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The History of Protestantism

by 'James Aitken Wylie'

Book 21 — The Thirty Years' War

Chapter 4 — Conquest of north Germany by Ferdinand II and the "Catholic League"

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Ferdinand II's Aims – Extinction of Protestantism and the German Liberties – Ban of the Empire pronounced on Frederick V – Apathy of the Protestant Princes – They Withdraw from the Protestant Union – Count Mansfeld – Duke of Brunswick – The Number and Devastation of their Armies – Heidelberg Taken – The Palatinate Occupied – James I of England – Outwitted by Ferdinand and Philip II – Electorate of the Rhine Given to the Duke of Bavaria – Treaty between England, Holland, and Denmark – Christian IV of Denmark – Leads the Protestant Host – Ferdinand II Raises an Army – Wallenstein – His Character – Grandeur – Personal Appearance -His Method of Maintaining an Army – Movements of the Campaign of 1626 – Battle of Lutter – Victory of Tilly – Campaign of 1627 – North Germany Occupied by the League – Further Projects of Ferdinand

FROM this general picture of the war, which shows us fanaticism and ruffianism holding saturnalia inside the camp, and terror and devastation extending their gloomy area from day to day outside of it, we turn to follow the progress of its campaigns and battles, and the slow and gradual evolution of its moral results, till they issue in the Peace of Westphalia, which gave a larger measure of toleration to the Protestants than they had ever hitherto enjoyed.

The iron hand of military violence, moved by the Jesuits, was at this hour crushing out Protestantism in Bohemia, in Hungary, in Transylvania, in Styria, and in Carinthia. Dragonnades, confiscations, and executions were there the order of the day. The nobles were dying on the scaffold, the ministers were shut up in prison or chained to the galleys, churches and school-houses were lying in ruins, and the people, driven into exile or slaughtered by soldiers, had disappeared from the land, and such as remained had found refuge within the pale of the Church of Rome. But the extermination of the Protestant faith in his own dominions could not satisfy the vast zeal of Ferdinand II. He aimed at nothing less than its overthrow throughout all Germany. When there would not be one Protestant church or a single Lutheran throughout that whole extent of territory lying between the German Sea and the Carpathian chain, then, and only then, would Ferdinand have accomplished the work for which the Jesuits had trained him, and fulfilled the vow he made when he lay prostrate before the Virgin of Loretto. But ambition was combined with his fanaticism. He aimed also at sweeping away all the charters and constitutions which conferred independent rights on the German States, and subjecting both princes and people to his own will. Henceforward, Germany should know only two masters: the Church of Rome was to reign supreme and uncontrolled in things spiritual, and he himself should exercise an equally absolute sway in things political and civil. It was a two-fold tide of despotism that was about to overflow the countries of the Lutheran Reformation.

Having inaugurated a reaction on the east of Germany, Ferdinand now set on foot a "Catholic restoration" on the west of it. He launched this part of his scheme by fulminating against Frederick V, Palatine of the Rhine, the ban of the empire. Frederick had offended by assuming the crown of Bohemia. After reigning during only one winter lie was chased from Prague, as we have seen, by the arms of the Catholic Leslie. But the matter did not end there: the occasion offered a fair pretext for advancing the scheme of restoring the Church of Rome once more to supreme and universal dominancy in Germany. Ferdinand accordingly passed sentence on Frederick, depriving him of his dominions and dignities, as a traitor to the emperor and a disturber of the public peace. He empowered Maximilian of Bavaria, as head of the League, to execute the ban – that is, to take military possession of the Palatinate. Now was the time for the princes of the Protestant Union to unsheathe the sword, and by wielding it in defense of the Palatine, their confederate, who had risked more in the common cause than any one of them all, to prove their zeal and sincerity in the great object for which they were associated. They would, at t]he same time, shut the door at which the triumphant tide of armed Romanism was sure to flow in and overwhelm their own dominions. But, unhappily for themselves and their cause, instead of acting in the spirit of their Confederacy, they displayed an extraordinary degree of pusillanimity and coldness. The terror of Ferdinand and the Catholic Leslie had fallen upon them, and they left their chief to his fate, congratulating themselves that their superior prudence had saved them from the disasters by which Frederick was overtaken. The free cities of the Confederacy forsook him; and, as if to mark still more their indifference to the cause to which they had so lately given their most solemn pledge, they withdrew from the Union, and the example of cowardly defection thus set by them was soon followed by the princes. How sure a sign of the approach of evil days! We behold zeal on the Popish side, and only faint-heartedness and indifference on that of the Protestants.

The troops of the League, under Duke Maximilian's famous general, Tilly, were now on their march to the Palatinate; but the Protestant princes and free cities sat still, content to see the fall of that powerful Protestant province, without lifting a finger on its behalf. At that moment a soldier of fortune, whose wealth lay in his sword, assembled an army of 20,000, and came forward to fill the vacant place of the cities and princes. Ernest, Count Mansfeld, offered battle to the troops of Spain and Bavaria, on behalf of the Elector Frederick. Mansfeld was soon joined by the Margrave of Baden, with a splendid troop. Christian, Duke of Brunswick, who had conceived a romantic passion for Elizabeth of Bohemia, the

Electress-Palatine, whose glove he always wore in his hat, also joined Count Mansfeld, with an army of some 20,000, which he had raised in Lower Saxony, and which lie maintained without pay, a secret he had learnt from Mansfeld.

These combined hosts, which the hope of plunder, quite as much as the desire of replacing Frederick V on his throne, had drawn together, could not be much if at all below 50,000. They were terrible scourges to the country which became the scene of their marches and of their battles. They alighted like a flock of vultures on the rich chapters and bishoprics of the Rhine. During the summers of 1621 and 1622, they marched backwards and forwards, as the fortune of battle impelled them, in that rich valley, robbing the peasantry, levying contributions upon the towns, slaughtering their opponents, and being themselves slaughtered in turn. When hard pressed they would cross the river into France, and continue, in that new and unexhausted field, their devastations and plunderings. But ultimately the arms of Tilly prevailed. After murderous conflicts, in which both sides sustained terrible loss, the bands of Mansfeld retreated northward, leaving the cities and lands of the Palatinate to be occupied by the troops of the League. On the 17th of September, 1622, Heidelberg was taken, after a terrible storm; its magnificent palace was partially burned, its university was closed, and the treasures of its world-renowned library were carried away in fifty wagon-loads to Rome. The rich city of Mannheim was taken by the soldiers of the League in the November following Thus the gates of the Palatinate were opened to the invading hosts, and they entered and gleaned where the troops of Mansfeld and Brunswick had reaped the first rich harvest.

The man whom we have seen first driven from the throne of Bohemia, and next despoiled of his hereditary dominions was, as our readers know, the son-in-law of the King of England. It is with some astonishment that we see James I standing by a quiet spectator of the ruin of his daughter's husband. Elizabeth, and the great statesmen who gave such glory to her throne, would have seen in the swelling wave, crested with victory, that was setting in upon Germany, peril to England; and, even though the happiness of no relation had been at stake, would, for the safety of her throne and the welfare of her realm, have found means of moderating, if not arresting, the reaction, before it had overwhelmed those princes and lands where she must ever look for her trustiest allies. But James I and his minister Buckingham had neither the capacity to devise, nor the spirit to pursue, so large a policy as this. They allowed themselves to be befooled by the two leading Popish Powers. Ferdinand of Austria buoyed up the English monarch with hopes that he would yet restore his son-in-law to his Electorate, although he had already decided that Frederick should see his dominions no more; and Philip II took care to amuse the English king with the proposal of a Spanish marriage for his son, and James was mean-spirited enough to be willing to wed the heir of his crown to the daughter of the man who, had he been able to compass his designs, would have left him neither throne nor kingdom. The dupe of both Austria and Spain, James I. sat still till the ruin of the Elector Frederick was almost completed. When he saw what had happened he was willing to give both money and troops, but it was too late. The occupation of Frederick's dominions by the army of the League made the proffered assistance not only useless it gave it even an air of irony. The Electorate of the Rhine was bestowed upon the Duke of Bavaria, as a recompense for his services. [1]

The territory was added to the area of Romanism, the Protestant ministers were driven out, and Jesuits and priests crowded in flocks to take possession of the newly subjugated domains. The former sovereign of these domains found asylum in a corner of Holland. It was a bitter cup to Elizabeth, the wife of Frederick, and the daughter of the King of England, who is reported to have said that she would rather live on bread and water as a queen than, occupying a lower station, inhabit the most magnificent mansion, and sit down at the most luxurious table. [2]

Other princes, besides the King of England, now opened their eyes. The Elector of Saxony, the descendant of that Maurice who had chased Charles V. across the Alps of the Tyrol, and wrested from him by force of arms the Treaty of Passau, which gave toleration to the Lutherans, was not only indifferent to the misfortunes of the Elector Frederick, but saw without concern the cruel suppression of Protestantism in Bohemia. Content to be left in peace in his own dominions, and not ill-pleased, it may be, to see his rivals the Calvinists humbled, he refused to act the part which his descent and his political power made incumbent upon him. The Elector of Brandenburg, the next in rank to Saxony, showed himself at this crisis equally unpatriotic and shortsighted. But now they saw – what they might have foreseen long before, but for the blindness that selfishness ever inflicts that the policy of Ferdinand had placed them in a new and most critical position. [3] East and west the Catholic reaction had hemmed them in; Protestantism had disappeared in the kingdoms beyond the Danube, and now the Rhine Electorate had undergone a forced conversion. On all sides the wave of a triumphant reaction was rolling onward, and how soon it might sweep over their own territories, now left almost like islands in the midst of a raging sea, they could not tell. The tremendous blunder they had committed was plain enough, but how to remedy it was more than their wisdom could say.

At

this moment the situation of affairs in England changed, and a prospect began to open up of a European coalition against the Powers of Spain and Austria. The "Spanish sleeping-cup," as the English nation termed it, had been rudely dashed from the lip of James I, and the monarch saw that he had been practiced upon by Philip II. The marriage with the Infanta of Spain was broken off at the last moment; there followed a rapture with that Power, and the English king, smarting from the insult, applied to Parliament (February, 1624) for the means of reinstating Frederick in the Palatinate by force of arms. [4] The Parliament, who had felt the nation lowered, and the Protestant cause brought into peril, by the truckling of the king, heartily responded to the royal request, and voted a liberal subsidy. Mansfeld and Brunswick came over to London, where they met with a splendid reception. A new army was provided for them, and they sailed to begin operations on the Rhine; but the expedition did not prosper. Before they had struck a single blow the plague broke out in the camp of Mansfeld, and swept away half his army, amid revolting horrors. Brunswick had no better fortune than his companion. He was over-taken by Tilly on the Dutch frontier, and experienced a tremendous defeat. During the winter that followed, the two generals wandered about with the remains of their army, and a few new recruits, whom they had persuaded to join their banners, but they accomplished nothing save the terror they inspired in the districts which they visited, and the money given them by the inhabitants, on the condition of their departure with their banditti.

Charles I having now succeeded his father on the throne of England, the war was resumed on a larger scale, and with a more persistent energy. On the 9th of December, 1625, a treaty was concluded at the Hague between England, Holland, and Denmark, for opposing by joint arms the power of Hapsburg, and reinstating the Elector Frederick. [5] It was a grave question who should head the expedition as leader of its armies. Proposals had been made to Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, but at that moment he had on his hands a war with Poland, and could not embark in another and more onerous campaign. England was not in a condition for carrying on hostilities in Germany on her own account. Holland had not yet ended its great struggle with Spain, and dared not expend on other countries the strength so much needed within itself. Of the three contracting Powers, Denmark was the one which was most at liberty to charge itself with the main burden of the enterprise. It was ultimately arranged that the Danish king should conduct the campaign, and the support of the joint enterprise was distributed among the parties as follows: – Denmark was to raise an army of 30,000, or thereabouts; England was to furnish L 30,000, and Holland L 5,000, month by month, as subsidy. The latter engaged, moreover, should the imperial army press upon the King of Denmark, to make a diversion next summer by placing a fair army in the field, and by contributing a number of ships to strengthen the English fleet on the coast. [6]

Christian IV of Denmark, who was now placed at the head of the Protestant armies in this great war, was one of the most courageous, enlightened, and patriotic monarchs of his time. He hid under a rough exterior and bluff manners a mind of great shrewdness, and a generous and noble disposition. He labored with equal wisdom and success to elevate the condition of the middle class of his subjects. He lightened their burdens, he improved their finance, and he incited them to engage in the pursuits of commerce and trade. These measures, which laid the foundations of that material prosperity which Denmark long enjoyed, made him beloved at home, and greatly raised his influence abroad. His kingdom, he knew, had risen by the Reformation, and its standing, political and social, was fatally menaced by the Popish reaction now in progress.

As Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, he was a prince of the German Empire, and might therefore, without wounding the self-love of others, take a prominent position in checking a movement which threatened the liberties of all Germany, as well as the independence of his own dominions. The appearance of Christian IV at the head of the army of the Protestant Confederacy makes it necessary that we should introduce ourselves to another – a different, but a very powerful figure – that now stood up on the other side. The combinations on the one side rendered it advisable that Ferdinand should make a new disposition of the forces on his. Hitherto he had carried on the war with the arms of the Catholic League. Maximilian of Bavaria and his general, Tilly, occupied the foreground, and were the most prominent actors in the business. Ferdinand now resolved to come to the front in person, by raising an army of his own, and appointing a general to lead it. But a formidable obstacle met him on the threshold of his new project – his military chest was empty. He had gathered many millions front his confiscations in Bohemia, but these had been swallowed up by the Jesuits, or spent on the wars in Hungary, and nothing remained wherewith to fight the battles of the "Restoration." In his difficulty, he applied to one of his generals, who had served with distinction against the Turks and Venetians, and had borne arms nearer home in Bohemia and Hungary. This soldier was Albrecht von Wallenstein, a man of undeniable abilities, but questionable designs. It was this gloomy personage who gave Ferdinand an army.

The same war-like race which had sent forth Zisca to fight the battles of the Hussite Reformers, gave Wallenstein to Rome. He was born on the 15th of September, 1583, of Protestant

parents, who had, indeed, been Calixtines through several generations. Being early left an orphan, he was adopted by an uncle, who sent him to the Jesuit college at Olmutz. The Fathers could have no difficulty in discerning the genius of the boy, and they would spare no pains to adapt that genius to the purposes in which they might afterwards have occasion to employ it. The Jesuits had already fashioned a class of men for the war, of whom they had every reason to be proud, and who will remain to all time monuments of their skill and of the power of their maxims in making human souls pliant and terrible instruments of their will. Ferdinand of Austria, Maximilian of Bavaria, and his general, Tilly, were their handiwork. To these they were about to add a fourth. With a dark soul, a resolute will, and a heart which ambition had rendered hard as the nether mill-stone, the Jesuits beheld in Wallenstein a war-machine of their own creating, in the presence of which they themselves at times trembled. The same hands which had fashioned these terrible instruments put them forth, and moved them to and fro over the vast stage which we see swimming in blood.

Wallenstein was now in the prime of life. He had acquired in former campaigns great experience in the raising and disciplining of troops. To his fame as a soldier he now added the prestige of an enormous fortune. An exceedingly rich old widow had fallen in love with him, and overcome by the philter she gave him, and not, it is to be presumed, by the love of her gold, he married her. Next came the confiscations of estates in Bohemia, and Wallenstein bought at absurdly low prices not fewer than sixty-seven estates. [7] Ferdinand gave him in addition the Duchy of Friedland, containing nine towns, fifty-seven castles, and villages. After the king, he was the richest landed proprietor in Bohemia Not content with these hoards, he sought to increase his goods by trading with the bankers, by lending to the court, and by imposing taxes on both friend and foe.

But if his revenues were immense, amounting to many millions of florins annually, his expenditure was great. He lived surrounded by the pomp of an Eastern monarch. His table was sumptuous, and some hundred guests sat down at it daily. Six gates gave entrance to his palace, which still stands on the right bank of the Moldau, on the slope of the Hradschin at Prague. The pile is immense, and similar chateaux were erected on his numerous estates elsewhere. His chamberlains were twenty-four, and were selected from the noblest families in Bohemia. Sixty pages, in blue velvet dresses bordered with gold, waited on him. Fifty men-at-arms kept guard, day and night, in his antechamber. A thousand persons formed the usual complement of his household. Upwards of a thousand homes filled the stalls of his stables, and fed from marble mangers. When he journeyed, ten trumpeters with silver bugles preceded the march; there followed a hundred carriages, laden with his servants and baggage; sixty carriages and fifty led homes conveyed his suite; and last of all, suitably escorted, came the chariot of the man who formed the center of all this splendor.

Wallenstein, although the champion of Rome, neither believed her creed nor loved her clergy. He would, admit no priest into his camp, wishing, doubtless, to be master there himself. He issued his orders in few but peremptory words, and exacted instant and blind obedience. The slightest infraction of discipline brought down swift and severe chastisement upon the person guilty of it. But though rigid in all matters of discipline, he winked at the grossest excesses of his troops outside the camp, and shut his ear to the oft-repeated complaints of the pillagings and murders which they committed upon the peasantry. The most unbounded license was tolerated in his camp, and only one thing was needful – implicit submission to his authority. He had a quick eye for talent, and never hesitated to draw from the crowd, and reward with promotion, those whom he thought fitted to serve him in a higher rank. He was a diligent student of the stars, and never undertook anything of moment without first trying to discover, with the help of an Italian astrologer whom he kept under his roof, whether the constellations promised success, or threatened disaster, to the project he was meditating. Like all who have been believers in the occult sciences, he was reserved, haughty, inscrutable, and whether in the saloons of his palace, or in his tent, there was a halo of mystery around him. No one shared his secrets, no one could read his thoughts: on his face there never came smile; nor did mirth ever brighten the countenances of those who stood around him. In his palace no heavy footfall, no loud voices, might be heard: all noises must be hushed; silence and awe must wait continually in that grand but gloomy chamber, where Wallenstein sat apart from his fellows, while the stars, as they traced their path in the firmament, were slowly working out the brilliant destinies which an eternal Fate had decreed for him. The master-passions of his soul were pride and ambition; and if he served Rome it was because he judged that this was his road to those immense dignities and powers which he had been born to possess. He followed his star.

We must add the picture of his personal appearance as Michiels has drawn it. "His tall, thin figure; his haughty attitude; the stern expression of his pale face; his wide forehead, that seemed formed to command; his black hair, close shorn and harsh; his little dark eyes, in which the flame of authority shone; his haughty and suspicious look; his thick moustaches and tufted beard, produced, at the first glance, a startling sensation. His usual dress consisted of a justaucorps of elk-skin, covered by a

white doublet and cloak; round his neck he wore a Spanish ruff, in his hat fluttered a large and red plume, while scarlet pantaloons and boots of Cordovan leather, carefully padded on account of the gout, completed his ordinary attire." [8]

Such was the man to whom Ferdinand of Austria applied for assistance in raising an army.

Wallenstein's grandeur had not as yet developed to so colossal a pitch as to overshadow his sovereign, but his ambition was already fully grown, and in the necessities of Ferdinand he saw another stage opening in his own advancement. He undertook at once to raise an army for the emperor. "How many does your Majesty require?" he asked. "Twenty thousand," replied Ferdinand. "Twenty thousand ?" responded Wallenstein, with an air of surprise. "That is not enough; say forty thousand or fifty thousand." [9] The monarch hinted that there might be a difficulty in provisioning so many. "Fifty thousand," promptly responded Wallenstein, "will have abundance where twenty thousand would starve."

The calculation by which he arrived at this conclusion was sure, but atrocious. A force of only twenty thousand might find their entrance barred into a rich province, whereas an army of fifty thousand was strong enough to force admission anywhere, and to remain so long as there was anything to eat or to waste. The general meant that the army should subsist by plunder; and fifty thousand would cost the emperor no more than twenty thousand, for neither would cost him anything. The royal permission was given, and an army which speed fly attained this number was soon in the field. It was a mighty assemblage of various nationalities, daring characters and diverse faiths; and, however formidable to the cities and provinces amid which it was encamped, it adored and obeyed the iron man around whom it was gathered.

In the autumn of 1625 six armies were in the field, prepared to resume the bloody strife, and devastate the land they professed to liberate. The winter of 1625 passed without any event of moment. With the spring of 1626 the campaign was opened in earnest. The King of Denmark, with 30,000 troops, had passed the winter in the neighborhood of Bremen, and now, putting his army in motion, he acted along the right bank of the Weser.

Tilly, with the army of the League, descended along the left bank of the same river, in the hope of meeting the Danish force and joining battle with it. Wallenstein, who did not care to share his victories and divide his laurels with Tilly, had encamped on the Elbe, and strongly fortified himself at the bridge of Dessau. It would be easy for him to march across the country to the Weser, and fall upon the rear of the King of Denmark, should the latter come to an engagement with Tilly. Christian IV saw the danger, and arranged with Count Mansfeld, who had under him a finely equipped force, to make a diversion in his favor, by marching through Germany to Hungary, joining Gabriel Bethlen, and attacking Vienna. This maneuver would draw off Wallenstein, and leave him to cope with only the troops under Tilly. Duke Christian of Brunswick had orders to enter Westphalia, and thence extend his operations into the Palatinate; and Duke John Ernest of Saxe-Weimar, who was also in the field, was to act in Saxony, and assist Mansfeld in executing the diversion by which Wallenstein was to be drawn off from the theater of war between the Weser and the Elbe, and allow the campaign to be decided by a trial of strength between Christian IV and the general of the League.

Count Mansfeld set about executing his part of the plan. He marched against Wallenstein, attacked him in his strong position on the Elbe, but he was routed with great loss. He retreated through Silesia, pursued by his terrible antagonist, and arrived in Hungary, but only to find a cold reception from Prince Bethlen. Worn out by toil and defeat, he set out to return to England by way of Venice; it was his last journey, for falling sick, he died by the way. He was soon followed to the grave by his two companions in arms, the Duke of Brunswick and Ernest of Saxe-Weimar.

Of the four generals on the Protestant side, only one now survived, Christian IV of Denmark. The deaths of these leaders, and the dispersion of their corps, decided the fate of the campaign. Tilly, his army reinforced by detachments which Wallenstein had sent to his aid, now bore down on the Danish host, which was retreating northwards. He overtook it at Lutter, in Bernburg, and compelled it to accept battle. The Danish monarch three times rallied his soldiers, and led them against the enemy, but in vain did Christian IV contend against greatly superior numbers. The Danes were completely routed; 4,000 lay dead on the field; the killed included many officers. Artillery, ammunition, and standards became the booty of the imperialists, and the Danish king, escaping through a narrow defile with a remnant of his cavalry, presented himself, on the evening of the day of battle, at the gates of Wolfenbuttel.

Pursuing his victory, and driving the Danes before him, Tilly made himself master of the Weser and the territories of Brunswick. Still advancing, he entered Hanover, crossed the Elbe, and spread the troops of the League over the territories of Brandenburg. The year closed with the King of Denmark in Holstein, and the League master of great part of North Germany.

In the spring of next year (1627), Wallenstein returned from Hungary, tracing a second time the march of his troops through Silesia and Germany in a black line of desolation. On joining Tilly, the combined army amounted to 80,000. The two generals, having now no enemy in their path capable of opposing them, resumed their victorious advance. Rapidly overrunning the Dukedoms of Mecklenburg, and putting garrisons in all the fortresses, they soon

made themselves masters of the whole of Germany to the North Sea. Wallenstein next poured his troops into Schleswig-Holstein, and attacked Christian IV in his own territories, and soon the Danish king saw his dominions and sovereignty all but wrested from him.

So disastrous for the Protestant interests was the issue of the campaign, illustrating how questionable in such a controversy is the interference of the sword, and how uncertain the results which it works out. Not only had the Protestants not recovered the Palatinate of the Rhine, but the tide of Popish and imperialist victory had rolled on, along the course of the Weser and the Elbe, stopping only on the shores of the Baltic. The Elector of Brandenburg saw the imperial troops at the gate of Berlin, and had to send in his submission to Ferdinand. The Dukes of Mecklenburg had been placed under the ban of the empire, and expelled from their territories. The Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel had been compelled to abandon the Danish alliance. The King of Denmark had lost all his fortresses in Germany; his army had. been dispersed; and Schleswig-Holstein was trembling in the balance. Wallenstein was master of most of the German towns on the shores of the Baltic and the North Sea, but these successes only instigated to greater. The duke was at that moment revolving mighty projects, which would vastly extend both his own and the emperor's power. He dropped hints from which it was plain that he meditated putting down all the German princes, with their "German liberty," and installing one emperor and one law in the Fatherland. He would dethrone the King of Denmark, and proclaim Ferdinand in his room. The whole of Germany, Denmark included, was to be governed from Vienna. There was to be one exception: the Dukedoms of Mecklenburg had become his own special principality, and as this was but a narrow land territory, lie proposed to add thereto the dominion of the seas. By way of carrying out this dream of a vast maritime empire, he Bad already assumed the title of "Admiral of the North and Baltic Seas." He had east his eyes on two points of the Baltic shore, the towns of Rugen and Stralsund, as specially adapted for being the site of his arsenals and dockyards, where he might fit out his fleets, to be sent forth on the errands of peaceful commerce, or more probably on the hostile expeditions of conquest.

Such was the wretched condition of Germany when the year 1627 closed upon it. Everywhere the League had been triumphant, and all was gloom – nay, darkness. The land lay beaten down and trampled upon by its two masters, a fanatical emperor and a dark, inscrutable, and insatiably ambitious soldier. Its princes had been humiliated, its towns garrisoned with foreign troops, and an army of banditti, now swollen to 100,000, were marching hither and thither in it, and in the exercise of a boundless license were converting its fair fields into a wilderness. As if the calamities of the present were not enough, its masters were revolving new schemes of confiscation and oppression, which would complete the ruin they had commenced, and plunge the Fatherland into an abyss of misery.


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Thursday, September 20th, 2018
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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