave less than a thousand
florins,) enormous sums lavished in corrupting the court at Vienna--all
this had been effected without burdening the Emperor. These immense
sums were raised by the contributions levied from the lower German
provinces, where no distinction was made between friend and foe; and the
territories of all princes were subjected to the same system of marching
and quartering, of extortion and outrage. If credit is to be given to
an extravagant contemporary statement, Wallenstein, during his seven
years command, had exacted not less than sixty thousand millions of
dollars from one half of Germany. The greater his extortions, the
greater the rewards of his soldiers, and the greater the concourse to
his standard, for the world always follows fortune. His armies
flourished while all the states through which they passed withered.
What cared he for the detestation of the people, and the complaints of
princes? His army adored him, and the very enormity of his guilt
enabled him to bid defiance to its consequences.

It would be unjust to Ferdinand, were we to lay all these irregularities
to his charge. Had he foreseen that he was abandoning the German States
to the mercy of his officer, he would have been sensible how dangerous
to himself so absolute a general would prove. The closer the connexion
became between the army, and the leader from whom flowed favour and
fortune, the more the ties which united both to the Emperor were
relaxed. Every thing, it is true, was done in the name of the latter;
but Wallenstein only availed himself of the supreme majesty of the
Emperor to crush the authority of other states. His object was to
depress the princes of the empire, to destroy all gradation of rank
between them and the Emperor, and to elevate the power of the latter
above all competition. If the Emperor were absolute in Germany, who
then would be equal to the man intrusted with the execution of his will?
The height to which Wallenstein had raised the imperial authority
astonished even the Emperor himself; but as the greatness of the master
was entirely the work of the servant, the creation of Wallenstein would
necessarily sink again into nothing upon the withdrawal of its creative
hand. Not without an object, therefore, did Wallenstein labour to
poison the minds of the German princes against the Emperor. The more
violent their hatred of Ferdinand, the more indispensable to the Emperor
would become the man who alone could render their ill-will powerless.
His design unquestionably was, that his sovereign should stand in fear
of no one in all Germany--besides himself, the source and engine of
this despotic power.

As a step towards this end, Wallenstein now demanded the cession of
Mecklenburg, to be held in pledge till the repayment of his advances for
the war. Ferdinand had already created him Duke of Friedland,
apparently with the view of exalting his own general over Bavaria; but
an ordinary recompense would not satisfy Wallenstein's ambition. In
vain was this new demand, which could be granted only at the expense of
two princes of the empire, actively resisted in the Imperial Council; in
vain did the Spaniards, who had long been offended by his pride, oppose
his elevation. The powerful support which Wallenstein had purchased
from the imperial councillors prevailed, and Ferdinand was determined,
at whatever cost, to secure the devotion of so indispensable a minister.
For a slight offence, one of the oldest German houses was expelled from
their hereditary dominions, that a creature of the Emperor might be
enriched by their spoils (1628).

Wallenstein now began to assume the title of generalissimo of the
Emperor by sea and land. Wismar was taken, and a firm footing gained on
the Baltic. Ships were required from Poland and the Hanse towns to
carry the war to the other side of the Baltic; to pursue the Danes into
the heart of their own country, and to compel them to a peace which
might prepare the way to more important conquests. The communication
between the Lower German States and the Northern powers would be broken,
could the Emperor place himself between them, and encompass Germany,
from the Adriatic to the Sound, (the intervening kingdom of Poland being
already dependent on him,) with an unbroken line of territory. If such
was the Emperor's plan, Wallenstein had a peculiar interest in its
execution. These possessions on the Baltic should, he intended, form
the first foundation of a power, which had long been the object of his
ambition, and which should enable him to throw off his dependence on the

To effect this object, it was of extreme importance to gain possession
of Stralsund, a town on the Baltic. Its excellent harbour, and the
short passage from it to the Swedish and Danish coasts, peculiarly
fitted it for a naval station in a war with these powers. This town,
the sixth of the Hanseatic League, enjoyed great privileges under the
Duke of Pomerania, and totally independent of Denmark, had taken no
share in the war. But neither its neutrality, nor its privileges, could
protect it against the encroachments of Wallenstein, when he had once
cast a longing look upon it.

The request he made, that Stralsund should receive an imperial garrison,
had been firmly and honourably rejected by the magistracy, who also
refused his cunningly demanded permission to march his troops through
the town, Wallenstein, therefore, now proposed to besiege it.

The independence of Stralsund, as securing the free navigation of the
Baltic, was equally important to the two Northern kings. A common
danger overcame at last the private jealousies which had long divided
these princes. In a treaty concluded at Copenhagen in 1628, they bound
themselves to assist Stralsund with their combined force, and to oppose
in common every foreign power which should appear in the Baltic with
hostile views. Christian IV. also threw a sufficient garrison into
Stralsund, and by his personal presence animated the courage of the
citizens. Some ships of war which Sigismund, King of Poland, had sent
to the assistance of the imperial general, were sunk by the Danish
fleet; and as Lubeck refused him the use of its shipping, this imperial
generalissimo of the sea had not even ships enough to blockade this
single harbour.

Nothing could appear more adventurous than to attempt the conquest of a
strongly fortified seaport without first blockading its harbour.
Wallenstein, however, who as yet had never experienced a check, wished
to conquer nature itself, and to perform impossibilities. Stralsund,
open to the sea, continued to be supplied with provisions and
reinforcements; yet Wallenstein maintained his blockade on the land
side, and endeavoured, by boasting menaces, to supply his want of real
strength. "I will take this town," said he, "though it were fastened by
a chain to the heavens." The Emperor himself, who might have cause to
regret an enterprise which promised no very glorious result, joyfully
availed himself of the apparent submission and acceptable propositions
of the inhabitants, to order the general to retire from the town.
Wallenstein despised the command, and continued to harass the besieged
by incessant assaults. As the Danish garrison, already much reduced,
was unequal to the fatigues of this prolonged defence, and the king was
unable to detach any further troops to their support, Stralsund, with
Christian's consent, threw itself under the protection of the King of
Sweden. The Danish commander left the town to make way for a Swedish
governor, who gloriously defended it. Here Wallenstein's good fortune
forsook him; and, for the first time, his pride experienced the
humiliation of relinquishing his prey, after the loss of many months and
of 12,000 men. The necessity to which he reduced the town of applying
for protection to Sweden, laid the foundation of a close alliance
between Gustavus Adolphus and Stralsund, which greatly facilitated the
entrance of the Swedes into Germany.

Hitherto invariable success had attended the arms of the Emperor and the
League, and Christian IV., defeated in Germany, had sought refuge in his
own islands; but the Baltic checked the further progress of the
conquerors. The want of ships not only stopped the pursuit of the king,
but endangered their previous acquisitions. The union of the two
northern monarchs was most to be dreaded, because, so long as it lasted,
it effectually prevented the Emperor and his general from acquiring a
footing on the Baltic, or effecting a landing in Sweden. But if they
could succeed in dissolving this union, and especially securing the
friendship of the Danish king, they might hope to overpower the
insulated force of Sweden. The dread of the interference of foreign
powers, the insubordination of the Protestants in his own states, and
still more the storm which was gradually darkening along the whole of
Protestant Germany, inclined the Emperor to peace, which his general,
from opposite motives, was equally desirous to effect. Far from wishing
for a state of things which would reduce him from the meridian of
greatness and glory to the obscurity of private life, he only wished to
change the theatre of war, and by a partial peace to prolong the general
confusion. The friendship of Denmark, whose neighbour he had become as
Duke of Mecklenburgh, was most important for the success of his
ambitious views; and he resolved, even at the sacrifice of his
sovereign's interests, to secure its alliance.

By the treaty of Copenhagen, Christian IV. had expressly engaged not to
conclude a separate peace with the Emperor, without the consent of
Sweden. Notwithstanding, Wallenstein's proposition was readily received
by him. In a conference at Lubeck in 1629, from which Wallenstein, with
studied contempt, excluded the Swedish ambassadors who came to intercede
for Mecklenburgh, all the conquests taken by the imperialists were
restored to the Danes. The conditions imposed upon the king were, that
he should interfere no farther with the affairs of Germany than was
called for by his character of Duke of Holstein; that he should on no
pretext harass the Chapters of Lower Germany, and should leave the Dukes
of Mecklenburgh to their fate. By Christian himself had these princes
been involved in the war with the Emperor; he now sacrificed them, to
gain the favour of the usurper of their territories. Among the motives
which had engaged him in a war with the Emperor, not the least was the
restoration of his relation, the Elector Palatine--yet the name of that
unfortunate prince was not even mentioned in the treaty; while in one of
its articles the legitimacy of the Bavarian election was expressly
recognised. Thus meanly and ingloriously did Christian IV. retire from
the field.

Ferdinand had it now in his power, for the second time, to secure the
tranquillity of Germany; and it depended solely on his will whether the
treaty with Denmark should or should not be the basis of a general
peace. From every quarter arose the cry of the unfortunate, petitioning
for an end of their sufferings; the cruelties of his soldiers, and the
rapacity of his generals, had exceeded all bounds. Germany, laid waste
by the desolating bands of Mansfeld and the Duke of Brunswick, and by
the still more terrible hordes of Tilly and Wallenstein, lay exhausted,
bleeding, wasted, and sighing for repose. An anxious desire for peace
was felt by all conditions, and by the Emperor himself; involved as he
was in a war with France in Upper Italy, exhausted by his past warfare
in Germany, and apprehensive of the day of reckoning which was
approaching. But, unfortunately, the conditions on which alone the two
religious parties were willing respectively to sheath the sword, were
irreconcileable. The Roman Catholics wished to terminate the war to
their own advantage; the Protestants advanced equal pretensions. The
Emperor, instead of uniting both parties by a prudent moderation, sided
with one; and thus Germany was again plunged in the horrors of a bloody

From the very close of the Bohemian troubles, Ferdinand had carried on a
counter reformation in his hereditary dominions, in which, however, from
regard to some of the Protestant Estates, he proceeded, at first, with
moderation. But the victories of his generals in Lower Germany
encouraged him to throw off all reserve. Accordingly he had it
intimated to all the Protestants in these dominions, that they must
either abandon their religion, or their native country,--a bitter and
dreadful alternative, which excited the most violent commotions among
his Austrian subjects. In the Palatinate, immediately after the
expulsion of Frederick, the Protestant religion had been suppressed, and
its professors expelled from the University of Heidelberg.

All this was but the prelude to greater changes. In the Electoral
Congress held at Muehlhausen, the Roman Catholics had demanded of the
Emperor that all the archbishoprics, bishoprics, mediate and immediate,
abbacies and monasteries, which, since the Diet of Augsburg, had been
secularized by the Protestants, should be restored to the church, in
order to indemnify them for the losses and sufferings in the war. To a
Roman Catholic prince so zealous as Ferdinand was, such a hint was not
likely to be neglected; but he still thought it would be premature to
arouse the whole Protestants of Germany by so decisive a step. Not a
single Protestant prince but would be deprived, by this revocation of
the religious foundations, of a part of his lands; for where these
revenues had not actually been diverted to secular purposes they had
been made over to the Protestant church. To this source, many princes
owed the chief part of their revenues and importance. All, without
exception, would be irritated by this demand for restoration. The
religious treaty did not expressly deny their right to these chapters,
although it did not allow it. But a possession which had now been held
for nearly a century, the silence of four preceding emperors, and the
law of equity, which gave them an equal right with the Roman Catholics
to the foundations of their common ancestors, might be strongly pleaded
by them as a valid title. Besides the actual loss of power and
authority, which the surrender of these foundations would occasion,
besides the inevitable confusion which would necessarily attend it, one
important disadvantage to which it would lead, was, that the restoration
of the Roman Catholic bishops would increase the strength of that party
in the Diet by so many additional votes. Such grievous sacrifices
likely to fall on the Protestants, made the Emperor apprehensive of a
formidable opposition; and until the military ardour should have cooled
in Germany, he had no wish to provoke a party formidable by its union,
and which in the Elector of Saxony had a powerful leader. He resolved,
therefore, to try the experiment at first on a small scale, in order to
ascertain how it was likely to succeed on a larger one. Accordingly,
some of the free cities in Upper Germany, and the Duke of Wirtemberg,
received orders to surrender to the Roman Catholics several of the
confiscated chapters.

The state of affairs in Saxony enabled the Emperor to make some bolder
experiments in that quarter. In the bishoprics of Magdeburg and
Halberstadt, the Protestant canons had not hesitated to elect bishops of
their own religion. Both bishoprics, with the exception of the town of
Magdeburg itself, were overrun by the troops of Wallenstein. It
happened, moreover, that by the death of the Administrator Duke
Christian of Brunswick, Halberstadt was vacant, as was also the
Archbishopric of Magdeburg by the deposition of Christian William, a
prince of the House of Brandenburgh. Ferdinand took advantage of the
circumstance to restore the see of Halberstadt to a Roman Catholic
bishop, and a prince of his own house. To avoid a similar coercion, the
Chapter of Magdeburg hastened to elect a son of the Elector of Saxony as
archbishop. But the pope, who with his arrogated authority interfered
in this matter, conferred the Archbishopric of Magdeburg also on the
Austrian prince. Thus, with all his pious zeal for religion, Ferdinand
never lost sight of the interests of his family.

At length, when the peace of Lubeck had delivered the Emperor from all
apprehensions on the side of Denmark, and the German Protestants seemed
entirely powerless, the League becoming louder and more urgent in its
demands, Ferdinand, in 1629, signed the Edict of Restitution, (so famous
by its disastrous consequences,) which he had previously laid before the
four Roman Catholic electors for their approbation. In the preamble, he
claimed the prerogative, in right of his imperial authority, to
interpret the meaning of the religious treaty, the ambiguities of which
had already caused so many disputes, and to decide as supreme arbiter
and judge between the contending parties. This prerogative he founded
upon the practice of his ancestors, and its previous recognition even by
Protestant states. Saxony had actually acknowledged this right of the
Emperor; and it now became evident how deeply this court had injured the
Protestant cause by its dependence on the House of Austria. But though
the meaning of the religious treaty was really ambiguous, as a century
of religious disputes sufficiently proved, yet for the Emperor, who must
be either a Protestant or a Roman Catholic, and therefore an interested
party, to assume the right of deciding between the disputants, was
clearly a violation of an essential article of the pacification. He
could not be judge in his own cause, without reducing the liberties of
the empire to an empty sound.

And now, in virtue of this usurpation, Ferdinand decided, "That every
secularization of a religious foundation, mediate or immediate, by the
Protestants, subsequent to the date of the treaty, was contrary to its
spirit, and must be revoked as a breach of it." He further decided,
"That, by the religious peace, Catholic proprietors of estates were no
further bound to their Protestant subjects than to allow them full
liberty to quit their territories." In obedience to this decision, all
unlawful possessors of benefices--the Protestant states in short
without exception--were ordered, under pain of the ban of the empire,
immediately to surrender their usurped possessions to the imperial

This sentence applied to no less than two archbishoprics and twelve
bishoprics, besides innumerable abbacies. The edict came like a
thunderbolt on the whole of Protestant Germany; dreadful even in its
immediate consequences; but yet more so from the further calamities it
seemed to threaten. The Protestants were now convinced that the
suppression of their religion had been resolved on by the Emperor and
the League, and that the overthrow of German liberty would soon follow.
Their remonstrances were unheeded; the commissioners were named, and an
army assembled to enforce obedience. The edict was first put in force
in Augsburg, where the treaty was concluded; the city was again placed
under the government of its bishop, and six Protestant churches in the
town were closed. The Duke of Wirtemberg was, in like manner, compelled
to surrender his abbacies. These severe measures, though they alarmed
the Protestant states, were yet insufficient to rouse them to an active
resistance. Their fear of the Emperor was too strong, and many were
disposed to quiet submission. The hope of attaining their end by gentle
measures, induced the Roman Catholics likewise to delay for a year the
execution of the edict, and this saved the Protestants; before the end
of that period, the success of the Swedish arms had totally changed the
state of affairs.

In a Diet held at Ratisbon, at which Ferdinand was present in person (in
1630), the necessity of taking some measures for the immediate
restoration of a general peace to Germany, and for the removal of all
grievances, was debated. The complaints of the Roman Catholics were
scarcely less numerous than those of the Protestants, although Ferdinand
had flattered himself that by the Edict of Restitution he had secured
the members of the League, and its leader by the gift of the electoral
dignity, and the cession of great part of the Palatinate. But the good
understanding between the Emperor and the princes of the League had
rapidly declined since the employment of Wallenstein. Accustomed to
give law to Germany, and even to sway the Emperor's own destiny, the
haughty Elector of Bavaria now at once saw himself supplanted by the
imperial general, and with that of the League, his own importance
completely undermined. Another had now stepped in to reap the fruits of
his victories, and to bury his past services in oblivion. Wallenstein's
imperious character, whose dearest triumph was in degrading the
authority of the princes, and giving an odious latitude to that of the
Emperor, tended not a little to augment the irritation of the Elector.
Discontented with the Emperor, and distrustful of his intentions, he had
entered into an alliance with France, which the other members of the
League were suspected of favouring. A fear of the Emperor's plans of
aggrandizement, and discontent with existing evils, had extinguished
among them all feelings of gratitude. Wallenstein's exactions had
become altogether intolerable. Brandenburg estimated its losses at
twenty, Pomerania at ten, Hesse Cassel at seven millions of dollars, and
the rest in proportion. The cry for redress was loud, urgent, and
universal; all prejudices were hushed; Roman Catholics and Protestants
were united on this point. The terrified Emperor was assailed on all
sides by petitions against Wallenstein, and his ear filled with the most
fearful descriptions of his outrages. Ferdinand was not naturally
cruel. If not totally innocent of the atrocities which were practised
in Germany under the shelter of his name, he was ignorant of their
extent; and he was not long in yielding to the representation of the
princes, and reduced his standing army by eighteen thousand cavalry.
While this reduction took place, the Swedes were actively preparing an
expedition into Germany, and the greater part of the disbanded
Imperialists enlisted under their banners.

The Emperor's concessions only encouraged the Elector of Bavaria to
bolder demands. So long as the Duke of Friedland retained the supreme
command, his triumph over the Emperor was incomplete. The princes of
the League were meditating a severe revenge on Wallenstein for that
haughtiness with which he had treated them all alike. His dismissal was
demanded by the whole college of electors, and even by Spain, with a
degree of unanimity and urgency which astonished the Emperor. The
anxiety with which Wallenstein's enemies pressed for his dismissal,
ought to have convinced the Emperor of the importance of his services.
Wallenstein, informed of the cabals which were forming against him in
Ratisbon, lost no time in opening the eyes of the Emperor to the real
views of the Elector of Bavaria. He himself appeared in Ratisbon, with
a pomp which threw his master into the shade, and increased the hatred
of his opponents.

Long was the Emperor undecided. The sacrifice demanded was a painful
one. To the Duke of Friedland alone he owed his preponderance; he felt
how much he would lose in yielding him to the indignation of the
princes. But at this moment, unfortunately, he was under the necessity
of conciliating the Electors. His son Ferdinand had already been chosen
King of Hungary, and he was endeavouring to procure his election as his
successor in the empire. For this purpose, the support of Maximilian
was indispensable. This consideration was the weightiest, and to oblige
the Elector of Bavaria he scrupled not to sacrifice his most valuable

At the Diet at Ratisbon, there were present ambassadors from France,
empowered to adjust the differences which seemed to menace a war in
Italy between the Emperor and their sovereign. Vincent, Duke of Mantua
and Montferrat, dying without issue, his next relation, Charles, Duke of
Nevers, had taken possession of this inheritance, without doing homage
to the Emperor as liege lord of the principality. Encouraged by the
support of France and Venice, he refused to surrender these territories
into the hands of the imperial commissioners, until his title to them
should be decided. On the other hand, Ferdinand had taken up arms at
the instigation of the Spaniards, to whom, as possessors of Milan, the
near neighbourhood of a vassal of France was peculiarly alarming, and
who welcomed this prospect of making, with the assistance of the
Emperor, additional conquests in Italy. In spite of all the exertions
of Pope Urban VIII. to avert a war in that country, Ferdinand marched a
German army across the Alps, and threw the Italian states into a general
consternation. His arms had been successful throughout Germany, and
exaggerated fears revived the olden apprehension of Austria's projects
of universal monarchy. All the horrors of the German war now spread
like a deluge over those favoured countries which the Po waters; Mantua
was taken by storm, and the surrounding districts given up to the
ravages of a lawless soldiery. The curse of Italy was thus added to the
maledictions upon the Emperor which resounded through Germany; and even
in the Roman Conclave, silent prayers were offered for the success of
the Protestant arms.

Alarmed by the universal hatred which this Italian campaign had drawn
upon him, and wearied out by the urgent remonstrances of the Electors,
who zealously supported the application of the French ambassador, the
Emperor promised the investiture to the new Duke of Mantua.

This important service on the part of Bavaria, of course, required an
equivalent from France. The adjustment of the treaty gave the envoys of
Richelieu, during their residence in Ratisbon, the desired opportunity
of entangling the Emperor in dangerous intrigues, of inflaming the
discontented princes of the League still more strongly against him, and
of turning to his disadvantage all the transactions of the Diet. For
this purpose Richelieu had chosen an admirable instrument in Father
Joseph, a Capuchin friar, who accompanied the ambassadors without
exciting the least suspicion. One of his principal instructions was
assiduously to bring about the dismissal of Wallenstein. With the
general who had led it to victory, the army of Austria would lose its
principal strength; many armies could not compensate for the loss of
this individual. It would therefore be a masterstroke of policy, at the
very moment when a victorious monarch, the absolute master of his
operations, was arming against the Emperor, to remove from the head of
the imperial armies the only general who, by ability and military
experience, was able to cope with the French king. Father Joseph, in
the interests of Bavaria, undertook to overcome the irresolution of the
Emperor, who was now in a manner besieged by the Spaniards and the
Electoral Council. "It would be expedient," he thought, "to gratify the
Electors on this occasion, and thereby facilitate his son's election to
the Roman Crown. This object once gained, Wallenstein could at any time
resume his former station." The artful Capuchin was too sure of his man
to touch upon this ground of consolation.

The voice of a monk was to Ferdinand II. the voice of God. "Nothing on
earth," writes his own confessor, "was more sacred in his eyes than a
priest. If it could happen, he used to say, that an angel and a Regular
were to meet him at the same time and place, the Regular should receive
his first, and the angel his second obeisance." Wallenstein's dismissal
was determined upon.

In return for this pious concession, the Capuchin dexterously
counteracted the Emperor's scheme to procure for the King of Hungary the
further dignity of King of the Romans. In an express clause of the
treaty just concluded, the French ministers engaged in the name of their
sovereign to observe a complete neutrality between the Emperor and his
enemies; while, at the same time, Richelieu was actually negociating
with the King of Sweden to declare war, and pressing upon him the
alliance of his master. The latter, indeed, disavowed the lie as soon
as it had served its purpose, and Father Joseph, confined to a convent,
must atone for the alleged offence of exceeding his instructions.
Ferdinand perceived, when too late, that he had been imposed upon. "A
wicked Capuchin," he was heard to say, "has disarmed me with his rosary,
and thrust nothing less than six electoral crowns into his cowl."

Artifice and trickery thus triumphed over the Emperor, at the moment
when he was believed to be omnipotent in Germany, and actually was so in
the field. With the loss of 18,000 men, and of a general who alone was
worth whole armies, he left Ratisbon without gaining the end for which
he had made such sacrifices. Before the Swedes had vanquished him in
the field, Maximilian of Bavaria and Father Joseph had given him a
mortal blow. At this memorable Diet at Ratisbon the war with Sweden was
resolved upon, and that of Mantua terminated. Vainly had the princes
present at it interceded for the Dukes of Mecklenburgh; and equally
fruitless had been an application by the English ambassadors for a
pension to the Palatine Frederick.

Wallenstein was at the head of an army of nearly a hundred thousand men
who adored him, when the sentence of his dismissal arrived. Most of the
officers were his creatures:--with the common soldiers his hint was
law. His ambition was boundless, his pride indomitable, his imperious
spirit could not brook an injury unavenged. One moment would now
precipitate him from the height of grandeur into the obscurity of a
private station. To execute such a sentence upon such a delinquent
seemed to require more address than it cost to obtain it from the judge.
Accordingly, two of Wallenstein's most intimate friends were selected as
heralds of these evil tidings, and instructed to soften them as much as
possible, by flattering assurances of the continuance of the Emperor's

Wallenstein had ascertained the purport of their message before the
imperial ambassadors arrived. He had time to collect himself, and his
countenance exhibited an external calmness, while grief and rage were
storming in his bosom. He had made up his mind to obey. The Emperor's
decision had taken him by surprise before circumstances were ripe, or
his preparations complete, for the bold measures he had contemplated.
His extensive estates were scattered over Bohemia and Moravia; and by
their confiscation, the Emperor might at once destroy the sinews of his
power. He looked, therefore, to the future for revenge; and in this
hope he was encouraged by the predictions of an Italian astrologer, who
led his imperious spirit like a child in leading strings. Seni had read
in the stars, that his master's brilliant career was not yet ended; and
that bright and glorious prospects still awaited him. It was, indeed,
unnecessary to consult the stars to foretell that an enemy, Gustavus
Adolphus, would ere long render indispensable the services of such a
general as Wallenstein.

"The Emperor is betrayed," said Wallenstein to the messengers; "I pity
but forgive him. It is plain that the grasping spirit of the Bavarian
dictates to him. I grieve that, with so much weakness, he has
sacrificed me, but I will obey." He dismissed the emissaries with
princely presents; and in a humble letter besought the continuance of
the Emperor's favour, and of the dignities he had bestowed upon him.

The murmurs of the army were universal, on hearing of the dismissal of
their general; and the greater part of his officers immediately quitted
the imperial service. Many followed him to his estates in Bohemia and
Moravia; others he attached to his interests by pensions, in order to
command their services when the opportunity should offer.

But repose was the last thing that Wallenstein contemplated when he
returned to private life. In his retreat, he surrounded himself with a
regal pomp, which seemed to mock the sentence of degradation. Six gates
led to the palace he inhabited in Prague, and a hundred houses were
pulled down to make way for his courtyard. Similar palaces were built
on his other numerous estates. Gentlemen of the noblest houses
contended for the honour of serving him, and even imperial chamberlains
resigned the golden key to the Emperor, to fill a similar office under
Wallenstein. He maintained sixty pages, who were instructed by the
ablest masters. His antichamber was protected by fifty life guards.
His table never consisted of less than 100 covers, and his seneschal was
a person of distinction. When he travelled, his baggage and suite
accompanied him in a hundred wagons, drawn by six or four horses; his
court followed in sixty carriages, attended by fifty led horses. The
pomp of his liveries, the splendour of his equipages, and the
decorations of his apartments, were in keeping with all the rest. Six
barons and as many knights, were in constant attendance about his
person, and ready to execute his slightest order. Twelve patrols went
their rounds about his palace, to prevent any disturbance. His busy
genius required silence. The noise of coaches was to be kept away from
his residence, and the streets leading to it were frequently blocked up
with chains. His own circle was as silent as the approaches to his
palace; dark, reserved, and impenetrable, he was more sparing of his
words than of his gifts; while the little that he spoke was harsh and
imperious. He never smiled, and the coldness of his temperament was
proof against sensual seductions. Ever occupied with grand schemes, he
despised all those idle amusements in which so many waste their lives.
The correspondence he kept up with the whole of Europe was chiefly
managed by himself, and, that as little as possible might be trusted to
the silence of others, most of the letters were written by his own hand.
He was a man of large stature, thin, of a sallow complexion, with short
red hair, and small sparkling eyes. A gloomy and forbidding seriousness
sat upon his brow; and his magnificent presents alone retained the
trembling crowd of his dependents.

In this stately obscurity did Wallenstein silently, but not inactively,
await the hour of revenge. The victorious career of Gustavus Adolphus
soon gave him a presentiment of its approach. Not one of his lofty
schemes had been abandoned; and the Emperor's ingratitude had loosened
the curb of his ambition. The dazzling splendour of his private life
bespoke high soaring projects; and, lavish as a king, he seemed already
to reckon among his certain possessions those which he contemplated with

After Wallenstein's dismissal, and the invasion of Gustavus Adolphus, a
new generalissimo was to be appointed; and it now appeared advisable to
unite both the imperial army and that of the League under one general.
Maximilian of Bavaria sought this appointment, which would have enabled
him to dictate to the Emperor, who, from a conviction of this, wished to
procure the command for his eldest son, the King of Hungary. At last,
in order to avoid offence to either of the competitors, the appointment
was given to Tilly, who now exchanged the Bavarian for the Austrian
service. The imperial army in Germany, after the retirement of
Wallenstein, amounted to about 40,000 men; that of the League to nearly
the same number, both commanded by excellent officers, trained by the
experience of several campaigns, and proud of a long series of
victories. With such a force, little apprehension was felt at the
invasion of the King of Sweden, and the less so as it commanded both
Pomerania and Mecklenburg, the only countries through which he could
enter Germany.

After the unsuccessful attempt of the King of Denmark to check the
Emperor's progress, Gustavus Adolphus was the only prince in Europe from
whom oppressed liberty could look for protection--the only one who,
while he was personally qualified to conduct such an enterprise, had
both political motives to recommend and wrongs to justify it. Before
the commencement of the war in Lower Saxony, important political
interests induced him, as well as the King of Denmark, to offer his
services and his army for the defence of Germany; but the offer of the
latter had, to his own misfortune, been preferred. Since that time,
Wallenstein and the Emperor had adopted measures which must have been
equally offensive to him as a man and as a king. Imperial troops had
been despatched to the aid of the Polish king, Sigismund, to defend
Prussia against the Swedes. When the king complained to Wallenstein of
this act of hostility, he received for answer, "The Emperor has more
soldiers than he wants for himself, he must help his friends." The
Swedish ambassadors had been insolently ordered by Wallenstein to
withdraw from the conference at Lubeck; and when, unawed by this
command, they were courageous enough to remain, contrary to the law of
nations, he had threatened them with violence. Ferdinand had also
insulted the Swedish flag, and intercepted the king's despatches to
Transylvania. He also threw every obstacle in the way of a peace
betwixt Poland and Sweden, supported the pretensions of Sigismund to the
Swedish throne, and denied the right of Gustavus to the title of king.
Deigning no regard to the repeated remonstrances of Gustavus, he rather
aggravated the offence by new grievances, than acceded the required

So many personal motives, supported by important considerations, both of
policy and religion, and seconded by pressing invitations from Germany,
had their full weight with a prince, who was naturally the more jealous
of his royal prerogative the more it was questioned, who was flattered
by the glory he hoped to gain as Protector of the Oppressed, and
passionately loved war as the element of his genius. But, until a truce
or peace with Poland should set his hands free, a new and dangerous war
was not to be thought of.

Cardinal Richelieu had the merit of effecting this truce with Poland.
This great statesman, who guided the helm of Europe, while in France he
repressed the rage of faction and the insolence of the nobles, pursued
steadily, amidst the cares of a stormy administration, his plan of
lowering the ascendancy of the House of Austria. But circumstances
opposed considerable obstacles to the execution of his designs; and even
the greatest minds cannot, with impunity, defy the prejudices of the
age. The minister of a Roman Catholic king, and a Cardinal, he was
prevented by the purple he bore from joining the enemies of that church
in an open attack on a power which had the address to sanctify its
ambitious encroachments under the name of religion. The external
deference which Richelieu was obliged to pay to the narrow views of his
contemporaries limited his exertions to secret negociations, by which he
endeavoured to gain the hand of others to accomplish the enlightened
projects of his own mind. After a fruitless attempt to prevent the
peace between Denmark and the Emperor, he had recourse to Gustavus
Adolphus, the hero of his age. No exertion was spared to bring this
monarch to a favourable decision, and at the same time to facilitate the
execution of it. Charnasse, an unsuspected agent of the Cardinal,
proceeded to Polish Prussia, where Gustavus Adolphus was conducting the
war against Sigismund, and alternately visited these princes, in order
to persuade them to a truce or peace. Gustavus had been long inclined
to it, and the French minister succeeded at last in opening the eyes of
Sigismund to his true interests, and to the deceitful policy of the
Emperor. A truce for six years was agreed on, Gustavus being allowed to
retain all his conquests. This treaty gave him also what he had so long
desired, the liberty of directing his arms against the Emperor. For
this the French ambassador offered him the alliance of his sovereign and
considerable subsidies. But Gustavus Adolphus was justly apprehensive
lest the acceptance of the assistance should make him dependent upon
France, and fetter him in his career of conquest, while an alliance with
a Roman Catholic power might excite distrust among the Protestants.

If the war was just and necessary, the circumstances under which it was
undertaken were not less promising. The name of the Emperor, it is
true, was formidable, his resources inexhaustible, his power hitherto
invincible. So dangerous a contest would have dismayed any other than
Gustavus. He saw all the obstacles and dangers which opposed his
undertaking, but he knew also the means by which, as he hoped, they
might be conquered. His army, though not numerous, was well
disciplined, inured to hardship by a severe climate and campaigns, and
trained to victory in the war with Poland. Sweden, though poor in men
and money, and overtaxed by an eight years' war, was devoted to its
monarch with an enthusiasm which assured him of the ready support of his
subjects. In Germany, the name of the Emperor was at least as much
hated as feared. The Protestant princes only awaited the arrival of a
deliverer to throw off his intolerable yoke, and openly declare for the
Swedes. Even the Roman Catholic states would welcome an antagonist to
the Emperor, whose opposition might control his overwhelming influence.
The first victory gained on German ground would be decisive. It would
encourage those princes who still hesitated to declare themselves,
strengthen the cause of his adherents, augment his troops, and open
resources for the maintenance of the campaign. If the greater part of
the German states were impoverished by oppression, the flourishing Hanse
towns had escaped, and they could not hesitate, by a small voluntary
sacrifice, to avert the general ruin. As the imperialists should be
driven from the different provinces, their armies would diminish, since
they were subsisting on the countries in which they were encamped. The
strength, too, of the Emperor had been lessened by ill-timed detachments
to Italy and the Netherlands; while Spain, weakened by the loss of the
Manilla galleons, and engaged in a serious war in the Netherlands, could
afford him little support. Great Britain, on the other hand, gave the
King of Sweden hope of considerable subsidies; and France, now at peace
with itself, came forward with the most favourable offers.

But the strongest pledge for the success of his undertaking Gustavus
found--in himself. Prudence demanded that he should embrace all the
foreign assistance he could, in order to guard his enterprise from the
imputation of rashness; but all his confidence and courage were entirely
derived from himself. He was indisputably the greatest general of his
age, and the bravest soldier in the army which he had formed. Familiar
with the tactics of Greece and Rome, he had discovered a more effective
system of warfare, which was adopted as a model by the most eminent
commanders of subsequent times. He reduced the unwieldy squadrons of
cavalry, and rendered their movements more light and rapid; and, with
the same view, he widened the intervals between his battalions. Instead
of the usual array in a single line, he disposed his forces in two
lines, that the second might advance in the event of the first giving

He made up for his want of cavalry, by placing infantry among the horse;
a practice which frequently decided the victory. Europe first learned
from him the importance of infantry. All Germany was astonished at the
strict discipline which, at the first, so creditably distinguished the
Swedish army within their territories; all disorders were punished with
the utmost severity, particularly impiety, theft, gambling, and
duelling. The Swedish articles of war enforced frugality. In the camp,
the King's tent not excepted, neither silver nor gold was to be seen.
The general's eye looked as vigilantly to the morals as to the martial
bravery of his soldiers; every regiment was ordered to form round its
chaplain for morning and evening prayers. In all these points the
lawgiver was also an example. A sincere and ardent piety exalted his
courage. Equally free from the coarse infidelity which leaves the
passions of the barbarian without a control,--and from the grovelling
superstition of Ferdinand, who humbled himself to the dust before the
Supreme Being, while he haughtily trampled on his fellow-creature--in
the height of his success he was ever a man and a Christian--in the
height of his devotion, a king and a hero. The hardships of war he
shared with the meanest soldier in his army; maintained a calm serenity
amidst the hottest fury of battle; his glance was omnipresent, and he
intrepidly forgot the danger while he exposed himself to the greatest
peril. His natural courage, indeed, too often made him forget the duty
of a general; and the life of a king ended in the death of a common
soldier. But such a leader was followed to victory alike by the coward
and the brave, and his eagle glance marked every heroic deed which his
example had inspired. The fame of their sovereign excited in the nation
an enthusiastic sense of their own importance; proud of their king, the
peasant in Finland and Gothland joyfully contributed his pittance; the
soldier willingly shed his blood; and the lofty energy which his single
mind had imparted to the nation long survived its creator.

The necessity of the war was acknowledged, but the best plan of
conducting it was a matter of much question. Even to the bold
Chancellor Oxenstiern, an offensive war appeared too daring a measure;
the resources of his poor and conscientious master, appeared to him too
slender to compete with those of a despotic sovereign, who held all
Germany at his command. But the minister's timid scruples were
overruled by the hero's penetrating prudence. "If we await the enemy in
Sweden," said Gustavus, "in the event of a defeat every thing would be
lost, by a fortunate commencement in Germany everything would be gained.
The sea is wide, and we have a long line of coast in Sweden to defend.
If the enemy's fleet should escape us, or our own be defeated, it would,
in either case, be impossible to prevent the enemy's landing. Every
thing depends on the retention of Stralsund. So long as this harbour is
open to us, we shall both command the Baltic, and secure a retreat from
Germany. But to protect this port, we must not remain in Sweden, but
advance at once into Pomerania. Let us talk no more, then, of a
defensive war, by which we should sacrifice our greatest advantages.
Sweden must not be doomed to behold a hostile banner; if we are
vanquished in Germany, it will be time enough to follow your plan."

Gustavus resolved to cross the Baltic and attack the Emperor. His
preparations were made with the utmost expedition, and his precautionary
measures were not less prudent than the resolution itself was bold and
magnanimous. Before engaging in so distant a war, it was necessary to
secure Sweden against its neighbours. At a personal interview with the
King of Denmark at Markaroed, Gustavus assured himself of the friendship
of that monarch; his frontier on the side of Moscow was well guarded;
Poland might be held in check from Germany, if it betrayed any design of
infringing the truce. Falkenberg, a Swedish ambassador, who visited the
courts of Holland and Germany, obtained the most flattering promises
from several Protestant princes, though none of them yet possessed
courage or self-devotion enough to enter into a formal alliance with
him. Lubeck and Hamburg engaged to advance him money, and to accept
Swedish copper in return. Emissaries were also despatched to the Prince
of Transylvania, to excite that implacable enemy of Austria to arms.

In the mean time, Swedish levies were made in Germany and the
Netherlands, the regiments increased to their full complement, new ones
raised, transports provided, a fleet fitted out, provisions, military
stores, and money collected. Thirty ships of war were in a short time
prepared, 15,000 men equipped, and 200 transports were ready to convey
them across the Baltic. A greater force Gustavus Adolphus was unwilling
to carry into Germany, and even the maintenance of this exceeded the
revenues of his kingdom. But however small his army, it was admirable
in all points of discipline, courage, and experience, and might serve as
the nucleus of a more powerful armament, if it once gained the German
frontier, and its first attempts were attended with success.
Oxenstiern, at once general and chancellor, was posted with 10,000 men
in Prussia, to protect that province against Poland. Some regular
troops, and a considerable body of militia, which served as a nursery
for the main body, remained in Sweden, as a defence against a sudden
invasion by any treacherous neighbour.

These were the measures taken for the external defence of the kingdom.
Its internal administration was provided for with equal care. The
government was intrusted to the Council of State, and the finances to
the Palatine John Casimir, the brother-in-law of the King, while his
wife, tenderly as he was attached to her, was excluded from all share in
the government, for which her limited talents incapacitated her. He set
his house in order like a dying man. On the 20th May, 1630, when all
his measures were arranged, and all was ready for his departure, the
King appeared in the Diet at Stockholm, to bid the States a solemn
farewell. Taking in his arms his daughter Christina, then only four
years old, who, in the cradle, had been acknowledged as his successor,
he presented her to the States as the future sovereign, exacted from
them a renewal of the oath of allegiance to her, in case he should never
more return; and then read the ordinances for the government of the
kingdom during his absence, or the minority of his daughter. The whole
assembly was dissolved in tears, and the King himself was some time
before he could attain sufficient composure to deliver his farewell
address to the States.

"Not lightly or wantonly," said he, "am I about to involve myself and
you in this new and dangerous war; God is my witness that _I_ do not
fight to gratify my own ambition. But the Emperor has wronged me most
shamefully in the person of my ambassadors. He has supported my
enemies, persecuted my friends and brethren, trampled my religion in the
dust, and even stretched his revengeful arm against my crown. The
oppressed states of Germany call loudly for aid, which, by God's help,
we will give them.

"I am fully sensible of the dangers to which my life will be exposed. I
have never yet shrunk from them, nor is it likely that I shall escape
them all. Hitherto, Providence has wonderfully protected me, but I
shall at last fall in defence of my country. I commend you to the
protection of Heaven. Be just, be conscientious, act uprightly, and we
shall meet again in eternity.

"To you, my Counsellors of State, I address myself first. May God
enlighten you, and fill you with wisdom, to promote the welfare of my
people. You, too, my brave nobles, I commend to the divine protection.
Continue to prove yourselves the worthy successors of those Gothic
heroes, whose bravery humbled to the dust the pride of ancient Rome. To
you, ministers of religion, I recommend moderation and unity; be
yourselves examples of the virtues which you preach, and abuse not your
influence over the minds of my people. On you, deputies of the
burgesses, and the peasantry, I entreat the blessing of heaven; may your
industry be rewarded by a prosperous harvest; your stores plenteously
filled, and may you be crowned abundantly with all the blessings of this
life. For the prosperity of all my subjects, absent and present, I
offer my warmest prayers to Heaven. I bid you all a sincere--it may be
--an eternal farewell."

The embarkation of the troops took place at Elfsknaben, where the fleet
lay at anchor. An immense concourse flocked thither to witness this
magnificent spectacle. The hearts of the spectators were agitated by
varied emotions, as they alternately considered the vastness of the
enterprise, and the greatness of the leader. Among the superior
officers who commanded in this army were Gustavus Horn, the Rhinegrave
Otto Lewis, Henry Matthias, Count Thurn, Ottenberg, Baudissen, Banner,
Teufel, Tott, Mutsenfahl, Falkenberg, Kniphausen, and other
distinguished names. Detained by contrary winds, the fleet did not sail
till June, and on the 24th of that month reached the Island of Rugen in

Gustavus Adolphus was the first who landed. In the presence of his
suite, he knelt on the shore of Germany to return thanks to the Almighty
for the safe arrival of his fleet and his army. He landed his troops on
the Islands of Wollin and Usedom; upon his approach, the imperial
garrisons abandoned their entrenchments and fled. He advanced rapidly
on Stettin, to secure this important place before the appearance of the
Imperialists. Bogislaus XIV., Duke of Pomerania, a feeble and
superannuated prince, had been long tired out by the outrages committed
by the latter within his territories; but too weak to resist, he had
contented himself with murmurs. The appearance of his deliverer,
instead of animating his courage, increased his fear and anxiety.
Severely as his country had suffered from the Imperialists, the risk of
incurring the Emperor's vengeance prevented him from declaring openly
for the Swedes. Gustavus Adolphus, who was encamped under the walls of
the town, summoned the city to receive a Swedish garrison. Bogislaus
appeared in person in the camp of Gustavus, to deprecate this condition.
"I come to you," said Gustavus, "not as an enemy but a friend. I wage
no war against Pomerania, nor against the German empire, but against the
enemies of both. In my hands this duchy shall be sacred; and it shall
be restored to you at the conclusion of the campaign, by me, with more
certainty, than by any other. Look to the traces of the imperial force
within your territories, and to mine in Usedom; and decide whether you
will have the Emperor or me as your friend. What have you to expect, if
the Emperor should make himself master of your capital? Will he deal
with you more leniently than I? Or is it your intention to stop my
progress? The case is pressing: decide at once, and do not compel me
to have recourse to more violent measures."

The alternative was a painful one. On the one side, the King of Sweden
was before his gates with a formidable army; on the other, he saw the
inevitable vengeance of the Emperor, and the fearful example of so many
German princes, who were now wandering in misery, the victims of that
revenge. The more immediate danger decided his resolution. The gates
of Stettin were opened to the king; the Swedish troops entered; and the
Austrians, who were advancing by rapid marches, anticipated. The
capture of this place procured for the king a firm footing in Pomerania,
the command of the Oder, and a magazine for his troops. To prevent a
charge of treachery, Bogislaus was careful to excuse this step to the
Emperor on the plea of necessity; but aware of Ferdinand's implacable
disposition, he entered into a close alliance with his new protector.
By this league with Pomerania, Gustavus secured a powerful friend in
Germany, who covered his rear, and maintained his communication with

As Ferdinand was already the aggressor in Prussia, Gustavus Adolphus
thought himself absolved from the usual formalities, and commenced
hostilities without any declaration of war. To the other European
powers, he justified his conduct in a manifesto, in which he detailed
the grounds which had led him to take up arms. Meanwhile he continued
his progress in Pomerania, while he saw his army daily increasing. The
troops which had fought under Mansfeld, Duke Christian of Brunswick, the
King of Denmark, and Wallenstein, came in crowds, both officers and
soldiers, to join his victorious standard.

At the Imperial court, the invasion of the king of Sweden at first
excited far less attention than it merited. The pride of Austria,
extravagantly elated by its unheard-of successes, looked down with
contempt upon a prince, who, with a handful of men, came from an obscure
corner of Europe, and who owed his past successes, as they imagined,
entirely to the incapacity of a weak opponent. The depreciatory
representation which Wallenstein had artfully given of the Swedish
power, increased the Emperor's security; for what had he to fear from an
enemy, whom his general undertook to drive with such ease from Germany?
Even the rapid progress of Gustavus Adolphus in Pomerania, could not
entirely dispel this prejudice, which the mockeries of the courtiers
continued to feed. He was called in Vienna the Snow King, whom the cold
of the north kept together, but who would infallibly melt as he advanced
southward. Even the electors, assembled in Ratisbon, disregarded his
representations; and, influenced by an abject complaisance to Ferdinand,
refused him even the title of king. But while they mocked him in
Ratisbon and Vienna, in Mecklenburg and Pomerania, one strong town after
another fell into his hands.

Notwithstanding this contempt, the Emperor thought it proper to offer to
adjust his differences with Sweden by negociation, and for that purpose
sent plenipotentiaries to Denmark. But their instructions showed how
little he was in earnest in these proposals, for he still continued to
refuse to Gustavus the title of king. He hoped by this means to throw
on the king of Sweden the odium of being the aggressor, and thereby to
ensure the support of the States of the empire. The conference at
Dantzic proved, as might be expected, fruitless, and the animosity of
both parties was increased to its utmost by an intemperate

An imperial general, Torquato Conti, who commanded in Pomerania, had, in
the mean time, made a vain attempt to wrest Stettin from the Swedes.
The Imperialists were driven out from one place after another; Damm,
Stargard, Camin, and Wolgast, soon fell into the hands of Gustavus. To
revenge himself upon the Duke of Pomerania, the imperial general
permitted his troops, upon his retreat, to exercise every barbarity on
the unfortunate inhabitants of Pomerania, who had already suffered but
too severely from his avarice. On pretence of cutting off the resources
of the Swedes, the whole country was laid waste and plundered; and often
when the Imperialists were unable any longer to maintain a place, it was
laid in ashes, in order to leave the enemy nothing but ruins. But these
barbarities only served to place in a more favourable light the opposite
conduct of the Swedes, and to win all hearts to their humane monarch.
The Swedish soldier paid for all he required; no private property was
injured on his march. The Swedes consequently were received with open
arms both in town and country, whilst every Imperialist that fell into
the hands of the Pomeranian peasantry was ruthlessly murdered. Many
Pomeranians entered into the service of Sweden, and the estates of this
exhausted country willingly voted the king a contribution of 100,000

Torquato Conti, who, with all his severity of character, was a
consummate general, endeavoured to render Stettin useless to the king of
Sweden, as he could not deprive him of it. He entrenched himself upon
the Oder, at Gartz, above Stettin, in order, by commanding that river,
to cut off the water communication of the town with the rest of Germany.
Nothing could induce him to attack the King of Sweden, who was his
superior in numbers, while the latter was equally cautious not to storm
the strong entrenchments of the Imperialists. Torquato, too deficient
in troops and money to act upon the offensive against the king, hoped by
this plan of operations to give time for Tilly to hasten to the defence
of Pomerania, and then, in conjunction with that general, to attack the
Swedes. Seizing the opportunity of the temporary absence of Gustavus,
he made a sudden attempt upon Stettin, but the Swedes were not
unprepared for him. A vigorous attack of the Imperialists was firmly
repulsed, and Torquato was forced to retire with great loss. For this
auspicious commencement of the war, however, Gustavus was, it must be
owned, as much indebted to his good fortune as to his military talents.
The imperial troops in Pomerania had been greatly reduced since
Wallenstein's dismissal; moreover, the outrages they had committed were
now severely revenged upon them; wasted and exhausted, the country no
longer afforded them a subsistence. All discipline was at an end; the
orders of the officers were disregarded, while their numbers daily
decreased by desertion, and by a general mortality, which the piercing
cold of a strange climate had produced among them.

Under these circumstances, the imperial general was anxious to allow his
troops the repose of winter quarters, but he had to do with an enemy to
whom the climate of Germany had no winter. Gustavus had taken the
precaution of providing his soldiers with dresses of sheep-skin, to
enable them to keep the field even in the most inclement season. The
imperial plenipotentiaries, who came to treat with him for a cessation
of hostilities, received this discouraging answer: "The Swedes are
soldiers in winter as well as in summer, and not disposed to oppress the
unfortunate peasantry. The Imperialists may act as they think proper,
but they need not expect to remain undisturbed." Torquato Conti soon
after resigned a command, in which neither riches nor reputation were to
be gained.

In this inequality of the two armies, the advantage was necessarily on
the side of the Swedes. The Imperialists were incessantly harassed in
their winter quarters; Greifenhagan, an important place upon the Oder,
taken by storm, and the towns of Gartz and Piritz were at last abandoned
by the enemy. In the whole of Pomerania, Greifswald, Demmin, and
Colberg alone remained in their hands, and these the king made great
preparations to besiege. The enemy directed their retreat towards
Brandenburg, in which much of their artillery and baggage, and many
prisoners fell into the hands of the pursuers.

By seizing the passes of Riebnitz and Damgarden, Gustavus had opened a
passage into Mecklenburg, whose inhabitants were invited to return to
their allegiance under their legitimate sovereigns, and to expel the
adherents of Wallenstein. The Imperialists, however, gained the
important town of Rostock by stratagem, and thus prevented the farther
advance of the king, who was unwilling to divide his forces. The exiled
dukes of Mecklenburg had ineffectually employed the princes assembled at
Ratisbon to intercede with the Emperor: in vain they had endeavoured to
soften Ferdinand, by renouncing the alliance of the king, and every idea
of resistance. But, driven to despair by the Emperor's inflexibility,
they openly espoused the side of Sweden, and raising troops, gave the
command of them to Francis Charles Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg. That general
made himself master of several strong places on the Elbe, but lost them
afterwards to the Imperial General Pappenheim, who was despatched to
oppose him. Soon afterwards, besieged by the latter in the town of
Ratzeburg, he was compelled to surrender with all his troops. Thus
ended the attempt which these unfortunate princes made to recover their
territories; and it was reserved for the victorious arm of Gustavus
Adolphus to render them that brilliant service.

The Imperialists had thrown themselves into Brandenburg, which now
became the theatre of the most barbarous atrocities. These outrages
were inflicted upon the subjects of a prince who had never injured the
Emperor, and whom, moreover, he was at the very time inciting to take up
arms against the King of Sweden. The sight of the disorders of their
soldiers, which want of money compelled them to wink at, and of
authority over their troops, excited the disgust even of the imperial
generals; and, from very shame, their commander-in-chief, Count
Schaumburg, wished to resign.

Without a sufficient force to protect his territories, and left by the
Emperor, in spite of the most pressing remonstrances, without
assistance, the Elector of Brandenburg at last issued an edict, ordering
his subjects to repel force by force, and to put to death without mercy
every Imperial soldier who should henceforth be detected in plundering.
To such a height had the violence of outrage and the misery of the
government risen, that nothing was left to the sovereign, but the
desperate extremity of sanctioning private vengeance by a formal law.

The Swedes had pursued the Imperialists into Brandenburg; and only the
Elector's refusal to open to him the fortress of Custrin for his march,
obliged the king to lay aside his design of besieging Frankfort on the
Oder. He therefore returned to complete the conquest of Pomerania, by
the capture of Demmin and Colberg. In the mean time, Field-Marshal
Tilly was advancing to the defence of Brandenburg.

This general, who could boast as yet of never having suffered a defeat,
the conqueror of Mansfeld, of Duke Christian of Brunswick, of the
Margrave of Baden, and the King of Denmark, was now in the Swedish
monarch to meet an opponent worthy of his fame. Descended of a noble
family in Liege, Tilly had formed his military talents in the wars of
the Netherlands, which was then the great school for generals. He soon
found an opportunity of distinguishing himself under Rodolph II. in
Hungary, where he rapidly rose from one step to another. After the
peace, he entered into the service of Maximilian of Bavaria, who made
him commander-in-chief with absolute powers. Here, by his excellent
regulations, he was the founder of the Bavarian army; and to him,
chiefly, Maximilian was indebted for his superiority in the field. Upon
the termination of the Bohemian war, he was appointed commander of the
troops of the League; and, after Wallenstein's dismissal, generalissimo
of the imperial armies. Equally stern towards his soldiers and
implacable towards his enemies, and as gloomy and impenetrable as
Wallenstein, he was greatly his superior in probity and
disinterestedness. A bigoted zeal for religion, and a bloody spirit of
persecution, co-operated, with the natural ferocity of his character, to
make him the terror of the Protestants. A strange and terrific aspect
bespoke his character: of low stature, thin, with hollow cheeks, a long
nose, a broad and wrinkled forehead, large whiskers, and a pointed chin;
he was generally attired in a Spanish doublet of green satin, with
slashed sleeves, with a small high peaked hat upon his head, surmounted
by a red feather which hung down to his back. His whole aspect recalled
to recollection the Duke of Alva, the scourge of the Flemings, and his
actions were far from effacing the impression. Such was the general who
was now to be opposed to the hero of the north.

Tilly was far from undervaluing his antagonist, "The King of Sweden,"
said he in the Diet at Ratisbon, "is an enemy both prudent and brave,
inured to war, and in the flower of his age. His plans are excellent,
his resources considerable; his subjects enthusiastically attached to
him. His army, composed of Swedes, Germans, Livonians, Finlanders,
Scots and English, by its devoted obedience to their leader, is blended
into one nation: he is a gamester in playing with whom not to have lost
is to have won a great deal."

The progress of the King of Sweden in Brandenburg and Pomerania, left
the new generalissimo no time to lose; and his presence was now urgently
called for by those who commanded in that quarter. With all expedition,
he collected the imperial troops which were dispersed over the empire;
but it required time to obtain from the exhausted and impoverished
provinces the necessary supplies. At last, about the middle of winter,
he appeared at the head of 20,000 men, before Frankfort on the Oder,
where he was joined by Schaumburg. Leaving to this general the defence
of Frankfort, with a sufficient garrison, he hastened to Pomerania, with
a view of saving Demmin, and relieving Colberg, which was already hard
pressed by the Swedes. But even before he had left Brandenburg, Demmin,
which was but poorly defended by the Duke of Savelli, had surrendered to
the king, and Colberg, after a five months' siege, was starved into a
capitulation. As the passes in Upper Pomerania were well guarded, and
the king's camp near Schwedt defied attack, Tilly abandoned his
offensive plan of operations, and retreated towards the Elbe to besiege

The capture of Demmin opened to the king a free passage into
Mecklenburg; but a more important enterprise drew his arms into another
quarter. Scarcely had Tilly commenced his retrograde movement, when
suddenly breaking up his camp at Schwedt, the king marched his whole
force against Frankfort on the Oder. This town, badly fortified, was
defended by a garrison of 8,000 men, mostly composed of those ferocious
bands who had so cruelly ravaged Pomerania and Brandenburg. It was now
attacked with such impetuosity, that on the third day it was taken by
storm. The Swedes, assured of victory, rejected every offer of
capitulation, as they were resolved to exercise the dreadful right of
retaliation. For Tilly, soon after his arrival, had surrounded a
Swedish detachment, and, irritated by their obstinate resistance, had
cut them in pieces to a man. This cruelty was not forgotten by the
Swedes. "New Brandenburg Quarter", they replied to the Imperialists who
begged their lives, and slaughtered them without mercy. Several
thousands were either killed or taken, and many were drowned in the
Oder, the rest fled to Silesia. All their artillery fell into the hands
of the Swedes. To satisfy the rage of his troops, Gustavus Adolphus was
under the necessity of giving up the town for three hours to plunder.

While the king was thus advancing from one conquest to another, and, by
his success, encouraging the Protestants to active resistance, the
Emperor proceeded to enforce the Edict of Restitution, and, by his
exorbitant pretensions, to exhaust the patience of the states.
Compelled by necessity, he continued the violent course which he had
begun with such arrogant confidence; the difficulties into which his
arbitrary conduct had plunged him, he could only extricate himself from
by measures still more arbitrary. But in so complicated a body as the
German empire, despotism must always create the most dangerous
convulsions. With astonishment, the princes beheld the constitution of
the empire overthrown, and the state of nature to which matters were
again verging, suggested to them the idea of self-defence, the only
means of protection in such a state of things. The steps openly taken
by the Emperor against the Lutheran church, had at last removed the veil
from the eyes of John George, who had been so long the dupe of his
artful policy. Ferdinand, too, had personally offended him by the
exclusion of his son from the archbishopric of Magdeburg; and
field-marshal Arnheim, his new favourite and minister, spared no pains
to increase the resentment of his master. Arnheim had formerly been an
imperial general under Wallenstein, and being still zealously attached
to him, he was eager to avenge his old benefactor and himself on the
Emperor, by detaching Saxony from the Austrian interests. Gustavus
Adolphus, supported by the Protestant states, would be invincible; a
consideration which already filled the Emperor with alarm. The example
of Saxony would probably influence others, and the Emperor's fate seemed
now in a manner to depend upon the Elector's decision. The artful
favourite impressed upon his master this idea of his own importance, and
advised him to terrify the Emperor, by threatening an alliance with
Sweden, and thus to extort from his fears, what he had sought in vain
from his gratitude. The favourite, however, was far from wishing him
actually to enter into the Swedish alliance, but, by holding aloof from
both parties, to maintain his own importance and independence.
Accordingly, he laid before him a plan, which only wanted a more able
hand to carry it into execution, and recommended him, by heading the
Protestant party, to erect a third power in Germany, and thereby
maintain the balance between Sweden and Austria.

This project was peculiarly flattering to the Saxon Elector, to whom the
idea of being dependent upon Sweden, or of longer submitting to the
tyranny of the Emperor, was equally hateful. He could not, with
indifference, see the control of German affairs wrested from him by a
foreign prince; and incapable as he was of taking a principal part, his
vanity would not condescend to act a subordinate one. He resolved,
therefore, to draw every possible advantage from the progress of
Gustavus, but to pursue, independently, his own separate plans. With
this view, he consulted with the Elector of Brandenburg, who, from
similar causes, was ready to act against the Emperor, but, at the same
time, was jealous of Sweden. In a Diet at Torgau, having assured
himself of the support of his Estates, he invited the Protestant States
of the empire to a general convention, which took place at Leipzig, on
the 6th February 1631. Brandenburg, Hesse Cassel, with several princes,
counts, estates of the empire, and Protestant bishops were present,
either personally or by deputy, at this assembly, which the chaplain to
the Saxon Court, Dr. Hoe von Hohenegg, opened with a vehement discourse
from the pulpit. The Emperor had, in vain, endeavoured to prevent this
self-appointed convention, whose object was evidently to provide for its
own defence, and which the presence of the Swedes in the empire,
rendered more than usually alarming. Emboldened by the progress of
Gustavus Adolphus, the assembled princes asserted their rights, and
after a session of two months broke up, with adopting a resolution which
placed the Emperor in no slight embarrassment. Its import was to demand
of the Emperor, in a general address, the revocation of the Edict of
Restitution, the withdrawal of his troops from their capitals and
fortresses, the suspension of all existing proceedings, and the
abolition of abuses; and, in the mean time, to raise an army of 40,000
men, to enable them to redress their own grievances, if the Emperor
should still refuse satisfaction.

A further incident contributed not a little to increase the firmness of
the Protestant princes. The King of Sweden had, at last, overcome the
scruples which had deterred him from a closer alliance with France, and,
on the 13th January 1631, concluded a formal treaty with this crown.
After a serious dispute respecting the treatment of the Roman Catholic
princes of the empire, whom France took under her protection, and
against whom Gustavus claimed the right of retaliation, and after some
less important differences with regard to the title of majesty, which
the pride of France was loth to concede to the King of Sweden, Richelieu
yielded the second, and Gustavus Adolphus the first point, and the
treaty was signed at Beerwald in Neumark. The contracting parties
mutually covenanted to defend each other with a military force, to
protect their common friends, to restore to their dominions the deposed
princes of the empire, and to replace every thing, both on the frontier
and in the interior of Germany, on the same footing on which it stood
before the commencement of the war. For this end, Sweden engaged to
maintain an army of 30,000 men in Germany, and France agreed to furnish
the Swedes with an annual subsidy of 400,000 dollars. If the arms of
Gustavus were successful, he was to respect the Roman Catholic religion
and the constitution of the empire in all the conquered places, and to
make no attempt against either. All Estates and princes whether
Protestant or Roman Catholic, either in Germany or in other countries,
were to be invited to become parties to the treaty; neither France nor
Sweden was to conclude a separate peace without the knowledge and
consent of the other; and the treaty itself was to continue in force for
five years.

Great as was the struggle to the King of Sweden to receive subsidies
from France, and sacrifice his independence in the conduct of the war,
this alliance with France decided his cause in Germany. Protected, as
he now was, by the greatest power in Europe, the German states began to
feel confidence in his undertaking, for the issue of which they had
hitherto good reason to tremble. He became truly formidable to the
Emperor. The Roman Catholic princes too, who, though they were anxious
to humble Austria, had witnessed his progress with distrust, were less
alarmed now that an alliance with a Roman Catholic power ensured his
respect for their religion. And thus, while Gustavus Adolphus protected
the Protestant religion and the liberties of Germany against the
aggression of Ferdinand, France secured those liberties, and the Roman
Catholic religion, against Gustavus himself, if the intoxication of
success should hurry him beyond the bounds of moderation.

The King of Sweden lost no time in apprizing the members of the
confederacy of Leipzig of the treaty concluded with France, and inviting
them to a closer union with himself. The application was seconded by
France, who spared no pains to win over the Elector of Saxony. Gustavus
was willing to be content with secret support, if the princes should
deem it too bold a step as yet to declare openly in his favour. Several
princes gave him hopes of his proposals being accepted on the first
favourable opportunity; but the Saxon Elector, full of jealousy and
distrust towards the King of Sweden, and true to the selfish policy he
had pursued, could not be prevailed upon to give a decisive answer.

The resolution of the confederacy of Leipzig, and the alliance betwixt
France and Sweden, were news equally disagreeable to the Emperor.
Against them he employed the thunder of imperial ordinances, and the
want of an army saved France from the full weight of his displeasure.
Remonstrances were addressed to all the members of the confederacy,
strongly prohibiting them from enlisting troops. They retorted with
explanations equally vehement, justified their conduct upon the
principles of natural right, and continued their preparations.

Meantime, the imperial generals, deficient both in troops and money,
found themselves reduced to the disagreeable alternative of losing sight
either of the King of Sweden, or of the Estates of the empire, since
with a divided force they were not a match for either. The movements of
the Protestants called their attention to the interior of the empire,
while the progress of the king in Brandenburg, by threatening the
hereditary possessions of Austria, required them to turn their arms to
that quarter. After the conquest of Frankfort, the king had advanced
upon Landsberg on the Warta, and Tilly, after a fruitless attempt to
relieve it, had again returned to Magdeburg, to prosecute with vigour
the siege of that town.

The rich archbishopric, of which Magdeburg was the capital, had long
been in the possession of princes of the house of Brandenburg, who
introduced the Protestant religion into the province. Christian
William, the last administrator, had, by his alliance with Denmark,
incurred the ban of the empire, on which account the chapter, to avoid
the Emperor's displeasure, had formally deposed him. In his place they
had elected Prince John Augustus, the second son of the Elector of
Saxony, whom the Emperor rejected, in order to confer the archbishopric
on his son Leopold. The Elector of Saxony complained ineffectually to
the imperial court; but Christian William of Brandenburg took more
active measures. Relying on the attachment of the magistracy and
inhabitants of Brandenburg, and excited by chimerical hopes, he thought
himself able to surmount all the obstacles which the vote of the
chapter, the competition of two powerful rivals, and the Edict of
Restitution opposed to his restoration. He went to Sweden, and, by the
promise of a diversion in Germany, sought to obtain assistance from
Gustavus. He was dismissed by that monarch not without hopes of
effectual protection, but with the advice to act with caution.

Scarcely had Christian William been informed of the landing of his
protector in Pomerania, than he entered Magdeburg in disguise.
Appearing suddenly in the town council, he reminded the magistrates of
the ravages which both town and country had suffered from the imperial
troops, of the pernicious designs of Ferdinand, and the danger of the
Protestant church. He then informed them that the moment of deliverance
was at hand, and that Gustavus Adolphus offered them his alliance and
assistance. Magdeburg, one of the most flourishing towns in Germany,
enjoyed under the government of its magistrates a republican freedom,
which inspired its citizens with a brave heroism. Of this they had
already given proofs, in the bold defence of their rights against
Wallenstein, who, tempted by their wealth, made on them the most
extravagant demands. Their territory had been given up to the fury of
his troops, though Magdeburg itself had escaped his vengeance. It was
not difficult, therefore, for the Administrator to gain the concurrence
of men in whose minds the rememberance of these outrages was still
recent. An alliance was formed between the city and the Swedish king,
by which Magdeburg granted to the king a free passage through its gates
and territories, with liberty of enlisting soldiers within its
boundaries, and on the other hand, obtained promises of effectual
protection for its religion and its privileges.

The Administrator immediately collected troops and commenced
hostilities, before Gustavus Adolphus was near enough to co-operate with
him. He defeated some imperial detachments in the neighbourhood, made a
few conquests, and even surprised Halle. But the approach of an
imperial army obliged him to retreat hastily, and not without loss, to
Magdeburg. Gustavus Adolphus, though displeased with his premature
measures, sent Dietrich Falkenberg, an experienced officer, to direct
the Administrator's military operations, and to assist him with his
counsel. Falkenberg was named by the magistrates governor of the town
during the war. The Prince's army was daily augmented by recruits from
the neighbouring towns; and he was able for some months to maintain a
petty warfare with success.

At length Count Pappenheim, having brought his expedition against the
Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg to a close, approached the town. Driving the
troops of the Administrator from their entrenchments, he cut off his
communication with Saxony, and closely invested the place. He was soon
followed by Tilly, who haughtily summoned the Elector forthwith to
comply with the Edict of Restitution, to submit to the Emperor's orders,
and surrender Magdeburg. The Prince's answer was spirited and resolute,
and obliged Tilly at once to have recourse to arms.

In the meanwhile, the siege was prolonged, by the progress of the King
of Sweden, which called the Austrian general from before the place; and
the jealousy of the officers, who conducted the operations in his
absence, delayed, for some months, the fall of Magdeburg. On the 30th
March 1631, Tilly returned, to push the siege with vigour.

The outworks were soon carried, and Falkenberg, after withdrawing the
garrisons from the points which he could no longer hold, destroyed the
bridge over the Elbe. As his troops were barely sufficient to defend
the extensive fortifications, the suburbs of Sudenburg and Neustadt were
abandoned to the enemy, who immediately laid them in ashes. Pappenheim,
now separated from Tilly, crossed the Elbe at Schonenbeck, and attacked
the town from the opposite side.

The garrison, reduced by the defence of the outworks, scarcely exceeded
2000 infantry and a few hundred horse; a small number for so extensive
and irregular a fortress. To supply this deficiency, the citizens were
armed--a desperate expedient, which produced more evils than those it
prevented. The citizens, at best but indifferent soldiers, by their
disunion threw the town into confusion. The poor complained that they
were exposed to every hardship and danger, while the rich, by hiring
substitutes, remained at home in safety. These rumours broke out at
last in an open mutiny; indifference succeeded to zeal; weariness and
negligence took the place of vigilance and foresight. Dissension,
combined with growing scarcity, gradually produced a feeling of
despondence, many began to tremble at the desperate nature of their
undertaking, and the magnitude of the power to which they were opposed.
But religious zeal, an ardent love of liberty, an invincible hatred to
the Austrian yoke, and the expectation of speedy relief, banished as yet
the idea of a surrender; and divided as they were in every thing else,
they were united in the resolve to defend themselves to the last

Their hopes of succour were apparently well founded. They knew that the
confederacy of Leipzig was arming; they were aware of the near approach
of Gustavus Adolphus. Both were alike interested in the preservation of
Magdeburg; and a few days might bring the King of Sweden before its
walls. All this was also known to Tilly, who, therefore, was anxious to
make himself speedily master of the place. With this view, he had
despatched a trumpeter with letters to the Administrator, the
commandant, and the magistrates, offering terms of capitulation; but he
received for answer, that they would rather die than surrender. A
spirited sally of the citizens, also convinced him that their courage
was as earnest as their words, while the king's arrival at Potsdam, with
the incursions of the Swedes as far as Zerbst, filled him with
uneasiness, but raised the hopes of the garrison. A second trumpeter
was now despatched; but the more moderate tone of his demands increased
the confidence of the besieged, and unfortunately their negligence also.

The besiegers had now pushed their approaches as far as the ditch, and
vigorously cannonaded the fortifications from the abandoned batteries.
One tower was entirely overthrown, but this did not facilitate an
assault, as it fell sidewise upon the wall, and not into the ditch.
Notwithstanding the continual bombardment, the walls had not suffered
much; and the fire balls, which were intended to set the town in flames,
were deprived of their effect by the excellent precautions adopted
against them. But the ammunition of the besieged was nearly expended,
and the cannon of the town gradually ceased to answer the fire of the
Imperialists. Before a new supply could be obtained, Magdeburg would be
either relieved, or taken. The hopes of the besieged were on the
stretch, and all eyes anxiously directed towards the quarter in which
the Swedish banners were expected to appear. Gustavus Adolphus was near
enough to reach Magdeburg within three days; security grew with hope,
which all things contributed to augment. On the 9th of May, the fire of
the Imperialists was suddenly stopped, and the cannon withdrawn from
several of the batteries. A deathlike stillness reigned in the Imperial
camp. The besieged were convinced that deliverance was at hand. Both
citizens and soldiers left their posts upon the ramparts early in the
morning, to indulge themselves, after their long toils, with the
refreshment of sleep, but it was indeed a dear sleep, and a frightful

Tilly had abandoned the hope of taking the town, before the arrival of
the Swedes, by the means which he had hitherto adopted; he therefore
determined to raise the siege, but first to hazard a general assault.
This plan, however, was attended with great difficulties, as no breach
had been effected, and the works were scarcely injured. But the council
of war assembled on this occasion, declared for an assault, citing the
example of Maestricht, which had been taken early in the morning, while
the citizens and soldiers were reposing themselves. The attack was to
be made simultaneously on four points; the night betwixt the 9th and
10th of May, was employed in the necessary preparations. Every thing
was ready and awaiting the signal, which was to be given by cannon at
five o'clock in the morning. The signal, however, was not given for two
hours later, during which Tilly, who was still doubtful of success,
again consulted the council of war. Pappenheim was ordered to attack
the works of the new town, where the attempt was favoured by a sloping
rampart, and a dry ditch of moderate depth. The citizens and soldiers
had mostly left the walls, and the few who remained were overcome with
sleep. This general, therefore, found little difficulty in mounting the
wall at the head of his troops.

Falkenberg, roused by the report of musketry, hastened from the
town-house, where he was employed in despatching Tilly's second
trumpeter, and hurried with all the force he could hastily assemble
towards the gate of the new town, which was already in the possession of
the enemy. Beaten back, this intrepid general flew to another quarter,
where a second party of the enemy were preparing to scale the walls.
After an ineffectual resistance he fell in the commencement of the
action. The roaring of musketry, the pealing of the alarm-bells, and
the growing tumult apprised the awakening citizens of their danger.
Hastily arming themselves, they rushed in blind confusion against the
enemy. Still some hope of repulsing the besiegers remained; but the
governor being killed, their efforts were without plan and co-operation,
and at last their ammunition began to fail them. In the meanwhile, two
other gates, hitherto unattacked, were stripped of their defenders, to
meet the urgent danger within the town. The enemy quickly availed
themselves of this confusion to attack these posts. The resistance was
nevertheless spirited and obstinate, until four imperial regiments, at
length, masters of the ramparts, fell upon the garrison in the rear, and
completed their rout. Amidst the general tumult, a brave captain, named
Schmidt, who still headed a few of the more resolute against the enemy,
succeeded in driving them to the gates; here he fell mortally wounded,
and with him expired the hopes of Magdeburg. Before noon, all the works
were carried, and the town was in the enemy's hands.

Two gates were now opened by the storming party for the main body, and
Tilly marched in with part of his infantry. Immediately occupying the
principal streets, he drove the citizens with pointed cannon into their
dwellings, there to await their destiny. They were not long held in
suspense; a word from Tilly decided the fate of Magdeburg.

Even a more humane general would in vain have recommended mercy to such
soldiers; but Tilly never made the attempt. Left by their general's
silence masters of the lives of all the citizens, the soldiery broke
into the houses to satiate their most brutal appetites. The prayers of
innocence excited some compassion in the hearts of the Germans, but none
in the rude breasts of Pappenheim's Walloons. Scarcely had the savage
cruelty commenced, when the other gates were thrown open, and the
cavalry, with the fearful hordes of the Croats, poured in upon the
devoted inhabitants.

Here commenced a scene of horrors for which history has no language--
poetry no pencil. Neither innocent childhood, nor helpless old age;
neither youth, sex, rank, nor beauty, could disarm the fury of the
conquerors. Wives were abused in the arms of their husbands, daughters
at the feet of their parents; and the defenceless sex exposed to the
double sacrifice of virtue and life. No situation, however obscure, or
however sacred, escaped the rapacity of the enemy. In a single church
fifty-three women were found beheaded. The Croats amused themselves
with throwing children into the flames; Pappenheim's Walloons with
stabbing infants at the mother's breast. Some officers of the League,
horror-struck at this dreadful scene, ventured to remind Tilly that he
had it in his power to stop the carnage. "Return in an hour," was his
answer; "I will see what I can do; the soldier must have some reward for
his danger and toils." These horrors lasted with unabated fury, till at
last the smoke and flames proved a check to the plunderers. To augment
the confusion and to divert the resistance of the inhabitants, the
Imperialists had, in the commencement of the assault, fired the town in
several places. The wind rising rapidly, spread the flames, till the
blaze became universal. Fearful, indeed, was the tumult amid clouds of
smoke, heaps of dead bodies, the clash of swords, the crash of falling
ruins, and streams of blood. The atmosphere glowed; and the intolerable
heat forced at last even the murderers to take refuge in their camp. In
less than twelve hours, this strong, populous, and flourishing city, one
of the finest in Germany, was reduced to ashes, with the exception of
two churches and a few houses. The Administrator, Christian William,
after receiving several wounds, was taken prisoner, with three of the
burgomasters; most of the officers and magistrates had already met an
enviable death. The avarice of the officers had saved 400 of the
richest citizens, in the hope of extorting from them an exorbitant
ransom. But this humanity was confined to the officers of the League,
whom the ruthless barbarity of the Imperialists caused to be regarded as
guardian angels.

Scarcely had the fury of the flames abated, when the Imperialists
returned to renew the pillage amid the ruins and ashes of the town.
Many were suffocated by the smoke; many found rich booty in the cellars,
where the citizens had concealed their more valuable effects. On the
13th of May, Tilly himself appeared in the town, after the streets had
been cleared of ashes and dead bodies. Horrible and revolting to
humanity was the scene that presented itself. The living crawling from
under the dead, children wandering about with heart-rending cries,
calling for their parents; and infants still sucking the breasts of
their lifeless mothers. More than 6,000 bodies were thrown into the
Elbe to clear the streets; a much greater number had been consumed by
the flames. The whole number of the slain was reckoned at not less than

The entrance of the general, which took place on the 14th, put a stop to
the plunder, and saved the few who had hitherto contrived to escape.
About a thousand people were taken out of the cathedral, where they had
remained three days and two nights, without food, and in momentary fear
of death. Tilly promised them quarter, and commanded bread to be
distributed among them. The next day, a solemn mass was performed in
the cathedral, and 'Te Deum' sung amidst the discharge of artillery.
The imperial general rode through the streets, that he might be able, as
an eyewitness, to inform his master that no such conquest had been made
since the destruction of Troy and Jerusalem. Nor was this an
exaggeration, whether we consider the greatness, importance, and
prosperity of the city razed, or the fury of its ravagers.

In Germany, the tidings of the dreadful fate of Magdeburg caused
triumphant joy to the Roman Catholics, while it spread terror and
consternation among the Protestants. Loudly and generally they
complained against the king of Sweden, who, with so strong a force, and
in the very neighbourhood, had left an allied city to its fate. Even
the most reasonable deemed his inaction inexplicable; and lest he should
lose irretrievably the good will of the people, for whose deliverance he
had engaged in this war, Gustavus was under the necessity of publishing
to the world a justification of his own conduct.

He had attacked, and on the 16th April, carried Landsberg, when he was
apprised of the danger of Magdeburg. He resolved immediately to march
to the relief of that town; and he moved with all his cavalry, and ten
regiments of infantry towards the Spree. But the position which he held
in Germany, made it necessary that he should not move forward without
securing his rear. In traversing a country where he was surrounded by
suspicious friends and dangerous enemies, and where a single premature
movement might cut off his communication with his own kingdom, the
utmost vigilance and caution were necessary. The Elector of Brandenburg
had already opened the fortress of Custrin to the flying Imperialists,
and closed the gates against their pursuers. If now Gustavus should
fail in his attack upon Tilly, the Elector might again open his
fortresses to the Imperialists, and the king, with an enemy both in
front and rear, would be irrecoverably lost. In order to prevent this
contingency, he demanded that the Elector should allow him to hold the
fortresses of Custrin and Spandau, till the siege of Magdeburg should be

Nothing could be more reasonable than this demand. The services which
Gustavus had lately rendered the Elector, by expelling the Imperialists
from Brandenburg, claimed his gratitude, while the past conduct of the
Swedes in Germany entitled them to confidence. But by the surrender of
his fortresses, the Elector would in some measure make the King of
Sweden master of his country; besides that, by such a step, he must at
once break with the Emperor, and expose his States to his future
vengeance. The Elector's struggle with himself was long and violent,
but pusillanimity and self-interest for awhile prevailed. Unmoved by
the fate of Magdeburg, cold in the cause of religion and the liberties
of Germany, he saw nothing but his own danger; and this anxiety was
greatly stimulated by his minister Von Schwartzenburgh, who was secretly
in the pay of Austria. In the mean time, the Swedish troops approached
Berlin, and the king took up his residence with the Elector. When he
witnessed the timorous hesitation of that prince, he could not restrain
his indignation: "My road is to Magdeburg," said he; "not for my own
advantage, but for that of the Protestant religion. If no one will
stand by me, I shall immediately retreat, conclude a peace with the
Emperor, and return to Stockholm. I am convinced that Ferdinand will
readily grant me whatever conditions I may require. But if Magdeburg is
once lost, and the Emperor relieved from all fear of me, then it is for
you to look to yourselves and the consequences." This timely threat, and
perhaps, too, the aspect of the Swedish army, which was strong enough to
obtain by force what was refused to entreaty, brought at last the
Elector to his senses, and Spandau was delivered into the hands of the

The king had now two routes to Magdeburg; one westward led through an
exhausted country, and filled with the enemy's troops, who might dispute
with him the passage of the Elbe; the other more to the southward, by
Dessau and Wittenberg, where bridges were to be found for crossing the
Elbe, and where supplies could easily be drawn from Saxony. But he
could not avail himself of the latter without the consent of the
Elector, whom Gustavus had good reason to distrust. Before setting out
on his march, therefore, he demanded from that prince a free passage and
liberty for purchasing provisions for his troops. His application was
refused, and no remonstrances could prevail on the Elector to abandon
his system of neutrality. While the point was still in dispute, the
news of the dreadful fate of Magdeburg arrived.

Tilly announced its fall to the Protestant princes in the tone of a
conqueror, and lost no time in making the most of the general
consternation. The influence of the Emperor, which had sensibly
declined during the rapid progress of Gustavus, after this decisive blow
rose higher than ever; and the change was speedily visible in the
imperious tone he adopted towards the Protestant states. The decrees of
the Confederation of Leipzig were annulled by a proclamation, the
Convention itself suppressed by an imperial decree, and all the
refractory states threatened with the fate of Magdeburg. As the
executor of this imperial mandate, Tilly immediately ordered troops to
march against the Bishop of Bremen, who was a member of the Confederacy,
and had himself enlisted soldiers. The terrified bishop immediately
gave up his forces to Tilly, and signed the revocation of the acts of
the Confederation. An imperial army, which had lately returned from
Italy, under the command of Count Furstenberg, acted in the same manner
towards the Administrator of Wirtemberg. The duke was compelled to
submit to the Edict of Restitution, and all the decrees of the Emperor,
and even to pay a monthly subsidy of 100,000 dollars, for the
maintenance of the imperial troops. Similar burdens were inflicted upon
Ulm and Nuremberg, and the entire circles of Franconia and Swabia. The
hand of the Emperor was stretched in terror over all Germany. The
sudden preponderance, more in appearance, perhaps, than in reality,
which he had obtained by this blow, carried him beyond the bounds even
of the moderation which he had hitherto observed, and misled him into
hasty and violent measures, which at last turned the wavering resolution
of the German princes in favour of Gustavus Adolphus. Injurious as the
immediate consequences of the fall of Magdeburg were to the Protestant
cause, its remoter effects were most advantageous. The past surprise
made way for active resentment, despair inspired courage, and the German
freedom rose, like a phoenix, from the ashes of Magdeburg.

Among the princes of the Leipzig Confederation, the Elector of Saxony
and the Landgrave of Hesse were the most powerful; and, until they were
disarmed, the universal authority of the Emperor was unconfirmed.
Against the Landgrave, therefore, Tilly first directed his attack, and
marched straight from Magdeburg into Thuringia. During this march, the
territories of Saxe Ernest and Schwartzburg were laid waste, and
Frankenhausen plundered before the very eyes of Tilly, and laid in ashes
with impunity. The unfortunate peasant paid dear for his master's
attachment to the interests of Sweden. Erfurt, the key of Saxony and
Franconia, was threatened with a siege, but redeemed itself by a
voluntary contribution of money and provisions. From thence, Tilly
despatched his emissaries to the Landgrave, demanding of him the
immediate disbanding of his army, a renunciation of the league of
Leipzig, the reception of imperial garrisons into his territories and
fortresses, with the necessary contributions, and the declaration of
friendship or hostility. Such was the treatment which a prince of the
Empire was compelled to submit to from a servant of the Emperor. But
these extravagant demands acquired a formidable weight from the power
which supported them; and the dreadful fate of Magdeburg, still fresh in
the memory of the Landgrave, tended still farther to enforce them.
Admirable, therefore, was the intrepidity of the Landgrave's answer:
"To admit foreign troops into his capital and fortresses, the Landgrave
is not disposed; his troops he requires for his own purposes; as for an
attack, he can defend himself. If General Tilly wants money or
provisions, let him go to Munich, where there is plenty of both." The
irruption of two bodies of imperial troops into Hesse Cassel was the
immediate result of this spirited reply, but the Landgrave gave them so
warm a reception that they could effect nothing; and just as Tilly was
preparing to follow with his whole army, to punish the unfortunate
country for the firmness of its sovereign, the movements of the King of
Sweden recalled him to another quarter.

Gustavus Adolphus had learned the fall of Magdeburg with deep regret;
and the demand now made by the Elector, George William, in terms of
their agreement, for the restoration of Spandau, greatly increased this
feeling. The loss of Magdeburg had rather augmented than lessened the
reasons which made the possession of this fortress so desirable; and the
nearer became the necessity of a decisive battle between himself and
Tilly, the more unwilling he felt to abandon the only place which, in
the event of a defeat, could ensure him a refuge. After a vain
endeavour, by entreaties and representations, to bring over the Elector
to his views, whose coldness and lukewarmness daily increased, he gave
orders to his general to evacuate Spandau, but at the same time declared
to the Elector that he would henceforth regard him as an enemy.

To give weight to this declaration, he appeared with his whole force
before Berlin. "I will not be worse treated than the imperial
generals," was his reply to the ambassadors whom the bewildered Elector
despatched to his camp. "Your master has received them into his
territories, furnished them with all necessary supplies, ceded to them
every place which they required, and yet, by all these concessions, he
could not prevail upon them to treat his subjects with common humanity.
All that I require of him is security, a moderate sum of money, and
provisions for my troops; in return, I promise to protect his country,
and to keep the war at a distance from him. On these points, however, I
must insist; and my brother, the Elector, must instantly determine to
have me as a friend, or to see his capital plundered." This decisive
tone produced a due impression; and the cannon pointed against the town
put an end to the doubts of George William. In a few days, a treaty was
signed, by which the Elector engaged to furnish a monthly subsidy of
30,000 dollars, to leave Spandau in the king's hands, and to open
Custrin at all times to the Swedish troops. This now open alliance of
the Elector of Brandenburg with the Swedes, excited no less displeasure
at Vienna, than did formerly the similar procedure of the Duke of
Pomerania; but the changed fortune which now attended his arms, obliged
the Emperor to confine his resentment to words.

The king's satisfaction, on this favourable event, was increased by the
agreeable intelligence that Griefswald, the only fortress which the
Imperialists still held in Pomerania, had surrendered, and that the
whole country was now free of the enemy. He appeared once more in this
duchy, and was gratified at the sight of the general joy which he had
caused to the people. A year had elapsed since Gustavus first entered
Germany, and this event was now celebrated by all Pomerania as a
national festival. Shortly before, the Czar of Moscow had sent
ambassadors to congratulate him, to renew his alliance, and even to
offer him troops. He had great reason to rejoice at the friendly
disposition of Russia, as it was indispensable to his interests that
Sweden itself should remain undisturbed by any dangerous neighbour
during the war in which he himself was engaged. Soon after, his queen,
Maria Eleonora, landed in Pomerania, with a reinforcement of 8000
Swedes; and the arrival of 6000 English, under the Marquis of Hamilton,
requires more particular notice because this is all that history
mentions of the English during the Thirty Years' War.

During Tilly's expedition into Thuringia, Pappenheim commanded in
Magdeburg; but was unable to prevent the Swedes from crossing the Elbe
at various points, routing some imperial detachments, and seizing
several posts. He himself, alarmed at the approach of the King of
Sweden, anxiously recalled Tilly, and prevailed upon him to return by
rapid marches to Magdeburg. Tilly encamped on this side of the river at
Wolmerstadt; Gustavus on the same side, near Werben, not far from the
confluence of the Havel and the Elbe. His very arrival portended no
good to Tilly. The Swedes routed three of his regiments, which were
posted in villages at some distance from the main body, carried off half
their baggage, and burned the remainder. Tilly in vain advanced within
cannon shot of the king's camp, and offered him battle. Gustavus,
weaker by one-half than his adversary, prudently declined it; and his
position was too strong for an attack. Nothing more ensued but a
distant cannonade, and a few skirmishes, in which the Swedes had
invariably the advantage. In his retreat to Wolmerstadt, Tilly's army
was weakened by numerous desertions. Fortune seemed to have forsaken
him since the carnage of Magdeburg.

The King of Sweden, on the contrary, was followed by uninterrupted
success. While he himself was encamped in Werben, the whole of
Mecklenburg, with the exception of a few towns, was conquered by his
General Tott and the Duke Adolphus Frederick; and he enjoyed the
satisfaction of reinstating both dukes in their dominions. He proceeded
in person to Gustrow, where the reinstatement was solemnly to take
place, to give additional dignity to the ceremony by his presence. The
two dukes, with their deliverer between them, and attended by a splendid
train of princes, made a public entry into the city, which the joy of
their subjects converted into an affecting solemnity. Soon after his
return to Werben, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel appeared in his camp, to
conclude an offensive and defensive alliance; the first sovereign prince
in Germany, who voluntarily and openly declared against the Emperor,
though not wholly uninfluenced by strong motives. The Landgrave bound
himself to act against the king's enemies as his own, to open to him his
towns and territory, and to furnish his army with provisions and
necessaries. The king, on the other hand, declared himself his ally and
protector; and engaged to conclude no peace with the Emperor without
first obtaining for the Landgrave a full redress of grievances. Both
parties honourably performed their agreement. Hesse Cassel adhered to
the Swedish alliance during the whole of this tedious war; and at the
peace of Westphalia had no reason to regret the friendship of Sweden.

Tilly, from whom this bold step on the part of the Landgrave was not
long concealed, despatched Count Fugger with several regiments against
him; and at the same time endeavoured to excite his subjects to
rebellion by inflammatory letters. But these made as little impression
as his troops, which subsequently failed him so decidedly at the battle
of Breitenfield. The Estates of Hesse could not for a moment hesitate
between their oppressor and their protector.

But the imperial general was far more disturbed by the equivocal conduct
of the Elector of Saxony, who, in defiance of the imperial prohibition,
continued his preparations, and adhered to the confederation of Leipzig.
At this conjuncture, when the proximity of the King of Sweden made a
decisive battle ere long inevitable, it appeared extremely dangerous to
leave Saxony in arms, and ready in a moment to declare for the enemy.
Tilly had just received a reinforcement of 25,000 veteran troops under
Furstenberg, and, confident in his strength, he hoped either to disarm
the Elector by the mere terror of his arrival, or at least to conquer
him with little difficulty. Before quitting his camp at Wolmerstadt, he
commanded the Elector, by a special messenger, to open his territories
to the imperial troops; either to disband his own, or to join them to
the imperial army; and to assist, in conjunction with himself, in
driving the King of Sweden out of Germany. While he reminded him that,
of all the German states, Saxony had hitherto been most respected, he
threatened it, in case of refusal, with the most destructive ravages.

But Tilly had chosen an unfavourable moment for so imperious a
requisition. The ill-treatment of his religious and political
confederates, the destruction of Magdeburg, the excesses of the
Imperialists in Lusatia, all combined to incense the Elector against the
Emperor. The approach, too, of Gustavus Adolphus, (however slender his
claims were to the protection of that prince,) tended to fortify his
resolution. He accordingly forbade the quartering of the imperial
soldiers in his territories, and announced his firm determination to
persist in his warlike preparations. However surprised he should be, he
added, "to see an imperial army on its march against his territories,
when that army had enough to do in watching the operations of the King
of Sweden, nevertheless he did not expect, instead of the promised and
well merited rewards, to be repaid with ingratitude and the ruin of his
country." To Tilly's deputies, who were entertained in a princely
style, he gave a still plainer answer on the occasion. "Gentlemen,"
said he, "I perceive that the Saxon confectionery, which has been so
long kept back, is at length to be set upon the table. But as it is
usual to mix with it nuts and garnish of all kinds, take care of your

Tilly instantly broke up his camp, and, with the most frightful
devastation, advanced upon Halle; from this place he renewed his demands
on the Elector, in a tone still more urgent and threatening. The
previous policy of this prince, both from his own inclination, and the
persuasions of his corrupt ministers had been to promote the interests
of the Emperor, even at the expense of his own sacred obligations, and
but very little tact had hitherto kept him inactive. All this but
renders more astonishing the infatuation of the Emperor or his ministers
in abandoning, at so critical a moment, the policy they had hitherto
adopted, and by extreme measures, incensing a prince so easily led. Was
this the very object which Tilly had in view? Was it his purpose to
convert an equivocal friend into an open enemy, and thus to relieve
himself from the necessity of that indulgence in the treatment of this
prince, which the secret instructions of the Emperor had hitherto
imposed upon him? Or was it the Emperor's wish, by driving the Elector
to open hostilities, to get quit of his obligations to him, and so
cleverly to break off at once the difficulty of a reckoning? In either
case, we must be equally surprised at the daring presumption of Tilly,
who hesitated not, in presence of one formidable enemy, to provoke
another; and at his negligence in permitting, without opposition, the
union of the two.

The Saxon Elector, rendered desperate by the entrance of Tilly into his
territories, threw himself, though not without a violent struggle, under
the protection of Sweden.

Immediately after dismissing Tilly's first embassy, he had despatched
his field-marshal Arnheim in all haste to the camp of Gustavus, to
solicit the prompt assistance of that monarch whom he had so long
neglected. The king concealed the inward satisfaction he felt at this
long wished for result. "I am sorry for the Elector," said he, with
dissembled coldness, to the ambassador; "had he heeded my repeated
remonstrances, his country would never have seen the face of an enemy,
and Magdeburg would not have fallen. Now, when necessity leaves him no
alternative, he has recourse to my assistance. But tell him, that I
cannot, for the sake of the Elector of Saxony, ruin my own cause, and
that of my confederates. What pledge have I for the sincerity of a
prince whose minister is in the pay of Austria, and who will abandon me
as soon as the Emperor flatters him, and withdraws his troops from his
frontiers? Tilly, it is true, has received a strong reinforcement; but
this shall not prevent me from meeting him with confidence, as soon as I
have covered my rear."

The Saxon minister could make no other reply to these reproaches, than
that it was best to bury the past in oblivion.

He pressed the king to name the conditions, on which he would afford
assistance to Saxony, and offered to guarantee their acceptance. "I
require," said Gustavus, "that the Elector shall cede to me the fortress
of Wittenberg, deliver to me his eldest sons as hostages, furnish my
troops with three months' pay, and deliver up to me the traitors among
his ministry."

"Not Wittenberg alone," said the Elector, when he received this answer,
and hurried back his minister to the Swedish camp, "not Wittenberg
alone, but Torgau, and all Saxony, shall be open to him; my whole family
shall be his hostages, and if that is insufficient, I will place myself
in his hands. Return and inform him I am ready to deliver to him any
traitors he shall name, to furnish his army with the money he requires,
and to venture my life and fortune in the good cause."

The king had only desired to test the sincerity of the Elector's new
sentiments. Convinced of it, he now retracted these harsh demands.
"The distrust," said he, "which was shown to myself when advancing to
the relief of Magdeburg, had naturally excited mine; the Elector's
present confidence demands a return. I am satisfied, provided he grants
my army one month's pay, and even for this advance I hope to indemnify

Immediately upon the conclusion of the treaty, the king crossed the
Elbe, and next day joined the Saxons. Instead of preventing this
junction, Tilly had advanced against Leipzig, which he summoned to
receive an imperial garrison. In hopes of speedy relief, Hans Von der
Pforta, the commandant, made preparations for his defence, and laid the
suburb towards Halle in ashes. But the ill condition of the
fortifications made resistance vain, and on the second day the gates
were opened. Tilly had fixed his head quarters in the house of a
grave-digger, the only one still standing in the suburb of Halle: here
he signed the capitulation, and here, too, he arranged his attack on the
King of Sweden. Tilly grew pale at the representation of the death's
head and cross bones, with which the proprietor had decorated his house;
and, contrary to all expectation, Leipzig experienced moderate

Meanwhile, a council of war was held at Torgau, between the King of
Sweden and the Elector of Saxony, at which the Elector of Brandenburg
was also present. The resolution which should now be adopted, was to
decide irrevocably the fate of Germany and the Protestant religion, the
happiness of nations and the destiny of their princes. The anxiety of
suspense which, before every decisive resolve, oppresses even the hearts
of heroes, appeared now for a moment to overshadow the great mind of
Gustavus Adolphus. "If we decide upon battle," said he, "the stake will
be nothing less than a crown and two electorates. Fortune is
changeable, and the inscrutable decrees of Heaven may, for our sins,
give the victory to our enemies. My kingdom, it is true, even after the
loss of my life and my army, would still have a hope left. Far removed
from the scene of action, defended by a powerful fleet, a well-guarded
frontier, and a warlike population, it would at least be safe from the
worst consequences of a defeat. But what chances of escape are there
for you, with an enemy so close at hand?" Gustavus Adolphus displayed
the modest diffidence of a hero, whom an overweening belief of his own
strength did not blind to the greatness of his danger; John George, the
confidence of a weak man, who knows that he has a hero by his side.
Impatient to rid his territories as soon as possible of the oppressive
presence of two armies, he burned for a battle, in which he had no
former laurels to lose. He was ready to march with his Saxons alone
against Leipzig, and attack Tilly. At last Gustavus acceded to his
opinion; and it was resolved that the attack should be made without
delay, before the arrival of the reinforcements, which were on their
way, under Altringer and Tiefenbach. The united Swedish and Saxon
armies now crossed the Mulda, while the Elector returned homeward.

Early on the morning of the 7th September, 1631, the hostile armies came
in sight of each other. Tilly, who, since he had neglected the
opportunity of overpowering the Saxons before their union with the
Swedes, was disposed to await the arrival of the reinforcements, had
taken up a strong and advantageous position not far from Leipzig, where
he expected he should be able to avoid the battle. But the impetuosity
of Pappenheim obliged him, as soon as the enemy were in motion, to alter
his plans, and to move to the left, in the direction of the hills which
run from the village of Wahren towards Lindenthal. At the foot of these
heights, his army was drawn up in a single line, and his artillery
placed upon the heights behind, from which it could sweep the whole
extensive plain of Breitenfeld. The Swedish and Saxon army advanced in
two columns, having to pass the Lober near Podelwitz, in Tilly's front.

To defend the passage of this rivulet, Pappenheim advanced at the head
of 2000 cuirassiers, though after great reluctance on the part of Tilly,
and with express orders not to commence a battle. But, in disobedience
to this command, Pappenheim attacked the vanguard of the Swedes, and
after a brief struggle was driven to retreat. To check the progress of
the enemy, he set fire to Podelwitz, which, however, did not prevent the
two columns from advancing and forming in order of battle.

On the right, the Swedes drew up in a double line, the infantry in the
centre, divided into such small battalions as could be easily and
rapidly manoeuvred without breaking their order; the cavalry upon their
wings, divided in the same manner into small squadrons, interspersed
with bodies of musqueteers, so as both to give an appearance of greater
numerical force, and to annoy the enemy's horse. Colonel Teufel
commanded the centre, Gustavus Horn the left, while the right was led by
the king in person, opposed to Count Pappenheim.

On the left, the Saxons formed at a considerable distance from the
Swedes,--by the advice of Gustavus, which was justified by the event.
The order of battle had been arranged between the Elector and his
field-marshal, and the king was content with merely signifying his
approval. He was anxious apparently to separate the Swedish prowess
from that of the Saxons, and fortune did not confound them.

The enemy was drawn up under the heights towards the west, in one
immense line, long enough to outflank the Swedish army,--the infantry
being divided in large battalions, the cavalry in equally unwieldy
squadrons. The artillery being on the heights behind, the range of its
fire was over the heads of his men. From this position of his
artillery, it was evident that Tilly's purpose was to await rather than
to attack the enemy; since this arrangement rendered it impossible for
him to do so without exposing his men to the fire of his own cannons.
Tilly himself commanded the centre, Count Furstenberg the right wing,
and Pappenheim the left. The united troops of the Emperor and the
League on this day did not amount to 34,000 or 35,000 men; the Swedes
and Saxons were about the same number. But had a million been
confronted with a million it could only have rendered the action more
bloody, certainly not more important and decisive. For this day
Gustavus had crossed the Baltic, to court danger in a distant country,
and expose his crown and life to the caprice of fortune. The two
greatest generals of the time, both hitherto invincible, were now to be
matched against each other in a contest which both had long avoided; and
on this field of battle the hitherto untarnished laurels of one leader
must droop for ever. The two parties in Germany had beheld the approach
of this day with fear and trembling; and the whole age awaited with deep
anxiety its issue, and posterity was either to bless or deplore it for

Tilly's usual intrepidity and resolution seemed to forsake him on this
eventful day. He had formed no regular plan for giving battle to the
King, and he displayed as little firmness in avoiding it. Contrary to
his own judgment, Pappenheim had forced him to action. Doubts which he
had never before felt, struggled in his bosom; gloomy forebodings
clouded his ever-open brow; the shade of Magdeburg seemed to hover over

A cannonade of two hours commenced the battle; the wind, which was from
the west, blew thick clouds of smoke and dust from the newly-ploughed
and parched fields into the faces of the Swedes. This compelled the
king insensibly to wheel northwards, and the rapidity with which this
movement was executed left no time to the enemy to prevent it.

Tilly at last left his heights, and began the first attack upon the
Swedes; but to avoid their hot fire, he filed off towards the right, and
fell upon the Saxons with such impetuosity that their line was broken,
and the whole army thrown into confusion. The Elector himself retired
to Eilenburg, though a few regiments still maintained their ground upon
the field, and by a bold stand saved the honour of Saxony. Scarcely had
the confusion began ere the Croats commenced plundering, and messengers
were despatched to Munich and Vienna with the news of the victory.

Pappenheim had thrown himself with the whole force of his cavalry upon
the right wing of the Swedes, but without being able to make it waver.
The king commanded here in person, and under him General Banner. Seven
times did Pappenheim renew the attack, and seven times was he repulsed.
He fled at last with great loss, and abandoned the field to his

In the mean time, Tilly, having routed the remainder of the Saxons,
attacked with his victorious troops the left wing of the Swedes. To
this wing the king, as soon as he perceived that the Saxons were thrown
into disorder, had, with a ready foresight, detached a reinforcement of
three regiments to cover its flank, which the flight of the Saxons had
left exposed. Gustavus Horn, who commanded here, showed the enemy's
cuirassiers a spirited resistance, which the infantry, interspersed
among the squadrons of horse, materially assisted. The enemy were
already beginning to relax the vigour of their attack, when Gustavus
Adolphus appeared to terminate the contest. The left wing of the
Imperialists had been routed; and the king's division, having no longer

Book of the day: