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The History of the Thirty Years War
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 resistance.

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 gainst 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 throne.

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. 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 Swedes. 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 dominions.

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 army.

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.

[End of The History of the Thirty Years' War.]


 

Notes:  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. Please note that the original translation changed many foreign names, both of places and persons, into English forms.  These have NOT been revised. Thus Ko"ln is still Cologne, Friedrich is still Frederick, etc. Some foreign names were NOT translated, and due to the limits of ASCII, vowels with umlauts have, according to custom, had an E added after them, i.e. Koeln.  Also, in some cases variant spellings of names were used, and though an attempt was made, not all have been revised.


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