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

The Thirty Years War, Complete by Frederich Schiller

Part 7 out of 7

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

At this period, a diet was held in Ratisbon, where the complaints of the
States were to be heard, measures taken for securing the repose of the
Empire, and the question of peace or war finally settled. The presence
of the Emperor, the majority of the Roman Catholic voices in the
Electoral College, the great number of bishops, and the withdrawal of
several of the Protestant votes, gave the Emperor a complete command of
the deliberations of the assembly, and rendered this diet any thing but
a fair representative of the opinions of the German Empire. The
Protestants, with reason, considered it as a mere combination of Austria
and its creatures against their party; and it seemed to them a laudable
effort to interrupt its deliberations, and to dissolve the diet itself.

Banner undertook this bold enterprise. His military reputation had
suffered by his last retreat from Bohemia, and it stood in need of some
great exploit to restore its former lustre. Without communicating his
designs to any one, in the depth of the winter of 1641, as soon as the
roads and rivers were frozen, he broke up from his quarters in
Lunenburg. Accompanied by Marshal Guebriant, who commanded the armies
of France and Weimar, he took the route towards the Danube, through
Thuringia and Vogtland, and appeared before Ratisbon, ere the Diet could
be apprised of his approach. The consternation of the assembly was
indescribable; and, in the first alarm, the deputies prepared for
flight. The Emperor alone declared that he would not leave the town,
and encouraged the rest by his example. Unfortunately for the Swedes, a
thaw came on, which broke up the ice upon the Danube, so that it was no
longer passable on foot, while no boats could cross it, on account of
the quantities of ice which were swept down by the current. In order to
perform something, and to humble the pride of the Emperor, Banner
discourteously fired 500 cannon shots into the town, which, however, did
little mischief. Baffled in his designs, he resolved to penetrate
farther into Bavaria, and the defenceless province of Moravia, where a
rich booty and comfortable quarters awaited his troops. Guebriant,
however, began to fear that the purpose of the Swedes was to draw the
army of Bernard away from the Rhine, and to cut off its communication
with France, till it should be either entirely won over, or
incapacitated from acting independently. He therefore separated from
Banner to return to the Maine; and the latter was exposed to the whole
force of the Imperialists, which had been secretly drawn together
between Ratisbon and Ingoldstadt, and was on its march against him. It
was now time to think of a rapid retreat, which, having to be effected
in the face of an army superior in cavalry, and betwixt woods and
rivers, through a country entirely hostile, appeared almost
impracticable. He hastily retired towards the Forest, intending to
penetrate through Bohemia into Saxony; but he was obliged to sacrifice
three regiments at Neuburg. These with a truly Spartan courage,
defended themselves for four days behind an old wall, and gained time
for Banner to escape. He retreated by Egra to Annaberg; Piccolomini
took a shorter route in pursuit, by Schlakenwald; and Banner succeeded,
only by a single half hour, in clearing the Pass of Prisnitz, and saving
his whole army from the Imperialists. At Zwickau he was again joined by
Guebriant; and both generals directed their march towards Halberstadt,
after in vain attempting to defend the Saal, and to prevent the passage
of the Imperialists.

Banner, at length, terminated his career at Halberstadt, in May 1641, a
victim to vexation and disappointment. He sustained with great renown,
though with varying success, the reputation of the Swedish arms in
Germany, and by a train of victories showed himself worthy of his great
master in the art of war. He was fertile in expedients, which he
planned with secrecy, and executed with boldness; cautious in the midst
of dangers, greater in adversity than in prosperity, and never more
formidable than when upon the brink of destruction. But the virtues of
the hero were united with all the railings and vices which a military
life creates, or at least fosters. As imperious in private life as he
was at the head of his army, rude as his profession, and proud as a
conqueror; he oppressed the German princes no less by his haughtiness,
than their country by his contributions. He consoled himself for the
toils of war in voluptuousness and the pleasures of the table, in which
he indulged to excess, and was thus brought to an early grave. But
though as much addicted to pleasure as Alexander or Mahomet the Second,
he hurried from the arms of luxury into the hardest fatigues, and placed
himself in all his vigour at the head of his army, at the very moment
his soldiers were murmuring at his luxurious excesses. Nearly 80,000
men fell in the numerous battles which he fought, and about 600 hostile
standards and colours, which he sent to Stockholm, were the trophies of
his victories. The want of this great general was soon severely felt by
the Swedes, who feared, with justice, that the loss would not readily be
replaced. The spirit of rebellion and insubordination, which had been
overawed by the imperious demeanour of this dreaded commander, awoke
upon his death. The officers, with an alarming unanimity, demanded
payment of their arrears; and none of the four generals who shared the
command, possessed influence enough to satisfy these demands, or to
silence the malcontents. All discipline was at an end, increasing want,
and the imperial citations were daily diminishing the number of the
army; the troops of France and Weimar showed little zeal; those of
Lunenburg forsook the Swedish colours; the Princes also of the House of
Brunswick, after the death of Duke George, had formed a separate treaty
with the Emperor; and at last even those of Hesse quitted them, to seek
better quarters in Westphalia. The enemy profited by these calamitous
divisions; and although defeated with loss in two pitched battles,
succeeded in making considerable progress in Lower Saxony.

At length appeared the new Swedish generalissimo, with fresh troops and
money. This was Bernard Torstensohn, a pupil of Gustavus Adolphus, and
his most successful imitator, who had been his page during the Polish
war. Though a martyr to the gout, and confined to a litter, he
surpassed all his opponents in activity; and his enterprises had wings,
while his body was held by the most frightful of fetters. Under him,
the scene of war was changed, and new maxims adopted, which necessity
dictated, and the issue justified. All the countries in which the
contest had hitherto raged were exhausted; while the House of Austria,
safe in its more distant territories, felt not the miseries of the war
under which the rest of Germany groaned. Torstensohn first furnished
them with this bitter experience, glutted his Swedes on the fertile
produce of Austria, and carried the torch of war to the very footsteps
of the imperial throne.

In Silesia, the enemy had gained considerable advantages over the
Swedish general Stalhantsch, and driven him as far as Neumark.
Torstensohn, who had joined the main body of the Swedes in Lunenburg,
summoned him to unite with his force, and in the year 1642 hastily
marched into Silesia through Brandenburg, which, under its great
Elector, had begun to maintain an armed neutrality. Glogau was carried,
sword in hand, without a breach, or formal approaches; the Duke Francis
Albert of Lauenburg defeated and killed at Schweidnitz; and Schweidnitz
itself with almost all the towns on that side of the Oder, taken. He
now penetrated with irresistible violence into the interior of Moravia,
where no enemy of Austria had hitherto appeared, took Olmutz, and threw
Vienna itself into consternation.

But, in the mean time, Piccolomini and the Archduke Leopold had
collected a superior force, which speedily drove the Swedish conquerors
from Moravia, and after a fruitless attempt upon Brieg, from Silesia.
Reinforced by Wrangel, the Swedes again attempted to make head against
the enemy, and relieved Grossglogau; but could neither bring the
Imperialists to an engagement, nor carry into effect their own views
upon Bohemia. Overrunning Lusatia, they took Zittau, in presence of the
enemy, and after a short stay in that country, directed their march
towards the Elbe, which they passed at Torgau. Torstensohn now
threatened Leipzig with a siege, and hoped to raise a large supply of
provisions and contributions from that prosperous town, which for ten
years had been unvisited with the scourge of war.

The Imperialists, under Leopold and Piccolomini, immediately hastened by
Dresden to its relief, and Torstensohn, to avoid being inclosed between
this army and the town, boldly advanced to meet them in order of battle.
By a strange coincidence, the two armies met upon the very spot which,
eleven years before, Gustavus Adolphus had rendered remarkable by a
decisive victory; and the heroism of their predecessors, now kindled in
the Swedes a noble emulation on this consecrated ground. The Swedish
generals, Stahlhantsch and Wellenberg, led their divisions with such
impetuosity upon the left wing of the Imperialists, before it was
completely formed, that the whole cavalry that covered it were dispersed
and rendered unserviceable. But the left of the Swedes was threatened
with a similar fate, when the victorious right advanced to its
assistance, took the enemy in flank and rear, and divided the Austrian
line. The infantry on both sides stood firm as a wall, and when their
ammunition was exhausted, maintained the combat with the butt-ends of
their muskets, till at last the Imperialists, completely surrounded,
after a contest of three hours, were compelled to abandon the field.
The generals on both sides had more than once to rally their flying
troops; and the Archduke Leopold, with his regiment, was the first in
the attack and last in flight. But this bloody victory cost the Swedes
more than 3000 men, and two of their best generals, Schlangen and
Lilienhoeck. More than 5000 of the Imperialists were left upon the
field, and nearly as many taken prisoners. Their whole artillery,
consisting of 46 field-pieces, the silver plate and portfolio of the
archduke, with the whole baggage of the army, fell into the hands of the
victors. Torstensohn, too greatly disabled by his victory to pursue the
enemy, moved upon Leipzig. The defeated army retired into Bohemia,
where its shattered regiments reassembled. The Archduke Leopold could
not recover from the vexation caused by this defeat; and the regiment of
cavalry which, by its premature flight, had occasioned the disaster,
experienced the effects of his indignation. At Raconitz in Bohemia, in
presence of the whole army, he publicly declared it infamous, deprived
it of its horses, arms, and ensigns, ordered its standards to be torn,
condemned to death several of the officers, and decimated the privates.

The surrender of Leipzig, three weeks after the battle, was its
brilliant result. The city was obliged to clothe the Swedish troops
anew, and to purchase an exemption from plunder, by a contribution of
300,000 rix-dollars, to which all the foreign merchants, who had
warehouses in the city, were to furnish their quota. In the middle of
winter, Torstensohn advanced against Freyberg, and for several weeks
defied the inclemency of the season, hoping by his perseverance to weary
out the obstinacy of the besieged. But he found that he was merely
sacrificing the lives of his soldiers; and at last, the approach of the
imperial general, Piccolomini, compelled him, with his weakened army, to
retire. He considered it, however, as equivalent to a victory, to have
disturbed the repose of the enemy in their winter quarters, who, by the
severity of the weather, sustained a loss of 3000 horses. He now made a
movement towards the Oder, as if with the view of reinforcing himself
with the garrisons of Pomerania and Silesia; but, with the rapidity of
lightning, he again appeared upon the Bohemian frontier, penetrated
through that kingdom, and relieved Olmutz in Moravia, which was hard
pressed by the Imperialists. His camp at Dobitschau, two miles from
Olmutz, commanded the whole of Moravia, on which he levied heavy
contributions, and carried his ravages almost to the gates of Vienna.
In vain did the Emperor attempt to arm the Hungarian nobility in defence
of this province; they appealed to their privileges, and refused to
serve beyond the limits of their own country. Thus, the time that
should have been spent in active resistance, was lost in fruitless
negociation, and the entire province was abandoned to the ravages of the

While Torstensohn, by his marches and his victories, astonished friend
and foe, the armies of the allies had not been inactive in other parts
of the empire. The troops of Hesse, under Count Eberstein, and those of
Weimar, under Mareschal de Guebriant, had fallen into the Electorate of
Cologne, in order to take up their winter quarters there. To get rid of
these troublesome guests, the Elector called to his assistance the
imperial general Hatzfeldt, and assembled his own troops under General
Lamboy. The latter was attacked by the allies in January, 1642, and in
a decisive action near Kempen, defeated, with the loss of about 2000 men
killed, and about twice as many prisoners. This important victory
opened to them the whole Electorate and neighbouring territories, so
that the allies were not only enabled to maintain their winter quarters
there, but drew from the country large supplies of men and horses.

Guebriant left the Hessians to defend their conquests on the Lower Rhine
against Hatzfeldt, and advanced towards Thuringia, as if to second the
operations of Torstensohn in Saxony. But instead of joining the Swedes,
he soon hurried back to the Rhine and the Maine, from which he seemed to
think he had removed farther than was expedient. But being anticipated
in the Margraviate of Baden, by the Bavarians under Mercy and John de
Werth, he was obliged to wander about for several weeks, exposed,
without shelter, to the inclemency of the winter, and generally
encamping upon the snow, till he found a miserable refuge in Breisgau.
He at last took the field; and, in the next summer, by keeping the
Bavarian army employed in Suabia, prevented it from relieving
Thionville, which was besieged by Conde. But the superiority of the
enemy soon drove him back to Alsace, where he awaited a reinforcement.

The death of Cardinal Richelieu took place in November, 1642, and the
subsequent change in the throne and in the ministry, occasioned by the
death of Louis XIII., had for some time withdrawn the attention of
France from the German war, and was the cause of the inaction of its
troops in the field. But Mazarin, the inheritor, not only of
Richelieu's power, but also of his principles and his projects, followed
out with renewed zeal the plans of his predecessor, though the French
subject was destined to pay dearly enough for the political greatness of
his country. The main strength of its armies, which Richelieu had
employed against the Spaniards, was by Mazarin directed against the
Emperor; and the anxiety with which he carried on the war in Germany,
proved the sincerity of his opinion, that the German army was the right
arm of his king, and a wall of safety around France. Immediately upon
the surrender of Thionville, he sent a considerable reinforcement to
Field-Marshal Guebriant in Alsace; and to encourage the troops to bear
the fatigues of the German war, the celebrated victor of Rocroi, the
Duke of Enghien, afterwards Prince of Conde, was placed at their head.
Guebriant now felt himself strong enough to appear again in Germany with
repute. He hastened across the Rhine with the view of procuring better
winter quarters in Suabia, and actually made himself master of Rothweil,
where a Bavarian magazine fell into his hands. But the place was too
dearly purchased for its worth, and was again lost even more speedily
than it had been taken. Guebriant received a wound in the arm, which
the surgeon's unskilfulness rendered mortal, and the extent of his loss
was felt on the very day of his death.

The French army, sensibly weakened by an expedition undertaken at so
severe a season of the year, had, after the taking of Rothweil,
withdrawn into the neighbourhood of Duttlingen, where it lay in complete
security, without expectation of a hostile attack. In the mean time,
the enemy collected a considerable force, with a view to prevent the
French from establishing themselves beyond the Rhine and so near to
Bavaria, and to protect that quarter from their ravages. The
Imperialists, under Hatzfeldt, had formed a junction with the Bavarians
under Mercy; and the Duke of Lorraine, who, during the whole course of
the war, was generally found everywhere except in his own duchy, joined
their united forces. It was resolved to force the quarters of the
French in Duttlingen, and the neighbouring villages, by surprise; a
favourite mode of proceeding in this war, and which, being commonly
accompanied by confusion, occasioned more bloodshed than a regular
battle. On the present occasion, there was the more to justify it, as
the French soldiers, unaccustomed to such enterprises, conceived
themselves protected by the severity of the winter against any surprise.
John de Werth, a master in this species of warfare, which he had often
put in practice against Gustavus Horn, conducted the enterprise, and
succeeded, contrary to all expectation.

The attack was made on a side where it was least looked for, on account
of the woods and narrow passes, and a heavy snow storm which fell upon
the same day, (the 24th November, 1643,) concealed the approach of the
vanguard till it halted before Duttlingen. The whole of the artillery
without the place, as well as the neighbouring Castle of Honberg, were
taken without resistance, Duttlingen itself was gradually surrounded by
the enemy, and all connexion with the other quarters in the adjacent
villages silently and suddenly cut off. The French were vanquished
without firing a cannon. The cavalry owed their escape to the swiftness
of their horses, and the few minutes in advance, which they had gained
upon their pursuers. The infantry were cut to pieces, or voluntarily
laid down their arms. About 2,000 men were killed, and 7,000, with 25
staff-officers and 90 captains, taken prisoners. This was, perhaps, the
only battle, in the whole course of the war, which produced nearly the
same effect upon the party which gained, and that which lost;--both
these parties were Germans; the French disgraced themselves. The memory
of this unfortunate day, which was renewed 100 years after at Rosbach,
was indeed erased by the subsequent heroism of a Turenne and Conde; but
the Germans may be pardoned, if they indemnified themselves for the
miseries which the policy of France had heaped upon them, by these
severe reflections upon her intrepidity.

Meantime, this defeat of the French was calculated to prove highly
disastrous to Sweden, as the whole power of the Emperor might now act
against them, while the number of their enemies was increased by a
formidable accession. Torstensohn had, in September, 1643, suddenly
left Moravia, and moved into Silesia. The cause of this step was a
secret, and the frequent changes which took place in the direction of
his march, contributed to increase this perplexity. From Silesia, after
numberless circuits, he advanced towards the Elbe, while the
Imperialists followed him into Lusatia. Throwing a bridge across the
Elbe at Torgau, he gave out that he intended to penetrate through
Meissen into the Upper Palatinate in Bavaria; at Barby he also made a
movement, as if to pass that river, but continued to move down the Elbe
as far as Havelburg, where he astonished his troops by informing them
that he was leading them against the Danes in Holstein.

The partiality which Christian IV. had displayed against the Swedes in
his office of mediator, the jealousy which led him to do all in his
power to hinder the progress of their arms, the restraints which he laid
upon their navigation of the Sound, and the burdens which he imposed
upon their commerce, had long roused the indignation of Sweden; and, at
last, when these grievances increased daily, had determined the Regency
to measures of retaliation. Dangerous as it seemed, to involve the
nation in a new war, when, even amidst its conquests, it was almost
exhausted by the old, the desire of revenge, and the deep-rooted hatred
which subsisted between Danes and Swedes, prevailed over all other
considerations; and even the embarrassment in which hostilities with
Germany had plunged it, only served as an additional motive to try its
fortune against Denmark.

Matters were, in fact, arrived at last to that extremity, that the war
was prosecuted merely for the purpose of furnishing food and employment
to the troops; that good winter quarters formed the chief subject of
contention; and that success, in this point, was more valued than a
decisive victory. But now the provinces of Germany were almost all
exhausted and laid waste. They were wholly destitute of provisions,
horses, and men, which in Holstein were to be found in profusion. If by
this movement, Torstensohn should succeed merely in recruiting his army,
providing subsistence for his horses and soldiers, and remounting his
cavalry, all the danger and difficulty would be well repaid. Besides,
it was highly important, on the eve of negotiations for peace, to
diminish the injurious influence which Denmark might exercise upon these
deliberations, to delay the treaty itself, which threatened to be
prejudicial to the Swedish interests, by sowing confusion among the
parties interested, and with a view to the amount of indemnification, to
increase the number of her conquests, in order to be the more sure of
securing those which alone she was anxious to retain. Moreover, the
present state of Denmark justified even greater hopes, if only the
attempt were executed with rapidity and silence. The secret was in fact
so well kept in Stockholm, that the Danish minister had not the
slightest suspicion of it; and neither France nor Holland were let into
the scheme. Actual hostilities commenced with the declaration of war;
and Torstensohn was in Holstein, before even an attack was expected.
The Swedish troops, meeting with no resistance, quickly overran this
duchy, and made themselves masters of all its strong places, except
Rensburg and Gluckstadt. Another army penetrated into Schonen, which
made as little opposition; and nothing but the severity of the season
prevented the enemy from passing the Lesser Baltic, and carrying the war
into Funen and Zealand. The Danish fleet was unsuccessful at Femern;
and Christian himself, who was on board, lost his right eye by a
splinter. Cut off from all communication with the distant force of the
Emperor, his ally, this king was on the point of seeing his whole
kingdom overrun by the Swedes; and all things threatened the speedy
fulfilment of the old prophecy of the famous Tycho Brahe, that in the
year 1644, Christian IV. should wander in the greatest misery from his

But the Emperor could not look on with indifference, while Denmark was
sacrificed to Sweden, and the latter strengthened by so great an
acquisition. Notwithstanding great difficulties lay in the way of so
long a march through desolated provinces, he did not hesitate to
despatch an army into Holstein under Count Gallas, who, after
Piccolomini's retirement, had resumed the supreme command of the troops.
Gallas accordingly appeared in the duchy, took Keil, and hoped, by
forming a junction with the Danes, to be able to shut up the Swedish
army in Jutland. Meantime, the Hessians, and the Swedish General
Koenigsmark, were kept in check by Hatzfeldt, and the Archbishop of
Bremen, the son of Christian IV.; and afterwards the Swedes drawn into
Saxony by an attack upon Meissen. But Torstensohn, with his augmented
army, penetrated through the unoccupied pass betwixt Schleswig and
Stapelholm, met Gallas, and drove him along the whole course of the
Elbe, as far as Bernburg, where the Imperialists took up an entrenched
position. Torstensohn passed the Saal, and by posting himself in the
rear of the enemy, cut off their communication with Saxony and Bohemia.
Scarcity and famine began now to destroy them in great numbers, and
forced them to retreat to Magdeburg, where, however, they were not much
better off. The cavalry, which endeavoured to escape into Silesia, was
overtaken and routed by Torstensohn, near Juterbock; the rest of the
army, after a vain attempt to fight its way through the Swedish lines,
was almost wholly destroyed near Magdeburg. From this expedition,
Gallas brought back only a few thousand men of all his formidable force,
and the reputation of being a consummate master in the art of ruining an
army. The King of Denmark, after this unsuccessful effort to relieve
him, sued for peace, which he obtained at Bremsebor in the year 1645,
under very unfavourable conditions.

Torstensohn rapidly followed up his victory; and while Axel Lilienstern,
one of the generals who commanded under him, overawed Saxony, and
Koenigsmark subdued the whole of Bremen, he himself penetrated into
Bohemia with 16,000 men and 80 pieces of artillery, and endeavoured a
second time to remove the seat of war into the hereditary dominions of
Austria. Ferdinand, upon this intelligence, hastened in person to
Prague, in order to animate the courage of the people by his presence;
and as a skilful general was much required, and so little unanimity
prevailed among the numerous leaders, he hoped in the immediate
neighbourhood of the war to be able to give more energy and activity.
In obedience to his orders, Hatzfeldt assembled the whole Austrian and
Bavarian force, and contrary to his own inclination and advice, formed
the Emperor's last army, and the last bulwark of his states, in order of
battle, to meet the enemy, who were approaching, at Jankowitz, on the
24th of February, 1645. Ferdinand depended upon his cavalry, which
outnumbered that of the enemy by 3000, and upon the promise of the
Virgin Mary, who had appeared to him in a dream, and given him the
strongest assurances of a complete victory.

The superiority of the Imperialists did not intimidate Torstensohn, who
was not accustomed to number his antagonists. On the very first onset,
the left wing, which Goetz, the general of the League, had entangled in
a disadvantageous position among marshes and thickets, was totally
routed; the general, with the greater part of his men, killed, and
almost the whole ammunition of the army taken. This unfortunate
commencement decided the fate of the day. The Swedes, constantly
advancing, successively carried all the most commanding heights. After
a bloody engagement of eight hours, a desperate attack on the part of
the Imperial cavalry, and a vigorous resistance by the Swedish infantry,
the latter remained in possession of the field. 2,000 Austrians were
killed upon the spot, and Hatzfeldt himself, with 3,000 men, taken
prisoners. Thus, on the same day, did the Emperor lose his best general
and his last army.

This decisive victory at Jancowitz, at once exposed all the Austrian
territory to the enemy. Ferdinand hastily fled to Vienna, to provide
for its defence, and to save his family and his treasures. In a very
short time, the victorious Swedes poured, like an inundation, upon
Moravia and Austria. After they had subdued nearly the whole of
Moravia, invested Brunn, and taken all the strongholds as far as the
Danube, and carried the intrenchments at the Wolf's Bridge, near Vienna,
they at last appeared in sight of that capital, while the care which
they had taken to fortify their conquests, showed that their visit was
not likely to be a short one. After a long and destructive circuit
through every province of Germany, the stream of war had at last rolled
backwards to its source, and the roar of the Swedish artillery now
reminded the terrified inhabitants of those balls which, twenty-seven
years before, the Bohemian rebels had fired into Vienna. The same
theatre of war brought again similar actors on the scene. Torstensohn
invited Ragotsky, the successor of Bethlen Gabor, to his assistance, as
the Bohemian rebels had solicited that of his predecessor; Upper Hungary
was already inundated by his troops, and his union with the Swedes was
daily apprehended. The Elector of Saxony, driven to despair by the
Swedes taking up their quarters within his territories, and abandoned by
the Emperor, who, after the defeat at Jankowitz, was unable to defend
himself, at length adopted the last and only expedient which remained,
and concluded a truce with Sweden, which was renewed from year to year,
till the general peace. The Emperor thus lost a friend, while a new
enemy was appearing at his very gates, his armies dispersed, and his
allies in other quarters of Germany defeated. The French army had
effaced the disgrace of their defeat at Deutlingen by a brilliant
campaign, and had kept the whole force of Bavaria employed upon the
Rhine and in Suabia. Reinforced with fresh troops from France, which
the great Turenne, already distinguished by his victories in Italy,
brought to the assistance of the Duke of Enghien, they appeared on the
3rd of August, 1644, before Friburg, which Mercy had lately taken, and
now covered, with his whole army strongly intrenched. But against the
steady firmness of the Bavarians, all the impetuous valour of the French
was exerted in vain, and after a fruitless sacrifice of 6,000 men, the
Duke of Enghien was compelled to retreat. Mazarin shed tears over this
great loss, which Conde, who had no feeling for anything but glory,
disregarded. "A single night in Paris," said he, "gives birth to more
men than this action has destroyed." The Bavarians, however, were so
disabled by this murderous battle, that, far from being in a condition
to relieve Austria from the menaced dangers, they were too weak even to
defend the banks of the Rhine. Spires, Worms, and Manheim capitulated;
the strong fortress of Philipsburg was forced to surrender by famine;
and, by a timely submission, Mentz hastened to disarm the conquerors.

Austria and Moravia, however, were now freed from Torstensohn, by a
similar means of deliverance, as in the beginning of the war had saved
them from the Bohemians. Ragotzky, at the head of 25,000 men, had
advanced into the neighbourhood of the Swedish quarters upon the Danube.
But these wild undisciplined hordes, instead of seconding the operations
of Torstensohn by any vigorous enterprise, only ravaged the country, and
increased the distress which, even before their arrival, had begun to be
felt in the Swedish camp. To extort tribute from the Emperor, and money
and plunder from his subjects, was the sole object that had allured
Ragotzky, or his predecessor, Bethlen Gabor, into the field; and both
departed as soon as they had gained their end. To get rid of him,
Ferdinand granted the barbarian whatever he asked, and, by a small
sacrifice, freed his states of this formidable enemy.

In the mean time, the main body of the Swedes had been greatly weakened
by a tedious encampment before Brunn. Torstensohn, who commanded in
person, for four entire months employed in vain all his knowledge of
military tactics; the obstinacy of the resistance was equal to that of
the assault; while despair roused the courage of Souches, the
commandant, a Swedish deserter, who had no hope of pardon. The ravages
caused by pestilence, arising from famine, want of cleanliness, and the
use of unripe fruit, during their tedious and unhealthy encampment, with
the sudden retreat of the Prince of Transylvania, at last compelled the
Swedish leader to raise the siege. As all the passes upon the Danube
were occupied, and his army greatly weakened by famine and sickness, he
at last relinquished his intended plan of operations against Austria and
Moravia, and contented himself with securing a key to these provinces,
by leaving behind him Swedish garrisons in the conquered fortresses. He
then directed his march into Bohemia, whither he was followed by the
Imperialists, under the Archduke Leopold. Such of the lost places as
had not been retaken by the latter, were recovered, after his departure,
by the Austrian General Bucheim; so that, in the course of the following
year, the Austrian frontier was again cleared of the enemy, and Vienna
escaped with mere alarm. In Bohemia and Silesia too, the Swedes
maintained themselves only with a very variable fortune; they traversed
both countries, without being able to hold their ground in either. But
if the designs of Torstensohn were not crowned with all the success
which they were promised at the commencement, they were, nevertheless,
productive of the most important consequences to the Swedish party.
Denmark had been compelled to a peace, Saxony to a truce. The Emperor,
in the deliberations for a peace, offered greater concessions; France
became more manageable; and Sweden itself bolder and more confident in
its bearing towards these two crowns. Having thus nobly performed his
duty, the author of these advantages retired, adorned with laurels, into
the tranquillity of private life, and endeavoured to restore his
shattered health.

By the retreat of Torstensohn, the Emperor was relieved from all fears
of an irruption on the side of Bohemia. But a new danger soon
threatened the Austrian frontier from Suabia and Bavaria. Turenne, who
had separated from Conde, and taken the direction of Suabia, had, in the
year 1645, been totally defeated by Mercy, near Mergentheim; and the
victorious Bavarians, under their brave leader, poured into Hesse. But
the Duke of Enghien hastened with considerable succours from Alsace,
Koenigsmark from Moravia, and the Hessians from the Rhine, to recruit
the defeated army, and the Bavarians were in turn compelled to retire to
the extreme limits of Suabia. Here they posted themselves at the
village of Allersheim, near Nordlingen, in order to cover the Bavarian
frontier. But no obstacle could check the impetuosity of the Duke of
Enghien. In person, he led on his troops against the enemy's
entrenchments, and a battle took place, which the heroic resistance of
the Bavarians rendered most obstinate and bloody; till at last the death
of the great Mercy, the skill of Turenne, and the iron firmness of the
Hessians, decided the day in favour of the allies. But even this second
barbarous sacrifice of life had little effect either on the course of
the war, or on the negociations for peace. The French army, exhausted
by this bloody engagement, was still farther weakened by the departure
of the Hessians, and the Bavarians being reinforced by the Archduke
Leopold, Turenne was again obliged hastily to recross the Rhine.

The retreat of the French, enabled the enemy to turn his whole force
upon the Swedes in Bohemia. Gustavus Wrangel, no unworthy successor of
Banner and Torstensohn, had, in 1646, been appointed Commander-in-chief
of the Swedish army, which, besides Koenigsmark's flying corps and the
numerous garrisons disposed throughout the empire, amounted to about
8,000 horse, and 15,000 foot. The Archduke, after reinforcing his army,
which already amounted to 24,000 men, with twelve Bavarian regiments of
cavalry, and eighteen regiments of infantry, moved against Wrangel, in
the hope of being able to overwhelm him by his superior force before
Koenigsmark could join him, or the French effect a diversion in his
favour. Wrangel, however, did not await him, but hastened through Upper
Saxony to the Weser, where he took Hoester and Paderborn. From thence
he marched into Hesse, in order to join Turenne, and at his camp at
Wetzlar, was joined by the flying corps of Koenigsmark. But Turenne,
fettered by the instructions of Mazarin, who had seen with jealousy the
warlike prowess and increasing power of the Swedes, excused himself on
the plea of a pressing necessity to defend the frontier of France on the
side of the Netherlands, in consequence of the Flemings having failed to
make the promised diversion. But as Wrangel continued to press his just
demand, and a longer opposition might have excited distrust on the part
of the Swedes, or induce them to conclude a private treaty with Austria,
Turenne at last obtained the wished for permission to join the Swedish

The junction took place at Giessen, and they now felt themselves strong
enough to meet the enemy. The latter had followed the Swedes into
Hesse, in order to intercept their commissariat, and to prevent their
union with Turenne. In both designs they had been unsuccessful; and the
Imperialists now saw themselves cut off from the Maine, and exposed to
great scarcity and want from the loss of their magazines. Wrangel took
advantage of their weakness, to execute a plan by which he hoped to give
a new turn to the war. He, too, had adopted the maxim of his
predecessor, to carry the war into the Austrian States. But discouraged
by the ill success of Torstensohn's enterprise, he hoped to gain his end
with more certainty by another way. He determined to follow the course
of the Danube, and to break into the Austrian territories through the
midst of Bavaria. A similar design had been formerly conceived by
Gustavus Adolphus, which he had been prevented carrying into effect by
the approach of Wallenstein's army, and the danger of Saxony. Duke
Bernard moving in his footsteps, and more fortunate than Gustavus, had
spread his victorious banners between the Iser and the Inn; but the near
approach of the enemy, vastly superior in force, obliged him to halt in
his victorious career, and lead back his troops. Wrangel now hoped to
accomplish the object in which his predecessors had failed, the more so,
as the Imperial and Bavarian army was far in his rear upon the Lahn, and
could only reach Bavaria by a long march through Franconia and the Upper
Palatinate. He moved hastily upon the Danube, defeated a Bavarian corps
near Donauwerth, and passed that river, as well as the Lech, unopposed.
But by wasting his time in the unsuccessful siege of Augsburg, he gave
opportunity to the Imperialists, not only to relieve that city, but also
to repulse him as far as Lauingen. No sooner, however, had they turned
towards Suabia, with a view to remove the war from Bavaria, than,
seizing the opportunity, he repassed the Lech, and guarded the passage
of it against the Imperialists themselves. Bavaria now lay open and
defenceless before him; the French and Swedes quickly overran it; and
the soldiery indemnified themselves for all dangers by frightful
outrages, robberies, and extortions. The arrival of the Imperial
troops, who at last succeeded in passing the Lech at Thierhaupten, only
increased the misery of this country, which friend and foe
indiscriminately plundered.

And now, for the first time during the whole course of this war, the
courage of Maximilian, which for eight-and-twenty years had stood
unshaken amidst fearful dangers, began to waver. Ferdinand II., his
school-companion at Ingoldstadt, and the friend of his youth, was no
more; and with the death of his friend and benefactor, the strong tie
was dissolved which had linked the Elector to the House of Austria. To
the father, habit, inclination, and gratitude had attached him; the son
was a stranger to his heart, and political interests alone could
preserve his fidelity to the latter prince.

Accordingly, the motives which the artifices of France now put in
operation, in order to detach him from the Austrian alliance, and to
induce him to lay down his arms, were drawn entirely from political
considerations. It was not without a selfish object that Mazarin had so
far overcome his jealousy of the growing power of the Swedes, as to
allow the French to accompany them into Bavaria. His intention was to
expose Bavaria to all the horrors of war, in the hope that the
persevering fortitude of Maximilian might be subdued by necessity and
despair, and the Emperor deprived of his first and last ally.
Brandenburg had, under its great sovereign, embraced the neutrality;
Saxony had been forced to accede to it; the war with France prevented
the Spaniards from taking any part in that of Germany; the peace with
Sweden had removed Denmark from the theatre of war; and Poland had been
disarmed by a long truce. If they could succeed in detaching the
Elector of Bavaria also from the Austrian alliance, the Emperor would be
without a friend in Germany and left to the mercy of the allied powers.

Ferdinand III. saw his danger, and left no means untried to avert it.
But the Elector of Bavaria was unfortunately led to believe that the
Spaniards alone were disinclined to peace, and that nothing, but Spanish
influence, had induced the Emperor so long to resist a cessation of
hostilities. Maximilian detested the Spaniards, and could never forgive
their having opposed his application for the Palatine Electorate. Could
it then be supposed that, in order to gratify this hated power, he would
see his people sacrificed, his country laid waste, and himself ruined,
when, by a cessation of hostilities, he could at once emancipate himself
from all these distresses, procure for his people the repose of which
they stood so much in need, and perhaps accelerate the arrival of a
general peace? All doubts disappeared; and, convinced of the necessity
of this step, he thought he should sufficiently discharge his
obligations to the Emperor, if he invited him also to share in the
benefit of the truce.

The deputies of the three crowns, and of Bavaria, met at Ulm, to adjust
the conditions. But it was soon evident, from the instructions of the
Austrian ambassadors that it was not the intention of the Emperor to
second the conclusion of a truce, but if possible to prevent it. It was
obviously necessary to make the terms acceptable to the Swedes, who had
the advantage, and had more to hope than to fear from the continuance of
the war. They were the conquerors; and yet the Emperor presumed to
dictate to them. In the first transports of their indignation, the
Swedish ambassadors were on the point of leaving the congress, and the
French were obliged to have recourse to threats in order to detain them.

The good intentions of the Elector of Bavaria, to include the Emperor in
the benefit of the truce, having been thus rendered unavailing, he felt
himself justified in providing for his own safety. However hard were
the conditions on which the truce was to be purchased, he did not
hesitate to accept it on any terms. He agreed to the Swedes extending
their quarters in Suabia and Franconia, and to his own being restricted
to Bavaria and the Palatinate. The conquests which he had made in
Suabia were ceded to the allies, who, on their part, restored to him
what they had taken from Bavaria. Cologne and Hesse Cassel were also
included in the truce. After the conclusion of this treaty, upon the
14th March, 1647, the French and Swedes left Bavaria, and in order not
to interfere with each other, took up different quarters; the former in
Wuertemberg, the latter in Upper Suabia, in the neighbourhood of the
Lake of Constance. On the extreme north of this lake, and on the most
southern frontier of Suabia, the Austrian town of Bregentz, by its steep
and narrow passes, seemed to defy attack; and in this persuasion, the
whole peasantry of the surrounding villages had with their property
taken refuge in this natural fortress. The rich booty, which the store
of provisions it contained, gave reason to expect, and the advantage of
possessing a pass into the Tyrol, Switzerland and Italy, induced the
Swedish general to venture an attack upon this supposed impregnable post
and town, in which he succeeded. Meantime, Turenne, according to
agreement, marched into Wuertemberg, where he forced the Landgrave of
Darmstadt and the Elector of Mentz to imitate the example of Bavaria,
and to embrace the neutrality.

And now, at last, France seemed to have attained the great object of its
policy, that of depriving the Emperor of the support of the League, and
of his Protestant allies, and of dictating to him, sword in hand, the
conditions of peace. Of all his once formidable power, an army, not
exceeding 12,000, was all that remained to him; and this force he was
driven to the necessity of entrusting to the command of a Calvinist, the
Hessian deserter Melander, as the casualties of war had stripped him of
his best generals. But as this war had been remarkable for the sudden
changes of fortune it displayed; and as every calculation of state
policy had been frequently baffled by some unforeseen event, in this
case also the issue disappointed expectation; and after a brief crisis,
the fallen power of Austria rose again to a formidable strength. The
jealousy which France entertained of Sweden, prevented it from
permitting the total ruin of the Emperor, or allowing the Swedes to
obtain such a preponderance in Germany, as might have been destructive
to France herself. Accordingly, the French minister declined to take
advantage of the distresses of Austria; and the army of Turenne,
separating from that of Wrangel, retired to the frontiers of the
Netherlands. Wrangel, indeed, after moving from Suabia into Franconia,
taking Schweinfurt, and incorporating the imperial garrison of that
place with his own army, attempted to make his way into Bohemia, and
laid siege to Egra, the key of that kingdom. To relieve this fortress,
the Emperor put his last army in motion, and placed himself at its head.
But obliged to take a long circuit, in order to spare the lands of Von
Schlick, the president of the council of war, he protracted his march;
and on his arrival, Egra was already taken. Both armies were now in
sight of each other; and a decisive battle was momentarily expected, as
both were suffering from want, and the two camps were only separated
from each other by the space of the entrenchments. But the
Imperialists, although superior in numbers, contented themselves with
keeping close to the enemy, and harassing them by skirmishes, by
fatiguing marches and famine, until the negociations which had been
opened with Bavaria were brought to a bearing.

The neutrality of Bavaria, was a wound under which the Imperial court
writhed impatiently; and after in vain attempting to prevent it, Austria
now determined, if possible, to turn it to advantage. Several officers
of the Bavarian army had been offended by this step of their master,
which at once reduced them to inaction, and imposed a burdensome
restraint on their restless disposition. Even the brave John de Werth
was at the head of the malcontents, and encouraged by the Emperor, he
formed a plot to seduce the whole army from their allegiance to the
Elector, and lead it over to the Emperor. Ferdinand did not blush to
patronize this act of treachery against his father's most trusty ally.
He formally issued a proclamation to the Bavarian troops, in which he
recalled them to himself, reminded them that they were the troops of the
empire, which the Elector had merely commanded in name of the Emperor.
Fortunately for Maximilian, he detected the conspiracy in time enough to
anticipate and prevent it by the most rapid and effective measures.

This disgraceful conduct of the Emperor might have justified a reprisal,
but Maximilian was too old a statesman to listen to the voice of
passion, where policy alone ought to be heard. He had not derived from
the truce the advantages he expected. Far from tending to accelerate a
general peace, it had a pernicious influence upon the negociations at
Munster and Osnaburg, and had made the allies bolder in their demands.
The French and Swedes had indeed removed from Bavaria; but, by the loss
of his quarters in the Suabian circle, he found himself compelled either
to exhaust his own territories by the subsistence of his troops, or at
once to disband them, and to throw aside the shield and spear, at the
very moment when the sword alone seemed to be the arbiter of right.
Before embracing either of these certain evils, he determined to try a
third step, the unfavourable issue of which was at least not so certain,
viz., to renounce the truce and resume the war.

This resolution, and the assistance which he immediately despatched to
the Emperor in Bohemia, threatened materially to injure the Swedes, and
Wrangel was compelled in haste to evacuate that kingdom. He retired
through Thuringia into Westphalia and Lunenburg, in the hope of forming
a junction with the French army under Turenne, while the Imperial and
Bavarian army followed him to the Weser, under Melander and Gronsfeld.
His ruin was inevitable, if the enemy should overtake him before his
junction with Turenne; but the same consideration which had just saved
the Emperor, now proved the salvation of the Swedes. Even amidst all
the fury of the conquest, cold calculations of prudence guided the
course of the war, and the vigilance of the different courts increased,
as the prospect of peace approached. The Elector of Bavaria could not
allow the Emperor to obtain so decisive a preponderance as, by the
sudden alteration of affairs, might delay the chances of a general
peace. Every change of fortune was important now, when a pacification
was so ardently desired by all, and when the disturbance of the balance
of power among the contracting parties might at once annihilate the work
of years, destroy the fruit of long and tedious negociations, and
indefinitely protract the repose of Europe. If France sought to
restrain the Swedish crown within due bounds, and measured out her
assistance according to her successes and defeats, the Elector of
Bavaria silently undertook the same task with the Emperor his ally, and
determined, by prudently dealing out his aid, to hold the fate of
Austria in his own hands. And now that the power of the Emperor
threatened once more to attain a dangerous superiority, Maximilian at
once ceased to pursue the Swedes. He was also afraid of reprisals from
France, who had threatened to direct Turenne's whole force against him
if he allowed his troops to cross the Weser.

Melander, prevented by the Bavarians from further pursuing Wrangel,
crossed by Jena and Erfurt into Hesse, and now appeared as a dangerous
enemy in the country which he had formerly defended. If it was the
desire of revenge upon his former sovereign, which led him to choose
Hesse for the scene of his ravage, he certainly had his full
gratification. Under this scourge, the miseries of that unfortunate
state reached their height. But he had soon reason to regret that, in
the choice of his quarters, he had listened to the dictates of revenge
rather than of prudence. In this exhausted country, his army was
oppressed by want, while Wrangel was recruiting his strength, and
remounting his cavalry in Lunenburg. Too weak to maintain his wretched
quarters against the Swedish general, when he opened the campaign in the
winter of 1648, and marched against Hesse, he was obliged to retire with
disgrace, and take refuge on the banks of the Danube.

France had once more disappointed the expectations of Sweden; and the
army of Turenne, disregarding the remonstrances of Wrangel, had remained
upon the Rhine. The Swedish leader revenged himself, by drawing into
his service the cavalry of Weimar, which had abandoned the standard of
France, though, by this step, he farther increased the jealousy of that
power. Turenne received permission to join the Swedes; and the last
campaign of this eventful war was now opened by the united armies.
Driving Melander before them along the Danube, they threw supplies into
Egra, which was besieged by the Imperialists, and defeated the Imperial
and Bavarian armies on the Danube, which ventured to oppose them at
Susmarshausen, where Melander was mortally wounded. After this
overthrow, the Bavarian general, Gronsfeld, placed himself on the
farther side of the Lech, in order to guard Bavaria from the enemy.

But Gronsfeld was not more fortunate than Tilly, who, in this same
position, had sacrificed his life for Bavaria. Wrangel and Turenne
chose the same spot for passing the river, which was so gloriously
marked by the victory of Gustavus Adolphus, and accomplished it by the
same means, too, which had favoured their predecessor. Bavaria was now
a second time overrun, and the breach of the truce punished by the
severest treatment of its inhabitants. Maximilian sought shelter in
Salzburgh, while the Swedes crossed the Iser, and forced their way as
far as the Inn. A violent and continued rain, which in a few days
swelled this inconsiderable stream into a broad river, saved Austria
once more from the threatened danger. The enemy ten times attempted to
form a bridge of boats over the Inn, and as often it was destroyed by
the current. Never, during the whole course of the war, had the
Imperialists been in so great consternation as at present, when the
enemy were in the centre of Bavaria, and when they had no longer a
general left who could be matched against a Turenne, a Wrangel, and a
Koenigsmark. At last the brave Piccolomini arrived from the
Netherlands, to assume the command of the feeble wreck of the
Imperialists. By their own ravages in Bohemia, the allies had rendered
their subsistence in that country impracticable, and were at last driven
by scarcity to retreat into the Upper Palatinate, where the news of the
peace put a period to their activity.

Koenigsmark, with his flying corps, advanced towards Bohemia, where
Ernest Odowalsky, a disbanded captain, who, after being disabled in the
imperial service, had been dismissed without a pension, laid before him
a plan for surprising the lesser side of the city of Prague.
Koenigsmark successfully accomplished the bold enterprise, and acquired
the reputation of closing the thirty years' war by the last brilliant
achievement. This decisive stroke, which vanquished the Emperor's
irresolution, cost the Swedes only the loss of a single man. But the
old town, the larger half of Prague, which is divided into two parts by
the Moldau, by its vigorous resistance wearied out the efforts of the
Palatine, Charles Gustavus, the successor of Christina on the throne,
who had arrived from Sweden with fresh troops, and had assembled the
whole Swedish force in Bohemia and Silesia before its walls. The
approach of winter at last drove the besiegers into their quarters, and
in the mean time, the intelligence arrived that a peace had been signed
at Munster, on the 24th October.

The colossal labour of concluding this solemn, and ever memorable and
sacred treaty, which is known by the name of the peace of Westphalia;
the endless obstacles which were to be surmounted; the contending
interests which it was necessary to reconcile; the concatenation of
circumstances which must have co-operated to bring to a favourable
termination this tedious, but precious and permanent work of policy; the
difficulties which beset the very opening of the negociations, and
maintaining them, when opened, during the ever-fluctuating vicissitudes
of the war; finally, arranging the conditions of peace, and still more,
the carrying them into effect; what were the conditions of this peace;
what each contending power gained or lost, by the toils and sufferings
of a thirty years' war; what modification it wrought upon the general
system of European policy;--these are matters which must be relinquished
to another pen. The history of the peace of Westphalia constitutes a
whole, as important as the history of the war itself. A mere abridgment
of it, would reduce to a mere skeleton one of the most interesting and
characteristic monuments of human policy and passions, and deprive it of
every feature calculated to fix the attention of the public, for which I
write, and of which I now respectfully take my leave.

[Note From the first PG etext of this work:
Separate sources indicate that at the beginning of this war there were
about 15 million people in Germany, and at the end of the war there were
about 4 million. If this is not surprising enough, war broke out again
only 10 years after the conclusion of this war.]

Book of the day: