Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Thirty Years War, Complete by Frederich Schiller

Part 4 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.

any enemy to oppose, could now turn their arms wherever it would be to
the most advantage. Wheeling, therefore, with his right wing and main
body to the left, he attacked the heights on which the enemy's artillery
was planted. Gaining possession of them in a short time, he turned upon
the enemy the full fire of their own cannon.

The play of artillery upon their flank, and the terrible onslaught of
the Swedes in front, threw this hitherto invincible army into confusion.
A sudden retreat was the only course left to Tilly, but even this was to
be made through the midst of the enemy. The whole army was in disorder,
with the exception of four regiments of veteran soldiers, who never as
yet had fled from the field, and were resolved not to do so now.
Closing their ranks, they broke through the thickest of the victorious
army, and gained a small thicket, where they opposed a new front to the
Swedes, and maintained their resistance till night, when their number
was reduced to six hundred men. With them fled the wreck of Tilly's
army, and the battle was decided.

Amid the dead and the wounded, Gustavus Adolphus threw himself on his
knees; and the first joy of his victory gushed forth in fervent prayer.
He ordered his cavalry to pursue the enemy as long as the darkness of
the night would permit. The pealing of the alarm-bells set the
inhabitants of all the neighbouring villages in motion, and utterly lost
was the unhappy fugitive who fell into their hands. The king encamped
with the rest of his army between the field of battle and Leipzig, as it
was impossible to attack the town the same night. Seven thousand of the
enemy were killed in the field, and more than 5,000 either wounded or
taken prisoners. Their whole artillery and camp fell into the hands of
the Swedes, and more than a hundred standards and colours were taken.
Of the Saxons about 2,000 had fallen, while the loss of the Swedes did
not exceed 700. The rout of the Imperialists was so complete, that
Tilly, on his retreat to Halle and Halberstadt, could not rally above
600 men, or Pappenheim more than 1,400--so rapidly was this formidable
army dispersed, which so lately was the terror of Italy and Germany.

Tilly himself owed his escape merely to chance. Exhausted by his
wounds, he still refused to surrender to a Swedish captain of horse, who
summoned him to yield; but who, when he was on the point of putting him
to death, was himself stretched on the ground by a timely pistol-shot.
But more grievous than danger or wounds was the pain of surviving his
reputation, and of losing in a single day the fruits of a long life.
All former victories were as nothing, since he had failed in gaining the
one that should have crowned them all. Nothing remained of all his past
exploits, but the general execration which had followed them. From this
period, he never recovered his cheerfulness or his good fortune. Even
his last consolation, the hope of revenge, was denied to him, by the
express command of the Emperor not to risk a decisive battle.

The disgrace of this day is to be ascribed principally to three
mistakes; his planting the cannon on the hills behind him, his
afterwards abandoning these heights, and his allowing the enemy, without
opposition, to form in order of battle. But how easily might those
mistakes have been rectified, had it not been for the cool presence of
mind and superior genius of his adversary!

Tilly fled from Halle to Halberstadt, where he scarcely allowed time for
the cure of his wounds, before he hurried towards the Weser to recruit
his force by the imperial garrisons in Lower Saxony.

The Elector of Saxony had not failed, after the danger was over, to
appear in Gustavus's camp. The king thanked him for having advised a
battle; and the Elector, charmed at his friendly reception, promised
him, in the first transports of joy, the Roman crown. Gustavus set out
next day for Merseburg, leaving the Elector to recover Leipzig. Five
thousand Imperialists, who had collected together after the defeat, and
whom he met on his march, were either cut in pieces or taken prisoners,
of whom again the greater part entered into his service. Merseburg
quickly surrendered; Halle was soon after taken, whither the Elector of
Saxony, after making himself master of Leipzig, repaired to meet the
king, and to concert their future plan of operations.

The victory was gained, but only a prudent use of it could render it
decisive. The imperial armies were totally routed, Saxony free from the
enemy, and Tilly had retired into Brunswick. To have followed him
thither would have been to renew the war in Lower Saxony, which had
scarcely recovered from the ravages of the last. It was therefore
determined to carry the war into the enemy's country, which, open and
defenceless as far as Vienna, invited attack. On their right, they
might fall upon the territories of the Roman Catholic princes, or
penetrate, on the left, into the hereditary dominions of Austria, and
make the Emperor tremble in his palace. Both plans were resolved on;
and the question that now remained was to assign its respective parts.
Gustavus Adolphus, at the head of a victorious army, had little
resistance to apprehend in his progress from Leipzig to Prague, Vienna,
and Presburg. As to Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, and Hungary, they had
been stripped of their defenders, while the oppressed Protestants in
these countries were ripe for a revolt. Ferdinand was no longer secure
in his capital: Vienna, on the first terror of surprise, would at once
open its gates. The loss of his territories would deprive the enemy of
the resources by which alone the war could be maintained; and Ferdinand
would, in all probability, gladly accede, on the hardest conditions, to
a peace which would remove a formidable enemy from the heart of his
dominions. This bold plan of operations was flattering to a conqueror,
and success perhaps might have justified it. But Gustavus Adolphus, as
prudent as he was brave, and more a statesman than a conqueror, rejected
it, because he had a higher end in view, and would not trust the issue
either to bravery or good fortune alone.

By marching towards Bohemia, Franconia and the Upper Rhine would be left
to the Elector of Saxony. But Tilly had already begun to recruit his
shattered army from the garrisons in Lower Saxony, and was likely to be
at the head of a formidable force upon the Weser, and to lose no time in
marching against the enemy. To so experienced a general, it would not
do to oppose an Arnheim, of whose military skill the battle of Leipzig
had afforded but equivocal proof; and of what avail would be the rapid
and brilliant career of the king in Bohemia and Austria, if Tilly should
recover his superiority in the Empire, animating the courage of the
Roman Catholics, and disarming, by a new series of victories, the allies
and confederates of the king? What would he gain by expelling the
Emperor from his hereditary dominions, if Tilly succeeded in conquering
for that Emperor the rest of Germany? Could he hope to reduce the
Emperor more than had been done, twelve years before, by the
insurrection of Bohemia, which had failed to shake the firmness or
exhaust the resources of that prince, and from which he had risen more
formidable than ever?

Less brilliant, but more solid, were the advantages which he had to
expect from an incursion into the territories of the League. In this
quarter, his appearance in arms would be decisive. At this very
conjuncture, the princes were assembled in a Diet at Frankfort, to
deliberate upon the Edict of Restitution, where Ferdinand employed all
his artful policy to persuade the intimidated Protestants to accede to a
speedy and disadvantageous arrangement. The advance of their protector
could alone encourage them to a bold resistance, and disappoint the
Emperor's designs. Gustavus Adolphus hoped, by his presence, to unite
the discontented princes, or by the terror of his arms to detach them
from the Emperor's party. Here, in the centre of Germany, he could
paralyse the nerves of the imperial power, which, without the aid of the
League, must soon fall--here, in the neighbourhood of France, he could
watch the movements of a suspicious ally; and however important to his
secret views it was to cultivate the friendship of the Roman Catholic
electors, he saw the necessity of making himself first of all master of
their fate, in order to establish, by his magnanimous forbearance, a
claim to their gratitude.

He accordingly chose the route to Franconia and the Rhine; and left the
conquest of Bohemia to the Elector of Saxony.

Book III.

The glorious battle of Leipzig effected a great change in the conduct
of Gustavus Adolphus, as well as in the opinion which both friends and
foes entertained of him. Successfully had he confronted the greatest
general of the age, and had matched the strength of his tactics and the
courage of his Swedes against the elite of the imperial army, the most
experienced troops in Europe. From this moment he felt a firm
confidence in his own powers--self-confidence has always been the parent
of great actions. In all his subsequent operations more boldness and
decision are observable; greater determination, even amidst the most
unfavourable circumstances, a more lofty tone towards his adversaries, a
more dignified bearing towards his allies, and even in his clemency,
something of the forbearance of a conqueror. His natural courage was
farther heightened by the pious ardour of his imagination. He saw in
his own cause that of heaven, and in the defeat of Tilly beheld the
decisive interference of Providence against his enemies, and in himself
the instrument of divine vengeance. Leaving his crown and his country
far behind, he advanced on the wings of victory into the heart of
Germany, which for centuries had seen no foreign conqueror within its
bosom. The warlike spirit of its inhabitants, the vigilance of its
numerous princes, the artful confederation of its states, the number of
its strong castles, its many and broad rivers, had long restrained the
ambition of its neighbours; and frequently as its extensive frontier had
been attacked, its interior had been free from hostile invasion. The
Empire had hitherto enjoyed the equivocal privilege of being its own
enemy, though invincible from without. Even now, it was merely the
disunion of its members, and the intolerance of religious zeal, that
paved the way for the Swedish invader. The bond of union between the
states, which alone had rendered the Empire invincible, was now
dissolved; and Gustavus derived from Germany itself the power by which
he subdued it. With as much courage as prudence, he availed himself of
all that the favourable moment afforded; and equally at home in the
cabinet and the field, he tore asunder the web of the artful policy,
with as much ease, as he shattered walls with the thunder of his cannon.
Uninterruptedly he pursued his conquests from one end of Germany to the
other, without breaking the line of posts which commanded a secure
retreat at any moment; and whether on the banks of the Rhine, or at the
mouth of the Lech, alike maintaining his communication with his
hereditary dominions.

The consternation of the Emperor and the League at Tilly's defeat at
Leipzig, was scarcely greater than the surprise and embarrassment of the
allies of the King of Sweden at his unexpected success. It was beyond
both their expectations and their wishes. Annihilated in a moment was
that formidable army which, while it checked his progress and set bounds
to his ambition, rendered him in some measure dependent on themselves.
He now stood in the heart of Germany, alone, without a rival or without
an adversary who was a match for him. Nothing could stop his progress,
or check his pretensions, if the intoxication of success should tempt
him to abuse his victory. If formerly they had dreaded the Emperor's
irresistible power, there was no less cause now to fear every thing for
the Empire, from the violence of a foreign conqueror, and for the
Catholic Church, from the religious zeal of a Protestant king. The
distrust and jealousy of some of the combined powers, which a stronger
fear of the Emperor had for a time repressed, now revived; and scarcely
had Gustavus Adolphus merited, by his courage and success, their
confidence, when they began covertly to circumvent all his plans.
Through a continual struggle with the arts of enemies, and the distrust
of his own allies, must his victories henceforth be won; yet resolution,
penetration, and prudence made their way through all impediments. But
while his success excited the jealousy of his more powerful allies,
France and Saxony, it gave courage to the weaker, and emboldened them
openly to declare their sentiments and join his party. Those who could
neither vie with Gustavus Adolphus in importance, nor suffer from his
ambition, expected the more from the magnanimity of their powerful ally,
who enriched them with the spoils of their enemies, and protected them
against the oppression of their stronger neighbours. His strength
covered their weakness, and, inconsiderable in themselves, they acquired
weight and influence from their union with the Swedish hero. This was
the case with most of the free cities, and particularly with the weaker
Protestant states. It was these that introduced the king into the heart
of Germany; these covered his rear, supplied his troops with
necessaries, received them into their fortresses, while they exposed
their own lives in his battles. His prudent regard to their national
pride, his popular deportment, some brilliant acts of justice, and his
respect for the laws, were so many ties by which he bound the German
Protestants to his cause; while the crying atrocities of the
Imperialists, the Spaniards, and the troops of Lorraine, powerfully
contributed to set his own conduct and that of his army in a favourable

If Gustavus Adolphus owed his success chiefly to his own genius, at the
same time, it must be owned, he was greatly favoured by fortune and by
circumstances. Two great advantages gave him a decided superiority over
the enemy. While he removed the scene of war into the lands of the
League, drew their youth as recruits, enriched himself with booty, and
used the revenues of their fugitive princes as his own, he at once took
from the enemy the means of effectual resistance, and maintained an
expensive war with little cost to himself. And, moreover, while his
opponents, the princes of the League, divided among themselves, and
governed by different and often conflicting interests, acted without
unanimity, and therefore without energy; while their generals were
deficient in authority, their troops in obedience, the operations of
their scattered armies without concert; while the general was separated
from the lawgiver and the statesman; these several functions were united
in Gustavus Adolphus, the only source from which authority flowed, the
sole object to which the eye of the warrior turned; the soul of his
party, the inventor as well as the executor of his plans. In him,
therefore, the Protestants had a centre of unity and harmony, which was
altogether wanting to their opponents. No wonder, then, if favoured by
such advantages, at the head of such an army, with such a genius to
direct it, and guided by such political prudence, Gustavus Adolphus was

With the sword in one hand, and mercy in the other, he traversed Germany
as a conqueror, a lawgiver, and a judge, in as short a time almost as
the tourist of pleasure. The keys of towns and fortresses were
delivered to him, as if to the native sovereign. No fortress was
inaccessible; no river checked his victorious career. He conquered by
the very terror of his name. The Swedish standards were planted along
the whole stream of the Maine: the Lower Palatinate was free, the
troops of Spain and Lorraine had fled across the Rhine and the Moselle.
The Swedes and Hessians poured like a torrent into the territories of
Mentz, of Wurtzburg, and Bamberg, and three fugitive bishops, at a
distance from their sees, suffered dearly for their unfortunate
attachment to the Emperor. It was now the turn for Maximilian, the
leader of the League, to feel in his own dominions the miseries he had
inflicted upon others. Neither the terrible fate of his allies, nor the
peaceful overtures of Gustavus, who, in the midst of conquest, ever held
out the hand of friendship, could conquer the obstinacy of this prince.
The torrent of war now poured into Bavaria. Like the banks of the
Rhine, those of the Lecke and the Donau were crowded with Swedish
troops. Creeping into his fortresses, the defeated Elector abandoned to
the ravages of the foe his dominions, hitherto unscathed by war, and on
which the bigoted violence of the Bavarians seemed to invite
retaliation. Munich itself opened its gates to the invincible monarch,
and the fugitive Palatine, Frederick V., in the forsaken residence of
his rival, consoled himself for a time for the loss of his dominions.

While Gustavus Adolphus was extending his conquests in the south, his
generals and allies were gaining similar triumphs in the other
provinces. Lower Saxony shook off the yoke of Austria, the enemy
abandoned Mecklenburg, and the imperial garrisons retired from the banks
of the Weser and the Elbe. In Westphalia and the Upper Rhine, William,
Landgrave of Hesse, rendered himself formidable; the Duke of Weimar in
Thuringia, and the French in the Electorate of Treves; while to the
eastward the whole kingdom of Bohemia was conquered by the Saxons. The
Turks were preparing to attack Hungary, and in the heart of Austria a
dangerous insurrection was threatened. In vain did the Emperor look
around to the courts of Europe for support; in vain did he summon the
Spaniards to his assistance, for the bravery of the Flemings afforded
them ample employment beyond the Rhine; in vain did he call upon the
Roman court and the whole church to come to his rescue. The offended
Pope sported, in pompous processions and idle anathemas, with the
embarrassments of Ferdinand, and instead of the desired subsidy he was
shown the devastation of Mantua.

On all sides of his extensive monarchy hostile arms surrounded him.
With the states of the League, now overrun by the enemy, those ramparts
were thrown down, behind which Austria had so long defended herself, and
the embers of war were now smouldering upon her unguarded frontiers.
His most zealous allies were disarmed; Maximilian of Bavaria, his
firmest support, was scarce able to defend himself. His armies,
weakened by desertion and repeated defeat, and dispirited by continued
misfortunes had unlearnt, under beaten generals, that warlike
impetuosity which, as it is the consequence, so it is the guarantee of
success. The danger was extreme, and extraordinary means alone could
raise the imperial power from the degradation into which it was fallen.

The most urgent want was that of a general; and the only one from whom
he could hope for the revival of his former splendour, had been removed
from his command by an envious cabal. So low had the Emperor now
fallen, that he was forced to make the most humiliating proposals to his
injured subject and servant, and meanly to press upon the imperious Duke
of Friedland the acceptance of the powers which no less meanly had been
taken from him. A new spirit began from this moment to animate the
expiring body of Austria; and a sudden change in the aspect of affairs
bespoke the firm hand which guided them. To the absolute King of
Sweden, a general equally absolute was now opposed; and one victorious
hero was confronted with another. Both armies were again to engage in
the doubtful struggle; and the prize of victory, already almost secured
in the hands of Gustavus Adolphus, was to be the object of another and a
severer trial. The storm of war gathered around Nuremberg; before its
walls the hostile armies encamped; gazing on each other with dread and
respect, longing for, and yet shrinking from, the moment that was to
close them together in the shock of battle. The eyes of Europe turned
to the scene in curiosity and alarm, while Nuremberg, in dismay,
expected soon to lend its name to a more decisive battle than that of
Leipzig. Suddenly the clouds broke, and the storm rolled away from
Franconia, to burst upon the plains of Saxony. Near Lutzen fell the
thunder that had menaced Nuremberg; the victory, half lost, was
purchased by the death of the king. Fortune, which had never forsaken
him in his lifetime, favoured the King of Sweden even in his death, with
the rare privilege of falling in the fulness of his glory and an
untarnished fame. By a timely death, his protecting genius rescued him
from the inevitable fate of man--that of forgetting moderation in the
intoxication of success, and justice in the plenitude of power. It may
be doubted whether, had he lived longer, he would still have deserved
the tears which Germany shed over his grave, or maintained his title to
the admiration with which posterity regards him, as the first and only
JUST conqueror that the world has produced. The untimely fall of their
great leader seemed to threaten the ruin of his party; but to the Power
which rules the world, no loss of a single man is irreparable. As the
helm of war dropped from the hand of the falling hero, it was seized by
two great statesmen, Oxenstiern and Richelieu. Destiny still pursued
its relentless course, and for full sixteen years longer the flames of
war blazed over the ashes of the long-forgotten king and soldier.

I may now be permitted to take a cursory retrospect of Gustavus Adolphus
in his victorious career; glance at the scene in which he alone was the
great actor; and then, when Austria becomes reduced to extremity by the
successes of the Swedes, and by a series of disasters is driven to the
most humiliating and desperate expedients, to return to the history of
the Emperor.

As soon as the plan of operations had been concerted at Halle, between
the King of Sweden and the Elector of Saxony; as soon as the alliance
had been concluded with the neighbouring princes of Weimar and Anhalt,
and preparations made for the recovery of the bishopric of Magdeburg,
the king began his march into the empire. He had here no despicable foe
to contend with. Within the empire, the Emperor was still powerful;
throughout Franconia, Swabia, and the Palatinate, imperial garrisons
were posted, with whom the possession of every place of importance must
be disputed sword in hand. On the Rhine he was opposed by the
Spaniards, who had overrun the territory of the banished Elector
Palatine, seized all its strong places, and would everywhere dispute
with him the passage over that river. On his rear was Tilly, who was
fast recruiting his force, and would soon be joined by the auxiliaries
from Lorraine. Every Papist presented an inveterate foe, while his
connexion with France did not leave him at liberty to act with freedom
against the Roman Catholics. Gustavus had foreseen all these obstacles,
but at the same time the means by which they were to be overcome. The
strength of the Imperialists was broken and divided among different
garrisons, while he would bring against them one by one his whole united
force. If he was to be opposed by the fanaticism of the Roman
Catholics, and the awe in which the lesser states regarded the Emperor's
power, he might depend on the active support of the Protestants, and
their hatred to Austrian oppression. The ravages of the Imperialist and
Spanish troops also powerfully aided him in these quarters; where the
ill-treated husbandman and citizen sighed alike for a deliverer, and
where the mere change of yoke seemed to promise a relief. Emissaries
were despatched to gain over to the Swedish side the principal free
cities, particularly Nuremberg and Frankfort. The first that lay in the
king's march, and which he could not leave unoccupied in his rear, was
Erfurt. Here the Protestant party among the citizens opened to him,
without a blow, the gates of the town and the citadel. From the
inhabitants of this, as of every important place which afterwards
submitted, he exacted an oath of allegiance, while he secured its
possession by a sufficient garrison. To his ally, Duke William of
Weimar, he intrusted the command of an army to be raised in Thuringia.
He also left his queen in Erfurt, and promised to increase its
privileges. The Swedish army now crossed the Thuringian forest in two
columns, by Gotha and Arnstadt, and having delivered, in its march, the
county of Henneberg from the Imperialists, formed a junction on the
third day near Koenigshofen, on the frontiers of Franconia.

Francis, Bishop of Wurtzburg, the bitter enemy of the Protestants, and
the most zealous member of the League, was the first to feel the
indignation of Gustavus Adolphus. A few threats gained for the Swedes
possession of his fortress of Koenigshofen, and with it the key of the
whole province. At the news of this rapid conquest, dismay seized all
the Roman Catholic towns of the circle. The Bishops of Wurtzburg and
Bamberg trembled in their castles; they already saw their sees
tottering, their churches profaned, and their religion degraded. The
malice of his enemies had circulated the most frightful representations
of the persecuting spirit and the mode of warfare pursued by the Swedish
king and his soldiers, which neither the repeated assurances of the
king, nor the most splendid examples of humanity and toleration, ever
entirely effaced. Many feared to suffer at the hands of another what in
similar circumstances they were conscious of inflicting themselves.
Many of the richest Roman Catholics hastened to secure by flight their
property, their religion, and their persons, from the sanguinary
fanaticism of the Swedes. The bishop himself set the example. In the
midst of the alarm, which his bigoted zeal had caused, he abandoned his
dominions, and fled to Paris, to excite, if possible, the French
ministry against the common enemy of religion.

The further progress of Gustavus Adolphus in the ecclesiastical
territories agreed with this brilliant commencement. Schweinfurt, and
soon afterwards Wurtzburg, abandoned by their Imperial garrisons,
surrendered; but Marienberg he was obliged to carry by storm. In this
place, which was believed to be impregnable, the enemy had collected a
large store of provisions and ammunition, all of which fell into the
hands of the Swedes. The king found a valuable prize in the library of
the Jesuits, which he sent to Upsal, while his soldiers found a still
more agreeable one in the prelate's well-filled cellars; his treasures
the bishop had in good time removed. The whole bishopric followed the
example of the capital, and submitted to the Swedes. The king compelled
all the bishop's subjects to swear allegiance to himself; and, in the
absence of the lawful sovereign, appointed a regency, one half of whose
members were Protestants. In every Roman Catholic town which Gustavus
took, he opened the churches to the Protestant people, but without
retaliating on the Papists the cruelties which they had practised on the
former. On such only as sword in hand refused to submit, were the
fearful rights of war enforced; and for the occasional acts of violence
committed by a few of the more lawless soldiers, in the blind rage of
the first attack, their humane leader is not justly responsible. Those
who were peaceably disposed, or defenceless, were treated with mildness.
It was a sacred principle of Gustavus to spare the blood of his enemies,
as well as that of his own troops.

On the first news of the Swedish irruption, the Bishop of Wurtzburg,
without regarding the treaty which he had entered into with the King of
Sweden, had earnestly pressed the general of the League to hasten to the
assistance of the bishopric. That defeated commander had, in the mean
time, collected on the Weser the shattered remnant of his army,
reinforced himself from the garrisons of Lower Saxony, and effected a
junction in Hesse with Altringer and Fugger, who commanded under him.
Again at the head of a considerable force, Tilly burned with impatience
to wipe out the stain of his first defeat by a splendid victory. From
his camp at Fulda, whither he had marched with his army, he earnestly
requested permission from the Duke of Bavaria to give battle to Gustavus
Adolphus. But, in the event of Tilly's defeat, the League had no second
army to fall back upon, and Maximilian was too cautious to risk again
the fate of his party on a single battle. With tears in his eyes, Tilly
read the commands of his superior, which compelled him to inactivity.
Thus his march to Franconia was delayed, and Gustavus Adolphus gained
time to overrun the whole bishopric. It was in vain that Tilly,
reinforced at Aschaffenburg by a body of 12,000 men from Lorraine,
marched with an overwhelming force to the relief of Wurtzburg. The town
and citadel were already in the hands of the Swedes, and Maximilian of
Bavaria was generally blamed (and not without cause, perhaps) for
having, by his scruples, occasioned the loss of the bishopric.
Commanded to avoid a battle, Tilly contented himself with checking the
farther advance of the enemy; but he could save only a few of the towns
from the impetuosity of the Swedes. Baffled in an attempt to reinforce
the weak garrison of Hanau, which it was highly important to the Swedes
to gain, he crossed the Maine, near Seligenstadt, and took the direction
of the Bergstrasse, to protect the Palatinate from the conqueror.

Tilly, however, was not the sole enemy whom Gustavus Adolphus met in
Franconia, and drove before him. Charles, Duke of Lorraine, celebrated
in the annals of the time for his unsteadiness of character, his vain
projects, and his misfortunes, ventured to raise a weak arm against the
Swedish hero, in the hope of obtaining from the Emperor the electoral
dignity. Deaf to the suggestions of a rational policy, he listened only
to the dictates of heated ambition; by supporting the Emperor, he
exasperated France, his formidable neighbour; and in the pursuit of a
visionary phantom in another country, left undefended his own dominions,
which were instantly overrun by a French army. Austria willingly
conceded to him, as well as to the other princes of the League, the
honour of being ruined in her cause. Intoxicated with vain hopes, this
prince collected a force of 17,000 men, which he proposed to lead in
person against the Swedes. If these troops were deficient in discipline
and courage, they were at least attractive by the splendour of their
accoutrements; and however sparing they were of their prowess against
the foe, they were liberal enough with it against the defenceless
citizens and peasantry, whom they were summoned to defend. Against the
bravery, and the formidable discipline of the Swedes this splendidly
attired army, however, made no long stand. On the first advance of the
Swedish cavalry a panic seized them, and they were driven without
difficulty from their cantonments in Wurtzburg; the defeat of a few
regiments occasioned a general rout, and the scattered remnant sought a
covert from the Swedish valour in the towns beyond the Rhine. Loaded
with shame and ridicule, the duke hurried home by Strasburg, too
fortunate in escaping, by a submissive written apology, the indignation
of his conqueror, who had first beaten him out of the field, and then
called upon him to account for his hostilities. It is related upon this
occasion that, in a village on the Rhine a peasant struck the horse of
the duke as he rode past, exclaiming, "Haste, Sir, you must go quicker
to escape the great King of Sweden!"

The example of his neighbours' misfortunes had taught the Bishop of
Bamberg prudence. To avert the plundering of his territories, he made
offers of peace, though these were intended only to delay the king's
course till the arrival of assistance. Gustavus Adolphus, too
honourable himself to suspect dishonesty in another, readily accepted
the bishop's proposals, and named the conditions on which he was willing
to save his territories from hostile treatment. He was the more
inclined to peace, as he had no time to lose in the conquest of Bamberg,
and his other designs called him to the Rhine. The rapidity with which
he followed up these plans, cost him the loss of those pecuniary
supplies which, by a longer residence in Franconia, he might easily have
extorted from the weak and terrified bishop. This artful prelate broke
off the negotiation the instant the storm of war passed away from his
own territories. No sooner had Gustavus marched onwards than he threw
himself under the protection of Tilly, and received the troops of the
Emperor into the very towns and fortresses, which shortly before he had
shown himself ready to open to the Swedes. By this stratagem, however,
he only delayed for a brief interval the ruin of his bishopric. A
Swedish general who had been left in Franconia, undertook to punish the
perfidy of the bishop; and the ecclesiastical territory became the seat
of war, and was ravaged alike by friends and foes.

The formidable presence of the Imperialists had hitherto been a check
upon the Franconian States; but their retreat, and the humane conduct of
the Swedish king, emboldened the nobility and other inhabitants of this
circle to declare in his favour. Nuremberg joyfully committed itself to
his protection; and the Franconian nobles were won to his cause by
flattering proclamations, in which he condescended to apologize for his
hostile appearance in the dominions. The fertility of Franconia, and
the rigorous honesty of the Swedish soldiers in their dealings with the
inhabitants, brought abundance to the camp of the king. The high esteem
which the nobility of the circle felt for Gustavus, the respect and
admiration with which they regarded his brilliant exploits, the promises
of rich booty which the service of this monarch held out, greatly
facilitated the recruiting of his troops; a step which was made
necessary by detaching so many garrisons from the main body. At the
sound of his drums, recruits flocked to his standard from all quarters.

The king had scarcely spent more time in conquering Franconia, than he
would have required to cross it. He now left behind him Gustavus Horn,
one of his best generals, with a force of 8,000 men, to complete and
retain his conquest. He himself with his main army, reinforced by the
late recruits, hastened towards the Rhine in order to secure this
frontier of the empire from the Spaniards; to disarm the ecclesiastical
electors, and to obtain from their fertile territories new resources for
the prosecution of the war. Following the course of the Maine, he
subjected, in the course of his march, Seligenstadt, Aschaffenburg,
Steinheim, the whole territory on both sides of the river. The imperial
garrisons seldom awaited his approach, and never attempted resistance.
In the meanwhile one of his colonels had been fortunate enough to take
by surprise the town and citadel of Hanau, for whose preservation Tilly
had shown such anxiety. Eager to be free of the oppressive burden of
the Imperialists, the Count of Hanau gladly placed himself under the
milder yoke of the King of Sweden.

Gustavus Adolphus now turned his whole attention to Frankfort, for it
was his constant maxim to cover his rear by the friendship and
possession of the more important towns. Frankfort was among the free
cities which, even from Saxony, he had endeavoured to prepare for his
reception; and he now called upon it, by a summons from Offenbach, to
allow him a free passage, and to admit a Swedish garrison. Willingly
would this city have dispensed with the necessity of choosing between
the King of Sweden and the Emperor; for, whatever party they might
embrace, the inhabitants had a like reason to fear for their privileges
and trade. The Emperor's vengeance would certainly fall heavily upon
them, if they were in a hurry to submit to the King of Sweden, and
afterwards he should prove unable to protect his adherents in Germany.
But still more ruinous for them would be the displeasure of an
irresistible conqueror, who, with a formidable army, was already before
their gates, and who might punish their opposition by the ruin of their
commerce and prosperity. In vain did their deputies plead the danger
which menaced their fairs, their privileges, perhaps their constitution
itself, if, by espousing the party of the Swedes, they were to incur the
Emperor's displeasure. Gustavus Adolphus expressed to them his
astonishment that, when the liberties of Germany and the Protestant
religion were at stake, the citizens of Frankfort should talk of their
annual fairs, and postpone for temporal interests the great cause of
their country and their conscience. He had, he continued, in a menacing
tone, found the keys of every town and fortress, from the Isle of Rugen
to the Maine, and knew also where to find a key to Frankfort; the safety
of Germany, and the freedom of the Protestant Church, were, he assured
them, the sole objects of his invasion; conscious of the justice of his
cause, he was determined not to allow any obstacle to impede his
progress. "The inhabitants of Frankfort, he was well aware, wished to
stretch out only a finger to him, but he must have the whole hand in
order to have something to grasp." At the head of the army, he closely
followed the deputies as they carried back his answer, and in order of
battle awaited, near Saxenhausen, the decision of the council.

If Frankfort hesitated to submit to the Swedes, it was solely from fear
of the Emperor; their own inclinations did not allow them a moment to
doubt between the oppressor of Germany and its protector. The menacing
preparations amidst which Gustavus Adolphus now compelled them to
decide, would lessen the guilt of their revolt in the eyes of the
Emperor, and by an appearance of compulsion justify the step which they
willingly took. The gates were therefore opened to the King of Sweden,
who marched his army through this imperial town in magnificent
procession, and in admirable order. A garrison of 600 men was left in
Saxenhausen; while the king himself advanced the same evening, with the
rest of his army, against the town of Hoechst in Mentz, which
surrendered to him before night.

While Gustavus was thus extending his conquests along the Maine, fortune
crowned also the efforts of his generals and allies in the north of
Germany. Rostock, Wismar, and Doemitz, the only strong places in the
Duchy of Mecklenburg which still sighed under the yoke of the
Imperialists, were recovered by their legitimate sovereign, the Duke
John Albert, under the Swedish general, Achatius Tott. In vain did the
imperial general, Wolf Count von Mansfeld, endeavour to recover from the
Swedes the territories of Halberstadt, of which they had taken
possession immediately upon the victory of Leipzig; he was even
compelled to leave Magdeburg itself in their hands. The Swedish
general, Banner, who with 8,000 men remained upon the Elbe, closely
blockaded that city, and had defeated several imperial regiments which
had been sent to its relief. Count Mansfeld defended it in person with
great resolution; but his garrison being too weak to oppose for any
length of time the numerous force of the besiegers, he was already about
to surrender on conditions, when Pappenheim advanced to his assistance,
and gave employment elsewhere to the Swedish arms. Magdeburg, however,
or rather the wretched huts that peeped out miserably from among the
ruins of that once great town, was afterwards voluntarily abandoned by
the Imperialists, and immediately taken possession of by the Swedes.

Even Lower Saxony, encouraged by the progress of the king, ventured to
raise its head from the disasters of the unfortunate Danish war. They
held a congress at Hamburg, and resolved upon raising three regiments,
which they hoped would be sufficient to free them from the oppressive
garrisons of the Imperialists. The Bishop of Bremen, a relation of
Gustavus Adolphus, was not content even with this; but assembled troops
of his own, and terrified the unfortunate monks and priests of the
neighbourhood, but was quickly compelled by the imperial general, Count
Gronsfeld, to lay down his arms. Even George, Duke of Lunenburg,
formerly a colonel in the Emperor's service, embraced the party of
Gustavus, for whom he raised several regiments, and by occupying the
attention of the Imperialists in Lower Saxony, materially assisted him.

But more important service was rendered to the king by the Landgrave
William of Hesse Cassel, whose victorious arms struck with terror the
greater part of Westphalia and Lower Saxony, the bishopric of Fulda, and
even the Electorate of Cologne. It has been already stated that
immediately after the conclusion of the alliance between the Landgrave
and Gustavus Adolphus at Werben, two imperial generals, Fugger and
Altringer, were ordered by Tilly to march into Hesse, to punish the
Landgrave for his revolt from the Emperor. But this prince had as
firmly withstood the arms of his enemies, as his subjects had the
proclamations of Tilly inciting them to rebellion, and the battle of
Leipzig presently relieved him of their presence. He availed himself of
their absence with courage and resolution; in a short time, Vach,
Muenden and Hoexter surrendered to him, while his rapid advance alarmed
the bishoprics of Fulda, Paderborn, and the ecclesiastical territories
which bordered on Hesse. The terrified states hastened by a speedy
submission to set limits to his progress, and by considerable
contributions to purchase exemption from plunder. After these
successful enterprises, the Landgrave united his victorious army with
that of Gustavus Adolphus, and concerted with him at Frankfort their
future plan of operations.

In this city, a number of princes and ambassadors were assembled to
congratulate Gustavus on his success, and either to conciliate his
favour or to appease his indignation. Among them was the fugitive King
of Bohemia, the Palatine Frederick V., who had hastened from Holland to
throw himself into the arms of his avenger and protector. Gustavus gave
him the unprofitable honour of greeting him as a crowned head, and
endeavoured, by a respectful sympathy, to soften his sense of his
misfortunes. But great as the advantages were, which Frederick had
promised himself from the power and good fortune of his protector; and
high as were the expectations he had built on his justice and
magnanimity, the chance of this unfortunate prince's reinstatement in
his kingdom was as distant as ever. The inactivity and contradictory
politics of the English court had abated the zeal of Gustavus Adolphus,
and an irritability which he could not always repress, made him on this
occasion forget the glorious vocation of protector of the oppressed, in
which, on his invasion of Germany, he had so loudly announced himself.

The terrors of the king's irresistible strength, and the near prospect
of his vengeance, had also compelled George, Landgrave of Hesse
Darmstadt, to a timely submission. His connection with the Emperor, and
his indifference to the Protestant cause, were no secret to the king,
but he was satisfied with laughing at so impotent an enemy. As the
Landgrave knew his own strength and the political situation of Germany
so little, as to offer himself as mediator between the contending
parties, Gustavus used jestingly to call him the peacemaker. He was
frequently heard to say, when at play he was winning from the Landgrave,
"that the money afforded double satisfaction, as it was Imperial coin."
To his affinity with the Elector of Saxony, whom Gustavus had cause to
treat with forbearance, the Landgrave was indebted for the favourable
terms he obtained from the king, who contented himself with the
surrender of his fortress of Russelheim, and his promise of observing a
strict neutrality during the war. The Counts of Westerwald and Wetteran
also visited the King in Frankfort, to offer him their assistance
against the Spaniards, and to conclude an alliance, which was afterwards
of great service to him. The town of Frankfort itself had reason to
rejoice at the presence of this monarch, who took their commerce under
his protection, and by the most effectual measures restored the fairs,
which had been greatly interrupted by the war.

The Swedish army was now reinforced by ten thousand Hessians, which the
Landgrave of Casse commanded. Gustavus Adolphus had already invested
Koenigstein; Kostheim and Floersheim surrendered after a short siege; he
was in command of the Maine; and transports were preparing with all
speed at Hoechst to carry his troops across the Rhine. These
preparations filled the Elector of Mentz, Anselm Casimir, with
consternation; and he no longer doubted but that the storm of war would
next fall upon him. As a partisan of the Emperor, and one of the most
active members of the League, he could expect no better treatment than
his confederates, the Bishops of Wurtzburg and Bamberg, had already
experienced. The situation of his territories upon the Rhine made it
necessary for the enemy to secure them, while the fertility afforded an
irresistible temptation to a necessitous army. Miscalculating his own
strength and that of his adversaries, the Elector flattered himself that
he was able to repel force by force, and weary out the valour of the
Swedes by the strength of his fortresses. He ordered the fortifications
of his capital to be repaired with all diligence, provided it with every
necessary for sustaining a long siege, and received into the town a
garrison of 2,000 Spaniards, under Don Philip de Sylva. To prevent the
approach of the Swedish transports, he endeavoured to close the mouth of
the Maine by driving piles, and sinking large heaps of stones and
vessels. He himself, however, accompanied by the Bishop of Worms, and
carrying with him his most precious effects, took refuge in Cologne, and
abandoned his capital and territories to the rapacity of a tyrannical
garrison. But these preparations, which bespoke less of true courage
than of weak and overweening confidence, did not prevent the Swedes from
marching against Mentz, and making serious preparations for an attack
upon the city. While one body of their troops poured into the Rheingau,
routed the Spaniards who remained there, and levied contributions on the
inhabitants, another laid the Roman Catholic towns in Westerwald and
Wetterau under similar contributions. The main army had encamped at
Cassel, opposite Mentz; and Bernhard, Duke of Weimar, made himself
master of the Maeusethurm and the Castle of Ehrenfels, on the other side
of the Rhine. Gustavus was now actively preparing to cross the river,
and to blockade the town on the land side, when the movements of Tilly
in Franconia suddenly called him from the siege, and obtained for the
Elector a short repose.

The danger of Nuremberg, which, during the absence of Gustavus Adolphus
on the Rhine, Tilly had made a show of besieging, and, in the event of
resistance, threatened with the cruel fate of Magdeburg, occasioned the
king suddenly to retire from before Mentz. Lest he should expose
himself a second time to the reproaches of Germany, and the disgrace of
abandoning a confederate city to a ferocious enemy, he hastened to its
relief by forced marches. On his arrival at Frankfort, however, he
heard of its spirited resistance, and of the retreat of Tilly, and lost
not a moment in prosecuting his designs against Mentz. Failing in an
attempt to cross the Rhine at Cassel, under the cannon of the besieged,
he directed his march towards the Bergstrasse, with a view of
approaching the town from an opposite quarter. Here he quickly made
himself master of all the places of importance, and at Stockstadt,
between Gernsheim and Oppenheim, appeared a second time upon the banks
of the Rhine. The whole of the Bergstrasse was abandoned by the
Spaniards, who endeavoured obstinately to defend the other bank of the
river. For this purpose, they had burned or sunk all the vessels in the
neighbourhood, and arranged a formidable force on the banks, in case the
king should attempt the passage at that place.

On this occasion, the king's impetuosity exposed him to great danger of
falling into the hands of the enemy. In order to reconnoitre the
opposite bank, he crossed the river in a small boat; he had scarcely
landed when he was attacked by a party of Spanish horse, from whose
hands he only saved himself by a precipitate retreat. Having at last,
with the assistance of the neighbouring fishermen, succeeded in
procuring a few transports, he despatched two of them across the river,
bearing Count Brahe and 300 Swedes. Scarcely had this officer time to
entrench himself on the opposite bank, when he was attacked by 14
squadrons of Spanish dragoons and cuirassiers. Superior as the enemy
was in number, Count Brahe, with his small force, bravely defended
himself, and gained time for the king to support him with fresh troops.
The Spaniards at last retired with the loss of 600 men, some taking
refuge in Oppenheim, and others in Mentz. A lion of marble on a high
pillar, holding a naked sword in his paw, and a helmet on his head, was
erected seventy years after the event, to point out to the traveller the
spot where the immortal monarch crossed the great river of Germany.

Gustavus Adolphus now conveyed his artillery and the greater part of his
troops over the river, and laid siege to Oppenheim, which, after a brave
resistance, was, on the 8th December, 1631, carried by storm. Five
hundred Spaniards, who had so courageously defended the place, fell
indiscriminately a sacrifice to the fury of the Swedes. The crossing of
the Rhine by Gustavus struck terror into the Spaniards and Lorrainers,
who had thought themselves protected by the river from the vengeance of
the Swedes. Rapid flight was now their only security; every place
incapable of an effectual defence was immediately abandoned. After a
long train of outrages on the defenceless citizens, the troops of
Lorraine evacuated Worms, which, before their departure, they treated
with wanton cruelty. The Spaniards hastened to shut themselves up in
Frankenthal, where they hoped to defy the victorious arms of Gustavus

The king lost no time in prosecuting his designs against Mentz, into
which the flower of the Spanish troops had thrown themselves. While he
advanced on the left bank of the Rhine, the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel
moved forward on the other, reducing several strong places on his march.
The besieged Spaniards, though hemmed in on both sides, displayed at
first a bold determination, and threw, for several days, a shower of
bombs into the Swedish camp, which cost the king many of his bravest
soldiers. But notwithstanding, the Swedes continually gained ground,
and had at last advanced so close to the ditch that they prepared
seriously for storming the place. The courage of the besieged now began
to droop. They trembled before the furious impetuosity of the Swedish
soldiers, of which Marienberg, in Wurtzburg, had afforded so fearful an
example. The same dreadful fate awaited Mentz, if taken by storm; and
the enemy might even be easily tempted to revenge the carnage of
Magdeburg on this rich and magnificent residence of a Roman Catholic
prince. To save the town, rather than their own lives, the Spanish
garrison capitulated on the fourth day, and obtained from the
magnanimity of Gustavus a safe conduct to Luxembourg; the greater part
of them, however, following the example of many others, enlisted in the
service of Sweden.

On the 13th December, 1631, the king made his entry into the conquered
town, and fixed his quarters in the palace of the Elector. Eighty
pieces of cannon fell into his hands, and the citizens were obliged to
redeem their property from pillage, by a payment of 80,000 florins. The
benefits of this redemption did not extend to the Jews and the clergy,
who were obliged to make large and separate contributions for
themselves. The library of the Elector was seized by the king as his
share, and presented by him to his chancellor, Oxenstiern, who intended
it for the Academy of Westerrah, but the vessel in which it was shipped
to Sweden foundered at sea.

After the loss of Mentz, misfortune still pursued the Spaniards on the
Rhine. Shortly before the capture of that city, the Landgrave of Hesse
Cassel had taken Falkenstein and Reifenberg, and the fortress of
Koningstein surrendered to the Hessians. The Rhinegrave, Otto Louis,
one of the king's generals, defeated nine Spanish squadrons who were on
their march for Frankenthal, and made himself master of the most
important towns upon the Rhine, from Boppart to Bacharach. After the
capture of the fortress of Braunfels, which was effected by the Count of
Wetterau, with the co-operation of the Swedes, the Spaniards quickly
lost every place in Wetterau, while in the Palatinate they retained few
places besides Frankenthal. Landau and Kronweisenberg openly declared
for the Swedes; Spires offered troops for the king's service; Manheim
was gained through the prudence of the Duke Bernard of Weimar, and the
negligence of its governor, who, for this misconduct, was tried before
the council of war, at Heidelberg, and beheaded.

The king had protracted the campaign into the depth of winter, and the
severity of the season was perhaps one cause of the advantage his
soldiers gained over those of the enemy. But the exhausted troops now
stood in need of the repose of winter quarters, which, after the
surrender of Mentz, Gustavus assigned to them, in its neighbourhood. He
himself employed the interval of inactivity in the field, which the
season of the year enjoined, in arranging, with his chancellor, the
affairs of his cabinet, in treating for a neutrality with some of his
enemies, and adjusting some political disputes which had sprung up with
a neighbouring ally. He chose the city of Mentz for his winter
quarters, and the settlement of these state affairs, and showed a
greater partiality for this town, than seemed consistent with the
interests of the German princes, or the shortness of his visit to the
Empire. Not content with strongly fortifying it, he erected at the
opposite angle which the Maine forms with the Rhine, a new citadel,
which was named Gustavusburg from its founder, but which is better known
under the title of Pfaffenraub or Pfaffenzwang.--[Priests' plunder;
alluding to the means by which the expense of its erection had been

While Gustavus Adolphus made himself master of the Rhine, and threatened
the three neighbouring electorates with his victorious arms, his
vigilant enemies in Paris and St. Germain's made use of every artifice
to deprive him of the support of France, and, if possible, to involve
him in a war with that power. By his sudden and equivocal march to the
Rhine, he had surprised his friends, and furnished his enemies with the
means of exciting a distrust of his intentions. After the conquest of
Wurtzburg, and of the greater part of Franconia, the road into Bavaria
and Austria lay open to him through Bamberg and the Upper Palatinate;
and the expectation was as general, as it was natural, that he would not
delay to attack the Emperor and the Duke of Bavaria in the very centre
of their power, and, by the reduction of his two principal enemies,
bring the war immediately to an end. But to the surprise of both
parties, Gustavus left the path which general expectation had thus
marked out for him; and instead of advancing to the right, turned to the
left, to make the less important and more innocent princes of the Rhine
feel his power, while he gave time to his more formidable opponents to
recruit their strength. Nothing but the paramount design of reinstating
the unfortunate Palatine, Frederick V., in the possession of his
territories, by the expulsion of the Spaniards, could seem to account
for this strange step; and the belief that Gustavus was about to effect
that restoration, silenced for a while the suspicions of his friends and
the calumnies of his enemies. But the Lower Palatinate was now almost
entirely cleared of the enemy; and yet Gustavus continued to form new
schemes of conquest on the Rhine, and to withhold the reconquered
country from the Palatine, its rightful owner. In vain did the English
ambassador remind him of what justice demanded, and what his own solemn
engagement made a duty of honour; Gustavus replied to these demands with
bitter complaints of the inactivity of the English court, and prepared
to carry his victorious standard into Alsace, and even into Lorraine.

A distrust of the Swedish monarch was now loud and open, while the
malice of his enemies busily circulated the most injurious reports as to
his intentions. Richelieu, the minister of Louis XIII., had long
witnessed with anxiety the king's progress towards the French frontier,
and the suspicious temper of Louis rendered him but too accessible to
the evil surmises which the occasion gave rise to. France was at this
time involved in a civil war with her Protestant subjects, and the fear
was not altogether groundless, that the approach of a victorious monarch
of their party might revive their drooping spirit, and encourage them to
a more desperate resistance. This might be the case, even if Gustavus
Adolphus was far from showing a disposition to encourage them, or to act
unfaithfully towards his ally, the King of France. But the vindictive
Bishop of Wurtzburg, who was anxious to avenge the loss of his
dominions, the envenomed rhetoric of the Jesuits and the active zeal of
the Bavarian minister, represented this dreaded alliance between the
Huguenots and the Swedes as an undoubted fact, and filled the timid mind
of Louis with the most alarming fears. Not merely chimerical
politicians, but many of the best informed Roman Catholics, fully
believed that the king was on the point of breaking into the heart of
France, to make common cause with the Huguenots, and to overturn the
Catholic religion within the kingdom. Fanatical zealots already saw
him, with his army, crossing the Alps, and dethroning the Viceregent of
Christ in Italy. Such reports no doubt soon refute themselves; yet it
cannot be denied that Gustavus, by his manoeuvres on the Rhine, gave a
dangerous handle to the malice of his enemies, and in some measure
justified the suspicion that he directed his arms, not so much against
the Emperor and the Duke of Bavaria, as against the Roman Catholic
religion itself.

The general clamour of discontent which the Jesuits raised in all the
Catholic courts, against the alliance between France and the enemy of
the church, at last compelled Cardinal Richelieu to take a decisive step
for the security of his religion, and at once to convince the Roman
Catholic world of the zeal of France, and of the selfish policy of the
ecclesiastical states of Germany. Convinced that the views of the King
of Sweden, like his own, aimed solely at the humiliation of the power of
Austria, he hesitated not to promise to the princes of the League, on
the part of Sweden, a complete neutrality, immediately they abandoned
their alliance with the Emperor and withdrew their troops. Whatever the
resolution these princes should adopt, Richelieu would equally attain
his object. By their separation from the Austrian interest, Ferdinand
would be exposed to the combined attack of France and Sweden; and
Gustavus Adolphus, freed from his other enemies in Germany, would be
able to direct his undivided force against the hereditary dominions of
Austria. In that event, the fall of Austria was inevitable, and this
great object of Richelieu's policy would be gained without injury to the
church. If, on the other hand, the princes of the League persisted in
their opposition, and adhered to the Austrian alliance, the result would
indeed be more doubtful, but still France would have sufficiently proved
to all Europe the sincerity of her attachment to the Catholic cause, and
performed her duty as a member of the Roman Church. The princes of the
League would then appear the sole authors of those evils, which the
continuance of the war would unavoidably bring upon the Roman Catholics
of Germany; they alone, by their wilful and obstinate adherence to the
Emperor, would frustrate the measures employed for their protection,
involve the church in danger, and themselves in ruin.

Richelieu pursued this plan with greater zeal, the more he was
embarrassed by the repeated demands of the Elector of Bavaria for
assistance from France; for this prince, as already stated, when he
first began to entertain suspicions of the Emperor, entered immediately
into a secret alliance with France, by which, in the event of any change
in the Emperor's sentiments, he hoped to secure the possession of the
Palatinate. But though the origin of the treaty clearly showed against
what enemy it was directed, Maximilian now thought proper to make use of
it against the King of Sweden, and did not hesitate to demand from
France that assistance against her ally, which she had simply promised
against Austria. Richelieu, embarrassed by this conflicting alliance
with two hostile powers, had no resource left but to endeavour to put a
speedy termination to their hostilities; and as little inclined to
sacrifice Bavaria, as he was disabled, by his treaty with Sweden, from
assisting it, he set himself, with all diligence, to bring about a
neutrality, as the only means of fulfilling his obligations to both.
For this purpose, the Marquis of Breze was sent, as his plenipotentiary,
to the King of Sweden at Mentz, to learn his sentiments on this point,
and to procure from him favourable conditions for the allied princes.
But if Louis XIII. had powerful motives for wishing for this
neutrality, Gustavus Adolphus had as grave reasons for desiring the
contrary. Convinced by numerous proofs that the hatred of the princes
of the League to the Protestant religion was invincible, their aversion
to the foreign power of the Swedes inextinguishable, and their
attachment to the House of Austria irrevocable, he apprehended less
danger from their open hostility, than from a neutrality which was so
little in unison with their real inclinations; and, moreover, as he was
constrained to carry on the war in Germany at the expense of the enemy,
he manifestly sustained great loss if he diminished their number without
increasing that of his friends. It was not surprising, therefore, if
Gustavus evinced little inclination to purchase the neutrality of the
League, by which he was likely to gain so little, at the expense of the
advantages he had already obtained.

The conditions, accordingly, upon which he offered to adopt the
neutrality towards Bavaria were severe, and suited to these views. He
required of the whole League a full and entire cessation from all
hostilities; the recall of their troops from the imperial army, from the
conquered towns, and from all the Protestant countries; the reduction of
their military force; the exclusion of the imperial armies from their
territories, and from supplies either of men, provisions, or ammunition.
Hard as the conditions were, which the victor thus imposed upon the
vanquished, the French mediator flattered himself he should be able to
induce the Elector of Bavaria to accept them. In order to give time for
an accommodation, Gustavus had agreed to a cessation of hostilities for
a fortnight. But at the very time when this monarch was receiving from
the French agents repeated assurances of the favourable progress of the
negociation, an intercepted letter from the Elector to Pappenheim, the
imperial general in Westphalia, revealed the perfidy of that prince, as
having no other object in view by the whole negociation, than to gain
time for his measures of defence. Far from intending to fetter his
military operations by a truce with Sweden, the artful prince hastened
his preparations, and employed the leisure which his enemy afforded him,
in making the most active dispositions for resistance. The negociation
accordingly failed, and served only to increase the animosity of the
Bavarians and the Swedes.

Tilly's augmented force, with which he threatened to overrun Franconia,
urgently required the king's presence in that circle; but it was
necessary to expel previously the Spaniards from the Rhine, and to cut
off their means of invading Germany from the Netherlands. With this
view, Gustavus Adolphus had made an offer of neutrality to the Elector
of Treves, Philip von Zeltern, on condition that the fortress of
Hermanstein should be delivered up to him, and a free passage granted to
his troops through Coblentz. But unwillingly as the Elector had beheld
the Spaniards within his territories, he was still less disposed to
commit his estates to the suspicious protection of a heretic, and to
make the Swedish conqueror master of his destinies. Too weak to
maintain his independence between two such powerful competitors, he took
refuge in the protection of France. With his usual prudence, Richelieu
profited by the embarrassments of this prince to augment the power of
France, and to gain for her an important ally on the German frontier. A
numerous French army was despatched to protect the territory of Treves,
and a French garrison was received into Ehrenbreitstein. But the object
which had moved the Elector to this bold step was not completely gained,
for the offended pride of Gustavus Adolphus was not appeased till he had
obtained a free passage for his troops through Treves.

Pending these negociations with Treves and France, the king's generals
had entirely cleared the territory of Mentz of the Spanish garrisons,
and Gustavus himself completed the conquest of this district by the
capture of Kreutznach. To protect these conquests, the chancellor
Oxenstiern was left with a division of the army upon the Middle Rhine,
while the main body, under the king himself, began its march against the
enemy in Franconia.

The possession of this circle had, in the mean time, been disputed with
variable success, between Count Tilly and the Swedish General Horn, whom
Gustavus had left there with 8,000 men; and the Bishopric of Bamberg, in
particular, was at once the prize and the scene of their struggle.
Called away to the Rhine by his other projects, the king had left to his
general the chastisement of the bishop, whose perfidy had excited his
indignation, and the activity of Horn justified the choice. In a short
time, he subdued the greater part of the bishopric; and the capital
itself, abandoned by its imperial garrison, was carried by storm. The
banished bishop urgently demanded assistance from the Elector of
Bavaria, who was at length persuaded to put an end to Tilly's
inactivity. Fully empowered by his master's order to restore the bishop
to his possessions, this general collected his troops, who were
scattered over the Upper Palatinate, and with an army of 20,000 men
advanced upon Bamberg. Firmly resolved to maintain his conquest even
against this overwhelming force, Horn awaited the enemy within the walls
of Bamberg; but was obliged to yield to the vanguard of Tilly what he
had thought to be able to dispute with his whole army. A panic which
suddenly seized his troops, and which no presence of mind of their
general could check, opened the gates to the enemy, and it was with
difficulty that the troops, baggage, and artillery, were saved. The
reconquest of Bamberg was the fruit of this victory; but Tilly, with all
his activity, was unable to overtake the Swedish general, who retired in
good order behind the Maine. The king's appearance in Franconia, and
his junction with Gustavus Horn at Kitzingen, put a stop to Tilly's
conquests, and compelled him to provide for his own safety by a rapid

The king made a general review of his troops at Aschaffenburg. After
his junction with Gustavus Horn, Banner, and Duke William of Weimar,
they amounted to nearly 40,000 men. His progress through Franconia was
uninterrupted; for Tilly, far too weak to encounter an enemy so superior
in numbers, had retreated, by rapid marches, towards the Danube.
Bohemia and Bavaria were now equally near to the king, and, uncertain
whither his victorious course might be directed, Maximilian could form
no immediate resolution. The choice of the king, and the fate of both
provinces, now depended on the road that should be left open to Count
Tilly. It was dangerous, during the approach of so formidable an enemy,
to leave Bavaria undefended, in order to protect Austria; still more
dangerous, by receiving Tilly into Bavaria, to draw thither the enemy
also, and to render it the seat of a destructive war. The cares of the
sovereign finally overcame the scruples of the statesman, and Tilly
received orders, at all hazards, to cover the frontiers of Bavaria with
his army.

Nuremberg received with triumphant joy the protector of the Protestant
religion and German freedom, and the enthusiasm of the citizens
expressed itself on his arrival in loud transports of admiration and
joy. Even Gustavus could not contain his astonishment, to see himself
in this city, which was the very centre of Germany, where he had never
expected to be able to penetrate. The noble appearance of his person,
completed the impression produced by his glorious exploits, and the
condescension with which he received the congratulations of this free
city won all hearts. He now confirmed the alliance he had concluded
with it on the shores of the Baltic, and excited the citizens to zealous
activity and fraternal unity against the common enemy. After a short
stay in Nuremberg, he followed his army to the Danube, and appeared
unexpectedly before the frontier town of Donauwerth. A numerous
Bavarian garrison defended the place; and their commander, Rodolph
Maximilian, Duke of Saxe Lauenburg, showed at first a resolute
determination to defend it till the arrival of Tilly. But the vigour
with which Gustavus Adolphus prosecuted the siege, soon compelled him to
take measures for a speedy and secure retreat, which amidst a tremendous
fire from the Swedish artillery he successfully executed.

The conquest of Donauwerth opened to the king the further side of the
Danube, and now the small river Lech alone separated him from Bavaria.
The immediate danger of his dominions aroused all Maximilian's activity;
and however little he had hitherto disturbed the enemy's progress to his
frontier, he now determined to dispute as resolutely the remainder of
their course. On the opposite bank of the Lech, near the small town of
Rain, Tilly occupied a strongly fortified camp, which, surrounded by
three rivers, bade defiance to all attack. All the bridges over the
Lech were destroyed; the whole course of the stream protected by strong
garrisons as far as Augsburg; and that town itself, which had long
betrayed its impatience to follow the example of Nuremberg and
Frankfort, secured by a Bavarian garrison, and the disarming of its
inhabitants. The Elector himself, with all the troops he could collect,
threw himself into Tilly's camp, as if all his hopes centred on this
single point, and here the good fortune of the Swedes was to suffer
shipwreck for ever.

Gustavus Adolphus, after subduing the whole territory of Augsburg, on
his own side of the river, and opening to his troops a rich supply of
necessaries from that quarter, soon appeared on the bank opposite the
Bavarian entrenchments. It was now the month of March, when the river,
swollen by frequent rains, and the melting of the snow from the
mountains of the Tyrol, flowed full and rapid between its steep banks.
Its boiling current threatened the rash assailants with certain
destruction, while from the opposite side the enemy's cannon showed
their murderous mouths. If, in despite of the fury both of fire and
water, they should accomplish this almost impossible passage, a fresh
and vigorous enemy awaited the exhausted troops in an impregnable camp;
and when they needed repose and refreshment they must prepare for
battle. With exhausted powers they must ascend the hostile
entrenchments, whose strength seemed to bid defiance to every assault.
A defeat sustained upon this shore would be attended with inevitable
destruction, since the same stream which impeded their advance would
also cut off their retreat, if fortune should abandon them.

The Swedish council of war, which the king now assembled, strongly urged
upon him all these considerations, in order to deter him from this
dangerous undertaking. The most intrepid were appalled, and a troop of
honourable warriors, who had grown gray in the field, did not hesitate
to express their alarm. But the king's resolution was fixed. "What!"
said he to Gustavus Horn, who spoke for the rest, "have we crossed the
Baltic, and so many great rivers of Germany, and shall we now be checked
by a brook like the Lech?" Gustavus had already, at great personal
risk, reconnoitred the whole country, and discovered that his own side
of the river was higher than the other, and consequently gave a
considerable advantage to the fire of the Swedish artillery over that of
the enemy. With great presence of mind he determined to profit by this
circumstance. At the point where the left bank of the Lech forms an
angle with the right, he immediately caused three batteries to be
erected, from which 72 field-pieces maintained a cross fire upon the
enemy. While this tremendous cannonade drove the Bavarians from the
opposite bank, he caused to be erected a bridge over the river with all
possible rapidity. A thick smoke, kept up by burning wood and wet
straw, concealed for some time the progress of the work from the enemy,
while the continued thunder of the cannon overpowered the noise of the
axes. He kept alive by his own example the courage of his troops, and
discharged more than 60 cannon with his own hand. The cannonade was
returned by the Bavarians with equal vivacity for two hours, though with
less effect, as the Swedish batteries swept the lower opposite bank,
while their height served as a breast-work to their own troops. In
vain, therefore, did the Bavarians attempt to destroy these works; the
superior fire of the Swedes threw them into disorder, and the bridge was
completed under their very eyes. On this dreadful day, Tilly did every
thing in his power to encourage his troops; and no danger could drive
him from the bank. At length he found the death which he sought, a
cannon ball shattered his leg; and Altringer, his brave
companion-in-arms, was, soon after, dangerously wounded in the head.
Deprived of the animating presence of their two generals, the Bavarians
gave way at last, and Maximilian, in spite of his own judgment, was
driven to adopt a pusillanimous resolve. Overcome by the persuasions of
the dying Tilly, whose wonted firmness was overpowered by the near
approach of death, he gave up his impregnable position for lost; and the
discovery by the Swedes of a ford, by which their cavalry were on the
point of passing, accelerated his inglorious retreat. The same night,
before a single soldier of the enemy had crossed the Lech, he broke up
his camp, and, without giving time for the King to harass him in his
march, retreated in good order to Neuburgh and Ingolstadt. With
astonishment did Gustavus Adolphus, who completed the passage of the
river on the following day behold the hostile camp abandoned; and the
Elector's flight surprised him still more, when he saw the strength of
the position he had quitted. "Had I been the Bavarian," said he,
"though a cannon ball had carried away my beard and chin, never would I
have abandoned a position like this, and laid open my territory to my

Bavaria now lay exposed to the conqueror; and, for the first time, the
tide of war, which had hitherto only beat against its frontier, now
flowed over its long spared and fertile fields. Before, however, the
King proceeded to the conquest of these provinces, he delivered the town
of Augsburg from the yoke of Bavaria; exacted an oath of allegiance from
the citizens; and to secure its observance, left a garrison in the town.
He then advanced, by rapid marches, against Ingolstadt, in order, by the
capture of this important fortress, which the Elector covered with the
greater part of his army, to secure his conquests in Bavaria, and obtain
a firm footing on the Danube.

Shortly after the appearance of the Swedish King before Ingolstadt, the
wounded Tilly, after experiencing the caprice of unstable fortune,
terminated his career within the walls of that town. Conquered by the
superior generalship of Gustavus Adolphus, he lost, at the close of his
days, all the laurels of his earlier victories, and appeased, by a
series of misfortunes, the demands of justice, and the avenging manes of
Magdeburg. In his death, the Imperial army and that of the League
sustained an irreparable loss; the Roman Catholic religion was deprived
of its most zealous defender, and Maximilian of Bavaria of the most
faithful of his servants, who sealed his fidelity by his death, and even
in his dying moments fulfilled the duties of a general. His last
message to the Elector was an urgent advice to take possession of
Ratisbon, in order to maintain the command of the Danube, and to keep
open the communication with Bohemia.

With the confidence which was the natural fruit of so many victories,
Gustavus Adolphus commenced the siege of Ingolstadt, hoping to gain the
town by the fury of his first assault. But the strength of its
fortifications, and the bravery of its garrison, presented obstacles
greater than any he had had to encounter since the battle of
Breitenfeld, and the walls of Ingolstadt were near putting an end to his
career. While reconnoitring the works, a 24-pounder killed his horse
under him, and he fell to the ground, while almost immediately
afterwards another ball struck his favourite, the young Margrave of
Baden, by his side. With perfect self-possession the king rose, and
quieted the fears of his troops by immediately mounting another horse.

The occupation of Ratisbon by the Bavarians, who, by the advice of
Tilly, had surprised this town by stratagem, and placed in it a strong
garrison, quickly changed the king's plan of operations. He had
flattered himself with the hope of gaining this town, which favoured the
Protestant cause, and to find in it an ally as devoted to him as
Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Frankfort. Its seizure by the Bavarians seemed
to postpone for a long time the fulfilment of his favourite project of
making himself master of the Danube, and cutting off his adversaries'
supplies from Bohemia. He suddenly raised the siege of Ingolstadt,
before which he had wasted both his time and his troops, and penetrated
into the interior of Bavaria, in order to draw the Elector into that
quarter for the defence of his territories, and thus to strip the Danube
of its defenders.

The whole country, as far as Munich, now lay open to the conqueror.
Mosburg, Landshut, and the whole territory of Freysingen, submitted;
nothing could resist his arms. But if he met with no regular force to
oppose his progress, he had to contend against a still more implacable
enemy in the heart of every Bavarian--religious fanaticism. Soldiers
who did not believe in the Pope were, in this country, a new and
unheard-of phenomenon; the blind zeal of the priests represented them to
the peasantry as monsters, the children of hell, and their leader as
Antichrist. No wonder, then, if they thought themselves released from
all the ties of nature and humanity towards this brood of Satan, and
justified in committing the most savage atrocities upon them. Woe to
the Swedish soldier who fell into their hands! All the torments which
inventive malice could devise were exercised upon these unhappy victims;
and the sight of their mangled bodies exasperated the army to a fearful
retaliation. Gustavus Adolphus, alone, sullied the lustre of his heroic
character by no act of revenge; and the aversion which the Bavarians
felt towards his religion, far from making him depart from the
obligations of humanity towards that unfortunate people, seemed to
impose upon him the stricter duty to honour his religion by a more
constant clemency.

The approach of the king spread terror and consternation in the capital,
which, stripped of its defenders, and abandoned by its principal
inhabitants, placed all its hopes in the magnanimity of the conqueror.
By an unconditional and voluntary surrender, it hoped to disarm his
vengeance; and sent deputies even to Freysingen to lay at his feet the
keys of the city. Strongly as the king might have been tempted by the
inhumanity of the Bavarians, and the hostility of their sovereign, to
make a dreadful use of the rights of victory; pressed as he was by
Germans to avenge the fate of Magdeburg on the capital of its destroyer,
this great prince scorned this mean revenge; and the very helplessness
of his enemies disarmed his severity. Contented with the more noble
triumph of conducting the Palatine Frederick with the pomp of a victor
into the very palace of the prince who had been the chief instrument of
his ruin, and the usurper of his territories, he heightened the
brilliancy of his triumphal entry by the brighter splendour of
moderation and clemency.

The King found in Munich only a forsaken palace, for the Elector's
treasures had been transported to Werfen. The magnificence of the
building astonished him; and he asked the guide who showed the
apartments who was the architect. "No other," replied he, "than the
Elector himself."--"I wish," said the King, "I had this architect to
send to Stockholm." "That," he was answered, "the architect will take
care to prevent." When the arsenal was examined, they found nothing but
carriages, stripped of their cannon. The latter had been so artfully
concealed under the floor, that no traces of them remained; and but for
the treachery of a workman, the deceit would not have been detected.
"Rise up from the dead," said the King, "and come to judgment." The
floor was pulled up, and 140 pieces of cannon discovered, some of
extraordinary calibre, which had been principally taken in the
Palatinate and Bohemia. A treasure of 30,000 gold ducats, concealed in
one of the largest, completed the pleasure which the King received from
this valuable acquisition.

A far more welcome spectacle still would have been the Bavarian army
itself; for his march into the heart of Bavaria had been undertaken
chiefly with the view of luring them from their entrenchments. In this
expectation he was disappointed. No enemy appeared; no entreaties,
however urgent, on the part of his subjects, could induce the Elector to
risk the remainder of his army to the chances of a battle. Shut up in
Ratisbon, he awaited the reinforcements which Wallenstein was bringing
from Bohemia; and endeavoured, in the mean time, to amuse his enemy and
keep him inactive, by reviving the negociation for a neutrality. But
the King's distrust, too often and too justly excited by his previous
conduct, frustrated this design; and the intentional delay of
Wallenstein abandoned Bavaria to the Swedes.

Thus far had Gustavus advanced from victory to victory, without meeting
with an enemy able to cope with him. A part of Bavaria and Swabia, the
Bishoprics of Franconia, the Lower Palatinate, and the Archbishopric of
Mentz, lay conquered in his rear. An uninterrupted career of conquest
had conducted him to the threshold of Austria; and the most brilliant
success had fully justified the plan of operations which he had formed
after the battle of Breitenfeld. If he had not succeeded to his wish in
promoting a confederacy among the Protestant States, he had at least
disarmed or weakened the League, carried on the war chiefly at its
expense, lessened the Emperor's resources, emboldened the weaker States,
and while he laid under contribution the allies of the Emperor, forced a
way through their territories into Austria itself. Where arms were
unavailing, the greatest service was rendered by the friendship of the
free cities, whose affections he had gained, by the double ties of
policy and religion; and, as long as he should maintain his superiority
in the field, he might reckon on every thing from their zeal. By his
conquests on the Rhine, the Spaniards were cut off from the Lower
Palatinate, even if the state of the war in the Netherlands left them at
liberty to interfere in the affairs of Germany. The Duke of Lorraine,
too, after his unfortunate campaign, had been glad to adopt a
neutrality. Even the numerous garrisons he had left behind him, in his
progress through Germany, had not diminished his army; and, fresh and
vigorous as when he first began his march, he now stood in the centre of
Bavaria, determined and prepared to carry the war into the heart of

While Gustavus Adolphus thus maintained his superiority within the
empire, fortune, in another quarter, had been no less favourable to his
ally, the Elector of Saxony. By the arrangement concerted between these
princes at Halle, after the battle of Leipzig, the conquest of Bohemia
was intrusted to the Elector of Saxony, while the King reserved for
himself the attack upon the territories of the League. The first fruits
which the Elector reaped from the battle of Breitenfeld, was the
reconquest of Leipzig, which was shortly followed by the expulsion of
the Austrian garrisons from the entire circle. Reinforced by the troops
who deserted to him from the hostile garrisons, the Saxon General,
Arnheim, marched towards Lusatia, which had been overrun by an Imperial
General, Rudolph von Tiefenbach, in order to chastise the Elector for
embracing the cause of the enemy. He had already commenced in this
weakly defended province the usual course of devastation, taken several
towns, and terrified Dresden itself by his approach, when his
destructive progress was suddenly stopped, by an express mandate from
the Emperor to spare the possessions of the King of Saxony.

Ferdinand had perceived too late the errors of that policy, which
reduced the Elector of Saxony to extremities, and forcibly driven this
powerful monarch into an alliance with Sweden. By moderation, equally
ill-timed, he now wished to repair if possible the consequences of his
haughtiness; and thus committed a second error in endeavouring to repair
the first. To deprive his enemy of so powerful an ally, he had opened,
through the intervention of Spain, a negociation with the Elector; and
in order to facilitate an accommodation, Tiefenbach was ordered
immediately to retire from Saxony. But these concessions of the
Emperor, far from producing the desired effect, only revealed to the
Elector the embarrassment of his adversary and his own importance, and
emboldened him the more to prosecute the advantages he had already
obtained. How could he, moreover, without becoming chargeable with the
most shameful ingratitude, abandon an ally to whom he had given the most
solemn assurances of fidelity, and to whom he was indebted for the
preservation of his dominions, and even of his Electoral dignity?

The Saxon army, now relieved from the necessity of marching into
Lusatia, advanced towards Bohemia, where a combination of favourable
circumstances seemed to ensure them an easy victory. In this kingdom,
the first scene of this fatal war, the flames of dissension still
smouldered beneath the ashes, while the discontent of the inhabitants
was fomented by daily acts of oppression and tyranny. On every side,
this unfortunate country showed signs of a mournful change. Whole
districts had changed their proprietors, and groaned under the hated
yoke of Roman Catholic masters, whom the favour of the Emperor and the
Jesuits had enriched with the plunder and possessions of the exiled
Protestants. Others, taking advantage themselves of the general
distress, had purchased, at a low rate, the confiscated estates. The
blood of the most eminent champions of liberty had been shed upon the
scaffold; and such as by a timely flight avoided that fate, were
wandering in misery far from their native land, while the obsequious
slaves of despotism enjoyed their patrimony. Still more insupportable
than the oppression of these petty tyrants, was the restraint of
conscience which was imposed without distinction on all the Protestants
of that kingdom. No external danger, no opposition on the part of the
nation, however steadfast, not even the fearful lessons of past
experience could check in the Jesuits the rage of proselytism; where
fair means were ineffectual, recourse was had to military force to bring
the deluded wanderers within the pale of the church. The inhabitants of
Joachimsthal, on the frontiers between Bohemia and Meissen, were the
chief sufferers from this violence. Two imperial commissaries,
accompanied by as many Jesuits, and supported by fifteen musketeers,
made their appearance in this peaceful valley to preach the gospel to
the heretics. Where the rhetoric of the former was ineffectual, the
forcibly quartering the latter upon the houses, and threats of
banishment and fines were tried. But on this occasion, the good cause
prevailed, and the bold resistance of this small district compelled the
Emperor disgracefully to recall his mandate of conversion. The example
of the court had, however, afforded a precedent to the Roman Catholics
of the empire, and seemed to justify every act of oppression which their
insolence tempted them to wreak upon the Protestants. It is not
surprising, then, if this persecuted party was favourable to a
revolution, and saw with pleasure their deliverers on the frontiers.

The Saxon army was already on its march towards Prague, the imperial
garrisons everywhere retired before them. Schloeckenau, Tetschen,
Aussig, Leutmeritz, soon fell into the enemy's hands, and every Roman
Catholic place was abandoned to plunder. Consternation seized all the
Papists of the Empire; and conscious of the outrages which they
themselves had committed on the Protestants, they did not venture to
abide the vengeful arrival of a Protestant army. All the Roman
Catholics, who had anything to lose, fled hastily from the country to
the capital, which again they presently abandoned. Prague was
unprepared for an attack, and was too weakly garrisoned to sustain a
long siege. Too late had the Emperor resolved to despatch Field-Marshal
Tiefenbach to the defence of this capital. Before the imperial orders
could reach the head-quarters of that general, in Silesia, the Saxons
were already close to Prague, the Protestant inhabitants of which showed
little zeal, while the weakness of the garrison left no room to hope a
long resistance. In this fearful state of embarrassment, the Roman
Catholics of Prague looked for security to Wallenstein, who now lived in
that city as a private individual. But far from lending his military
experience, and the weight of his name, towards its defence, he seized
the favourable opportunity to satiate his thirst for revenge. If he did
not actually invite the Saxons to Prague, at least his conduct
facilitated its capture. Though unprepared, the town might still hold
out until succours could arrive; and an imperial colonel, Count Maradas,
showed serious intentions of undertaking its defence. But without
command and authority, and having no support but his own zeal and
courage, he did not dare to venture upon such a step without the advice
of a superior. He therefore consulted the Duke of Friedland, whose
approbation might supply the want of authority from the Emperor, and to
whom the Bohemian generals were referred by an express edict of the
court in the last extremity. He, however, artfully excused himself, on
the plea of holding no official appointment, and his long retirement
from the political world; while he weakened the resolution of the
subalterns by the scruples which he suggested, and painted in the
strongest colours. At last, to render the consternation general and
complete, he quitted the capital with his whole court, however little he
had to fear from its capture; and the city was lost, because, by his
departure, he showed that he despaired of its safety. His example was
followed by all the Roman Catholic nobility, the generals with their
troops, the clergy, and all the officers of the crown. All night the
people were employed in saving their persons and effects. The roads to
Vienna were crowded with fugitives, who scarcely recovered from their
consternation till they reached the imperial city. Maradas himself,
despairing of the safety of Prague, followed the rest, and led his small
detachment to Tabor, where he awaited the event.

Profound silence reigned in Prague, when the Saxons next morning
appeared before it; no preparations were made for defence; not a single
shot from the walls announced an intention of resistance. On the
contrary, a crowd of spectators from the town, allured by curiosity,
came flocking round, to behold the foreign army; and the peaceful
confidence with which they advanced, resembled a friendly salutation,
more than a hostile reception. From the concurrent reports of these
people, the Saxons learned that the town had been deserted by the
troops, and that the government had fled to Budweiss. This unexpected
and inexplicable absence of resistance excited Arnheim's distrust the
more, as the speedy approach of the Silesian succours was no secret to
him, and as he knew that the Saxon army was too indifferently provided
with materials for undertaking a siege, and by far too weak in numbers
to attempt to take the place by storm. Apprehensive of stratagem, he
redoubled his vigilance; and he continued in this conviction until
Wallenstein's house-steward, whom he discovered among the crowd,
confirmed to him this intelligence. "The town is ours without a blow!"
exclaimed he in astonishment to his officers, and immediately summoned
it by a trumpeter.

The citizens of Prague, thus shamefully abandoned by their defenders,
had long taken their resolution; all that they had to do was to secure
their properties and liberties by an advantageous capitulation. No
sooner was the treaty signed by the Saxon general, in his master's name,
than the gates were opened, without farther opposition; and upon the
11th of November, 1631, the army made their triumphal entry. The
Elector soon after followed in person, to receive the homage of those
whom he had newly taken under his protection; for it was only in the
character of protector that the three towns of Prague had surrendered to
him. Their allegiance to the Austrian monarchy was not to be dissolved
by the step they had taken. In proportion as the Papists' apprehensions
of reprisals on the part of the Protestants had been exaggerated, so was
their surprise great at the moderation of the Elector, and the
discipline of his troops. Field-Marshal Arnheim plainly evinced, on
this occasion, his respect for Wallenstein. Not content with sparing
his estates on his march, he now placed guards over his palace, in
Prague, to prevent the plunder of any of his effects. The Roman
Catholics of the town were allowed the fullest liberty of conscience;
and of all the churches they had wrested from the Protestants, four only
were now taken back from them. From this general indulgence, none were
excluded but the Jesuits, who were generally considered as the authors
of all past grievances, and thus banished the kingdom.

John George belied not the submission and dependence with which the
terror of the imperial name inspired him; nor did he indulge at Prague,
in a course of conduct which would assuredly have been pursued against
himself in Dresden, by imperial generals, such as Tilly or Wallenstein.
He carefully distinguished between the enemy with whom he was at war,
and the head of the Empire, to whom he owed obedience. He did not
venture to touch the household furniture of the latter, while, without
scruple, he appropriated and transported to Dresden the cannon of the
former. He did not take up his residence in the imperial palace, but
the house of Lichtenstein; too modest to use the apartments of one whom
he had deprived of a kingdom. Had this trait been related of a great
man and a hero, it would irresistibly excite our admiration; but the
character of this prince leaves us in doubt whether this moderation
ought to be ascribed to a noble self-command, or to the littleness of a
weak mind, which even good fortune could not embolden, and liberty
itself could not strip of its habituated fetters.

The surrender of Prague, which was quickly followed by that of most of
the other towns, effected a great and sudden change in Bohemia. Many of
the Protestant nobility, who had hitherto been wandering about in
misery, now returned to their native country; and Count Thurn, the
famous author of the Bohemian insurrection, enjoyed the triumph of
returning as a conqueror to the scene of his crime and his condemnation.
Over the very bridge where the heads of his adherents, exposed to view,
held out a fearful picture of the fate which had threatened himself, he
now made his triumphal entry; and to remove these ghastly objects was
his first care. The exiles again took possession of their properties,
without thinking of recompensing for the purchase money the present
possessors, who had mostly taken to flight. Even though they had
received a price for their estates, they seized on every thing which had
once been their own; and many had reason to rejoice at the economy of
the late possessors. The lands and cattle had greatly improved in their
hands; the apartments were now decorated with the most costly furniture;
the cellars, which had been left empty, were richly filled; the stables
supplied; the magazines stored with provisions. But distrusting the
constancy of that good fortune, which had so unexpectedly smiled upon
them, they hastened to get quit of these insecure possessions, and to
convert their immoveable into transferable property.

The presence of the Saxons inspired all the Protestants of the kingdom
with courage; and, both in the country and the capital, crowds flocked
to the newly opened Protestant churches. Many, whom fear alone had
retained in their adherence to Popery, now openly professed the new
doctrine; and many of the late converts to Roman Catholicism gladly
renounced a compulsory persuasion, to follow the earlier conviction of
their conscience. All the moderation of the new regency, could not
restrain the manifestation of that just displeasure, which this
persecuted people felt against their oppressors. They made a fearful
and cruel use of their newly recovered rights; and, in many parts of the
kingdom, their hatred of the religion which they had been compelled to
profess, could be satiated only by the blood of its adherents.

Meantime the succours which the imperial generals, Goetz and Tiefenbach,
were conducting from Silesia, had entered Bohemia, where they were
joined by some of Tilly's regiments, from the Upper Palatinate. In
order to disperse them before they should receive any further
reinforcement, Arnheim advanced with part of his army from Prague, and
made a vigorous attack on their entrenchments near Limburg, on the Elbe.
After a severe action, not without great loss, he drove the enemy from
their fortified camp, and forced them, by his heavy fire, to recross the
Elbe, and to destroy the bridge which they had built over that river.
Nevertheless, the Imperialists obtained the advantage in several
skirmishes, and the Croats pushed their incursions to the very gates of
Prague. Brilliant and promising as the opening of the Bohemian campaign
had been, the issue by no means satisfied the expectations of Gustavus
Adolphus. Instead of vigorously following up their advantages, by
forcing a passage to the Swedish army through the conquered country, and
then, with it, attacking the imperial power in its centre, the Saxons
weakened themselves in a war of skirmishes, in which they were not
always successful, while they lost the time which should have been
devoted to greater undertakings. But the Elector's subsequent conduct
betrayed the motives which had prevented him from pushing his advantage
over the Emperor, and by consistent measures promoting the plans of the
King of Sweden.

The Emperor had now lost the greater part of Bohemia, and the Saxons
were advancing against Austria, while the Swedish monarch was rapidly
moving to the same point through Franconia, Swabia, and Bavaria. A long
war had exhausted the strength of the Austrian monarchy, wasted the
country, and diminished its armies. The renown of its victories was no
more, as well as the confidence inspired by constant success; its troops
had lost the obedience and discipline to which those of the Swedish
monarch owed all their superiority in the field. The confederates of
the Emperor were disarmed, or their fidelity shaken by the danger which
threatened themselves. Even Maximilian of Bavaria, Austria's most
powerful ally, seemed disposed to yield to the seductive proposition of
neutrality; while his suspicious alliance with France had long been a
subject of apprehension to the Emperor. The bishops of Wurtzburg and
Bamberg, the Elector of Mentz, and the Duke of Lorraine, were either
expelled from their territories, or threatened with immediate attack;
Treves had placed itself under the protection of France. The bravery of
the Hollanders gave full employment to the Spanish arms in the
Netherlands; while Gustavus had driven them from the Rhine. Poland was
still fettered by the truce which subsisted between that country and
Sweden. The Hungarian frontier was threatened by the Transylvanian
Prince, Ragotsky, a successor of Bethlen Gabor, and the inheritor of his
restless mind; while the Porte was making great preparation to profit by
the favourable conjuncture for aggression. Most of the Protestant
states, encouraged by their protector's success, were openly and
actively declaring against the Emperor. All the resources which had
been obtained by the violent and oppressive extortions of Tilly and
Wallenstein were exhausted; all these depots, magazines, and
rallying-points, were now lost to the Emperor; and the war could no
longer be carried on as before at the cost of others. To complete his
embarrassment, a dangerous insurrection broke out in the territory of
the Ens, where the ill-timed religious zeal of the government had
provoked the Protestants to resistance; and thus fanaticism lit its
torch within the empire, while a foreign enemy was already on its
frontier. After so long a continuance of good fortune, such brilliant
victories and extensive conquests, such fruitless effusion of blood, the
Emperor saw himself a second time on the brink of that abyss, into which
he was so near falling at the commencement of his reign. If Bavaria
should embrace the neutrality; if Saxony should resist the tempting
offers he had held out; and France resolve to attack the Spanish power
at the same time in the Netherlands, in Italy and in Catalonia, the ruin
of Austria would be complete; the allied powers would divide its spoils,
and the political system of Germany would undergo a total change.

The chain of these disasters began with the battle of Breitenfeld, the
unfortunate issue of which plainly revealed the long decided decline of
the Austrian power, whose weakness had hitherto been concealed under the
dazzling glitter of a grand name. The chief cause of the Swedes'
superiority in the field, was evidently to be ascribed to the unlimited
power of their leader, who concentrated in himself the whole strength of
his party; and, unfettered in his enterprises by any higher authority,
was complete master of every favourable opportunity, could control all
his means to the accomplishment of his ends, and was responsible to none
but himself. But since Wallenstein's dismissal, and Tilly's defeat, the
very reverse of this course was pursued by the Emperor and the League.
The generals wanted authority over their troops, and liberty of acting
at their discretion; the soldiers were deficient in discipline and
obedience; the scattered corps in combined operation; the states in
attachment to the cause; the leaders in harmony among themselves, in
quickness to resolve, and firmness to execute. What gave the Emperor's
enemy so decided an advantage over him, was not so much their superior
power, as their manner of using it. The League and the Emperor did not
want means, but a mind capable of directing them with energy and effect.
Even had Count Tilly not lost his old renown, distrust of Bavaria would
not allow the Emperor to place the fate of Austria in the hands of one
who had never concealed his attachment to the Bavarian Elector. The
urgent want which Ferdinand felt, was for a general possessed of
sufficient experience to form and to command an army, and willing at the
same time to dedicate his services, with blind devotion, to the Austrian

This choice now occupied the attention of the Emperor's privy council,
and divided the opinions of its members. In order to oppose one monarch
to another, and by the presence of their sovereign to animate the
courage of the troops, Ferdinand, in the ardour of the moment, had
offered himself to be the leader of his army; but little trouble was
required to overturn a resolution which was the offspring of despair
alone, and which yielded at once to calm reflection. But the situation
which his dignity, and the duties of administration, prevented the
Emperor from holding, might be filled by his son, a youth of talents and
bravery, and of whom the subjects of Austria had already formed great
expectations. Called by his birth to the defence of a monarchy, of
whose crowns he wore two already, Ferdinand III., King of Hungary and
Bohemia, united, with the natural dignity of heir to the throne, the
respect of the army, and the attachment of the people, whose
co-operation was indispensable to him in the conduct of the war. None
but the beloved heir to the crown could venture to impose new burdens on
a people already severely oppressed; his personal presence with the army
could alone suppress the pernicious jealousies of the several leaders,
and by the influence of his name, restore the neglected discipline of
the troops to its former rigour. If so young a leader was devoid of the
maturity of judgment, prudence, and military experience which practice
alone could impart, this deficiency might be supplied by a judicious
choice of counsellors and assistants, who, under the cover of his name,
might be vested with supreme authority.

But plausible as were the arguments with which a part of the ministry
supported this plan, it was met by difficulties not less serious,
arising from the distrust, perhaps even the jealousy, of the Emperor,
and also from the desperate state of affairs. How dangerous was it to
entrust the fate of the monarchy to a youth, who was himself in need of
counsel and support! How hazardous to oppose to the greatest general of
his age, a tyro, whose fitness for so important a post had never yet
been tested by experience; whose name, as yet unknown to fame, was far
too powerless to inspire a dispirited army with the assurance of future
victory! What a new burden on the country, to support the state a royal
leader was required to maintain, and which the prejudices of the age
considered as inseparable from his presence with the army! How serious a
consideration for the prince himself, to commence his political career,
with an office which must make him the scourge of his people, and the
oppressor of the territories which he was hereafter to rule.

But not only was a general to be found for the army; an army must also
be found for the general. Since the compulsory resignation of
Wallenstein, the Emperor had defended himself more by the assistance of
Bavaria and the League, than by his own armies; and it was this
dependence on equivocal allies, which he was endeavouring to escape, by
the appointment of a general of his own. But what possibility was there
of raising an army out of nothing, without the all-powerful aid of gold,
and the inspiriting name of a victorious commander; above all, an army
which, by its discipline, warlike spirit, and activity, should be fit to
cope with the experienced troops of the northern conqueror? In all
Europe, there was but one man equal to this, and that one had been
mortally affronted.

The moment had at last arrived, when more than ordinary satisfaction was
to be done to the wounded pride of the Duke of Friedland. Fate itself
had been his avenger, and an unbroken chain of disasters, which had
assailed Austria from the day of his dismissal, had wrung from the
Emperor the humiliating confession, that with this general he had lost
his right arm. Every defeat of his troops opened afresh this wound;
every town which he lost, revived in the mind of the deceived monarch
the memory of his own weakness and ingratitude. It would have been well
for him, if, in the offended general, he had only lost a leader of his
troops, and a defender of his dominions; but he was destined to find in
him an enemy, and the most dangerous of all, since he was least armed
against the stroke of treason.

Removed from the theatre of war, and condemned to irksome inaction,
while his rivals gathered laurels on the field of glory, the haughty
duke had beheld these changes of fortune with affected composure, and
concealed, under a glittering and theatrical pomp, the dark designs of
his restless genius. Torn by burning passions within, while all without
bespoke calmness and indifference, he brooded over projects of ambition
and revenge, and slowly, but surely, advanced towards his end. All that
he owed to the Emperor was effaced from his mind; what he himself had
done for the Emperor was imprinted in burning characters on his memory.
To his insatiable thirst for power, the Emperor's ingratitude was
welcome, as it seemed to tear in pieces the record of past favours, to
absolve him from every obligation towards his former benefactor. In the
disguise of a righteous retaliation, the projects dictated by his
ambition now appeared to him just and pure. In proportion as the
external circle of his operations was narrowed, the world of hope
expanded before him, and his dreamy imagination revelled in boundless
projects, which, in any mind but such as his, madness alone could have
given birth to. His services had raised him to the proudest height
which it was possible for a man, by his own efforts, to attain. Fortune
had denied him nothing which the subject and the citizen could lawfully
enjoy. Till the moment of his dismissal, his demands had met with no
refusal, his ambition had met with no check; but the blow which, at the
diet of Ratisbon, humbled him, showed him the difference between
ORIGINAL and DEPUTED power, the distance between the subject and his
sovereign. Roused from the intoxication of his own greatness by this
sudden reverse of fortune, he compared the authority which he had
possessed, with that which had deprived him of it; and his ambition
marked the steps which it had yet to surmount upon the ladder of
fortune. From the moment he had so bitterly experienced the weight of
sovereign power, his efforts were directed to attain it for himself; the
wrong which he himself had suffered made him a robber. Had he not been
outraged by injustice, he might have obediently moved in his orbit round
the majesty of the throne, satisfied with the glory of being the
brightest of its satellites. It was only when violently forced from its
sphere, that his wandering star threw in disorder the system to which it
belonged, and came in destructive collision with its sun.

Gustavus Adolphus had overrun the north of Germany; one place after
another was lost; and at Leipzig, the flower of the Austrian army had
fallen. The intelligence of this defeat soon reached the ears of
Wallenstein, who, in the retired obscurity of a private station in
Prague, contemplated from a calm distance the tumult of war. The news,
which filled the breasts of the Roman Catholics with dismay, announced
to him the return of greatness and good fortune. For him was Gustavus
Adolphus labouring. Scarce had the king begun to gain reputation by his
exploits, when Wallenstein lost not a moment to court his friendship,
and to make common cause with this successful enemy of Austria. The
banished Count Thurn, who had long entered the service of Sweden,
undertook to convey Wallenstein's congratulations to the king, and to
invite him to a close alliance with the duke. Wallenstein required
15,000 men from the king; and with these, and the troops he himself
engaged to raise, he undertook to conquer Bohemia and Moravia, to
surprise Vienna, and drive his master, the Emperor, before him into
Italy. Welcome as was this unexpected proposition, its extravagant
promises were naturally calculated to excite suspicion. Gustavus
Adolphus was too good a judge of merit to reject with coldness the
offers of one who might be so important a friend. But when Wallenstein,
encouraged by the favourable reception of his first message, renewed it
after the battle of Breitenfeld, and pressed for a decisive answer, the
prudent monarch hesitated to trust his reputation to the chimerical
projects of so daring an adventurer, and to commit so large a force to
the honesty of a man who felt no shame in openly avowing himself a
traitor. He excused himself, therefore, on the plea of the weakness of
his army which, if diminished by so large a detachment, would certainly
suffer in its march through the empire; and thus, perhaps, by excess of
caution, lost an opportunity of putting an immediate end to the war. He
afterwards endeavoured to renew the negociation; but the favourable
moment was past, and Wallenstein's offended pride never forgave the
first neglect.

But the king's hesitation, perhaps, only accelerated the breach, which
their characters made inevitable sooner or later. Both framed by nature
to give laws, not to receive them, they could not long have co-operated
in an enterprise, which eminently demanded mutual submission and
sacrifices. Wallenstein was NOTHING where he was not EVERYTHING; he
must either act with unlimited power, or not at all. So cordially, too,
did Gustavus dislike control, that he had almost renounced his
advantageous alliance with France, because it threatened to fetter his
own independent judgment. Wallenstein was lost to a party, if he could
not lead; the latter was, if possible, still less disposed to obey the
instructions of another. If the pretensions of a rival would be so
irksome to the Duke of Friedland, in the conduct of combined operations,
in the division of the spoil they would be insupportable. The proud
monarch might condescend to accept the assistance of a rebellious
subject against the Emperor, and to reward his valuable services with
regal munificence; but he never could so far lose sight of his own
dignity, and the majesty of royalty, as to bestow the recompense which
the extravagant ambition of Wallenstein demanded; and requite an act of
treason, however useful, with a crown. In him, therefore, even if all
Europe should tacitly acquiesce, Wallenstein had reason to expect the
most decided and formidable opponent to his views on the Bohemian crown;
and in all Europe he was the only one who could enforce his opposition.
Constituted Dictator in Germany by Wallenstein himself, he might turn
his arms against him, and consider himself bound by no obligations to
one who was himself a traitor. There was no room for a Wallenstein
under such an ally; and it was, apparently, this conviction, and not any
supposed designs upon the imperial throne, that he alluded to, when,
after the death of the King of Sweden, he exclaimed, "It is well for him
and me that he is gone. The German Empire does not require two such

His first scheme of revenge on the house of Austria had indeed failed;
but the purpose itself remained unalterable; the choice of means alone
was changed. What he had failed in effecting with the King of Sweden,
he hoped to obtain with less difficulty and more advantage from the
Elector of Saxony. Him he was as certain of being able to bend to his
views, as he had always been doubtful of Gustavus Adolphus. Having
always maintained a good understanding with his old friend Arnheim, he
now made use of him to bring about an alliance with Saxony, by which he
hoped to render himself equally formidable to the Emperor and the King
of Sweden. He had reason to expect that a scheme, which, if successful,
would deprive the Swedish monarch of his influence in Germany, would be
welcomed by the Elector of Saxony, who he knew was jealous of the power
and offended at the lofty pretensions of Gustavus Adolphus. If he
succeeded in separating Saxony from the Swedish alliance, and in
establishing, conjointly with that power, a third party in the Empire,
the fate of the war would be placed in his hand; and by this single step
he would succeed in gratifying his revenge against the Emperor,
revenging the neglect of the Swedish monarch, and on the ruin of both,
raising the edifice of his own greatness.

But whatever course he might follow in the prosecution of his designs,
he could not carry them into effect without an army entirely devoted to
him. Such a force could not be secretly raised without its coming to
the knowledge of the imperial court, where it would naturally excite
suspicion, and thus frustrate his design in the very outset. From the
army, too, the rebellious purposes for which it was destined, must be
concealed till the very moment of execution, since it could scarcely be
expected that they would at once be prepared to listen to the voice of a
traitor, and serve against their legitimate sovereign. Wallenstein,
therefore, must raise it publicly and in name of the Emperor, and be
placed at its head, with unlimited authority, by the Emperor himself.
But how could this be accomplished, otherwise than by his being
appointed to the command of the army, and entrusted with full powers to
conduct the war. Yet neither his pride, nor his interest, permitted him
to sue in person for this post, and as a suppliant to accept from the
favour of the Emperor a limited power, when an unlimited authority might
be extorted from his fears. In order to make himself the master of the
terms on which he would resume the command of the army, his course was
to wait until the post should be forced upon him. This was the advice
he received from Arnheim, and this the end for which he laboured with
profound policy and restless activity.

Convinced that extreme necessity would alone conquer the Emperor's
irresolution, and render powerless the opposition of his bitter enemies,
Bavaria and Spain, he henceforth occupied himself in promoting the
success of the enemy, and in increasing the embarrassments of his
master. It was apparently by his instigation and advice, that the
Saxons, when on the route to Lusatia and Silesia, had turned their march
towards Bohemia, and overrun that defenceless kingdom, where their rapid
conquests was partly the result of his measures. By the fears which he
affected to entertain, he paralyzed every effort at resistance; and his
precipitate retreat caused the delivery of the capital to the enemy. At
a conference with the Saxon general, which was held at Kaunitz under the
pretext of negociating for a peace, the seal was put to the conspiracy,
and the conquest of Bohemia was the first fruits of this mutual
understanding. While Wallenstein was thus personally endeavouring to
heighten the perplexities of Austria, and while the rapid movements of
the Swedes upon the Rhine effectually promoted his designs, his friends
and bribed adherents in Vienna uttered loud complaints of the public
calamities, and represented the dismissal of the general as the sole
cause of all these misfortunes. "Had Wallenstein commanded, matters
would never have come to this," exclaimed a thousand voices; while their
opinions found supporters, even in the Emperor's privy council.

Their repeated remonstrances were not needed to convince the embarrassed
Emperor of his general's merits, and of his own error. His dependence
on Bavaria and the League had soon become insupportable; but hitherto
this dependence permitted him not to show his distrust, or irritate the
Elector by the recall of Wallenstein. But now when his necessities grew
every day more pressing, and the weakness of Bavaria more apparent, he
could no longer hesitate to listen to the friends of the duke, and to
consider their overtures for his restoration to command. The immense
riches Wallenstein possessed, the universal reputation he enjoyed, the
rapidity with which six years before he had assembled an army of 40,000
men, the little expense at which he had maintained this formidable
force, the actions he had performed at its head, and lastly, the zeal
and fidelity he had displayed for his master's honour, still lived in
the Emperor's recollection, and made Wallenstein seem to him the ablest
instrument to restore the balance between the belligerent powers, to
save Austria, and preserve the Catholic religion. However sensibly the
imperial pride might feel the humiliation, in being forced to make so
unequivocal an admission of past errors and present necessity; however
painful it was to descend to humble entreaties, from the height of
imperial command; however doubtful the fidelity of so deeply injured and
implacable a character; however loudly and urgently the Spanish minister
and the Elector of Bavaria protested against this step, the immediate
pressure of necessity finally overcame every other consideration, and
the friends of the duke were empowered to consult him on the subject,
and to hold out the prospect of his restoration.

Informed of all that was transacted in the Emperor's cabinet to his
advantage, Wallenstein possessed sufficient self-command to conceal his
inward triumph and to assume the mask of indifference. The moment of
vengeance was at last come, and his proud heart exulted in the prospect
of repaying with interest the injuries of the Emperor. With artful
eloquence, he expatiated upon the happy tranquillity of a private
station, which had blessed him since his retirement from a political
stage. Too long, he said, had he tasted the pleasures of ease and
independence, to sacrifice to the vain phantom of glory, the uncertain
favour of princes. All his desire of power and distinction were
extinct: tranquillity and repose were now the sole object of his
wishes. The better to conceal his real impatience, he declined the
Emperor's invitation to the court, but at the same time, to facilitate
the negociations, came to Znaim in Moravia.

At first, it was proposed to limit the authority to be intrusted to him,
by the presence of a superior, in order, by this expedient, to silence
the objections of the Elector of Bavaria. The imperial deputies,
Questenberg and Werdenberg, who, as old friends of the duke, had been
employed in this delicate mission, were instructed to propose that the
King of Hungary should remain with the army, and learn the art of war
under Wallenstein. But the very mention of his name threatened to put a
period to the whole negociation. "No! never," exclaimed Wallenstein,
"will I submit to a colleague in my office. No--not even if it were God
himself, with whom I should have to share my command." But even when
this obnoxious point was given up, Prince Eggenberg, the Emperor's
minister and favourite, who had always been the steady friend and
zealous champion of Wallenstein, and was therefore expressly sent to
him, exhausted his eloquence in vain to overcome the pretended
reluctance of the duke. "The Emperor," he admitted, "had, in
Wallenstein, thrown away the most costly jewel in his crown: but
unwillingly and compulsorily only had he taken this step, which he had
since deeply repented of; while his esteem for the duke had remained
unaltered, his favour for him undiminished. Of these sentiments he now
gave the most decisive proof, by reposing unlimited confidence in his
fidelity and capacity to repair the mistakes of his predecessors, and to
change the whole aspect of affairs. It would be great and noble to
sacrifice his just indignation to the good of his country; dignified and
worthy of him to refute the evil calumny of his enemies by the double
warmth of his zeal. This victory over himself," concluded the prince,
"would crown his other unparalleled services to the empire, and render
him the greatest man of his age."

These humiliating confessions, and flattering assurances, seemed at last
to disarm the anger of the duke; but not before he had disburdened his
heart of his reproaches against the Emperor, pompously dwelt upon his
own services, and humbled to the utmost the monarch who solicited his
assistance, did he condescend to listen to the attractive proposals of
the minister. As if he yielded entirely to the force of their
arguments, he condescended with a haughty reluctance to that which was
the most ardent wish of his heart; and deigned to favour the ambassadors
with a ray of hope. But far from putting an end to the Emperor's
embarrassments, by giving at once a full and unconditional consent, he
only acceded to a part of his demands, that he might exalt the value of
that which still remained, and was of most importance. He accepted the
command, but only for three months; merely for the purpose of raising,
but not of leading, an army. He wished only to show his power and
ability in its organization, and to display before the eyes of the
Emperor, the greatness of that assistance, which he still retained in
his hands. Convinced that an army raised by his name alone, would, if
deprived of its creator, soon sink again into nothing, he intended it to
serve only as a decoy to draw more important concessions from his
master. And yet Ferdinand congratulated himself, even in having gained
so much as he had.

Wallenstein did not long delay to fulfil those promises which all
Germany regarded as chimerical, and which Gustavus Adolphus had
considered as extravagant. But the foundation for the present
enterprise had been long laid, and he now only put in motion the
machinery, which many years had been prepared for the purpose. Scarcely
had the news spread of Wallenstein's levies, when, from every quarter of
the Austrian monarchy, crowds of soldiers repaired to try their fortunes
under this experienced general. Many, who had before fought under his
standards, had been admiring eye-witnesses of his great actions, and
experienced his magnanimity, came forward from their retirement, to
share with him a second time both booty and glory. The greatness of the
pay he promised attracted thousands, and the plentiful supplies the
soldier was likely to enjoy at the cost of the peasant, was to the
latter an irresistible inducement to embrace the military life at once,
rather than be the victim of its oppression. All the Austrian provinces
were compelled to assist in the equipment. No class was exempt from
taxation--no dignity or privilege from capitation. The Spanish court,
as well as the King of Hungary, agreed to contribute a considerable sum.
The ministers made large presents, while Wallenstein himself advanced
200,000 dollars from his own income to hasten the armament. The poorer
officers he supported out of his own revenues; and, by his own example,
by brilliant promotions, and still more brilliant promises, he induced
all, who were able, to raise troops at their own expense. Whoever
raised a corps at his own cost was to be its commander. In the
appointment of officers, religion made no difference. Riches, bravery
and experience were more regarded than creed. By this uniform treatment
of different religious sects, and still more by his express declaration,
that his present levy had nothing to do with religion, the Protestant
subjects of the empire were tranquillized, and reconciled to bear their
share of the public burdens. The duke, at the same time, did not omit
to treat, in his own name, with foreign states for men and money. He
prevailed on the Duke of Lorraine, a second time, to espouse the cause
of the Emperor. Poland was urged to supply him with Cossacks, and Italy
with warlike necessaries. Before the three months were expired, the
army which was assembled in Moravia, amounted to no less than 40,000
men, chiefly drawn from the unconquered parts of Bohemia, from Moravia,
Silesia, and the German provinces of the House of Austria. What to
every one had appeared impracticable, Wallenstein, to the astonishment
of all Europe, had in a short time effected. The charm of his name, his
treasures, and his genius, had assembled thousands in arms, where before
Austria had only looked for hundreds. Furnished, even to superfluity,
with all necessaries, commanded by experienced officers, and inflamed by
enthusiasm which assured itself of victory, this newly created army only
awaited the signal of their leader to show themselves, by the bravery of
their deeds, worthy of his choice.

The duke had fulfilled his promise, and the troops were ready to take
the field; he then retired, and left to the Emperor to choose a
commander. But it would have been as easy to raise a second army like

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest