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The Thirty Years War, Complete by Frederich Schiller

Part 6 out of 7

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important place for the Swedes, fell into the hands of the Imperialists.
The Swedish banners were victorious in almost every quarter of Germany;
and the year after the death of Gustavus, left no trace of the loss
which had been sustained in the person of that great leader.

In a review of the important events which signalized the campaign of
1633, the inactivity of a man, of whom the highest expectations had been
formed, justly excites astonishment. Among all the generals who
distinguished themselves in this campaign, none could be compared with
Wallenstein, in experience, talents, and reputation; and yet, after the
battle of Lutzen, we lose sight of him entirely. The fall of his great
rival had left the whole theatre of glory open to him; all Europe was
now attentively awaiting those exploits, which should efface the
remembrance of his defeat, and still prove to the world his military
superiority. Nevertheless, he continued inactive in Bohemia, while the
Emperor's losses in Bavaria, Lower Saxony, and the Rhine, pressingly
called for his presence--a conduct equally unintelligible to friend and
foe--the terror, and, at the same time, the last hope of the Emperor.
After the defeat of Lutzen he had hastened into Bohemia, where he
instituted the strictest inquiry into the conduct of his officers in
that battle. Those whom the council of war declared guilty of
misconduct, were put to death without mercy, those who had behaved with
bravery, rewarded with princely munificence, and the memory of the dead
honoured by splendid monuments. During the winter, he oppressed the
imperial provinces by enormous contributions, and exhausted the Austrian
territories by his winter quarters, which he purposely avoided taking up
in an enemy's country. And in the spring of 1633, instead of being the
first to open the campaign, with this well-chosen and well-appointed
army, and to make a worthy display of his great abilities, he was the
last who appeared in the field; and even then, it was an hereditary
province of Austria, which he selected as the seat of war.

Of all the Austrian provinces, Silesia was most exposed to danger.
Three different armies, a Swedish under Count Thurn, a Saxon under
Arnheim and the Duke of Lauenburg, and one of Brandenburg under
Borgsdorf, had at the same time carried the war into this country; they
had already taken possession of the most important places, and even
Breslau had embraced the cause of the allies. But this crowd of
commanders and armies was the very means of saving this province to the
Emperor; for the jealousy of the generals, and the mutual hatred of the
Saxons and the Swedes, never allowed them to act with unanimity.
Arnheim and Thurn contended for the chief command; the troops of
Brandenburg and Saxony combined against the Swedes, whom they looked
upon as troublesome strangers who ought to be got rid of as soon as
possible. The Saxons, on the contrary, lived on a very intimate footing
with the Imperialists, and the officers of both these hostile armies
often visited and entertained each other. The Imperialists were allowed
to remove their property without hindrance, and many did not affect to
conceal that they had received large sums from Vienna. Among such
equivocal allies, the Swedes saw themselves sold and betrayed; and any
great enterprise was out of the question, while so bad an understanding
prevailed between the troops. General Arnheim, too, was absent the
greater part of the time; and when he at last returned, Wallenstein was
fast approaching the frontiers with a formidable force.

His army amounted to 40,000 men, while to oppose him the allies had only
24,000. They nevertheless resolved to give him battle, and marched to
Munsterberg, where he had formed an intrenched camp. But Wallenstein
remained inactive for eight days; he then left his intrenchments, and
marched slowly and with composure to the enemy's camp. But even after
quitting his position, and when the enemy, emboldened by his past delay,
manfully prepared to receive him, he declined the opportunity of
fighting. The caution with which he avoided a battle was imputed to
fear; but the well-established reputation of Wallenstein enabled him to
despise this suspicion. The vanity of the allies allowed them not to
see that he purposely saved them a defeat, because a victory at that
time would not have served his own ends. To convince them of his
superior power, and that his inactivity proceeded not from any fear of
them, he put to death the commander of a castle that fell into his
hands, because he had refused at once to surrender an untenable place.

For nine days, did the two armies remain within musket-shot of each
other, when Count Terzky, from the camp of the Imperialists, appeared
with a trumpeter in that of the allies, inviting General Arnheim to a
conference. The purport was, that Wallenstein, notwithstanding his
superiority, was willing to agree to a cessation of arms for six weeks.
"He was come," he said, "to conclude a lasting peace with the Swedes,
and with the princes of the empire, to pay the soldiers, and to satisfy
every one. All this was in his power; and if the Austrian court
hesitated to confirm his agreement, he would unite with the allies, and
(as he privately whispered to Arnheim) hunt the Emperor to the devil."
At the second conference, he expressed himself still more plainly to
Count Thurn. "All the privileges of the Bohemians," he engaged, "should
be confirmed anew, the exiles recalled and restored to their estates,
and he himself would be the first to resign his share of them. The
Jesuits, as the authors of all past grievances, should be banished, the
Swedish crown indemnified by stated payments, and all the superfluous
troops on both sides employed against the Turks." The last article
explained the whole mystery. "If," he continued, "HE should obtain the
crown of Bohemia, all the exiles would have reason to applaud his
generosity; perfect toleration of religions should be established within
the kingdom, the Palatine family be reinstated in its rights, and he
would accept the Margraviate of Moravia as a compensation for
Mecklenburg. The allied armies would then, under his command, advance
upon Vienna, and sword in hand, compel the Emperor to ratify the

Thus was the veil at last removed from the schemes, over which he had
brooded for years in mysterious silence. Every circumstance now
convinced him that not a moment was to be lost in its execution.
Nothing but a blind confidence in the good fortune and military genius
of the Duke of Friedland, had induced the Emperor, in the face of the
remonstrances of Bavaria and Spain, and at the expense of his own
reputation, to confer upon this imperious leader such an unlimited
command. But this belief in Wallenstein's being invincible, had been
much weakened by his inaction, and almost entirely overthrown by the
defeat at Lutzen. His enemies at the imperial court now renewed their
intrigues; and the Emperor's disappointment at the failure of his hopes,
procured for their remonstrances a favourable reception. Wallenstein's
whole conduct was now reviewed with the most malicious criticism; his
ambitious haughtiness, his disobedience to the Emperor's orders, were
recalled to the recollection of that jealous prince, as well as the
complaints of the Austrian subjects against his boundless oppression;
his fidelity was questioned, and alarming hints thrown out as to his
secret views. These insinuations, which the conduct of the duke seemed
but too well to justify, failed not to make a deep impression on
Ferdinand; but the step had been taken, and the great power with which
Wallenstein had been invested, could not be taken from him without
danger. Insensibly to diminish that power, was the only course that now
remained, and, to effect this, it must in the first place be divided;
but, above all, the Emperor's present dependence on the good will of his
general put an end to. But even this right had been resigned in his
engagement with Wallenstein, and the Emperor's own handwriting secured
him against every attempt to unite another general with him in the
command, or to exercise any immediate act of authority over the troops.
As this disadvantageous contract could neither be kept nor broken,
recourse was had to artifice. Wallenstein was Imperial Generalissimo in
Germany, but his command extended no further, and he could not presume
to exercise any authority over a foreign army. A Spanish army was
accordingly raised in Milan, and marched into Germany under a Spanish
general. Wallenstein now ceased to be indispensable because he was no
longer supreme, and in case of necessity, the Emperor was now provided
with the means of support even against him.

The duke quickly and deeply felt whence this blow came, and whither it
was aimed. In vain did he protest against this violation of the
compact, to the Cardinal Infante; the Italian army continued its march,
and he was forced to detach General Altringer to join it with a
reinforcement. He took care, indeed, so closely to fetter the latter,
as to prevent the Italian army from acquiring any great reputation in
Alsace and Swabia; but this bold step of the court awakened him from his
security, and warned him of the approach of danger. That he might not a
second time be deprived of his command, and lose the fruit of all his
labours, he must accelerate the accomplishment of his long meditated
designs. He secured the attachment of his troops by removing the
doubtful officers, and by his liberality to the rest. He had sacrificed
to the welfare of the army every other order in the state, every
consideration of justice and humanity, and therefore he reckoned upon
their gratitude. At the very moment when he meditated an unparalleled
act of ingratitude against the author of his own good fortune, he
founded all his hopes upon the gratitude which was due to himself.

The leaders of the Silesian armies had no authority from their
principals to consent, on their own discretion, to such important
proposals as those of Wallenstein, and they did not even feel themselves
warranted in granting, for more than a fortnight, the cessation of
hostilities which he demanded. Before the duke disclosed his designs to
Sweden and Saxony, he had deemed it advisable to secure the sanction of
France to his bold undertaking. For this purpose, a secret negociation
had been carried on with the greatest possible caution and distrust, by
Count Kinsky with Feuquieres, the French ambassador at Dresden, and had
terminated according to his wishes. Feuquieres received orders from his
court to promise every assistance on the part of France, and to offer
the duke a considerable pecuniary aid in case of need.

But it was this excessive caution to secure himself on all sides, that
led to his ruin. The French ambassador with astonishment discovered
that a plan, which, more than any other, required secrecy, had been
communicated to the Swedes and the Saxons. And yet it was generally
known that the Saxon ministry was in the interests of the Emperor, and
on the other hand, the conditions offered to the Swedes fell too far
short of their expectations to be likely to be accepted. Feuquieres,
therefore, could not believe that the duke could be serious in
calculating upon the aid of the latter, and the silence of the former.
He communicated accordingly his doubts and anxieties to the Swedish
chancellor, who equally distrusted the views of Wallenstein, and
disliked his plans. Although it was no secret to Oxenstiern, that the
duke had formerly entered into a similar negociation with Gustavus
Adolphus, he could not credit the possibility of inducing a whole army
to revolt, and of his extravagant promises. So daring a design, and
such imprudent conduct, seemed not to be consistent with the duke's
reserved and suspicious temper, and he was the more inclined to consider
the whole as the result of dissimulation and treachery, because he had
less reason to doubt his prudence than his honesty.

Oxenstiern's doubts at last affected Arnheim himself, who, in full
confidence in Wallenstein's sincerity, had repaired to the chancellor at
Gelnhausen, to persuade him to lend some of his best regiments to the
duke, to aid him in the execution of the plan. They began to suspect
that the whole proposal was only a snare to disarm the allies, and to
betray the flower of their troops into the hands of the Emperor.
Wallenstein's well-known character did not contradict the suspicion, and
the inconsistencies in which he afterwards involved himself, entirely
destroyed all confidence in his sincerity. While he was endeavouring to
draw the Swedes into this alliance, and requiring the help of their best
troops, he declared to Arnheim that they must begin with expelling the
Swedes from the empire; and while the Saxon officers, relying upon the
security of the truce, repaired in great numbers to his camp, he made an
unsuccessful attempt to seize them. He was the first to break the
truce, which some months afterwards he renewed, though not without great
difficulty. All confidence in his sincerity was lost; his whole conduct
was regarded as a tissue of deceit and low cunning, devised to weaken
the allies and repair his own strength. This indeed he actually did
effect, as his own army daily augmented, while that of the allies was
reduced nearly one half by desertion and bad provisions. But he did not
make that use of his superiority which Vienna expected. When all men
were looking for a decisive blow to be struck, he suddenly renewed the
negociations; and when the truce lulled the allies into security, he as
suddenly recommenced hostilities. All these contradictions arose out of
the double and irreconcileable designs to ruin at once the Emperor and
the Swedes, and to conclude a separate peace with the Saxons.

Impatient at the ill success of his negociations, he at last determined
to display his strength; the more so, as the pressing distress within
the empire, and the growing dissatisfaction of the Imperial court,
admitted not of his making any longer delay. Before the last cessation
of hostilities, General Holk, from Bohemia, had attacked the circle of
Meissen, laid waste every thing on his route with fire and sword, driven
the Elector into his fortresses, and taken the town of Leipzig. But the
truce in Silesia put a period to his ravages, and the consequences of
his excesses brought him to the grave at Adorf. As soon as hostilities
were recommenced, Wallenstein made a movement, as if he designed to
penetrate through Lusatia into Saxony, and circulated the report that
Piccolomini had already invaded that country. Arnheim immediately broke
up his camp in Silesia, to follow him, and hastened to the assistance of
the Electorate. By this means the Swedes were left exposed, who were
encamped in small force under Count Thurn, at Steinau, on the Oder, and
this was exactly what Wallenstein desired. He allowed the Saxon general
to advance sixteen miles towards Meissen, and then suddenly turning
towards the Oder, surprised the Swedish army in the most complete
security. Their cavalry were first beaten by General Schafgotsch, who
was sent against them, and the infantry completely surrounded at Steinau
by the duke's army which followed. Wallenstein gave Count Thurn half an
hour to deliberate whether he would defend himself with 2,500 men,
against more than 20,000, or surrender at discretion. But there was no
room for deliberation. The army surrendered, and the most complete
victory was obtained without bloodshed. Colours, baggage, and artillery
all fell into the hands of the victors, the officers were taken into
custody, the privates drafted into the army of Wallenstein. And now at
last, after a banishment of fourteen years, after numberless changes of
fortune, the author of the Bohemian insurrection, and the remote origin
of this destructive war, the notorious Count Thurn, was in the power of
his enemies. With blood-thirsty impatience, the arrival of this great
criminal was looked for in Vienna, where they already anticipated the
malicious triumph of sacrificing so distinguished a victim to public
justice. But to deprive the Jesuits of this pleasure, was a still
sweeter triumph to Wallenstein, and Thurn was set at liberty.
Fortunately for him, he knew more than it was prudent to have divulged
in Vienna, and his enemies were also those of Wallenstein. A defeat
might have been forgiven in Vienna, but this disappointment of their
hopes they could not pardon. "What should I have done with this
madman?" he writes, with a malicious sneer, to the minister who called
him to account for this unseasonable magnanimity. "Would to Heaven the
enemy had no generals but such as he. At the head of the Swedish army,
he will render us much better service than in prison."

The victory of Steinau was followed by the capture of Liegnitz,
Grossglogau, and even of Frankfort on the Oder. Schafgotsch, who
remained in Silesia to complete the subjugation of that province,
blockaded Brieg, and threatened Breslau, though in vain, as that free
town was jealous of its privileges, and devoted to the Swedes. Colonels
Illo and Goetz were ordered by Wallenstein to the Warta, to push
forwards into Pomerania, and to the coasts of the Baltic, and actually
obtained possession of Landsberg, the key of Pomerania. While thus the
Elector of Brandenburg and the Duke of Pomerania were made to tremble
for their dominions, Wallenstein himself, with the remainder of his
army, burst suddenly into Lusatia, where he took Goerlitz by storm, and
forced Bautzen to surrender. But his object was merely to alarm the
Elector of Saxony, not to follow up the advantages already obtained; and
therefore, even with the sword in his hand, he continued his
negociations for peace with Brandenburg and Saxony, but with no better
success than before, as the inconsistencies of his conduct had destroyed
all confidence in his sincerity. He was therefore on the point of
turning his whole force in earnest against the unfortunate Saxons, and
effecting his object by force of arms, when circumstances compelled him
to leave these territories. The conquests of Duke Bernard upon the
Danube, which threatened Austria itself with immediate danger, urgently
demanded his presence in Bavaria; and the expulsion of the Saxons and
Swedes from Silesia, deprived him of every pretext for longer resisting
the Imperial orders, and leaving the Elector of Bavaria without
assistance. With his main body, therefore, he immediately set out for
the Upper Palatinate, and his retreat freed Upper Saxony for ever of
this formidable enemy.

So long as was possible, he had delayed to move to the rescue of
Bavaria, and on every pretext evaded the commands of the Emperor. He
had, indeed, after reiterated remonstrances, despatched from Bohemia a
reinforcement of some regiments to Count Altringer, who was defending
the Lech and the Danube against Horn and Bernard, but under the express
condition of his acting merely on the defensive. He referred the
Emperor and the Elector, whenever they applied to him for aid, to
Altringer, who, as he publicly gave out, had received unlimited powers;
secretly, however, he tied up his hands by the strictest injunctions,
and even threatened him with death, if he exceeded his orders. When
Duke Bernard had appeared before Ratisbon, and the Emperor as well as
the Elector repeated still more urgently their demand for succour, he
pretended he was about to despatch General Gallas with a considerable
army to the Danube; but this movement also was delayed, and Ratisbon,
Straubing, and Cham, as well as the bishopric of Eichstaedt, fell into
the hands of the Swedes. When at last he could no longer neglect the
orders of the Court, he marched slowly toward the Bavarian frontier,
where he invested the town of Cham, which had been taken by the Swedes.
But no sooner did he learn that on the Swedish side a diversion was
contemplated, by an inroad of the Saxons into Bohemia, than he availed
himself of the report, as a pretext for immediately retreating into that
kingdom. Every consideration, he urged, must be postponed to the
defence and preservation of the hereditary dominions of the Emperor; and
on this plea, he remained firmly fixed in Bohemia, which he guarded as
if it had been his own property. And when the Emperor laid upon him his
commands to move towards the Danube, and prevent the Duke of Weimar from
establishing himself in so dangerous a position on the frontiers of
Austria, Wallenstein thought proper to conclude the campaign a second
time, and quartered his troops for the winter in this exhausted kingdom.

Such continued insolence and unexampled contempt of the Imperial orders,
as well as obvious neglect of the common cause, joined to his equivocal
behaviour towards the enemy, tended at last to convince the Emperor of
the truth of those unfavourable reports with regard to the Duke, which
were current through Germany. The latter had, for a long time,
succeeded in glozing over his criminal correspondence with the enemy,
and persuading the Emperor, still prepossessed in his favour, that the
sole object of his secret conferences was to obtain peace for Germany.
But impenetrable as he himself believed his proceedings to be, in the
course of his conduct, enough transpired to justify the insinuations
with which his rivals incessantly loaded the ear of the Emperor. In
order to satisfy himself of the truth or falsehood of these rumours,
Ferdinand had already, at different times, sent spies into Wallenstein's
camp; but as the Duke took the precaution never to commit anything to
writing, they returned with nothing but conjectures. But when, at last,
those ministers who formerly had been his champions at the court, in
consequence of their estates not being exempted by Wallenstein from the
general exactions, joined his enemies; when the Elector of Bavaria
threatened, in case of Wallenstein being any longer retained in the
supreme command, to unite with the Swedes; when the Spanish ambassador
insisted on his dismissal, and threatened, in case of refusal, to
withdraw the subsidies furnished by his Crown, the Emperor found himself
a second time compelled to deprive him of the command.

The Emperor's authoritative and direct interference with the army, soon
convinced the Duke that the compact with himself was regarded as at an
end, and that his dismissal was inevitable. One of his inferior
generals in Austria, whom he had forbidden, under pain of death, to obey
the orders of the court, received the positive commands of the Emperor
to join the Elector of Bavaria; and Wallenstein himself was imperiously
ordered to send some regiments to reinforce the army of the Cardinal
Infante, who was on his march from Italy. All these measures convinced
him that the plan was finally arranged to disarm him by degrees, and at
once, when he was weak and defenceless, to complete his ruin.

In self-defence, must he now hasten to carry into execution the plans
which he had originally formed only with the view to aggrandizement. He
had delayed too long, either because the favourable configuration of the
stars had not yet presented itself, or, as he used to say, to check the
impatience of his friends, because THE TIME WAS NOT YET COME. The time,
even now, was not come: but the pressure of circumstances no longer
allowed him to await the favour of the stars. The first step was to
assure himself of the sentiments of his principal officers, and then to
try the attachment of the army, which he had so long confidently
reckoned on. Three of them, Colonels Kinsky, Terzky, and Illo, had long
been in his secrets, and the two first were further united to his
interests by the ties of relationship. The same wild ambition, the same
bitter hatred of the government, and the hope of enormous rewards, bound
them in the closest manner to Wallenstein, who, to increase the number
of his adherents, could stoop to the lowest means. He had once advised
Colonel Illo to solicit, in Vienna, the title of Count, and had promised
to back his application with his powerful mediation. But he secretly
wrote to the ministry, advising them to refuse his request, as to grant
it would give rise to similar demands from others, whose services and
claims were equal to his. On Illo's return to the camp, Wallenstein
immediately demanded to know the success of his mission; and when
informed by Illo of its failure, he broke out into the bitterest
complaints against the court. "Thus," said he, "are our faithful
services rewarded. My recommendation is disregarded, and your merit
denied so trifling a reward! Who would any longer devote his services
to so ungrateful a master? No, for my part, I am henceforth the
determined foe of Austria." Illo agreed with him, and a close alliance
was cemented between them.

But what was known to these three confidants of the duke, was long an
impenetrable secret to the rest; and the confidence with which
Wallenstein spoke of the devotion of his officers, was founded merely on
the favours he had lavished on them, and on their known dissatisfaction
with the Court. But this vague presumption must be converted into
certainty, before he could venture to lay aside the mask, or take any
open step against the Emperor. Count Piccolomini, who had distinguished
himself by his unparalleled bravery at Lutzen, was the first whose
fidelity he put to the proof. He had, he thought, gained the attachment
of this general by large presents, and preferred him to all others,
because born under the same constellations with himself. He disclosed
to him, that, in consequence of the Emperor's ingratitude, and the near
approach of his own danger, he had irrevocably determined entirely to
abandon the party of Austria, to join the enemy with the best part of
his army, and to make war upon the House of Austria, on all sides of its
dominions, till he had wholly extirpated it. In the execution of this
plan, he principally reckoned on the services of Piccolomini, and had
beforehand promised him the greatest rewards. When the latter, to
conceal his amazement at this extraordinary communication, spoke of the
dangers and obstacles which would oppose so hazardous an enterprise,
Wallenstein ridiculed his fears. "In such enterprises," he maintained,
"nothing was difficult but the commencement. The stars were propitious
to him, the opportunity the best that could be wished for, and something
must always be trusted to fortune. His resolution was taken, and if it
could not be otherwise, he would encounter the hazard at the head of a
thousand horse." Piccolomini was careful not to excite Wallenstein's
suspicions by longer opposition, and yielded apparently to the force of
his reasoning. Such was the infatuation of the Duke, that
notwithstanding the warnings of Count Terzky, he never doubted the
sincerity of this man, who lost not a moment in communicating to the
court at Vienna this important conversation.

Preparatory to taking the last decisive step, he, in January 1634,
called a meeting of all the commanders of the army at Pilsen, whither he
had marched after his retreat from Bavaria. The Emperor's recent orders
to spare his hereditary dominions from winter quarterings, to recover
Ratisbon in the middle of winter, and to reduce the army by a detachment
of six thousand horse to the Cardinal Infante, were matters sufficiently
grave to be laid before a council of war; and this plausible pretext
served to conceal from the curious the real object of the meeting.
Sweden and Saxony received invitations to be present, in order to treat
with the Duke of Friedland for a peace; to the leaders of more distant
armies, written communications were made. Of the commanders thus
summoned, twenty appeared; but three most influential, Gallas,
Colloredo, and Altringer, were absent. The Duke reiterated his summons
to them, and in the mean time, in expectation of their speedy arrival,
proceeded to execute his designs.

It was no light task that he had to perform: a nobleman, proud, brave,
and jealous of his honour, was to declare himself capable of the basest
treachery, in the very presence of those who had been accustomed to
regard him as the representative of majesty, the judge of their actions,
and the supporter of their laws, and to show himself suddenly as a
traitor, a cheat, and a rebel. It was no easy task, either, to shake to
its foundations a legitimate sovereignty, strengthened by time and
consecrated by laws and religion; to dissolve all the charms of the
senses and the imagination, those formidable guardians of an established
throne, and to attempt forcibly to uproot those invincible feelings of
duty, which plead so loudly and so powerfully in the breast of the
subject, in favour of his sovereign. But, blinded by the splendour of a
crown, Wallenstein observed not the precipice that yawned beneath his
feet; and in full reliance on his own strength, the common case with
energetic and daring minds, he stopped not to consider the magnitude and
the number of the difficulties that opposed him. Wallenstein saw
nothing but an army, partly indifferent and partly exasperated against
the court, accustomed, with a blind submission, to do homage to his
great name, to bow to him as their legislator and judge, and with
trembling reverence to follow his orders as the decrees of fate. In the
extravagant flatteries which were paid to his omnipotence, in the bold
abuse of the court government, in which a lawless soldiery indulged, and
which the wild licence of the camp excused, he thought he read the
sentiments of the army; and the boldness with which they were ready to
censure the monarch's measures, passed with him for a readiness to
renounce their allegiance to a sovereign so little respected. But that
which he had regarded as the lightest matter, proved the most formidable
obstacle with which he had to contend; the soldiers' feelings of
allegiance were the rock on which his hopes were wrecked. Deceived by
the profound respect in which he was held by these lawless bands, he
ascribed the whole to his own personal greatness, without distinguishing
how much he owed to himself, and how much to the dignity with which he
was invested. All trembled before him, while he exercised a legitimate
authority, while obedience to him was a duty, and while his consequence
was supported by the majesty of the sovereign. Greatness, in and of
itself, may excite terror and admiration; but legitimate greatness alone
can inspire reverence and submission; and of this decisive advantage he
deprived himself, the instant he avowed himself a traitor.

Field-Marshal Illo undertook to learn the sentiments of the officers,
and to prepare them for the step which was expected of them. He began
by laying before them the new orders of the court to the general and the
army; and by the obnoxious turn he skilfully gave to them, he found it
easy to excite the indignation of the assembly. After this well chosen
introduction, he expatiated with much eloquence upon the merits of the
army and the general, and the ingratitude with which the Emperor was
accustomed to requite them. "Spanish influence," he maintained,
"governed the court; the ministry were in the pay of Spain; the Duke of
Friedland alone had hitherto opposed this tyranny, and had thus drawn
down upon himself the deadly enmity of the Spaniards. To remove him
from the command, or to make away with him entirely," he continued, "had
long been the end of their desires; and, until they could succeed in one
or other, they endeavoured to abridge his power in the field. The
command was to be placed in the hands of the King of Hungary, for no
other reason than the better to promote the Spanish power in Germany;
because this prince, as the ready instrument of foreign counsels, might
be led at pleasure. It was merely with the view of weakening the army,
that the six thousand troops were required for the Cardinal Infante; it
was solely for the purpose of harassing it by a winter campaign, that
they were now called on, in this inhospitable season, to undertake the
recovery of Ratisbon. The means of subsistence were everywhere rendered
difficult, while the Jesuits and the ministry enriched themselves with
the sweat of the provinces, and squandered the money intended for the
pay of the troops. The general, abandoned by the court, acknowledges
his inability to keep his engagements to the army. For all the services
which, for two and twenty years, he had rendered the House of Austria;
for all the difficulties with which he had struggled; for all the
treasures of his own, which he had expended in the imperial service, a
second disgraceful dismissal awaited him. But he was resolved the
matter should not come to this; he was determined voluntarily to resign
the command, before it should be wrested from his hands; and this,"
continued the orator, "is what, through me, he now makes known to his
officers. It was now for them to say whether it would be advisable to
lose such a general. Let each consider who was to refund him the sums
he had expended in the Emperor's service, and where he was now to reap
the reward of their bravery, when he who was their evidence removed from
the scene."

A universal cry, that they would not allow their general to be taken
from them, interrupted the speaker. Four of the principal officers were
deputed to lay before him the wish of the assembly, and earnestly to
request that he would not leave the army. The duke made a show of
resistance, and only yielded after the second deputation. This
concession on his side, seemed to demand a return on theirs; as he
engaged not to quit the service without the knowledge and consent of the
generals, he required of them, on the other hand, a written promise to
truly and firmly adhere to him, neither to separate nor to allow
themselves to be separated from him, and to shed their last drop of
blood in his defence. Whoever should break this covenant, was to be
regarded as a perfidious traitor, and treated by the rest as a common
enemy. The express condition which was added, "AS LONG AS WALLENSTEIN
misconception, and none of the assembled generals hesitated at once to
accede to a demand, apparently so innocent and so reasonable.

This document was publicly read before an entertainment, which
Field-Marshal Illo had expressly prepared for the purpose; it was to be
signed, after they rose from table. The host did his utmost to stupify
his guests by strong potations; and it was not until he saw them
affected with the wine, that he produced the paper for signature. Most
of them wrote their names, without knowing what they were subscribing; a
few only, more curious or more distrustful, read the paper over again,
and discovered with astonishment that the clause "as long as Wallenstein
shall employ the army for the Emperor's service" was omitted. Illo had,
in fact, artfully contrived to substitute for the first another copy, in
which these words were wanting. The trick was manifest, and many
refused now to sign. Piccolomini, who had seen through the whole cheat,
and had been present at this scene merely with the view of giving
information of the whole to the court, forgot himself so far in his cups
as to drink the Emperor's health. But Count Terzky now rose, and
declared that all were perjured villains who should recede from their
engagement. His menaces, the idea of the inevitable danger to which
they who resisted any longer would be exposed, the example of the rest,
and Illo's rhetoric, at last overcame their scruples; and the paper was
signed by all without exception.

Wallenstein had now effected his purpose; but the unexpected resistance
he had met with from the commanders roused him at last from the fond
illusions in which he had hitherto indulged. Besides, most of the names
were scrawled so illegibly, that some deceit was evidently intended.
But instead of being recalled to his discretion by this warning, he gave
vent to his injured pride in undignified complaints and reproaches. He
assembled the generals the next day, and undertook personally to confirm
the whole tenor of the agreement which Illo had submitted to them the
day before. After pouring out the bitterest reproaches and abuse
against the court, he reminded them of their opposition to the
proposition of the previous day, and declared that this circumstance had
induced him to retract his own promise. The generals withdrew in
silence and confusion; but after a short consultation in the
antichamber, they returned to apologize for their late conduct, and
offered to sign the paper anew.

Nothing now remained, but to obtain a similar assurance from the absent
generals, or, on their refusal, to seize their persons. Wallenstein
renewed his invitation to them, and earnestly urged them to hasten their
arrival. But a rumour of the doings at Pilsen reached them on their
journey, and suddenly stopped their further progress. Altringer, on
pretence of sickness, remained in the strong fortress of Frauenberg.
Gallas made his appearance, but merely with the design of better
qualifying himself as an eyewitness, to keep the Emperor informed of all
Wallenstein's proceedings. The intelligence which he and Piccolomini
gave, at once converted the suspicions of the court into an alarming
certainty. Similar disclosures, which were at the same time made from
other quarters, left no room for farther doubt; and the sudden change of
the commanders in Austria and Silesia, appeared to be the prelude to
some important enterprise. The danger was pressing, and the remedy must
be speedy, but the court was unwilling to proceed at once to the
execution of the sentence, till the regular forms of justice were
complied with. Secret instructions were therefore issued to the
principal officers, on whose fidelity reliance could be placed, to seize
the persons of the Duke of Friedland and of his two associates, Illo and
Terzky, and keep them in close confinement, till they should have an
opportunity of being heard, and of answering for their conduct; but if
this could not be accomplished quietly, the public danger required that
they should be taken dead or live. At the same time, General Gallas
received a patent commission, by which these orders of the Emperor were
made known to the colonels and officers, and the army was released from
its obedience to the traitor, and placed under Lieutenant-General
Gallas, till a new generalissimo could be appointed. In order to bring
back the seduced and deluded to their duty, and not to drive the guilty
to despair, a general amnesty was proclaimed, in regard to all offences
against the imperial majesty committed at Pilsen.

General Gallas was not pleased with the honour which was done him. He
was at Pilsen, under the eye of the person whose fate he was to dispose
of; in the power of an enemy, who had a hundred eyes to watch his
motions. If Wallenstein once discovered the secret of his commission,
nothing could save him from the effects of his vengeance and despair.
But if it was thus dangerous to be the secret depositary of such a
commission, how much more so to execute it? The sentiments of the
generals were uncertain; and it was at least doubtful whether, after the
step they had taken, they would be ready to trust the Emperor's
promises, and at once to abandon the brilliant expectations they had
built upon Wallenstein's enterprise. It was also hazardous to attempt
to lay hands on the person of a man who, till now, had been considered
inviolable; who from long exercise of supreme power, and from habitual
obedience, had become the object of deepest respect; who was invested
with every attribute of outward majesty and inward greatness; whose very
aspect inspired terror, and who by a nod disposed of life and death! To
seize such a man, like a common criminal, in the midst of the guards by
whom he was surrounded, and in a city apparently devoted to him; to
convert the object of this deep and habitual veneration into a subject
of compassion, or of contempt, was a commission calculated to make even
the boldest hesitate. So deeply was fear and veneration for their
general engraven in the breasts of the soldiers, that even the atrocious
crime of high treason could not wholly eradicate these sentiments.

Gallas perceived the impossibility of executing his commission under the
eyes of the duke; and his most anxious wish was, before venturing on any
steps, to have an interview with Altringer. As the long absence of the
latter had already begun to excite the duke's suspicions, Gallas offered
to repair in person to Frauenberg, and to prevail on Altringer, his
relation, to return with him. Wallenstein was so pleased with this
proof of his zeal, that he even lent him his own equipage for the
journey. Rejoicing at the success of his stratagem, he left Pilsen
without delay, leaving to Count Piccolomini the task of watching
Wallenstein's further movements. He did not fail, as he went along, to
make use of the imperial patent, and the sentiments of the troops proved
more favourable than he had expected. Instead of taking back his friend
to Pilsen, he despatched him to Vienna, to warn the Emperor against the
intended attack, while he himself repaired to Upper Austria, of which
the safety was threatened by the near approach of Duke Bernard. In
Bohemia, the towns of Budweiss and Tabor were again garrisoned for the
Emperor, and every precaution taken to oppose with energy the designs of
the traitor.

As Gallas did not appear disposed to return, Piccolomini determined to
put Wallenstein's credulity once more to the test. He begged to be sent
to bring back Gallas, and Wallenstein suffered himself a second time to
be overreached. This inconceivable blindness can only be accounted for
as the result of his pride, which never retracted the opinion it had
once formed of any person, and would not acknowledge, even to itself,
the possibility of being deceived. He conveyed Count Piccolomini in his
own carriage to Lintz, where the latter immediately followed the example
of Gallas, and even went a step farther. He had promised the duke to
return. He did so, but it was at the head of an army, intending to
surprise the duke in Pilsen. Another army under General Suys hastened
to Prague, to secure that capital in its allegiance, and to defend it
against the rebels. Gallas, at the same time, announced himself to the
different imperial armies as the commander-in-chief, from whom they were
henceforth to receive orders. Placards were circulated through all the
imperial camps, denouncing the duke and his four confidants, and
absolving the soldiers from all obedience to him.

The example which had been set at Lintz, was universally followed;
imprecations were showered on the traitor, and he was forsaken by all
the armies. At last, when even Piccolomini returned no more, the mist
fell from Wallenstein's eyes, and in consternation he awoke from his
dream. Yet his faith in the truth of astrology, and in the fidelity of
the army was unshaken. Immediately after the intelligence of
Piccolomini's defection, he issued orders, that in future no commands
were to be obeyed, which did not proceed directly from himself, or from
Terzky, or Illo. He prepared, in all haste, to advance upon Prague,
where he intended to throw off the mask, and openly to declare against
the Emperor. All the troops were to assemble before that city, and from
thence to pour down with rapidity upon Austria. Duke Bernard, who had
joined the conspiracy, was to support the operations of the duke, with
the Swedish troops, and to effect a diversion upon the Danube.

Terzky was already upon his march towards Prague; and nothing, but the
want of horses, prevented the duke from following him with the regiments
who still adhered faithfully to him. But when, with the most anxious
expectation, he awaited the intelligence from Prague, he suddenly
received information of the loss of that town, the defection of his
generals, the desertion of his troops, the discovery of his whole plot,
and the rapid advance of Piccolomini, who was sworn to his destruction.
Suddenly and fearfully had all his projects been ruined--all his hopes
annihilated. He stood alone, abandoned by all to whom he had been a
benefactor, betrayed by all on whom he had depended. But it is under
such circumstances that great minds reveal themselves. Though deceived
in all his expectations, he refused to abandon one of his designs; he
despaired of nothing, so long as life remained. The time was now come,
when he absolutely required that assistance, which he had so often
solicited from the Swedes and the Saxons, and when all doubts of the
sincerity of his purposes must be dispelled. And now, when Oxenstiern
and Arnheim were convinced of the sincerity of his intentions, and were
aware of his necessities, they no longer hesitated to embrace the
favourable opportunity, and to offer him their protection. On the part
of Saxony, the Duke Francis Albert of Saxe Lauenberg was to join him
with 4,000 men; and Duke Bernard, and the Palatine Christian of
Birkenfeld, with 6,000 from Sweden, all chosen troops.

Wallenstein left Pilsen, with Terzky's regiment, and the few who either
were, or pretended to be, faithful to him, and hastened to Egra, on the
frontiers of the kingdom, in order to be near the Upper Palatinate, and
to facilitate his junction with Duke Bernard. He was not yet informed
of the decree by which he was proclaimed a public enemy and traitor;
this thunder-stroke awaited him at Egra. He still reckoned on the army,
which General Schafgotsch was preparing for him in Silesia, and
flattered himself with the hope that many even of those who had forsaken
him, would return with the first dawning of success. Even during his
flight to Egra (so little humility had he learned from melancholy
experience) he was still occupied with the colossal scheme of dethroning
the Emperor. It was under these circumstances, that one of his suite
asked leave to offer him his advice. "Under the Emperor," said he,
"your highness is certain of being a great and respected noble; with the
enemy, you are at best but a precarious king. It is unwise to risk
certainty for uncertainty. The enemy will avail themselves of your
personal influence, while the opportunity lasts; but you will ever be
regarded with suspicion, and they will always be fearful lest you should
treat them as you have done the Emperor. Return, then, to your
allegiance, while there is yet time."--"And how is that to be done?"
said Wallenstein, interrupting him: "You have 40,000 men-at-arms,"
rejoined he, (meaning ducats, which were stamped with the figure of an
armed man,) "take them with you, and go straight to the Imperial Court;
then declare that the steps you have hitherto taken were merely designed
to test the fidelity of the Emperor's servants, and of distinguishing
the loyal from the doubtful; and since most have shown a disposition to
revolt, say you are come to warn his Imperial Majesty against those
dangerous men. Thus you will make those appear as traitors, who are
labouring to represent you as a false villain. At the Imperial Court, a
man is sure to be welcome with 40,000 ducats, and Friedland will be
again as he was at the first."--"The advice is good," said Wallenstein,
after a pause, "but let the devil trust to it."

While the duke, in his retirement in Egra, was energetically pushing his
negociations with the enemy, consulting the stars, and indulging in new
hopes, the dagger which was to put an end to his existence was
unsheathed almost under his very eyes. The imperial decree which
proclaimed him an outlaw, had not failed of its effect; and an avenging
Nemesis ordained that the ungrateful should fall beneath the blow of
ingratitude. Among his officers, Wallenstein had particularly
distinguished one Leslie, an Irishman, and had made his fortune.

[Schiller is mistaken as to this point. Leslie was a Scotchman,
and Buttler an Irishman and a papist. He died a general in the
Emperor's service, and founded, at Prague, a convent of Irish
Franciscans which still exists.--Ed.]

This was the man who now felt himself called on to execute the sentence
against him, and to earn the price of blood. No sooner had he reached
Egra, in the suite of the duke, than he disclosed to the commandant of
the town, Colonel Buttler, and to Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon, two
Protestant Scotchmen, the treasonable designs of the duke, which the
latter had imprudently enough communicated to him during the journey.
In these two individuals, he had found men capable of a determined
resolution. They were now called on to choose between treason and duty,
between their legitimate sovereign and a fugitive abandoned rebel; and
though the latter was their common benefactor, the choice could not
remain for a moment doubtful. They were solemnly pledged to the
allegiance of the Emperor, and this duty required them to take the most
rapid measures against the public enemy. The opportunity was
favourable; his evil genius seemed to have delivered him into the hands
of vengeance. But not to encroach on the province of justice, they
resolved to deliver up their victim alive; and they parted with the bold
resolve to take their general prisoner. This dark plot was buried in
the deepest silence; and Wallenstein, far from suspecting his impending
ruin, flattered himself that in the garrison of Egra he possessed his
bravest and most faithful champions.

At this time, he became acquainted with the Imperial proclamations
containing his sentence, and which had been published in all the camps.
He now became aware of the full extent of the danger which encompassed
him, the utter impossibility of retracing his steps, his fearfully
forlorn condition, and the absolute necessity of at once trusting
himself to the faith and honour of the Emperor's enemies. To Leslie he
poured forth all the anguish of his wounded spirit, and the vehemence of
his agitation extracted from him his last remaining secret. He
disclosed to this officer his intention to deliver up Egra and
Ellenbogen, the passes of the kingdom, to the Palatine of Birkenfeld,
and at the same time, informed him of the near approach of Duke Bernard,
of whose arrival he hoped to receive tidings that very night. These
disclosures, which Leslie immediately communicated to the conspirators,
made them change their original plan. The urgency of the danger
admitted not of half measures. Egra might in a moment be in the enemy's
hands, and a sudden revolution set their prisoner at liberty. To
anticipate this mischance, they resolved to assassinate him and his
associates the following night.

In order to execute this design with less noise, it was arranged that
the fearful deed should be perpetrated at an entertainment which Colonel
Buttler should give in the Castle of Egra. All the guests, except
Wallenstein, made their appearance, who being in too great anxiety of
mind to enjoy company excused himself. With regard to him, therefore,
their plan must be again changed; but they resolved to execute their
design against the others. The three Colonels, Illo, Terzky, and
William Kinsky, came in with careless confidence, and with them Captain
Neumann, an officer of ability, whose advice Terzky sought in every
intricate affair. Previous to their arrival, trusty soldiers of the
garrison, to whom the plot had been communicated, were admitted into the
Castle, all the avenues leading from it guarded, and six of Buttler's
dragoons concealed in an apartment close to the banqueting-room, who, on
a concerted signal, were to rush in and kill the traitors. Without
suspecting the danger that hung over them, the guests gaily abandoned
themselves to the pleasures of the table, and Wallenstein's health was
drunk in full bumpers, not as a servant of the Emperor, but as a
sovereign prince. The wine opened their hearts, and Illo, with
exultation, boasted that in three days an army would arrive, such as
Wallenstein had never before been at the head of. "Yes," cried Neumann,
"and then he hopes to bathe his hands in Austrian blood." During this
conversation, the dessert was brought in, and Leslie gave the concerted
signal to raise the drawbridges, while he himself received the keys of
the gates. In an instant, the hall was filled with armed men, who, with
the unexpected greeting of "Long live Ferdinand!" placed themselves
behind the chairs of the marked guests. Surprised, and with a
presentiment of their fate, they sprang from the table. Kinsky and
Terzky were killed upon the spot, and before they could put themselves
upon their guard. Neumann, during the confusion in the hall, escaped
into the court, where, however, he was instantly recognised and cut
down. Illo alone had the presence of mind to defend himself. He placed
his back against a window, from whence he poured the bitterest
reproaches upon Gordon, and challenged him to fight him fairly and
honourably. After a gallant resistance, in which he slew two of his
assailants, he fell to the ground overpowered by numbers, and pierced
with ten wounds. The deed was no sooner accomplished, than Leslie
hastened into the town to prevent a tumult. The sentinels at the castle
gate, seeing him running and out of breath, and believing he belonged to
the rebels, fired their muskets after him, but without effect. The
firing, however, aroused the town-guard, and all Leslie's presence of
mind was requisite to allay the tumult. He hastily detailed to them all
the circumstances of Wallenstein's conspiracy, the measures which had
been already taken to counteract it, the fate of the four rebels, as
well as that which awaited their chief. Finding the troops well
disposed, he exacted from them a new oath of fidelity to the Emperor,
and to live and die for the good cause. A hundred of Buttler's dragoons
were sent from the Castle into the town to patrol the streets, to
overawe the partisans of the Duke, and to prevent tumult. All the gates
of Egra were at the same time seized, and every avenue to Wallenstein's
residence, which adjoined the market-place, guarded by a numerous and
trusty body of troops, sufficient to prevent either his escape or his
receiving any assistance from without.

But before they proceeded finally to execute the deed, a long conference
was held among the conspirators in the Castle, whether they should kill
him, or content themselves with making him prisoner. Besprinkled as
they were with the blood, and deliberating almost over the very corpses
of his murdered associates, even these furious men yet shuddered at the
horror of taking away so illustrious a life. They saw before their
mind's eye him their leader in battle, in the days of his good fortune,
surrounded by his victorious army, clothed with all the pomp of military
greatness, and long-accustomed awe again seized their minds. But this
transitory emotion was soon effaced by the thought of the immediate
danger. They remembered the hints which Neumann and Illo had thrown out
at table, the near approach of a formidable army of Swedes and Saxons,
and they clearly saw that the death of the traitor was their only chance
of safety. They adhered, therefore, to their first resolution, and
Captain Deveroux, an Irishman, who had already been retained for the
murderous purpose, received decisive orders to act.

While these three officers were thus deciding upon his fate in the
castle of Egra, Wallenstein was occupied in reading the stars with Seni.
"The danger is not yet over," said the astrologer with prophetic spirit.
"IT IS," replied the Duke, who would give the law even to heaven.
"But," he continued with equally prophetic spirit, "that thou friend
Seni thyself shall soon be thrown into prison, that also is written in
the stars." The astrologer had taken his leave, and Wallenstein had
retired to bed, when Captain Deveroux appeared before his residence with
six halberdiers, and was immediately admitted by the guard, who were
accustomed to see him visit the general at all hours. A page who met
him upon the stairs, and attempted to raise an alarm, was run through
the body with a pike. In the antichamber, the assassins met a servant,
who had just come out of the sleeping-room of his master, and had taken
with him the key. Putting his finger upon his mouth, the terrified
domestic made a sign to them to make no noise, as the Duke was asleep.
"Friend," cried Deveroux, "it is time to awake him;" and with these
words he rushed against the door, which was also bolted from within, and
burst it open.

Wallenstein had been roused from his first sleep, by the report of a
musket which had accidentally gone off, and had sprung to the window to
call the guard. At the same moment, he heard, from the adjoining
building, the shrieks of the Countesses Terzky and Kinsky, who had just
learnt the violent fate of their husbands. Ere he had time to reflect
on these terrible events, Deveroux, with the other murderers, was in his
chamber. The Duke was in his shirt, as he had leaped out of bed, and
leaning on a table near the window. "Art thou the villain," cried
Deveroux to him, "who intends to deliver up the Emperor's troops to the
enemy, and to tear the crown from the head of his Majesty? Now thou must
die!" He paused for a few moments, as if expecting an answer; but scorn
and astonishment kept Wallenstein silent. Throwing his arms wide open,
he received in his breast, the deadly blow of the halberds, and without
uttering a groan, fell weltering in his blood.

The next day, an express arrived from the Duke of Lauenburg, announcing
his approach. The messenger was secured, and another in Wallenstein's
livery despatched to the Duke, to decoy him into Egra. The stratagem
succeeded, and Francis Albert fell into the hands of the enemy. Duke
Bernard of Weimar, who was on his march towards Egra, was nearly sharing
the same fate. Fortunately, he heard of Wallenstein's death in time to
save himself by a retreat. Ferdinand shed a tear over the fate of his
general, and ordered three thousand masses to be said for his soul at
Vienna; but, at the same time, he did not forget to reward his assassins
with gold chains, chamberlains' keys, dignities, and estates.

Thus did Wallenstein, at the age of fifty, terminate his active and
extraordinary life. To ambition, he owed both his greatness and his
ruin; with all his failings, he possessed great and admirable qualities,
and had he kept himself within due bounds, he would have lived and died
without an equal. The virtues of the ruler and of the hero, prudence,
justice, firmness, and courage, are strikingly prominent features in his
character; but he wanted the gentler virtues of the man, which adorn the
hero, and make the ruler beloved. Terror was the talisman with which he
worked; extreme in his punishments as in his rewards, he knew how to
keep alive the zeal of his followers, while no general of ancient or
modern times could boast of being obeyed with equal alacrity.
Submission to his will was more prized by him than bravery; for, if the
soldiers work by the latter, it is on the former that the general
depends. He continually kept up the obedience of his troops by
capricious orders, and profusely rewarded the readiness to obey even in
trifles; because he looked rather to the act itself, than its object.
He once issued a decree, with the penalty of death on disobedience, that
none but red sashes should be worn in the army. A captain of horse no
sooner heard the order, than pulling off his gold-embroidered sash, he
trampled it under foot; Wallenstein, on being informed of the
circumstance, promoted him on the spot to the rank of Colonel. His
comprehensive glance was always directed to the whole, and in all his
apparent caprice, he steadily kept in view some general scope or
bearing. The robberies committed by the soldiers in a friendly country,
had led to the severest orders against marauders; and all who should be
caught thieving, were threatened with the halter. Wallenstein himself
having met a straggler in the open country upon the field, commanded him
to be seized without trial, as a transgressor of the law, and in his
usual voice of thunder, exclaimed, "Hang the fellow," against which no
opposition ever availed. The soldier pleaded and proved his innocence,
but the irrevocable sentence had gone forth. "Hang then innocent,"
cried the inexorable Wallenstein, "the guilty will have then more reason
to tremble." Preparations were already making to execute the sentence,
when the soldier, who gave himself up for lost, formed the desperate
resolution of not dying without revenge. He fell furiously upon his
judge, but was overpowered by numbers, and disarmed before he could
fulfil his design. "Now let him go," said the Duke, "it will excite
sufficient terror."

His munificence was supported by an immense income, which was estimated
at three millions of florins yearly, without reckoning the enormous sums
which he raised under the name of contributions. His liberality and
clearness of understanding, raised him above the religious prejudices of
his age; and the Jesuits never forgave him for having seen through their
system, and for regarding the pope as nothing more than a bishop of

But as no one ever yet came to a fortunate end who quarrelled with the
Church, Wallenstein also must augment the number of its victims.
Through the intrigues of monks, he lost at Ratisbon the command of the
army, and at Egra his life; by the same arts, perhaps, he lost what was
of more consequence, his honourable name and good repute with posterity.

For in justice it must be admitted, that the pens which have traced the
history of this extraordinary man are not untinged with partiality, and
that the treachery of the duke, and his designs upon the throne of
Bohemia, rest not so much upon proven facts, as upon probable
conjecture. No documents have yet been brought to light, which disclose
with historical certainty the secret motives of his conduct; and among
all his public and well attested actions, there is, perhaps, not one
which could not have had an innocent end. Many of his most obnoxious
measures proved nothing but the earnest wish he entertained for peace;
most of the others are explained and justified by the well-founded
distrust he entertained of the Emperor, and the excusable wish of
maintaining his own importance. It is true, that his conduct towards
the Elector of Bavaria looks too like an unworthy revenge, and the
dictates of an implacable spirit; but still, none of his actions perhaps
warrant us in holding his treason to be proved. If necessity and
despair at last forced him to deserve the sentence which had been
pronounced against him while innocent, still this, if true, will not
justify that sentence. Thus Wallenstein fell, not because he was a
rebel, but he became a rebel because he fell. Unfortunate in life that
he made a victorious party his enemy, and still more unfortunate in
death, that the same party survived him and wrote his history.

Book V.

Wallenstein's death rendered necessary the appointment of a new
generalissimo; and the Emperor yielded at last to the advice of the
Spaniards, to raise his son Ferdinand, King of Hungary, to that dignity.
Under him, Count Gallas commanded, who performed the functions of
commander-in-chief, while the prince brought to this post nothing but
his name and dignity. A considerable force was soon assembled under
Ferdinand; the Duke of Lorraine brought up a considerable body of
auxiliaries in person, and the Cardinal Infante joined him from Italy
with 10,000 men. In order to drive the enemy from the Danube, the new
general undertook the enterprise in which his predecessor had failed,
the siege of Ratisbon. In vain did Duke Bernard of Weimar penetrate
into the interior of Bavaria, with a view to draw the enemy from the
town; Ferdinand continued to press the siege with vigour, and the city,
after a most obstinate resistance, was obliged to open its gates to him.
Donauwerth soon shared the same fate, and Nordlingen in Swabia was now
invested. The loss of so many of the imperial cities was severely felt
by the Swedish party; as the friendship of these towns had so largely
contributed to the success of their arms, indifference to their fate
would have been inexcusable. It would have been an indelible disgrace,
had they deserted their confederates in their need, and abandoned them
to the revenge of an implacable conqueror. Moved by these
considerations, the Swedish army, under the command of Horn, and Bernard
of Weimar, advanced upon Nordlingen, determined to relieve it even at
the expense of a battle.

The undertaking was a dangerous one, for in numbers the enemy was
greatly superior to that of the Swedes. There was also a further reason
for avoiding a battle at present; the enemy's force was likely soon to
divide, the Italian troops being destined for the Netherlands. In the
mean time, such a position might be taken up, as to cover Nordlingen,
and cut off their supplies. All these grounds were strongly urged by
Gustavus Horn, in the Swedish council of war; but his remonstrances were
disregarded by men who, intoxicated by a long career of success, mistook
the suggestions of prudence for the voice of timidity. Overborne by the
superior influence of Duke Bernard, Gustavus Horn was compelled to risk
a contest, whose unfavourable issue, a dark foreboding seemed already to
announce. The fate of the battle depended upon the possession of a
height which commanded the imperial camp. An attempt to occupy it
during the night failed, as the tedious transport of the artillery
through woods and hollow ways delayed the arrival of the troops. When
the Swedes arrived about midnight, they found the heights in possession
of the enemy, strongly entrenched. They waited, therefore, for
daybreak, to carry them by storm. Their impetuous courage surmounted
every obstacle; the entrenchments, which were in the form of a crescent,
were successfully scaled by each of the two brigades appointed to the
service; but as they entered at the same moment from opposite sides,
they met and threw each other into confusion. At this unfortunate
moment, a barrel of powder blew up, and created the greatest disorder
among the Swedes. The imperial cavalry charged upon their broken ranks,
and the flight became universal. No persuasion on the part of their
general could induce the fugitives to renew the assault.

He resolved, therefore, in order to carry this important post, to lead
fresh troops to the attack. But in the interim, some Spanish regiments
had marched in, and every attempt to gain it was repulsed by their
heroic intrepidity. One of the duke's own regiments advanced seven
times, and was as often driven back. The disadvantage of not occupying
this post in time, was quickly and sensibly felt. The fire of the
enemy's artillery from the heights, caused such slaughter in the
adjacent wing of the Swedes, that Horn, who commanded there, was forced
to give orders to retire. Instead of being able to cover the retreat of
his colleague, and to check the pursuit of the enemy, Duke Bernard,
overpowered by numbers, was himself driven into the plain, where his
routed cavalry spread confusion among Horn's brigade, and rendered the
defeat complete. Almost the entire infantry were killed or taken
prisoners. More than 12,000 men remained dead upon the field of battle;
80 field pieces, about 4,000 waggons, and 300 standards and colours fell
into the hands of the Imperialists. Horn himself, with three other
generals, were taken prisoners. Duke Bernard with difficulty saved a
feeble remnant of his army, which joined him at Frankfort.

The defeat at Nordlingen, cost the Swedish Chancellor the second
sleepless night he had passed in Germany.--[The first was occasioned by
the death of Gustavus Adolphus.]--The consequences of this disaster were
terrible. The Swedes had lost by it at once their superiority in the
field, and with it the confidence of their confederates, which they had
gained solely by their previous military success. A dangerous division
threatened the Protestant Confederation with ruin. Consternation and
terror seized upon the whole party; while the Papists arose with
exulting triumph from the deep humiliation into which they had sunk.
Swabia and the adjacent circles first felt the consequences of the
defeat of Nordlingen; and Wirtemberg, in particular, was overrun by the
conquering army. All the members of the League of Heilbronn trembled at
the prospect of the Emperor's revenge; those who could, fled to
Strasburg, while the helpless free cities awaited their fate with alarm.
A little more of moderation towards the conquered, would have quickly
reduced all the weaker states under the Emperor's authority; but the
severity which was practised, even against those who voluntarily
surrendered, drove the rest to despair, and roused them to a vigorous

In this perplexity, all looked to Oxenstiern for counsel and assistance;
Oxenstiern applied for both to the German States. Troops were wanted;
money likewise, to raise new levies, and to pay to the old the arrears
which the men were clamorously demanding. Oxenstiern addressed himself
to the Elector of Saxony; but he shamefully abandoned the Swedish cause,
to negociate for a separate peace with the Emperor at Pirna. He
solicited aid from the Lower Saxon States; but they, long wearied of the
Swedish pretensions and demands for money, now thought only of
themselves; and George, Duke of Lunenburg, in place of flying to the
assistance of Upper Germany, laid siege to Minden, with the intention of
keeping possession of it for himself. Abandoned by his German allies,
the chancellor exerted himself to obtain the assistance of foreign
powers. England, Holland, and Venice were applied to for troops and
money; and, driven to the last extremity, the chancellor reluctantly
resolved to take the disagreeable step which he had so long avoided, and
to throw himself under the protection of France.

The moment had at last arrived which Richelieu had long waited for with
impatience. Nothing, he was aware, but the impossibility of saving
themselves by any other means, could induce the Protestant States in
Germany to support the pretensions of France upon Alsace. This extreme
necessity had now arrived; the assistance of that power was
indispensable, and she was resolved to be well paid for the active part
which she was about to take in the German war. Full of lustre and
dignity, it now came upon the political stage. Oxenstiern, who felt
little reluctance in bestowing the rights and possessions of the empire,
had already ceded the fortress of Philipsburg, and the other long
coveted places. The Protestants of Upper Germany now, in their own
names, sent a special embassy to Richelieu, requesting him to take
Alsace, the fortress of Breyssach, which was still to be recovered from
the enemy, and all the places upon the Upper Rhine, which were the keys
of Germany, under the protection of France. What was implied by French
protection had been seen in the conduct of France towards the bishoprics
of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, which it had held for centuries against the
rightful owners. Treves was already in the possession of French
garrisons; Lorraine was in a manner conquered, as it might at any time
be overrun by an army, and could not, alone, and with its own strength,
withstand its formidable neighbour. France now entertained the hope of
adding Alsace to its large and numerous possessions, and,--since a
treaty was soon to be concluded with the Dutch for the partition of the
Spanish Netherlands--the prospect of making the Rhine its natural
boundary towards Germany. Thus shamefully were the rights of Germany
sacrificed by the German States to this treacherous and grasping power,
which, under the mask of a disinterested friendship, aimed only at its
own aggrandizement; and while it boldly claimed the honourable title of
a Protectress, was solely occupied with promoting its own schemes, and
advancing its own interests amid the general confusion.

In return for these important cessions, France engaged to effect a
diversion in favour of the Swedes, by commencing hostilities against the
Spaniards; and if this should lead to an open breach with the Emperor,
to maintain an army upon the German side of the Rhine, which was to act
in conjunction with the Swedes and Germans against Austria. For a war
with Spain, the Spaniards themselves soon afforded the desired pretext.
Making an inroad from the Netherlands, upon the city of Treves, they cut
in pieces the French garrison; and, in open violation of the law of
nations, made prisoner the Elector, who had placed himself under the
protection of France, and carried him into Flanders. When the Cardinal
Infante, as Viceroy of the Spanish Netherlands, refused satisfaction for
these injuries, and delayed to restore the prince to liberty, Richelieu,
after the old custom, formally proclaimed war at Brussels by a herald,
and the war was at once opened by three different armies in Milan, in
the Valteline, and in Flanders. The French minister was less anxious to
commence hostilities with the Emperor, which promised fewer advantages,
and threatened greater difficulties. A fourth army, however, was
detached across the Rhine into Germany, under the command of Cardinal
Lavalette, which was to act in conjunction with Duke Bernard, against
the Emperor, without a previous declaration of war.

A heavier blow for the Swedes, than even the defeat of Nordlingen, was
the reconciliation of the Elector of Saxony with the Emperor. After
many fruitless attempts both to bring about and to prevent it, it was at
last effected in 1634, at Pirna, and, the following year, reduced into a
formal treaty of peace, at Prague. The Elector of Saxony had always
viewed with jealousy the pretensions of the Swedes in Germany; and his
aversion to this foreign power, which now gave laws within the Empire,
had grown with every fresh requisition that Oxenstiern was obliged to
make upon the German states. This ill feeling was kept alive by the
Spanish court, who laboured earnestly to effect a peace between Saxony
and the Emperor. Wearied with the calamities of a long and destructive
contest, which had selected Saxony above all others for its theatre;
grieved by the miseries which both friend and foe inflicted upon his
subjects, and seduced by the tempting propositions of the House of
Austria, the Elector at last abandoned the common cause, and, caring
little for the fate of his confederates, or the liberties of Germany,
thought only of securing his own advantages, even at the expense of the
whole body.

In fact, the misery of Germany had risen to such a height, that all
clamorously vociferated for peace; and even the most disadvantageous
pacification would have been hailed as a blessing from heaven. The
plains, which formerly had been thronged with a happy and industrious
population, where nature had lavished her choicest gifts, and plenty and
prosperity had reigned, were now a wild and desolate wilderness. The
fields, abandoned by the industrious husbandman, lay waste and
uncultivated; and no sooner had the young crops given the promise of a
smiling harvest, than a single march destroyed the labours of a year,
and blasted the last hope of an afflicted peasantry. Burnt castles,
wasted fields, villages in ashes, were to be seen extending far and wide
on all sides, while the ruined peasantry had no resource left but to
swell the horde of incendiaries, and fearfully to retaliate upon their
fellows, who had hitherto been spared the miseries which they themselves
had suffered. The only safeguard against oppression was to become an
oppressor. The towns groaned under the licentiousness of undisciplined
and plundering garrisons, who seized and wasted the property of the
citizens, and, under the license of their position, committed the most
remorseless devastation and cruelty. If the march of an army converted
whole provinces into deserts, if others were impoverished by winter
quarters, or exhausted by contributions, these still were but passing
evils, and the industry of a year might efface the miseries of a few
months. But there was no relief for those who had a garrison within
their walls, or in the neighbourhood; even the change of fortune could
not improve their unfortunate fate, since the victor trod in the steps
of the vanquished, and friends were not more merciful than enemies. The
neglected farms, the destruction of the crops, and the numerous armies
which overran the exhausted country, were inevitably followed by
scarcity and the high price of provisions, which in the later years was
still further increased by a general failure in the crops. The crowding
together of men in camps and quarters--want upon one side, and excess
on the other, occasioned contagious distempers, which were more fatal
than even the sword. In this long and general confusion, all the bonds
of social life were broken up;--respect for the rights of their fellow
men, the fear of the laws, purity of morals, honour, and religion, were
laid aside, where might ruled supreme with iron sceptre. Under the
shelter of anarchy and impunity, every vice flourished, and men became
as wild as the country. No station was too dignified for outrage, no
property too holy for rapine and avarice. In a word, the soldier
reigned supreme; and that most brutal of despots often made his own
officer feel his power. The leader of an army was a far more important
person within any country where he appeared, than its lawful governor,
who was frequently obliged to fly before him into his own castles for
safety. Germany swarmed with these petty tyrants, and the country
suffered equally from its enemies and its protectors. These wounds
rankled the deeper, when the unhappy victims recollected that Germany
was sacrificed to the ambition of foreign powers, who, for their own
ends, prolonged the miseries of war. Germany bled under the scourge, to
extend the conquests and influence of Sweden; and the torch of discord
was kept alive within the Empire, that the services of Richelieu might
be rendered indispensable in France.

But, in truth, it was not merely interested voices which opposed a
peace; and if both Sweden and the German states were anxious, from
corrupt motives, to prolong the conflict, they were seconded in their
views by sound policy. After the defeat of Nordlingen, an equitable
peace was not to be expected from the Emperor; and, this being the case,
was it not too great a sacrifice, after seventeen years of war, with all
its miseries, to abandon the contest, not only without advantage, but
even with loss? What would avail so much bloodshed, if all was to
remain as it had been; if their rights and pretensions were neither
larger nor safer; if all that had been won with so much difficulty was
to be surrendered for a peace at any cost? Would it not be better to
endure, for two or three years more, the burdens they had borne so long,
and to reap at last some recompense for twenty years of suffering?
Neither was it doubtful, that peace might at last be obtained on
favourable terms, if only the Swedes and the German Protestants should
continue united in the cabinet and in the field, and pursued their
common interests with a reciprocal sympathy and zeal. Their divisions
alone, had rendered the enemy formidable, and protracted the acquisition
of a lasting and general peace. And this great evil the Elector of
Saxony had brought upon the Protestant cause by concluding a separate
treaty with Austria.

He, indeed, had commenced his negociations with the Emperor, even before
the battle of Nordlingen; and the unfortunate issue of that battle only
accelerated their conclusion. By it, all his confidence in the Swedes
was lost; and it was even doubted whether they would ever recover from
the blow. The jealousies among their generals, the insubordination of
the army, and the exhaustion of the Swedish kingdom, shut out any
reasonable prospect of effective assistance on their part. The Elector
hastened, therefore, to profit by the Emperor's magnanimity, who, even
after the battle of Nordlingen, did not recall the conditions previously
offered. While Oxenstiern, who had assembled the estates in Frankfort,
made further demands upon them and him, the Emperor, on the contrary,
made concessions; and therefore it required no long consideration to
decide between them.

In the mean time, however, he was anxious to escape the charge of
sacrificing the common cause and attending only to his own interests.
All the German states, and even the Swedes, were publicly invited to
become parties to this peace, although Saxony and the Emperor were the
only powers who deliberated upon it, and who assumed the right to give
law to Germany. By this self-appointed tribunal, the grievances of the
Protestants were discussed, their rights and privileges decided, and
even the fate of religions determined, without the presence of those who
were most deeply interested in it. Between them, a general peace was
resolved on, and it was to be enforced by an imperial army of execution,
as a formal decree of the Empire. Whoever opposed it, was to be treated
as a public enemy; and thus, contrary to their rights, the states were
to be compelled to acknowledge a law, in the passing of which they had
no share. Thus, even in form, the pacification at Prague was an
arbitrary measure; nor was it less so in its contents. The Edict of
Restitution had been the chief cause of dispute between the Elector and
the Emperor; and therefore it was first considered in their
deliberations. Without formally annulling it, it was determined by the
treaty of Prague, that all the ecclesiastical domains holding
immediately of the Empire, and, among the mediate ones, those which had
been seized by the Protestants subsequently to the treaty at Passau,
should, for forty years, remain in the same position as they had been in
before the Edict of Restitution, but without any formal decision of the
diet to that effect. Before the expiration of this term a commission,
composed of equal numbers of both religions, should proceed to settle
the matter peaceably and according to law; and if this commission should
be unable to come to a decision, each party should remain in possession
of the rights which it had exercised before the Edict of Restitution.
This arrangement, therefore, far from removing the grounds of
dissension, only suspended the dispute for a time; and this article of
the treaty of Prague only covered the embers of a future war.

The archbishopric of Magdeburg remained in possession of Prince Augustus
of Saxony, and Halberstadt in that of the Archduke Leopold William.
Four estates were taken from the territory of Magdeburg, and given to
Saxony, for which the Administrator of Magdeburg, Christian William of
Brandenburg, was otherwise to be indemnified. The Dukes of Mecklenburg,
upon acceding to this treaty, were to be acknowledged as rightful
possessors of their territories, in which the magnanimity of Gustavus
Adolphus had long ago reinstated them. Donauwerth recovered its
liberties. The important claims of the heirs of the Palatine, however
important it might be for the Protestant cause not to lose this
electorate vote in the diet, were passed over in consequence of the
animosity subsisting between the Lutherans and the Calvinists. All the
conquests which, in the course of the war, had been made by the German
states, or by the League and the Emperor, were to be mutually restored;
all which had been appropriated by the foreign powers of France and
Sweden, was to be forcibly wrested from them by the united powers. The
troops of the contracting parties were to be formed into one imperial
army, which, supported and paid by the Empire, was, by force of arms, to
carry into execution the covenants of the treaty.

As the peace of Prague was intended to serve as a general law of the
Empire, those points, which did not immediately affect the latter,
formed the subject of a separate treaty. By it, Lusatia was ceded to
the Elector of Saxony as a fief of Bohemia, and special articles
guaranteed the freedom of religion of this country and of Silesia.

All the Protestant states were invited to accede to the treaty of
Prague, and on that condition were to benefit by the amnesty. The
princes of Wurtemberg and Baden, whose territories the Emperor was
already in possession of, and which he was not disposed to restore
unconditionally; and such vassals of Austria as had borne arms against
their sovereign; and those states which, under the direction of
Oxenstiern, composed the council of the Upper German Circle, were
excluded from the treaty,--not so much with the view of continuing the
war against them, as of compelling them to purchase peace at a dearer
rate. Their territories were to be retained in pledge, till every thing
should be restored to its former footing. Such was the treaty of
Prague. Equal justice, however, towards all, might perhaps have
restored confidence between the head of the Empire and its members--
between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics--between the Reformed
and the Lutheran party; and the Swedes, abandoned by all their allies,
would in all probability have been driven from Germany with disgrace.
But this inequality strengthened, in those who were more severely
treated, the spirit of mistrust and opposition, and made it an easier
task for the Swedes to keep alive the flame of war, and to maintain a
party in Germany.

The peace of Prague, as might have been expected, was received with very
various feelings throughout Germany. The attempt to conciliate both
parties, had rendered it obnoxious to both. The Protestants complained
of the restraints imposed upon them; the Roman Catholics thought that
these hated sectaries had been favoured at the expense of the true
church. In the opinion of the latter, the church had been deprived of
its inalienable rights, by the concession to the Protestants of forty
years' undisturbed possession of the ecclesiastical benefices; while the
former murmured that the interests of the Protestant church had been
betrayed, because toleration had not been granted to their
co-religionists in the Austrian dominions. But no one was so bitterly
reproached as the Elector of Saxony, who was publicly denounced as a
deserter, a traitor to religion and the liberties of the Empire, and a
confederate of the Emperor.

In the mean time, he consoled himself with the triumph of seeing most of
the Protestant states compelled by necessity to embrace this peace. The
Elector of Brandenburg, Duke William of Weimar, the princes of Anhalt,
the dukes of Mecklenburg, the dukes of Brunswick Lunenburg, the Hanse
towns, and most of the imperial cities, acceded to it. The Landgrave
William of Hesse long wavered, or affected to do so, in order to gain
time, and to regulate his measures by the course of events. He had
conquered several fertile provinces of Westphalia, and derived from them
principally the means of continuing the war; these, by the terms of the
treaty, he was bound to restore. Bernard, Duke of Weimar, whose states,
as yet, existed only on paper, as a belligerent power was not affected
by the treaty, but as a general was so materially; and, in either view,
he must equally be disposed to reject it. His whole riches consisted in
his bravery, his possessions in his sword. War alone gave him greatness
and importance, and war alone could realize the projects which his
ambition suggested.

But of all who declaimed against the treaty of Prague, none were so loud
in their clamours as the Swedes, and none had so much reason for their
opposition. Invited to Germany by the Germans themselves, the champions
of the Protestant Church, and the freedom of the States, which they had
defended with so much bloodshed, and with the sacred life of their king,
they now saw themselves suddenly and shamefully abandoned, disappointed
in all their hopes, without reward and without gratitude driven from the
empire for which they had toiled and bled, and exposed to the ridicule
of the enemy by the very princes who owed every thing to them. No
satisfaction, no indemnification for the expenses which they had
incurred, no equivalent for the conquests which they were to leave
behind them, was provided by the treaty of Prague. They were to be
dismissed poorer than they came, or, if they resisted, to be expelled by
the very powers who had invited them. The Elector of Saxony at last
spoke of a pecuniary indemnification, and mentioned the small sum of two
millions five hundred thousand florins; but the Swedes had already
expended considerably more, and this disgraceful equivalent in money was
both contrary to their true interests, and injurious to their pride.
"The Electors of Bavaria and Saxony," replied Oxenstiern, "have been
paid for their services, which, as vassals, they were bound to render
the Emperor, with the possession of important provinces; and shall we,
who have sacrificed our king for Germany, be dismissed with the
miserable sum of 2,500,000 florins?" The disappointment of their
expectations was the more severe, because the Swedes had calculated upon
being recompensed with the Duchy of Pomerania, the present possessor of
which was old and without heirs. But the succession of this territory
was confirmed by the treaty of Prague to the Elector of Brandenburg; and
all the neighbouring powers declared against allowing the Swedes to
obtain a footing within the empire.

Never, in the whole course of the war, had the prospects of the Swedes
looked more gloomy, than in the year 1635, immediately after the
conclusion of the treaty of Prague. Many of their allies, particularly
among the free cities, abandoned them to benefit by the peace; others
were compelled to accede to it by the victorious arms of the Emperor.
Augsburg, subdued by famine, surrendered under the severest conditions;
Wurtzburg and Coburg were lost to the Austrians. The League of
Heilbronn was formally dissolved. Nearly the whole of Upper Germany,
the chief seat of the Swedish power, was reduced under the Emperor.
Saxony, on the strength of the treaty of Prague, demanded the evacuation
of Thuringia, Halberstadt, and Magdeburg. Philipsburg, the military
depot of France, was surprised by the Austrians, with all the stores it
contained; and this severe loss checked the activity of France. To
complete the embarrassments of Sweden, the truce with Poland was drawing
to a close. To support a war at the same time with Poland and in
Germany, was far beyond the power of Sweden; and all that remained was
to choose between them. Pride and ambition declared in favour of
continuing the German war, at whatever sacrifice on the side of Poland.
An army, however, was necessary to command the respect of Poland, and to
give weight to Sweden in any negotiations for a truce or a peace.

The mind of Oxenstiern, firm, and inexhaustible in expedients, set
itself manfully to meet these calamities, which all combined to
overwhelm Sweden; and his shrewd understanding taught him how to turn
even misfortunes to his advantage. The defection of so many German
cities of the empire deprived him, it is true, of a great part of his
former allies, but at the same time it freed him from the necessity of
paying any regard to their interests. The more the number of his
enemies increased, the more provinces and magazines were opened to his
troops. The gross ingratitude of the States, and the haughty contempt
with which the Emperor behaved, (who did not even condescend to treat
directly with him about a peace,) excited in him the courage of despair,
and a noble determination to maintain the struggle to the last. The
continuance of war, however unfortunate it might prove, could not render
the situation of Sweden worse than it now was; and if Germany was to be
evacuated, it was at least better and nobler to do so sword in hand, and
to yield to force rather than to fear.

In the extremity in which the Swedes were now placed by the desertion of
their allies, they addressed themselves to France, who met them with the
greatest encouragement. The interests of the two crowns were closely
united, and France would have injured herself by allowing the Swedish
power in Germany to decline. The helpless situation of the Swedes, was
rather an additional motive with France to cement more closely their
alliance, and to take a more active part in the German war. Since the
alliance with Sweden, at Beerwald, in 1632, France had maintained the
war against the Emperor, by the arms of Gustavus Adolphus, without any
open or formal breach, by furnishing subsidies and increasing the number
of his enemies. But alarmed at the unexpected rapidity and success of
the Swedish arms, France, in anxiety to restore the balance of power,
which was disturbed by the preponderance of the Swedes, seemed, for a
time, to have lost sight of her original designs. She endeavoured to
protect the Roman Catholic princes of the empire against the Swedish
conqueror, by the treaties of neutrality, and when this plan failed, she
even meditated herself to declare war against him. But no sooner had
the death of Gustavus Adolphus, and the desperate situation of the
Swedish affairs, dispelled this apprehension, than she returned with
fresh zeal to her first design, and readily afforded in this misfortune
the aid which in the hour of success she had refused. Freed from the
checks which the ambition and vigilance of Gustavus Adolphus placed upon
her plans of aggrandizement, France availed herself of the favourable
opportunity afforded by the defeat of Nordlingen, to obtain the entire
direction of the war, and to prescribe laws to those who sued for her
powerful protection. The moment seemed to smile upon her boldest plans,
and those which had formerly seemed chimerical, now appeared to be
justified by circumstances. She now turned her whole attention to the
war in Germany; and, as soon as she had secured her own private ends by
a treaty with the Germans, she suddenly entered the political arena as
an active and a commanding power. While the other belligerent states
had been exhausting themselves in a tedious contest, France had been
reserving her strength, and maintained the contest by money alone; but
now, when the state of things called for more active measures, she
seized the sword, and astonished Europe by the boldness and magnitude of
her undertakings. At the same moment, she fitted out two fleets, and
sent six different armies into the field, while she subsidized a foreign
crown and several of the German princes. Animated by this powerful
co-operation, the Swedes and Germans awoke from the consternation, and
hoped, sword in hand, to obtain a more honourable peace than that of
Prague. Abandoned by their confederates, who had been reconciled to the
Emperor, they formed a still closer alliance with France, which
increased her support with their growing necessities, at the same time
taking a more active, although secret share in the German war, until at
last, she threw off the mask altogether, and in her own name made an
unequivocal declaration of war against the Emperor.

To leave Sweden at full liberty to act against Austria, France commenced
her operations by liberating it from all fear of a Polish war. By means
of the Count d'Avaux, its minister, an agreement was concluded between
the two powers at Stummsdorf in Prussia, by which the truce was
prolonged for twenty-six years, though not without a great sacrifice on
the part of the Swedes, who ceded by a single stroke of the pen almost
the whole of Polish Prussia, the dear-bought conquest of Gustavus
Adolphus. The treaty of Beerwald was, with certain modifications, which
circumstances rendered necessary, renewed at different times at
Compiegne, and afterwards at Wismar and Hamburg. France had already
come to a rupture with Spain, in May, 1635, and the vigorous attack
which it made upon that power, deprived the Emperor of his most valuable
auxiliaries from the Netherlands. By supporting the Landgrave William
of Cassel, and Duke Bernard of Weimar, the Swedes were enabled to act
with more vigour upon the Elbe and the Danube, and a diversion upon the
Rhine compelled the Emperor to divide his force.

The war was now prosecuted with increasing activity. By the treaty of
Prague, the Emperor had lessened the number of his adversaries within
the Empire; though, at the same time, the zeal and activity of his
foreign enemies had been augmented by it. In Germany, his influence was
almost unlimited, for, with the exception of a few states, he had
rendered himself absolute master of the German body and its resources,
and was again enabled to act in the character of emperor and sovereign.
The first fruit of his power was the elevation of his son, Ferdinand
III., to the dignity of King of the Romans, to which he was elected by a
decided majority of votes, notwithstanding the opposition of Treves, and
of the heirs of the Elector Palatine. But, on the other hand, he had
exasperated the Swedes to desperation, had armed the power of France
against him, and drawn its troops into the heart of the kingdom. France
and Sweden, with their German allies, formed, from this moment, one firm
and compactly united power; the Emperor, with the German states which
adhered to him, were equally firm and united. The Swedes, who no longer
fought for Germany, but for their own lives, showed no more indulgence;
relieved from the necessity of consulting their German allies, or
accounting to them for the plans which they adopted, they acted with
more precipitation, rapidity, and boldness. Battles, though less
decisive, became more obstinate and bloody; greater achievements, both
in bravery and military skill, were performed; but they were but
insulated efforts; and being neither dictated by any consistent plan,
nor improved by any commanding spirit, had comparatively little
influence upon the course of the war.

Saxony had bound herself, by the treaty of Prague, to expel the Swedes
from Germany. From this moment, the banners of the Saxons and
Imperialists were united: the former confederates were converted into
implacable enemies. The archbishopric of Magdeburg which, by the
treaty, was ceded to the prince of Saxony, was still held by the Swedes,
and every attempt to acquire it by negociation had proved ineffectual.
Hostilities commenced, by the Elector of Saxony recalling all his
subjects from the army of Banner, which was encamped upon the Elbe. The
officers, long irritated by the accumulation of their arrears, obeyed
the summons, and evacuated one quarter after another. As the Saxons, at
the same time, made a movement towards Mecklenburg, to take Doemitz, and
to drive the Swedes from Pomerania and the Baltic, Banner suddenly
marched thither, relieved Doemitz, and totally defeated the Saxon
General Baudissin, with 7000 men, of whom 1000 were slain, and about the
same number taken prisoners. Reinforced by the troops and artillery,
which had hitherto been employed in Polish Prussia, but which the treaty
of Stummsdorf rendered unnecessary, this brave and impetuous general
made, the following year (1636), a sudden inroad into the Electorate of
Saxony, where he gratified his inveterate hatred of the Saxons by the
most destructive ravages. Irritated by the memory of old grievances
which, during their common campaigns, he and the Swedes had suffered
from the haughtiness of the Saxons, and now exasperated to the utmost by
the late defection of the Elector, they wreaked upon the unfortunate
inhabitants all their rancour. Against Austria and Bavaria, the Swedish
soldier had fought from a sense, as it were, of duty; but against the
Saxons, they contended with all the energy of private animosity and
personal revenge, detesting them as deserters and traitors; for the
hatred of former friends is of all the most fierce and irreconcileable.
The powerful diversion made by the Duke of Weimar, and the Landgrave of
Hesse, upon the Rhine and in Westphalia, prevented the Emperor from
affording the necessary assistance to Saxony, and left the whole
Electorate exposed to the destructive ravages of Banner's army.

At length, the Elector, having formed a junction with the Imperial
General Hatzfeld, advanced against Magdeburg, which Banner in vain
hastened to relieve. The united army of the Imperialists and the Saxons
now spread itself over Brandenburg, wrested several places from the
Swedes, and almost drove them to the Baltic. But, contrary to all
expectation, Banner, who had been given up as lost, attacked the allies,
on the 24th of September, 1636, at Wittstock, where a bloody battle took
place. The onset was terrific; and the whole force of the enemy was
directed against the right wing of the Swedes, which was led by Banner
in person. The contest was long maintained with equal animosity and
obstinacy on both sides. There was not a squadron among the Swedes,
which did not return ten times to the charge, to be as often repulsed;
when at last, Banner was obliged to retire before the superior numbers
of the enemy. His left wing sustained the combat until night, and the
second line of the Swedes, which had not as yet been engaged, was
prepared to renew it the next morning. But the Elector did not wait for
a second attack. His army was exhausted by the efforts of the preceding
day; and, as the drivers had fled with the horses, his artillery was
unserviceable. He accordingly retreated in the night, with Count
Hatzfeld, and relinquished the ground to the Swedes. About 5000 of the
allies fell upon the field, exclusive of those who were killed in the
pursuit, or who fell into the hands of the exasperated peasantry. One
hundred and fifty standards and colours, twenty-three pieces of cannon,
the whole baggage and silver plate of the Elector, were captured, and
more than 2000 men taken prisoners. This brilliant victory, achieved
over an enemy far superior in numbers, and in a very advantageous
position, restored the Swedes at once to their former reputation; their
enemies were discouraged, and their friends inspired with new hopes.
Banner instantly followed up this decisive success, and hastily crossing
the Elbe, drove the Imperialists before him, through Thuringia and
Hesse, into Westphalia. He then returned, and took up his winter
quarters in Saxony.

But, without the material aid furnished by the diversion upon the Rhine,
and the activity there of Duke Bernard and the French, these important
successes would have been unattainable. Duke Bernard, after the defeat
of Nordlingen, reorganized his broken army at Wetterau; but, abandoned
by the confederates of the League of Heilbronn, which had been dissolved
by the peace of Prague, and receiving little support from the Swedes, he
found himself unable to maintain an army, or to perform any enterprise
of importance. The defeat at Nordlingen had terminated all his hopes on
the Duchy of Franconia, while the weakness of the Swedes, destroyed the
chance of retrieving his fortunes through their assistance. Tired, too,
of the constraint imposed upon him by the imperious chancellor, he
turned his attention to France, who could easily supply him with money,
the only aid which he required, and France readily acceded to his
proposals. Richelieu desired nothing so much as to diminish the
influence of the Swedes in the German war, and to obtain the direction
of it for himself. To secure this end, nothing appeared more effectual
than to detach from the Swedes their bravest general, to win him to the
interests of France, and to secure for the execution of its projects the
services of his arm. From a prince like Bernard, who could not maintain
himself without foreign support, France had nothing to fear, since no
success, however brilliant, could render him independent of that crown.
Bernard himself came into France, and in October, 1635, concluded a
treaty at St. Germaine en Laye, not as a Swedish general, but in his
own name, by which it was stipulated that he should receive for himself
a yearly pension of one million five hundred thousand livres, and four
millions for the support of his army, which he was to command under the
orders of the French king. To inflame his zeal, and to accelerate the
conquest of Alsace, France did not hesitate, by a secret article, to
promise him that province for his services; a promise which Richelieu
had little intention of performing, and which the duke also estimated at
its real worth. But Bernard confided in his good fortune, and in his
arms, and met artifice with dissimulation. If he could once succeed in
wresting Alsace from the enemy, he did not despair of being able, in
case of need, to maintain it also against a friend. He now raised an
army at the expense of France, which he commanded nominally under the
orders of that power, but in reality without any limitation whatever,
and without having wholly abandoned his engagements with Sweden. He
began his operations upon the Rhine, where another French army, under
Cardinal Lavalette, had already, in 1635, commenced hostilities against
the Emperor.

Against this force, the main body of the Imperialists, after the great
victory of Nordlingen, and the reduction of Swabia and Franconia had
advanced under the command of Gallas, had driven them as far as Metz,
cleared the Rhine, and took from the Swedes the towns of Metz and
Frankenthal, of which they were in possession. But frustrated by the
vigorous resistance of the French, in his main object, of taking up his
winter quarters in France, he led back his exhausted troops into Alsace
and Swabia. At the opening of the next campaign, he passed the Rhine at
Breysach, and prepared to carry the war into the interior of France. He
actually entered Burgundy, while the Spaniards from the Netherlands made
progress in Picardy; and John De Werth, a formidable general of the
League, and a celebrated partisan, pushed his march into Champagne, and
spread consternation even to the gates of Paris. But an insignificant
fortress in Franche Comte completely checked the Imperialists, and they
were obliged, a second time, to abandon their enterprise.

The activity of Duke Bernard had hitherto been impeded by his dependence
on a French general, more suited to the priestly robe, than to the baton
of command; and although, in conjunction with him, he conquered Alsace
Saverne, he found himself unable, in the years 1636 and 1637, to
maintain his position upon the Rhine. The ill success of the French
arms in the Netherlands had cheated the activity of operations in Alsace
and Breisgau; but in 1638, the war in that quarter took a more brilliant
turn. Relieved from his former restraint, and with unlimited command of
his troops, Duke Bernard, in the beginning of February, left his winter
quarters in the bishopric of Basle, and unexpectedly appeared upon the
Rhine, where, at this rude season of the year, an attack was little
anticipated. The forest towns of Laufenburg, Waldshut, and Seckingen,
were surprised, and Rhinefeldt besieged. The Duke of Savelli, the
Imperial general who commanded in that quarter, hastened by forced
marches to the relief of this important place, succeeded in raising the
siege, and compelled the Duke of Weimar, with great loss to retire.
But, contrary to all human expectation, he appeared on the third day
after, (21st February, 1638,) before the Imperialists, in order of
battle, and defeated them in a bloody engagement, in which the four
Imperial generals, Savelli, John De Werth, Enkeford, and Sperreuter,
with 2000 men, were taken prisoners. Two of these, De Werth and
Enkeford, were afterwards sent by Richelieu's orders into France, in
order to flatter the vanity of the French by the sight of such
distinguished prisoners, and by the pomp of military trophies, to
withdraw the attention of the populace from the public distress. The
captured standards and colours were, with the same view, carried in
solemn procession to the church of Notre Dame, thrice exhibited before
the altar, and committed to sacred custody.

The taking of Rhinefeldt, Roeteln, and Fribourg, was the immediate
consequence of the duke's victory. His army now increased by
considerable recruits, and his projects expanded in proportion as
fortune favoured him. The fortress of Breysach upon the Rhine was
looked upon as holding the command of that river, and as the key of
Alsace. No place in this quarter was of more importance to the Emperor,
and upon none had more care been bestowed. To protect Breysach, was the
principal destination of the Italian army, under the Duke of Feria; the
strength of its works, and its natural defences, bade defiance to
assault, while the Imperial generals who commanded in that quarter had
orders to retain it at any cost. But the duke, trusting to his good
fortune, resolved to attempt the siege. Its strength rendered it
impregnable; it could, therefore, only be starved into a surrender; and
this was facilitated by the carelessness of the commandant, who,
expecting no attack, had been selling off his stores. As under these
circumstances the town could not long hold out, it must be immediately
relieved or victualled. Accordingly, the Imperial General Goetz rapidly
advanced at the head of 12,000 men, accompanied by 3000 waggons loaded
with provisions, which he intended to throw into the place. But he was
attacked with such vigour by Duke Bernard at Witteweyer, that he lost
his whole force, except 3000 men, together with the entire transport. A
similar fate at Ochsenfeld, near Thann, overtook the Duke of Lorraine,
who, with 5000 or 6000 men, advanced to relieve the fortress. After a
third attempt of general Goetz for the relief of Breysach had proved
ineffectual, the fortress, reduced to the greatest extremity by famine,
surrendered, after a blockade of four months, on the 17th December 1638,
to its equally persevering and humane conqueror.

The capture of Breysach opened a boundless field to the ambition of the
Duke of Weimar, and the romance of his hopes was fast approaching to
reality. Far from intending to surrender his conquests to France, he
destined Breysach for himself, and revealed this intention, by exacting
allegiance from the vanquished, in his own name, and not in that of any
other power. Intoxicated by his past success, and excited by the
boldest hopes, he believed that he should be able to maintain his
conquests, even against France herself. At a time when everything
depended upon bravery, when even personal strength was of importance,
when troops and generals were of more value than territories, it was
natural for a hero like Bernard to place confidence in his own powers,
and, at the head of an excellent army, who under his command had proved
invincible, to believe himself capable of accomplishing the boldest and
largest designs. In order to secure himself one friend among the crowd
of enemies whom he was about to provoke, he turned his eyes upon the
Landgravine Amelia of Hesse, the widow of the lately deceased Landgrave
William, a princess whose talents were equal to her courage, and who,
along with her hand, would bestow valuable conquests, an extensive
principality, and a well disciplined army. By the union of the
conquests of Hesse, with his own upon the Rhine, and the junction of
their forces, a power of some importance, and perhaps a third party,
might be formed in Germany, which might decide the fate of the war. But
a premature death put a period to these extensive schemes.

"Courage, Father Joseph, Breysach is ours!" whispered Richelieu in the
ear of the Capuchin, who had long held himself in readiness to be
despatched into that quarter; so delighted was he with this joyful
intelligence. Already in imagination he held Alsace, Breisgau, and all
the frontiers of Austria in that quarter, without regard to his promise
to Duke Bernard. But the firm determination which the latter had
unequivocally shown, to keep Breysach for himself, greatly embarrassed
the cardinal, and no efforts were spared to retain the victorious
Bernard in the interests of France. He was invited to court, to witness
the honours by which his triumph was to be commemorated; but he
perceived and shunned the seductive snare. The cardinal even went so
far as to offer him the hand of his niece in marriage; but the proud
German prince declined the offer, and refused to sully the blood of
Saxony by a misalliance. He was now considered as a dangerous enemy,
and treated as such. His subsidies were withdrawn; and the Governor of
Breysach and his principal officers were bribed, at least upon the event
of the duke's death, to take possession of his conquests, and to secure
his troops. These intrigues were no secret to the duke, and the
precautions he took in the conquered places, clearly bespoke the
distrust of France. But this misunderstanding with the French court had
the most prejudicial influence upon his future operations. The
preparations he was obliged to make, in order to secure his conquests
against an attack on the side of France, compelled him to divide his
military strength, while the stoppage of his subsidies delayed his
appearance in the field. It had been his intention to cross the Rhine,
to support the Swedes, and to act against the Emperor and Bavaria on the
banks of the Danube. He had already communicated his plan of operations
to Banner, who was about to carry the war into the Austrian territories,
and had promised to relieve him so, when a sudden death cut short his
heroic career, in the 36th year of his age, at Neuburgh upon the Rhine
(in July, 1639).

He died of a pestilential disorder, which, in the course of two days,
had carried off nearly 400 men in his camp. The black spots which
appeared upon his body, his own dying expressions, and the advantages
which France was likely to reap from his sudden decease, gave rise to a
suspicion that he had been removed by poison--a suspicion sufficiently
refuted by the symptoms of his disorder. In him, the allies lost their
greatest general after Gustavus Adolphus, France a formidable competitor
for Alsace, and the Emperor his most dangerous enemy. Trained to the
duties of a soldier and a general in the school of Gustavus Adolphus, he
successfully imitated his eminent model, and wanted only a longer life
to equal, if not to surpass it. With the bravery of the soldier, he
united the calm and cool penetration of the general and the persevering
fortitude of the man, with the daring resolution of youth; with the wild
ardour of the warrior, the sober dignity of the prince, the moderation
of the sage, and the conscientiousness of the man of honour.
Discouraged by no misfortune, he quickly rose again in full vigour from
the severest defeats; no obstacles could check his enterprise, no
disappointments conquer his indomitable perseverance. His genius,
perhaps, soared after unattainable objects; but the prudence of such
men, is to be measured by a different standard from that of ordinary
people. Capable of accomplishing more, he might venture to form more
daring plans. Bernard affords, in modern history, a splendid example of
those days of chivalry, when personal greatness had its full weight and
influence, when individual bravery could conquer provinces, and the
heroic exploits of a German knight raised him even to the Imperial

The best part of the duke's possessions were his army, which, together
with Alsace, he bequeathed to his brother William. But to this army,
both France and Sweden thought that they had well-grounded claims; the
latter, because it had been raised in name of that crown, and had done
homage to it; the former, because it had been supported by its
subsidies. The Electoral Prince of the Palatinate also negociated for
its services, and attempted, first by his agents, and latterly in his
own person, to win it over to his interests, with the view of employing
it in the reconquest of his territories. Even the Emperor endeavoured
to secure it, a circumstance the less surprising, when we reflect that
at this time the justice of the cause was comparatively unimportant, and
the extent of the recompense the main object to which the soldier
looked; and when bravery, like every other commodity, was disposed of to
the highest bidder. But France, richer and more determined, outbade all
competitors: it bought over General Erlach, the commander of Breysach,
and the other officers, who soon placed that fortress, with the whole
army, in their hands.

The young Palatine, Prince Charles Louis, who had already made an
unsuccessful campaign against the Emperor, saw his hopes again deceived.
Although intending to do France so ill a service, as to compete with her
for Bernard's army, he had the imprudence to travel through that
kingdom. The cardinal, who dreaded the justice of the Palatine's cause,
was glad to seize any opportunity to frustrate his views. He
accordingly caused him to be seized at Moulin, in violation of the law
of nations, and did not set him at liberty, until he learned that the
army of the Duke of Weimar had been secured. France was now in
possession of a numerous and well disciplined army in Germany, and from
this moment began to make open war upon the Emperor.

But it was no longer against Ferdinand II. that its hostilities were to
be conducted; for that prince had died in February, 1637, in the 59th
year of his age. The war which his ambition had kindled, however,
survived him. During a reign of eighteen years he had never once laid
aside the sword, nor tasted the blessings of peace as long as his hand
swayed the imperial sceptre. Endowed with the qualities of a good
sovereign, adorned with many of those virtues which ensure the happiness
of a people, and by nature gentle and humane, we see him, from erroneous
ideas of the monarch's duty, become at once the instrument and the
victim of the evil passions of others; his benevolent intentions
frustrated, and the friend of justice converted into the oppressor of
mankind, the enemy of peace, and the scourge of his people. Amiable in
domestic life, and respectable as a sovereign, but in his policy ill
advised, while he gained the love of his Roman Catholic subjects, he
incurred the execration of the Protestants. History exhibits many and
greater despots than Ferdinand II., yet he alone has had the unfortunate
celebrity of kindling a thirty years' war; but to produce its lamentable
consequences, his ambition must have been seconded by a kindred spirit
of the age, a congenial state of previous circumstances, and existing
seeds of discord. At a less turbulent period, the spark would have
found no fuel; and the peacefulness of the age would have choked the
voice of individual ambition; but now the flash fell upon a pile of
accumulated combustibles, and Europe was in flames.

His son, Ferdinand III., who, a few months before his father's death,
had been raised to the dignity of King of the Romans, inherited his
throne, his principles, and the war which he had caused. But Ferdinand
III. had been a closer witness of the sufferings of the people, and the
devastation of the country, and felt more keenly and ardently the
necessity of peace. Less influenced by the Jesuits and the Spaniards,
and more moderate towards the religious views of others, he was more
likely than his father to listen to the voice of reason. He did so, and
ultimately restored to Europe the blessing of peace, but not till after
a contest of eleven years waged with sword and pen; not till after he
had experienced the impossibility of resistance, and necessity had laid
upon him its stern laws.

Fortune favoured him at the commencement of his reign, and his arms were
victorious against the Swedes. The latter, under the command of the
victorious Banner, had, after their success at Wittstock, taken up their
winter quarters in Saxony; and the campaign of 1637 opened with the
siege of Leipzig. The vigorous resistance of the garrison, and the
approach of the Electoral and Imperial armies, saved the town, and
Banner, to prevent his communication with the Elbe being cut off, was
compelled to retreat into Torgau. But the superior number of the
Imperialists drove him even from that quarter; and, surrounded by the
enemy, hemmed in by rivers, and suffering from famine, he had no course
open to him but to attempt a highly dangerous retreat into Pomerania, of
which, the boldness and successful issue border upon romance. The whole
army crossed the Oder, at a ford near Furstenberg; and the soldiers,
wading up to the neck in water, dragged the artillery across, when the
horses refused to draw. Banner had expected to be joined by General
Wrangel, on the farther side of the Oder in Pomerania; and, in
conjunction with him, to be able to make head against the enemy. But
Wrangel did not appear; and in his stead, he found an Imperial army
posted at Landsberg, with a view to cut off the retreat of the Swedes.
Banner now saw that he had fallen into a dangerous snare, from which
escape appeared impossible. In his rear lay an exhausted country, the
Imperialists, and the Oder on his left; the Oder, too, guarded by the
Imperial General Bucheim, offered no retreat; in front, Landsberg,
Custrin, the Warta, and a hostile army; and on the right, Poland, in
which, notwithstanding the truce, little confidence could be placed. In
these circumstances, his position seemed hopeless, and the Imperialists
were already triumphing in the certainty of his fall. Banner, with just
indignation, accused the French as the authors of this misfortune. They
had neglected to make, according to their promise, a diversion upon the
Rhine; and, by their inaction, allowed the Emperor to combine his whole
force upon the Swedes. "When the day comes," cried the incensed General
to the French Commissioner, who followed the camp, "that the Swedes and
Germans join their arms against France, we shall cross the Rhine with
less ceremony." But reproaches were now useless; what the emergency
demanded was energy and resolution. In the hope of drawing the enemy by
stratagem from the Oder, Banner pretended to march towards Poland, and
despatched the greater part of his baggage in this direction, with his
own wife, and those of the other officers. The Imperialists immediately
broke up their camp, and hurried towards the Polish frontier to block up
the route; Bucheim left his station, and the Oder was stripped of its
defenders. On a sudden, and under cloud of night, Banner turned towards
that river, and crossed it about a mile above Custrin, with his troops,
baggage, and artillery, without bridges or vessels, as he had done
before at Furstenberg. He reached Pomerania without loss, and prepared
to share with Wrangel the defence of that province.

But the Imperialists, under the command of Gallas, entered that duchy at
Ribses, and overran it by their superior strength. Usedom and Wolgast
were taken by storm, Demmin capitulated, and the Swedes were driven far
into Lower Pomerania. It was, too, more important for them at this
moment than ever, to maintain a footing in that country, for Bogislaus
XIV. had died that year, and Sweden must prepare to establish its title
to Pomerania. To prevent the Elector of Brandenburg from making good
the title to that duchy, which the treaty of Prague had given him,
Sweden exerted her utmost energies, and supported its generals to the
extent of her ability, both with troops and money. In other quarters of
the kingdom, the affairs of the Swedes began to wear a more favourable
aspect, and to recover from the humiliation into which they had been
thrown by the inaction of France, and the desertion of their allies.
For, after their hasty retreat into Pomerania, they had lost one place
after another in Upper Saxony; the princes of Mecklenburg, closely
pressed by the troops of the Emperor, began to lean to the side of
Austria, and even George, Duke of Lunenburg, declared against them.
Ehrenbreitstein was starved into a surrender by the Bavarian General de
Werth, and the Austrians possessed themselves of all the works which had
been thrown up on the Rhine. France had been the sufferer in the
contest with Spain; and the event had by no means justified the pompous
expectations which had accompanied the opening of the campaign. Every
place which the Swedes had held in the interior of Germany was lost; and
only the principal towns in Pomerania still remained in their hands.
But a single campaign raised them from this state of humiliation; and
the vigorous diversion, which the victorious Bernard had effected upon
the Rhine, gave quite a new turn to affairs.

The misunderstandings between France and Sweden were now at last
adjusted, and the old treaty between these powers confirmed at Hamburg,
with fresh advantages for Sweden. In Hesse, the politic Landgravine
Amelia had, with the approbation of the Estates, assumed the government
after the death of her husband, and resolutely maintained her rights
against the Emperor and the House of Darmstadt. Already zealously
attached to the Swedish Protestant party, on religious grounds, she only
awaited a favourable opportunity openly to declare herself. By artful
delays, and by prolonging the negociations with the Emperor, she had
succeeded in keeping him inactive, till she had concluded a secret
compact with France, and the victories of Duke Bernard had given a
favourable turn to the affairs of the Protestants. She now at once
threw off the mask, and renewed her former alliance with the Swedish
crown. The Electoral Prince of the Palatinate was also stimulated, by
the success of Bernard, to try his fortune against the common enemy.
Raising troops in Holland with English money, he formed a magazine at
Meppen, and joined the Swedes in Westphalia. His magazine was, however,
quickly lost; his army defeated near Flotha, by Count Hatzfeld; but his
attempt served to occupy for some time the attention of the enemy, and
thereby facilitated the operations of the Swedes in other quarters.
Other friends began to appear, as fortune declared in their favour, and
the circumstance, that the States of Lower Saxony embraced a neutrality,
was of itself no inconsiderable advantage.

Under these advantages, and reinforced by 14,000 fresh troops from
Sweden and Livonia. Banner opened, with the most favourable prospects,
the campaign of 1638. The Imperialists who were in possession of Upper
Pomerania and Mecklenburg, either abandoned their positions, or deserted
in crowds to the Swedes, to avoid the horrors of famine, the most
formidable enemy in this exhausted country. The whole country betwixt
the Elbe and the Oder was so desolated by the past marchings and
quarterings of the troops, that, in order to support his army on its
march into Saxony and Bohemia, Banner was obliged to take a circuitous
route from Lower Pomerania into Lower Saxony, and then into the
Electorate of Saxony through the territory of Halberstadt. The
impatience of the Lower Saxon States to get rid of such troublesome
guests, procured him so plentiful a supply of provisions, that he was
provided with bread in Magdeburg itself, where famine had even overcome
the natural antipathy of men to human flesh. His approach spread
consternation among the Saxons; but his views were directed not against
this exhausted country, but against the hereditary dominions of the
Emperor. The victories of Bernard encouraged him, while the prosperity
of the Austrian provinces excited his hopes of booty. After defeating
the Imperial General Salis, at Elsterberg, totally routing the Saxon
army at Chemnitz, and taking Pirna, he penetrated with irresistible
impetuosity into Bohemia, crossed the Elbe, threatened Prague, took
Brandeis and Leutmeritz, defeated General Hofkirchen with ten regiments,
and spread terror and devastation through that defenceless kingdom.
Booty was his sole object, and whatever he could not carry off he
destroyed. In order to remove more of the corn, the ears were cut from
the stalks, and the latter burnt. Above a thousand castles, hamlets,
and villages were laid in ashes; sometimes more than a hundred were seen
burning in one night. From Bohemia he crossed into Silesia, and it was
his intention to carry his ravages even into Moravia and Austria. But
to prevent this, Count Hatzfeld was summoned from Westphalia, and
Piccolomini from the Netherlands, to hasten with all speed to this
quarter. The Archduke Leopold, brother to the Emperor, assumed the
command, in order to repair the errors of his predecessor Gallas, and to
raise the army from the low ebb to which it had fallen.

The result justified the change, and the campaign of 1640 appeared to
take a most unfortunate turn for the Swedes. They were successively
driven out of all their posts in Bohemia, and anxious only to secure
their plunder, they precipitately crossed the heights of Meissen. But
being followed into Saxony by the pursuing enemy, and defeated at
Plauen, they were obliged to take refuge in Thuringia. Made masters of
the field in a single summer, they were as rapidly dispossessed; but
only to acquire it a second time, and to hurry from one extreme to
another. The army of Banner, weakened and on the brink of destruction
in its camp at Erfurt, suddenly recovered itself. The Duke of Lunenburg
abandoned the treaty of Prague, and joined Banner with the very troops
which, the year before, had fought against him. Hesse Cassel sent
reinforcements, and the Duke of Longueville came to his support with the
army of the late Duke Bernard. Once more numerically superior to the
Imperialists, Banner offered them battle near Saalfeld; but their
leader, Piccolomini, prudently declined an engagement, having chosen too
strong a position to be forced. When the Bavarians at length separated
from the Imperialists, and marched towards Franconia, Banner attempted
an attack upon this divided corps, but the attempt was frustrated by the
skill of the Bavarian General Von Mercy, and the near approach of the
main body of the Imperialists. Both armies now moved into the exhausted
territory of Hesse, where they formed intrenched camps near each other,
till at last famine and the severity of the winter compelled them both
to retire. Piccolomini chose the fertile banks of the Weser for his
winter quarters; but being outflanked by Banner, he was obliged to give
way to the Swedes, and to impose on the Franconian sees the burden of
maintaining his army.

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