THE OUTBREAK OF THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR.
By A. W. WAUD, Litt.D., F.B.A., Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.
The Empire after the accession of Matthias . . 1
Illusory hopes of peace . . . . 3
Agitated religious condition of the Empire . . . 4
Division between Lutherans and Calvinists . . . 5
Magic and superstition . 6
Economic depression . 7
Decay of the Hansa . 8
Lack of motives for cohesion in the Empire . 8
Weakness of the Imperial authority. Induite . 9
Deadlock at the Diet of Ratishon . 10
The Austrian dominions . 11
Bethlen Gabor and the Turks . 11
The Protestant Union and the Catholic League . 12
Ferdinand of Styria and the succession . 13
Klesl's policy of compromise . 13
Origin of the Bohemian troubles. Braunau . 14
Bohemian Diet of 1617 . 15
Ferdinand appointed successor in Bohemia . 16
The Bohemian Crown. Activity of Anhalt . 17
Catholic aggression in Bohemia .18
The Protestant Assembly and the royal ordinances .19
The Prague " defenestration ".20
A provisional Government established. The thirty Directors . 21
Hesitation of Zierotin. Fall of Klesl . 22
Ferdinand's preparations. Efforts of James I . 23
Mansfeld takes service with the Bohemians . 24
Mission of Solms to Prague . 24
Thurn's advance on Vienna. Death of Matthias. 25
Disaffection in the Habsburg dominions. Ferdinand's prospects . 26
Thurn before Vienna. His withdrawal . 27
Ferdinand elected Emperor . 28
Frederick elected King of Bohemia . 29
Frederick accepts the Bohemian Crown . 30
Bethlen Gabor's advance and retreat .31
Agreement between Ferdinand and Maximilian . 32
Ferdinand's preparations. Inaction of the union .33
Compact of Ulm . 34
The Emperor's mandate to Frederick. Opening of the War . 34
THE OUTBREAK OF THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR.
IT was not till five months after the death of the unhappy Emperor Rudolf II that, on June 13,1612, his brother Matthias reached the height of his ambition by being elected to the Imperial throne. His candidature had been approved by all the other Archdukes; but the Spiritual Electors had caused delay by reverting to the idea of securing the succession to the more capable Archduke Albert, notwithstanding his renunciation of his rights and the Spanish Government's dislike of the project. The Temporal Electors, after discarding in turn the equally short-sighted notions of putting forward Maximilian of Bavaria and his namesake, the Austrian Archduke, settled down to a choice which, from the point of view of militant Protestantism, might suit a brief period of transition. Their action had been quickened by Klesl's management, and by the diplomatic exertions of Christian of Anhalt, seconded by those of the Margraves Joachim Ernest of Ansbach and George Frederick of Baden-Durlach.
But, although Matthias had come to be regarded as a necessity in various quarters, he counted few friends in any. The Spaniards hated him for his intervention in the affairs of the Netherlands, futile as it had proved. The Estates in Hungary and in the other lands subject to his House cherished no gratitude for his various concessions ; his frequent hagglings in the course of his bargains with them were known to have been inspired by his adviser Klesl, at heart a foe to that principle of home rule which Matthias had accepted in order to oust Rudolf from power. Moreover, Matthias, now a worn-out man of fifty-five, was really little better fitted than his predecessor for taking any part in the business of State-except that he was always ready to sign his name. He would have been only too glad to be left in peace and allowed to enjoy all that he had gained, and to saunter among the treasures which his elder brother had accumulated. Klesl was at heart reactionary ; and the lack of principle inherent in Matthias' own character, the sense of power inspired in him by his election as Emperor, and the influence of his newly-married consort Anne, a daughter of the late Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, alike inclined him to resistance against the
Protestant movement in the Habsburg dominions, albeit the main cause of his rise to supreme power. Thus his rule, at once weak and irritating, contributed to the failure of those hopes for the maintenance of peace in the Empire and in Europe which had accompanied his accession to the Imperial throne.
In 1612, while the Letters of Majesty accorded to Bohemia and Silesia might there seem to have established the rights of the Protestant Estates on an immovable basis, in Hungary the coronation of Matthias had been immediately followed by the emancipation of the Protestant congregations from episcopal control. The demands of the Moravian Protestants had been satisfied ; and to his Austrian subjects Matthias had reluctantly made concessions which, though in part verbal only, seemed sufficient guarantees for the free exercise of their religion. Outside the Habsburg dominions the Union and the League, in which the forces of Protestant advance and Catholic reaction had been gradually finding their respective centres, at the time of the accession of Matthias seemed likely to sink back into inertia. In October, 1610, both bodies had agreed to dismiss their troops without loss of time ; at Rothenburg in September, 1611, the Union had found its balance-sheet very unsatisfactory; and the burdens already borne by its members, the Palatinate in particular, caused a very general feeling on their part that the present was not a time for fresh efforts. Furthermore, the death of the Elector Palatine Frederick IV in September, 1610, had deprived the Union of its real head; and, in the following year, the Elector Christian II of Saxony had been succeeded by John George I, to whom the neutral attitude of his elder brother had been chiefly due and who was resolutely opposed to an aggressive Protestant policy, partly by reason of his antipathy against his Ernestine kinsmen, and against the Palatine and Brandenburg Houses (heightened in the latter case by his own Julich-Cleves claims). Thus he had remained deaf even to the overtures of Landgrave Maurice of Hesse-Cassel, who was always prepared with a scheme of his own, and who had suggested the election of a Protestant Emperor in the person of the Saxon Elector himself.
Nor, since the assassination of Henry IV of France, were any hopes of substantial foreign support left to the Union, should it enter on a policy of action. Since the conclusion of their twelve years' truce with Spain in 1609, the States General were necessarily indisposed to any aggression on their own account, besides being distracted by internal differences and troubles. The policy of France was no longer directly antagonistic to thai of Spain. The treaty of alliance which the Union after protracted negotiations concluded with England in April, 1612, was defensive only; it could not have been anything more, for James1 marriage-negotiations with Philip III of Spain had already begun. Thus there seemed some chance that the policy which Klesl was urging on Matthias might prove successful; and that, while his immediate
Yet all these calculations were delusive. In no part of the Habsburg dominions or of the Empire at large was there even an approach to mutual confidence between the parties. Matthias1 understanding with the Austrian towns was verbal only. The inviolable compact between Crown and Estates in Bohemia-the Letter of Majesty itself-was already known to have a fatal flaw. As for the Union and the League, the advantages in an emergency of a ready-formed alliance had already been made so manifest that there could not be the faintest intention of putting an end to either association ; and Maximilian of Bavaria was far too jealous of John George of Saxony for a combination between the League and the Lutherans to be even conceivable. The Elector Palatine was hard pressed in his finances ; but in the long run he must follow his destiny as the leading Calvinist Prince and the directions of the keeper of his political conscience, Anhalt, the activity of whose " chancery " had never been more intense or more concentrated on definite issues. Moreover, in 1614 the party of action made a distinct advance when the new Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg actually adopted Calvinism and his policy became identified with that of the Elector Palatine. As to foreign connexions, the pacific intentions of James I might reduce the significance of his treaty with the Union; but in the same year the negotiations were completed which in the following February (1613) led to the celebration, amidst the rejoicings of Protestant England, of the marriage of his only daughter Elizabeth to the young "Palsgrave"; and on his way home Frederick V induced the States General to conclude another defensive treaty with the Union, which was ratified in the following yean Clearly, the truce between Spain and the United Provinces was little likely to become a peace; the all-important border-question Was still unsettled, and was before long to bring Spinola and Maurice of Nassau once more face to face. Though France and Spain seemed settling down into amity and were soon to be bound together by two royal marriages, yet there could never be any real unity of purpose or policy between them ; and their intimacy only served to revive in Philip III aspirations which, vain as they were, constituted a real menace to the peace of Europe.
So far as the internal condition of the Empire was concerned, it was rapidly becoming incompatible with the continuance of tranquillity; and the deep-seated disturbances in its religious, political, and social life were alike making for war.
The religious question, which more than half a century ago the two-faced agreement of the Peace of Augsburg had sought to regulate,
Thus, without its being necessary to attribute the agitation of the public mind to the operations of the Rosicrucians or other occult societies, the literature of Catholic and Protestant polemics, and the discussion of the various religious issues in academic disputations, swelled to unexampled dimensions in the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the Great War. Among the pamphlets of the period, the Catholic Turbatus imperii Romani status (1613) excited extraordinary attention, by tracing the unhappy divisions in the Empire to the irruption of heresy into its system, and latterly to the insatiable determination of the Calvinists to share in the benefits of the Religious Peace; and the Union at its Nürnberg meeting in the following year resolved to issue a quasi-official rejoinder. But the more fundamental differences between Catholics and Protestants were not neglected ; and the ceaseless efforts of the Jesuit controversialists in their Bavarian and neighbouring centres, which culminated in Jacob Gretser of Ingölstadt's Defensiones of the Popes, of his own Order, and of its great luminary Bellarmin, met with the fullest response from the Lutheran theologians of Württemberg
The religious as well as the political differences that were distracting the Empire had by no means only brought Catholics and Protestants into mutual opposition. The Catholics themselves were not united either in action or in aim ; and the trimming policy which Klesl was commending to his master, and which found a willing agent in the Protestant Controller-General (Reichspfennigmeister) Zacharias Geitzkofler, was strongly resented by the Jesuits, whose influence was paramount with both Maximilian of Bavaria and Ferdinand of Styria. But more fundamental was the fissure continuously widening between the two divisions of the Protestant body, the Lutherans and the Calvinists. The enduring antagonism between them was not wholly or even mainly due to political motives or dynastic interests-to the rivalry for the Protestant hegemony between Saxony and the Palatinate, the competition of interests involved in the Julich-Cleves difficulty, the conflicting views and sentiments as to the Imperial authority and the preservation of the integrity of the Empire and of its foreign policy. As has been already noted, Lutheran and Calvinist religious opinion had alike become more rigid, and consequently more combative ; with the Lutherans it had been stiffened by the endeavour to enforce binding instruments of uniformity, while among the Calvinists the violent internal struggle had already set in which was to end in a drastic " expurgation " of most of the " Reformed " Churches of Europe. But as between the two religious communities, the opposition was radical ; Luther had never made a secret of it, or of the fact that its roots lay in the doctrine of the Eucharist ; and since his death it had steadily progressed to its logical results. Over the heads of the few who perceived the consequences to which open discord in the face of the common foe must inevitably lead, the polemical current poured its eddying waves, the Saxon theologians contending against the north-German Calvinists now settling at Berlin, and Heidelberg (quite literally) taking up the cudgels against Tübingen. Among the Lutheran leaders must be mentioned Hoë von Hohenegg, who as chief Court-preacher to the Elector John George held a position which, in accordance with the ideas of the age as to the relations between Church and State, made him the arbiter of the ecclesiastical, and frequently of the political, affairs of the Saxon electorate ; and, among the Calvinist leaders, Abraham Scultetus, a Heidelberg divine who had
Neither in the Lutheran nor in the Calvinistic parts of the Empire had that Reformation led, as it should have led, to a widespread growth of the inner religious life. The inquisitorial powers of the Church of Rome, which in the lands where the Counter-reformation had restored or heightened her authority she wielded with increased zeal and force, had in the Protestant lands been transferred to the territorial governments. Throughout the Empire the exercise of these powers, while materially interfering with the ordinary administration of justice, weighed heavily upon almost every relation of private life, thus calling forth a sense of anxiety and unrest which contrasted painfully with the " merrier " and more tranquil conditions of the past. Most conspicuously was this the case with regard to the wide range of beliefs and practices covered by the terms magic and witchcraft. In the earlier half of the sixteenth century the temporal Courts had taken over the task of maintaining and applying the definition of the crîmen magiae promulgated by papal authority ; and literature and art had brought as many faggots to the fire of persecution as they were capable of furnishing. There was no difference in sentiment or in practice on this head between the Protestant and the Catholic parts of the Empire. Yet it was not till the period with whose closing years we are now concerned-a period extending from about 1580 to about 1620-that the growth of superstition and of delusions, often shared by the accused with the accusers, became epidemic in Germany. The fury of persecution which accompanied this revival raged both in the ecclesiastical lands of the Middle Rhine and Franconia and in the temporal territories from Brunswick to the Breisgau, while asserting itself, though with less savage violence, alike in Lutheran Saxony and in Catholic Bavaria. The perturbation created by these proceedings, and the spirit of unreasoning terror and reckless self-defence which they aroused, beyond a doubt sensibly contributed to the widespread feeling of unrest, and to the general desire for remedies as violent as the evil itself. Among the Princes of the age we find every kind of fixed delusion-from the visions of Christian of Denmark to the ravings of John Frederick of Weimar. Nor should the inveterate endurance and rank growth of countless petty superstitions be overlooked, which seemed to place life and death under the control of dealers in astrological certificates and magical charms, and, during the long war now at hand, was to count for much in the recklessness of the soldiery and of the populations at their mercy.
To the pervading spirit of religious discord and moral disquietude there was in this age of decline added the general consciousness of a continuous decrease of material prosperity throughout the Empire. During a long period, in which neither war nor epidemics had prevailed on a large scale (although from 1570 onwards several parts of Germany had, in consequence of a succession of years of dearth, been subject to visitations of the plague), the population seems on the whole to have gradually increased, notwithstanding the fall in longevity to which already Luther bore regretful testimony. The great and often sudden rise of prices was due not only to a lessening of the productive powers of the country and its inhabitants, but also to violent derangements in the monetary system of the Empire, largely brought about by the constant deterioration of the silver currency, due in part to the decrease in the native production of the metal, but mainly to the steady debasement of the smaller silver coins issued by every potentate, large or small. Hence a most active speculation in coins both by the great bank at Nürnberg (the clearing-house of Germany) and by less honest enterprise. In 1603 the Diet allowed the Turkish aid to be paid in foreign coin, and ten years later it sanctioned the acceptance of money at its current value. Clipping of the coin became a common abuse ; and the Kippers and Wippers, as they were called, grew into one of the pests of the national life. So terrible was the distress caused by the systematic deterioration of the monetary medium, that in the decade preceding the Thirty Years' War a very different war seemed on the eve of breaking out-an insurrection of the lower classes at large in both town and country, not only impoverished but frenzied by their utter uncertainty as to the value of the money with which they had to purchase their hard-earned bread.
Inasmuch as among the middle and higher classes intemperance in both eating and drinking-the national vice so largely accountable for the shortlivedness deplored by Luther-as well as extravagance in dress, were on the increase, indebtedness had spread in every social sphere; and it had become common to depend on loans which usury, and Jewish usury in particular, was ready to supply, though at the usual risk of infuriating the population against its supposed despoilers. Any sudden pressure such as that of a great war was certain to entail a financial crisis; yet, as capital grew in the hands of neither rulers nor ruled, while foreign trade continued to diminish, no restraining influence of commercial or industrial prosperity made for the maintenance of peace. The home trade was sinking at the same time, probably less on account of the detested foreign pedlars than of the rings which bought up wares and artificially raised prices. The native industries, too, were rapidly falling, more especially the great mining industry, for various reasons, including peculation on a large scale, and with results which partly accounted for the lamentable decrease in the production of silver.
While the early years of the new century thus witnessed a continual weakening of common interests bound up with the peace and prosperity of the Empire, no resistless motive or common peril survived to impress upon its members the necessity of cohesion. The gradual decline of the Ottoman Power had been manifested by its acceptance of the Peace of Zsitva-Torok (1606), which, although failing to secure to Hungary, and through it to the Empire, a well-protected frontier, signified the first signal success achieved by western Christendom against its arch-foe since Lepanto. Sully's plan of a European république très chrétienne, however remote from the domain of practical politics,
Least of all were those who were prepared for their own ends to plunge the Empire into war likely to be restrained by any pious or respectful feeling towards the authority of the Emperor himself. Not that the feeling of loyalty had wholly died out among either Princes or cities ; but it only counted in the game when, as in the case of John George of Saxony, it cooperated with other motives, religious, dynastic, and personal. The awe inspired by the political greatness of Charles V, the respect secured by Ferdinand I's subordination of his own wishes to the interests of the Empire, the goodwill which could hardly be refused to Maximilian IPs kindly latitudinarianism-had come to be forgotten in the hopelessness of a rule so impotent and so perverse as that of Rudolf II. How could the elements of conservative fidelity thus dissipated be reunited and vitalised anew by such a prince as Matthias, himself unstable at heart and controlled by no influence save that of an ecclesiastic whom Catholics and Protestants, Archdukes and Estates, could alike find plausible reasons for distrusting ?
Yet, as has already been seen, no serious impediment was in May, 1612, placed in the way of the election of Matthias ; and, even in the matter of the Wahlcapitulation imposed upon him by the Electors, the opportunity was lost of obtaining important concessions from so pliant a candidate at the moment of least resistance. It was intended to secure a reconstitution of the Emperor's supreme ministerial council, the Reichshofrath, whose encroachments in the previous reign had been so notorious ; and, above all, the Protestants desired the extension of the system of Imperial indulgences (Induite) to the administrators of bishoprics and abbacies, who would have thus gained seats in the Diet and assured a working majority to its Protestant members. But Saxony at the last rallied to the Catholic side; and these concessions were not exacted. The reorganisation of the Reichshofrath with the approval of the Electoral body was however accepted in principle ; and the assent of the reigning Emperor was declared to be no longer indispensable to the election of his successor. This innovation might prove of moment.
For the present the election of Matthias as Emperor made no change in the existing state of things. Though really in a minority in the Imperial Diet, the Catholics both here and in the great tribunals and councils of the Empire were still artificially enabled to exercise the sway proper to a majority. Neither Matthias nor Klesl could rise to the conception of an Imperial State or national monarchy covering and controlling the aspirations of both Catholics and Protestants ; nor can it
With intentions such as these Matthias met his first Diet, which was opened at Ratisbon on August 13,1613. He declared himself prepared for certain reforms in the Reichskammergericht, and appealed for a grant in aid against the Turks, who were again encroaching on the Hungarian frontier and manifestly intending to supplant the Prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Bäthory, a dependent of the Emperor, by his own former follower, Bethlen Gabor. But, while the Catholic Princes proved recalcitrant, being rendered suspicious (Bavaria and Mainz in particular) by Klesl's overtures to them to allow the Protestant Administrator of Magdeburg to take his seat at the Diet, the conciliatory attitude of the Emperor and his adviser encouraged the Protestants to raise their terms. They would not hear of any Turkish grant until their demands, of which the maintenance of the Religious Peace was merely the first, should have been satisfied. Though the Emperor allowed a conference to take place under the presidency of Archduke Maximilian between his own councillors and ambassadors of the Corresponding Princes, the latter were not even satisfied by the Imperial promise of a " commission of composition," as it was to be called, to be assembled at Speier in the following year, in which both sides were to be equally represented. Thus, when at the beginning of September the news came that a Turkish army of 80,000 men had actually begun military operations, and when a majority consisting of the Catholics, with Electoral Saxony and Hesse-Darmstadt, voted a considerable grant in aid, the Opposition recorded its protest; and a practical deadlock was once more established in the business of the Empire.
It so happened that about this very time the adoption by the two " possessing " Princes, Wolfgang William of Neuburg and John Sigis-mund of Brandenburg, of the Catholic and the Calvinist faith respectively, gave rise to great agitation in the Jiilich-Cleves duchies, in the neighbouring parts of the Empire and across the border. As has already been seen, a renewal of hostilities between Spain and the United Provinces was only with difficulty prevented, through the good offices of France and England, by the Treaty of Xanten (November, 1614); but both Spanish and Dutch influence continued to operate, and in 1616 (the year of the treaty between the States General and the Hanse towns) Frederick Henry of Orange occupied Herford in Ravensburg, and a Spanish garrison Soest in Mark. Meanwhile at Aachen, where the Palatine Government, charged with the vicariate in this part of the
Empire during the interregnum, had allowed the Protestants to recover their ascendancy, Matthias had sought to arrest this change by reverting to the prohibitory mandates of his predecessor ; and he had adopted a similar policy of repression at Cologne, where the Catholic town council had procured an injunction from the Reichshofrath against an obnoxious Protestant settlement at Mulheim on the right bank of the Rhine below the city. Thus the force of events and the inconsistency inherent in the policy of the Emperor and his chief minister kept alive in the north-west the very religious conflict which at Ratisbon they were seeking to allay.
Nor were they more fortunate at home in Austria, where the Protestants both entertained an inveterate suspicion of Klesl and feared the growth of the rigidly Catholic party at Vienna which abominated his present policy of concession. In August, 1614, representatives of all the lands under the rule of the German Habsburgs (the Bohemian Estates refusing to send more than a deputation, so as to safeguard their independence) assembled at Linz-the first Reichstag-, as it has been called, of the Austrian dominions. Besides the Emperor and Archdukes Maximilian and Ferdinand, Zuniga and Count de Bucquoy (a pupil of Parma) appeared here as representing Philip of Spain and Archduke Albert. But all this dynastic display was rendered futile by the resentment with which the Austrian Protestants met the manuvres of their familiar adversary, Klesl, and the ill-disguised repugnance of the Hungarians to the Habsburg rule. They declined to be moved even by the fact of the establishment of Bethlen Gabor as Prince of Transylvania under Turkish suzerainty; and Matthias had to enter into negotiations. These, after being arrested for a time by the war party, ended with the conclusion of the Peace of Tyrnau (May 6,1615), in a secret supplement to which Bethlen Gabor promised to yield ultimate allegiance to the Emperor. A treaty with the Turks on the basis of that of Zsitva-Torok speedily followed (July), and was renewed in 1616 and, after a change of Sultan, in 1618. Whether the Austrian Government observed perfect loyalty in the matter of these transactions, or not, their result was to keep Bethlen Gabor more or less quiet during the troubled years which preceded the Bohemian War. The importance of this diplomatic success was increased by the circumstance that about this time (1616-7) Archduke Ferdinand of Styria, and through him the Austrian Government, were hampered by a conflict with Venice, due in part to the inroads on Dalmatia of the Uskoks, a piratical frontier population of fugitives from many Slavonic lands settled in eastern Carniola and Croatia, which only came to an end with the Peace of Madrid (September, 1617, ratified in February, 1618).
Meanwhile, both Union and League shrank from any forward movement. A meeting of the Union was held at Heilbronn in September and October, 1614, with the object of strengthening its financial basis and developing its system of foreign alliances. But nothing came of it
Nor can the League be said to have made better preparation for the conflict whose imminence was no longer to be ignored. In the counsels of this body a struggle had for some time been in progress between Maximilian of Bavaria and the party (headed by Mainz) desirous of admitting at least a portion of the Austrian hereditary lands into the League and placing them under a third Directory, that of Archduke Maximilian. The League, over whose action a certain control was to be given to the Emperor and into which even Protestants were, if they chose, to be admitted, would thus have become an organisation for the defence of the Empire and the maintenance of the Imperial authority ; and the part played in it by the Duke of Bavaria could not have been more than subordinate. Consequently, though this reconstitution had been agreed upon at a meeting held at Ratisbon at the close of the Diet (September, 1613), it was repudiated by Maximilian ; and at Augsburg (March, 1614) he formed with the Franconian and Swabian prelates a fresh association on the basis of the old Munich alliance. Thus, with the Rhenish and Austrian Directories left ineffective, the old League was
Thus the final cause of the outbreak of the War was after all to be found within the Habsburg dominions, where KlesPs policy was openly to suffer shipwreck. This policy had never been whole-heartedly adopted by the Emperor Matthias ; to Klesl himself, however, the logic of facts seems at last to have brought home the equity of the Protestant demands. But it was too late. The party which, inspired by the Jesuits, would listen to no abatement of the pretensions of the Church of Rome, and to which in the disputes among the Estates of the Empire " composition " was an abomination, while at home it abhorred concessions to the Protestants, all the more as implying the grant of autonomy in other matters, was resolved on making a clean sweep of Klesl and his policy of conciliation. This party was headed by Archduke Maximilian and by Archduke Ferdinand of Styria, whose succession, as the only member of the House having issue, to the Habsburg dominions and contingently to the Imperial throne, was regarded as a settled affair, since both Maximilian and Albert had renounced their rights in his favour. Ferdinand, who attributed the inadequacy of support which had prolonged his war with Venice to ill-will on the part of Klesl, still more resented the supposed machinations for delaying the steps that must precede his election as Roman King. While his party insisted upon the convocation of a meeting of Electors (Kurfurstentag) which should confine itself entirely to the question of the Imperial succession, Archduke Maximilian in February, 1616, submitted to the Emperor a memorandum, which set in a fuller light the aspirations of the Catholic Hotspurs. The Emperor was in this paper advised to levy an army at the cost of Spain, and to place it under the irresponsible command of Ferdinand for the purpose of settling the perennial Jiilich-Cleves question out of hand. Here, then, was the spectre of war summoned into the Empire, with the unconcealed object of overawing those who had to choose the successor to the Imperial Crown. In the meantime Archduke Maximilian pointed out the necessity of at once securing the succession of the future Emperor in Bohemia and Hungary.
Thus the question of the succession forced itself to the front, notwithstanding the persistent endeavours of Klesl to pursue his efforts for a compromise or " composition," to which the Spiritual Electors on the one hand and Electoral Saxony on the other might perhaps be induced to assent. An adherence to this policy was irreconcilable with the definite choice of Ferdinand as the successor of Matthias ; and a campaign was opened against the Cardinal by Archduke Maximilian
The process which, rightly or wrongly, Klesl had been charged with postponing, could now take its course. In Bohemia, as we shall see, the Catholic party of action gained a transient success. The Hungarian Diet, which met on March 23, 1618, proved less easy to be managed ; and after two months of debate the Government consented to accept the elective principle, on confirming which Ferdinand was proclaimed King (May 16). He was crowned on July 1, after making a series of concessions, including the restoration of the office of Palatine as an effective regency. Before the next Hungarian Diet assembled (May 31, 1619), Ferdinand had succeeded as King of Hungary in Matthias1 stead, and the Thirty Years' War had broken out in Bohemia.
The Bohemian troubles, which must be briefly summarised at this point, were in their origin due to the course pursued by the Government after the Protestant majority had secured the Letter of Majesty and the agreement supplementary to it. Although it was impossible altogether to exclude Protestants from the high offices of State, the Catholics continued under Matthias, as under Rudolf, to control the administration ; and their attacks upon the charter cherished with the utmost warmth by the great body of the nation were not long in beginning. Inasmuch as they could not touch the privileges granted to the royal towns, or prevent the Protestants from speedily erecting a couple of churches in the capital itself, they soon set about tampering with the rights of the ecclesiastical towns, though, as was seen in an earlier volume, Bohemian official and ordinary parlance designated both species under the single name "royal." After an early Protestant encroachment at Braunau (in the north-eastern part of Bohemia) had been properly repressed on the complaint of the Benedictine Abbot from whom the Braunauers held their lands, they began, in reliance on the supplementary agreement, to build a new Protestant church; whereupon the Abbot procured from King Matthias an ordinance prohibiting further building and declaring it unwarranted by the Letter of Mtyesty. A meeting,
But the partisans of the Cathplic Reaction, headed by the new Archbishop of Prague, were not to be thus easily repressed, and after several previous encroachments provided a parallel case to that of Braunau at Klostergrab in the north-west. The Protestant citizens of this little town, which claimed to be free but stood under the lordship of the monastery of Ossegg, whose revenues belonged to the Archbishop, deeply resented his high-handed closing of a church which they had built for their worship, and their being forced by him to attend the Catholic services (December, 1614). This time the Defensores protested in vain ; and, though the Protestant grievances were brought forward at A General Diet of the Bohemian Estates and those of the incorporated lands held early in the following summer, the Government of Matthias, who had himself come to Prague, peremptorily ordered the closing of the Protestant churches at both Braunau and Klostergrab. A joint representation to Matthias by all the higher Protestant officials of Bohemia was equally inefl'ectual ; and by the end of 1616 the first and governing clause of the great Letter had been directly violated by a number of Catholic incumbents, who flatly prohibited their parishioners from attending Protestant worship outside their parishes.
But the movement was not at an end, and in the opinion of the Protestant leaders the future was their own. Already in 1614 Thurn had assured the Elector of Saxony that the old hereditary union (Erbeïmgung) between the two lands was unforgotten in Bohemia, on whose throne it was desired to place him. Other speculations and combinations as to that throne were rife during the years next ensuing ; and about February, 1617, Ludwig Camerarius, now one of the most active Palatine councillors and afterwards the mainstay of his master's cause in its darkest days, put in an appearance at Prague.
Still, no definite plan of action was laid, and no candidate for the Bohemian throne was distinctly selected. Of a sudden, into the midst of an atmosphere overcharged with electricity, came the news that the Bohemian Diet was summoned for June 5, 1617, to appoint a King. The united House of Habsburg had resolved to make sure of the future as well as of the present, and, taking its stand upon the plain principle of hereditary right, to force upon the Bohemian Estates, still unprepared with a plan of resistance, and upon the people, not yet ready for a revolution, Archduke Ferdinand, the pupil of the Jesuits, the religious
The Silesian, Moravian, and Lusatian Diets speedily followed suit in accepting his succession. In Austria, on the other hand, where nothing beyond the act of homage could be required, he postponed asking for it, in the belief that after the death of Matthias it would be easier to avoid the concessions made by him to the Estates in 1609.
The most important question of all, that of Ferdinand's succession to the Imperial throne, could now be taken in hand ; and, immediately after his coronation at Prague, Matthias had accompanied him to Dresden, where they had easily assured themselves of the goodwill of the Elector, John George (August, 1617). A Kurfürstentag for the election of a successor to the Imperial throne, and, in pursuance of Klesl's cherished policy of compromise, for the simultaneous discussion of grievances, was soon summoned for February 1, 1618.
The main opposition which the proposal of Ferdinand's Imperial succession had to overcome was that of the Palatine party, of which the young Elector was the necessary figure-head, and which had never ceased to keep in view its main purpose-the entire exclusion of the House of Habsburg from the Imperial throne. Christian of Anhält's chancery was always at work ; and Matthias had no reason for supposing that either the Palatine councillors or the Corresponding Princes, whose action they continued to direct, had been secured by the policy of compromise. Anhalt had been in communication with Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden as early as 1614, and in 1617 Monthoux, an envoy of Duke Charles Emmanuel of Savoy, negotiated a treaty for military aid with the States General and the Union, while Anhält's eldest son entered into the Savoy service. As for the young Elector Palatine, who in 1614 had assumed the government of his inheritance, though he was something of a soldier and something of a theologian, his excellent education had failed to implant in him independence of judgment; while the rare natural vigour of his English consort as yet chiefly found vent in the eager pursuit of pleasure and in extravagant display. Anhalt had long indulged in the confident expectation that on the death of Matthias the Bohemian Crown would drop into the Elector Palatine's lap ; no secret had been made of these hopes when Frederick appeared as a suitor in England ; and a few months after the marriage (April, 1613) James I avowed his opinion that in a few years his son-in-law would be King of Bohemia. But Christopher von Dohna had travelled in vain from Heidelberg to Prague and Dresden, and Ferdinand had been accepted as successor to the Bohemian throne. In the matter of the Imperial succession the Palatine Government, with which (especially since the marriage of Frederick's sister, Elizabeth Charlotte, to the Electoral Prince, George William of Brandenburg) the Elector John Sigismund's went hand in hand, had for some time favoured the scheme of bringing forward Maximilian of Bavaria. But though that Prince had reason for carefully watching the policy of the
House of Austria, he had no intention of listening to the voice of the charmer ; and Anhalt now began to dangle the great prize before the roving eyes of Charles Emmanuel of Savoy. King James had no better advice to bestow on his son-in-law than that, if he could not gain over the majority of the electors to his side, he should accept the inevitable, and try to get as much as possible for his vote from Ferdinand. This was substantially the " composition " policy of Klesl, which ran counter to the schemes of Anhalt as it did to the resolve of Ferdinand's party. But, before the Kurfurstentag could meet to decide these issues, the news arrived that the agitation in Bohemia, instead of being repressed by the election of Ferdinand as successor to the throne, had once more swelled to the proportions of a national insurrection. It was made plain to Ferdinand, and his supporters recognised it, that, before seeking to compass the Imperial, he must make sure of the Bohemian Crown. Never before, nor for more than a century afterwards, did the literature of pamphlets in Germany reach the dimensions to which it attained in 1618, when something like eighteen hundred publications of this kind are stated to have flooded the book-market.
The consequences of the appointment of Ferdinand as successor to the Bohemian throne had not been long in declaring themselves. After some changes unfavourable to the Protestants had been made in the administration, the tone of the Catholic minority had waxed extremely confident. The Letter of Majesty and its authors were openly denounced; some peasants, settled on royal domains, who had refused to profess themselves Catholics, were driven into exile ; and in the royal towns proper, a stop was put on the admission of Protestants to the civic franchise, and of course to their obtaining responsible administrative posts on the royal domains. In Prague itself, the almost wholly Protestant Altstadt was now ruled by a town council more than half Catholic in its composition ; and the prevailing uneasiness became a panic, when (November, 1617) this town council declared its assent necessary for the appointment or dismissal of any parish priest, and when the foundation deeds of the numerous churches in Prague, for the most part Utraquist, were subjected to supervision by the royal judges, and payment from Catholic endowments was refused to the Protestant clergy. Similar proceedings took place in other royal towns ; and it was clear that, as in the royal domains, their inhabitants were to lose the liberty of religious worship. Soon the Chancellor Lobkowitz took occasion to assume the censorship over all printed matter.
Shortly before the close of the year 1617 the Emperor Matthias, influenced it was said by an astrological warning, quitted Prague for Hungary, accompanied by Lobkowitz, and committed the government to the Regents, chosen from among the chief state officials, so that Slawata and Martinitz, but not Matthias Thurn, were included among them. On his way to Vienna the Emperor had, in reply to a deputation
Now that the iron was red-hot, Thurn and the majority of the Defensores came to the conclusion that there could no longer be any question of waiting till the passing-away of Matthias should furnish an opportunity of a radical cure by getting rid of the dynasty simultaneously with the system to which it seemed wedded. They determined to strike, whatever might be the ulterior consequences of their action. Using their legal powers once more, the Defensores summoned to Prague an Assembly of Protestant deputies from each Circle of the realm (but including no representative of Prague), together with the remaining chief Protestant officials of the Crown. This assembly met in the capital on March 5, 1618 ; and such was the ardour of its leading spirit, Thurn, that, after an address to the Regents demanding the immediate release of the Braunau prisoners had remained without response, on March 11 two letters were drawn up : one to the Emperor, asking redress for the wrongs done at Braunau, Klostergrab, and elsewhere, and the other appealing for support to the Estates of the lands incorporated with the Bohemian Crown. Thereupon, after violent harangues, the assembly adjourned for ten days to await the replies. But on the part of the Gavernment there was no sign of faltering. The royal answer consisted of the publication of ordinances, drawn up by Klesl, which declared the assembly rebellious and threatened proceedings against its originators, while upholding the obnoxious transactions at Braunau and Klostergrab.
An outburst of indignation ensued at Prague, where it was asserted that the ordinances had been drawn up by Martinitz and Slawata. The majority of the Defensores, headed by Thurn, hereupon took the decisive step of declaring it their duty to summon the Protestant Assembly anew notwithstanding the royal prohibition. Lobkowitz (who had now re turned) managed to produce a certain amount of dissension among the towns, whose corporations had been so drastically manipulated; a few Praguers resigned their places among the Defensores, and there were some other signs of desertion. But the clergy of the capital stood firm, encouraged by the failure of the attempt to introduce a Catholic priest into the Bethlehem Chapel, where Hus had ministered as the nominee of the University. After a preliminary gathering of leaders had, on May 18, drawn up an appeal to be read from every Protestant pulpit
The moment had thus arrived for Thurn's second " demonstration "- the term was his own-which he had more or less confidentially discussed beforehand, and which had previously in Bohemia been esteemed an effective method of procedure. On or before the fateful morning of May 23 the Regents, together with a large part of the population of Prague, had certainly become aware of the design that had been formed for getting rid of the most obnoxious members of their body, if not of the way in which this design was to be carried out. About nine in the morning the Protestant deputation, accompanied by a long procession of armed members of the Assembly, and swelled by repre sentatives of the Neustadt, more than a hundred persons in all, made their way to the Chancery or board-room of the Regents in the Hradschin, where not more than four of them, including Martinitz and Slawata, were found in attendance. After some discourse an answer to the last royal rescript, drawn up by the Defensores and approved by the members of the Assembly on their way to the Chancery, was read to the Regents ; and, on their asking for time to consider their reply, Thurn demanded an immediate response to the questions whether the Regents had had any hand in the Emperor's letter, and when this was refused, declared that the room should not be cleared before an answer was received. Violent invectives followed against Slawata and Martinitz; and already the cry had been raised that they must suffer for their crimes, when one of their two colleagues present veraciously pointed out that the Regents had had no concern in the letter. But the doom of the real objects of the " demonstration " had been fixed. They were dragged to the window, and thence, Thurn having hold of Slawata, and one of his companions of Martinitz, the pair were cast forth into the castle-ditch-a fall reckoned to have then been between 50 and 60 feet. Fabricius, the secretary of the Regents, who remonstrated, was thrown out after the others. Martinitz rose to his feet severely hurt, as did the secretary. But Slawata lay grievously injured, and seemingly half-dead ; and Martinitz on coming to his rescue was grazed by one of several shots from the window. Some servants, however, found their way to the fosse, and carried off their masters. Martinitz escaped in disguise to Munich; Fabricius likewise made off; Slawata, after being kept in some sort of custody, was allowed to depart to Teplitz, whence he passed into Saxony. There seems to have been little or no wish to aggravate the outrage in cold blood. Thurn's purpose had been to
The Bohemian Protestants, however, lost no time in organising what was now an open insurrection. On the day after the " defenestration " the Prague municipalities sent their representatives into the Protestant Assembly ; and the other royal towns (except only Budweis and Pilsen) followed suit. A provisional government of thirty Directors, ten from each Estate, was named to defend the religious liberties of the kingdom, with Wenceslas William von Ruppa, one of the managers of the Hradschin demonstration, at its head, while Thurn as lieutenant-general assumed command of the mercenary army which had been hastily raised, the idea of a national levy having been soon abandoned. No change was introduced into the system of government beyond the dismissal of those held to have abused the royal confidence. The Archbishop of Prague, the Abbot of Braunau, and some other offending ecclesiastics were driven out, and the Jesuits banished the realm in perpetuum.
But money flowed in slowly, and, after Thurn had set out in the middle of June with a force of not more than 3000 foot and 1100 horse to expel the Imperialist garrisons from Krummau and Budweis, a Diet had to be summoned to vote fresh supplies, and the Directors began to look anxiously for the support of the other Habsburg lands. But in Hungary, where Ferdinand was awaiting his coronation at Pressburg, the new Catholic Palatine sent the Bohemian agent in custody to Vienna. In Upper Austria the Protestant majority of the Estates, led by Tschernembl, contented itself with menaces to the Emperor, and in Lower Austria it persisted in pressing its own
But even if the Bohemian Directors had thought of drawing back, they would have found that the time for this had passed. The commissioner sent to Prague by Matthias on Klesl's advice had reported that only large concessions could heal the breach; and any such Ferdinand, to whom the Emperor appealed, refused to grant. Yet the party of reaction at Vienna, no less than the Protestant leaders in Bohemia, knew that they were about to put their fate to the touch. Maximilian of Bavaria, alienated by the vagaries of his namesake the Archduke, and conscious perhaps of possibilities which the negotiations as to the Imperial succession had brought home to him, returned a cold answer to Ferdinand's appeal. The Spiritual Electors adopted much the same tone. Even John George of Saxony's loyalty seemed to be wavering; in June he had actually applied for admission into the Union. The Spanish ambassador, Onate, counselled caution. But King Ferdinand and Archduke Maximilian could see no safety except in going forward. On July SO, 1618, Cardinal Klesl was suddenly arrested in the course of a visit paid by him to Archduke Maximilian in the Hofburg, and straightway conveyed to the castle of Ambras in Tyrol. Here and in other places he was detained as a prisoner for a period of five years, till Pope Gregory XV rescued him from further danger by taking him into his own custody at Rome. His political career was at an end, and with it, to all intents and purposes, the rule of the Prince who had so long submitted to his influence, and who, now that it was removed, had no motive power of his own left. Klesl, after passing out of the service of the Church, which owed him so much, into that of the Emperor, who owed him everything, had been wanting neither in intelligence nor in sincerity of purpose, though his conduct was not free from trickery. His name holds no place on the roll of successful ecclesiastical statesmen ; but much of the obloquy heaped on him by contemporaries and posterity has been removed by dispassionate enquiry; nor can it be gainsaid that on the eve of the most disastrous of religious wars his efforts were thanklessly thrown into the scale of conciliation and peace. In 1637, after a long exile, he died at home in his Vienna diocese.
In July, 1618, King Ferdinand, already the real head of the House of Austria, returned from Hungary to face a situation full of menace. Except in the lands under his own or Archduke Maximilian's rule (Styria and Tyrol in especial), he could not trust to the fidelity of his future subjects. In the way of extraneous aid, besides some pecuniary support from Rome and Spain, he might count upon the Spanish troops which had served him against Venice, and he could look for a small contingent from Archduke Albert in the Netherlands, a few thousand Polish horse from his brother-in-law and ally Sigismund III, and, if all was well, six thousand light Hungarian troops. From the Estates of the Empire as such he could look for no aid, especially as Bohemia was exempted from their watch and ward; and of the League only the section headed by Maximilian of Bavaria remained effective, though its intentions were as yet uncertain. The 14,000 troops which by August Ferdinand actually had under arms were chiefly raw recruits of his own raising. The Brabançon Count de Bucquoy was placed at the head of this army, with the Lorrainer Count de Dampierre under him. Preceded by the latter, Bucquoy in September with his main force entered Bohemia, where he found opposed to him the Bohemian army, consisting of 12,000 foot and 4000 horse, which had been placed in the field chiefly by the exertions of the Count of Hohenlohe, Thurn's right hand. The Bohemians had a better prospect of outside support than their King-designate. Money had been promised by the States General, and more was expected from the Seigniory of Venice, to whom about this time Spain and the friends of Spain had become more odious than ever. France would at least remain neutral in the quarrel ; and the only way in which Queen Mary de' Medici could attest her Catholic sympathies was to offer the Emperor her mediation. The hopes placed in James I were not yet at an end, though so far he had not entered into any obligation to take action, and in truth troubled himself very little about his alliance with the Union ; but he was quite conscious that England, who had not yet renounced her position at the head of the Protestant interest in Europe, was expected to take up the Bohemian cause. Unfortunately he was hampered by the negotiation for a marriage between the Prince of Wales and the Infanta Maria of Spain, into which he had entered shortly before the outbreak of the Bohemian troubles ; for, though this project hung fire, he had by no means relinquished it.
Thus the only service which he was at present able to render to the Bohemians was to explain to Philip III the circumstances in which he intended to offer his mediation between the Emperor and the insurgents. Had he been able to carry out this mediation successfully and to prevent the further growth of the movement by inducing the Austrian Government to deal honestly with the Letter of Majesty and the Bohemian rights, and thus to destroy the foundations of Thurn's policy, Europe would beyond doubt have found in him the benefactor that he desired to
Of more importance therefore than the benevolent neutrality of James I was the tangible sign of goodwill which, in response to Anhält's well-calculated overtures, Charles Emmanuel of Savoy had given to the Bohemian Directors by allowing a captain whom he had recently taken into his service to transfer himself into theirs with a body of 2000 mercenaries. This was Ernest von Mansfeld-" Count von Mansfeld " as he styled himself, the illegitimate son of Prince Peter Ernest von Mansfeld, formerly Imperial Governor of Luxemburg-who, after serving the Habsburgs in Hungary and in the Jiilich-Cleves war, had without changing his confession passed over to the side of their adversaries. No more fitting personage could have been found to take part in the opening passages of the great war than this born mercenary and leader of mercenaries, ambitious without steadiness of aim and persistent without principle, gifted with military abilities of a high order and (as he was to prove at London as well as at Turin) with notable diplomatic skill. Of his dash as a commander he now gave immediate proof by taking and occupying Pilsen (November, 1618). Beyond the frontier there hovered the restless figure of the Transylvanian Bethlen Gabor, ready to resume his attitude of defiance towards the Imperial authority, while further in the background lowered the dark cloud of the Turkish peril, which he might still at any time draw down upon the Austrian frontier.
The immediate hope of the Bohemians was fixed upon the Elector Palatine, to whom in July the mission to Prague of Count Albert von Solms, ostensibly charged with apprising the Directors of the intention of the Elector and the Corresponding Princes to prohibit the transit of Imperial troops through their dominions, had first drawn attention as a suitable successor to Matthias on the Bohemian throne. Solms1 return had inspired Anhalt to renewed diplomatic exertions at Turin and elsewhere ; but the Union, while avowedly sympathising with the Bohemian insurrection, and conscious that its success must lead to the triumph of
The conflict in Bohemia would open under conditions far more favourable for the insurrection if the cooperation of the Austrian Estates could be secured at the outset. In September the agitation among them led to a large deputation to the Emperor, whose patience they completely exhausted by a recital of their grievances. Hereupon Thurn, instead of throwing himself with all his strength upon the Imperialists, when under Bucquoy they invaded Bohemia, led his army into Lower Austria (November). He took Zwettel, and his cavalry advanced into the neighbourhood of Vienna. A demand arose for the convocation of a general meeting of all the Diets ; and this project, which, if rapidly pushed forward, might have resulted in confederating the Estates of the bulk of the dominions of the House of Austria against the continuance of its rule, was probably only frustrated by the steady refusal of the Moravian Diet to take part in the Bohemian movement. To no man were the German Habsburgs in this crisis of their destinies more deeply indebted than to the Moravian statesman Zierotin.
Though the first year of the war thus ended without any serious blow having been struck on either side, a terrible foretaste of the suffering which during its course that war was to spread far and near was experienced by southern Bohemia, where the Imperialists burnt down hundreds of villages. During the stoppage of warfare in the winter months of 1618-9, there were some attempts at negotiation which might seem not altogether hopeless so long as the Emperor Matthias survived. But, never himself since the downfall of Klesl, he had been further shaken by the death of his Empress in December, and, as the remnants of his authority seemed crumbling away, he sank into hopeless prostration, till on March 8,0, 1619, he suddenly died in a fit. In his public life he had on the whole proved more manageable than his more gifted elder brother, and had thus enabled the State-machine to work on after a fashion ; but he had lived long enough to show that, left to himself, he could only drift before the storm. A few months earlier
(November 2, 1618) the death of Archduke Maximilian had deprived Ferdinand of the unselfish, though not always discreet, support of another elder kinsman, but had more distinctly than ever committed to him the maintenance of the imperilled dynasty. His younger brother Leopold, so prominent in Rudolf IPs latter days, who succeeded Maximilian as ruler of Tyrol and the Austrian possessions in Elsass, continued to play a quite secondary part.
Few princes have entered upon a great inheritance and its responsibilities in conditions so nearly desperate as those in which Ferdinand found himself on the death of Matthias. His Bohemian crown seemed to have already fallen from his head; for to a rescript sent by him to the Bohemian Estates, promising to maintain all their rights and privileges, and asking for his recognition as King, no reply was vouchsafed. His Hungarian throne seemed hardly better assured; for the rumour soon came from Transylvania that Bethlen Gabor was hastening to the neighbourhood of Vienna, there to hold conference with Thurn, and then to invade Hungary in due course. Upper Lusatia had now followed the example of Silesia ; and, after Thurn had entered Moravia with a force of 8000 men, a change had, in spite of Zierotin's continued counsels of moderation, been here also brought about. Part of the Moravian army and the treasury of the Estates were indeed carried oft' in safety to Vienna by Albrecht von Waldstein (Wallenstein); but a Directorate was established, and the remainder of the Moravian troops united with the Bohemian. Upper Austria was soon in open revolt, the Protestant Estates refusing to accept Archduke Albert's renunciation of the hereditary authority in favour of Ferdinand and establishing themselves as a government at Linz, in communication with the Bohemian Directors ; while the Lower Austrians, though less resolutely, followed suit. Thurn could look round upon seven kingdoms or provinces in revolt or defection, when in the first days of June, 1619, at the head of an army variously estimated at 10,000 to 12,000 men, he crossed the Danube in the immediate vicinity of the capital.
A force of 12,000 men was setting forth from Flanders to Ferdinand's aid; but he had no allies beyond the frontiers of the Empire except Spain and Poland. The advances made to these Powers by Christian IV of Denmark were only dictated by jealousy of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, to whom the Bohemians had applied for help, for Christian was himself burning to come forward as the champion of the Protestant cause.
But Ferdinand stood unshaken, prepared, as he told his confessor, after weighing the dangers that threatened him on all sides, " to perish in the struggle, should that be the will of God." His confidence may have been increased by his habit of not perplexing himself with details, whether military or financial; and, while he remained unterrified by the ruins around him, his expenditure was as liberal as if his affairs and his conscience had been equally well regulated. On
June 5 he received in a spirit of placid firmness a deputation from the Estates of Lower Austria, who, trusting to the effect of Thum's close approach to Vienna, had on that very day split off from their Catholic colleagues on the refusal of the latter to agree to the scheme of a confederation with the Bohemians. Ferdinand, it must be remembered, had given no promise to the Austrians of respecting their religious liberties such as he had made to the Bohemians and Hungarians. Before the turbulent interview (certain familiar details of which appear to be apocryphal) had ended, five hundred cuirassiers of the regiment afterwards known as Dampierre's rode into the courtyard of the Hofburg, commanded by a French officer, Gilbert de Saint-Hilaire. The deputies, on whom the tables had thus been turned, were allowed to depart unharmed. Probably there had been some understanding between Thurn and the Austrian delegates ; but if so, he had lost some precious hours. Troops now began to pour in till some 6000 were gathered in Vienna, where much enthusiasm was manifested, especially by the students under Jesuit influence. Thurn saw that a siege of the capital was now out of the question; and, when the news arrived from Bohemia that Bucquoy had routed Mansfeld at Zablat (the honours of the day belonged to a regiment of Walloons and Spaniards commanded by Wallenstein), Thurn took his departure from the neighbourhood of Vienna (June 14), and fell back upon Bohemia. But here he proved unable to arrest the progress of the Imperialists ; he had, in fact, little or no control of his mercenary soldiery ; nor were matters mended by the temporary appointment of Anhalt as Commander-in-Chief in Bohemia and the sister kingdoms. Thus, in the course of the summer and autumn of 1619 the prospects of the Bohemian insurrection had unmistakably darkened, while the wider anti-Habsburg movement which that insurrection was to have called forth had been checked.
Ferdinand lost no time in making use of this respite by taking his departure to Frankfort, his brother Leopold being left as his vicegerent in Vienna. On his way, at Salzburg, Ferdinand met Doncaster, to whom he listened politely, but with the consciousness that the ambassador's messages needed no immediate answer. At Frankfort, where he arrived on July ÜJ8, he found the Kurfürstentag already in session, but only the three Spiritual Electors in personal attendance. The issue of the Imperial election was still not quite assured, though his chances were steadily improving. Brandenburg had entered into an engagement to vote against him, and to take no step without the concurrence of the Palatine Government. But that Government itself was at a loss. Neither the name of the Duke of Lorraine, nor that of the Duke of Savoy, notwithstanding the reopening of negotiations with the latter in the winter months of 1618-9, could be seriously brought forward. But the notion, to which the Palatine politicians clung with strange persistency, of raising Maximilian of Bavaria to the Imperial
Hardly had this result become known at Frankfort than the news arrived there that nine days earlier Ferdinand had been deposed from the Bohemian throne. On July 31 the General Diet, attended by representatives of Bohemia, the incorporated lands, and the two Austrian duchies, had, solely by their own authority, adopted the Act of Confederation which declared the Bohemian Crown elective and assured the predominance of Protestantism throughout these lands. The formal deposition of Ferdinand had followed on August 19. The resolution was approved in Silesia, Lusatia, and Moravia-though in the Diet of the last-named margravate not without strenuous opposition. Had the futility of the Palatine policy at Frankfort been known at Prague, the Protestant leaders might possibly have paused. No doubt the decision of Bethlen Gabor to overrun Hungary, though not actually sent to the Directors till the day before the fatal vote, added to their confidence. But in any case, on the banks of the Moldau as on those of the Main, the die was now cast, and it only remained to decide who should be invited to the vacant throne.
The decision was made, not, as it would seem, in deference to the general desire of the Bohemian Protestants, of whom, partly for political and partly for historic reasons, the majority would probably have preferred John George of Saxony, but in accordance with the determination of the junta who had the reins of the government and the command of the troops in their hands. Ruppa, Thurn, and Hohenlohe had made up their minds for the Elector Palatine. In this they were undoubtedly influenced by the personal communications which had taken place and by his position in the Union, which at its meeting at Heilbronn in June, 1619, urged by the arguments of Maurice of Hesse, as well as by the presence of Count Achatius von Dohna, sent by Frederick V, had guaranteed a substantial loan to the Bohemian ambassadors and set on foot a "defensive" force of some 33,000 troops.
Means having been found for ascertaining that Frederick was "in principle " prepared to accept, he was on August 26 all but unanimously elected King by the General Diet, and on the following day proclaimed at Prague. The momentous tidings found him at Amberg, where he was anxiously waiting in the company of his adviser, Christian von Anhalt. No doubt the greatness at which he trembled had been thrust upon him as the inheritor of the policy not less than of the religious faith and princely dignity of his predecessors. But his " I dare not " was as prolonged as his "I would" was manifest through it all. At first he had in vain entreated the Directors to postpone the initial step of the deposition of Ferdinand. Then he had openly wondered what course he would take if he were chosen, and before his election had, as has been seen, sent Christopher von Dohna to England to sound his father-in-law. He could take scant comfort from a meeting of the Union hastily summoned to Rothenburg (September 12), where only Baden and Ansbach were warmly for acceptance. From his councillors at Heidelberg he obtained an opinion in which they only contrived to adduce four reasons for acceptance as against fourteen for refusal. Maximilian of Bavaria openly warned him of the risk which by accepting he would run for both himself and his House. Similar advice, of which it is unnecessary to analyse the motives too nicely, reached him from John George of Saxony and other Electors ; on the other hand he was encouraged to proceed by John Sigismund of Brandenburg, who was before long to marry his daughter Maria Eleonora to Gustavus Adolphus (1620), and some years later (1625) another daughter, Catharine, to Bethlen Gabor. Maurice of Orange likewise advised compliance. Frederick's mother Louisa Juliana, the highminded daughter of William the Silent, was overwhelmed with forebodings of disaster when she heard of his acceptance. That he was urged to accept by his wife is a baseless legend, but one which continues to survive ; her mind was not at this time occupied with high political issues, though on the news of the election she asked her father's support and promised her own readiness to share whatever the future might have in store for her consort. It was not the persuasions of Elizabeth, born though she was to be a Queen, nor was it any religious admonition on the part of his spiritual adviser, Scultetus, which convinced the hesitating Frederick ; it was rather, we may feel assured, the steady pressure of Anhält's counsel that he had gone too far to retreat, which finally shaped itself in his mind as the belief that his acceptance of the proffered Bohemian Crown was the will of God. In this sense, on September 28, Frederick wrote secretly in the affirmative to the Directors, who had already thrice asked from him an answer. Two days earlier Dohna had taken his departure from the Court of James I, whose final pronouncement, made four days before, had been merely a refusal to decide on his own course of action until he should have convinced himself of the justice of Frederick's
The decision thus at last taken was of the utmost importance for the future of the conflict, in which religious and political motives and interests were from the first so inextricably intermixed. The troubles of the Austrian Habsburgs had at once become a matter of direct Imperial, and unavoidably also of international, concern. It remains unknown to what extent Anhalt, whose diplomacy was immediately responsible for the crisis, had engaged the support of the Bohemians and their confederates for the defence of the Palatinate, should this prove to be the next scene of action ; nor do we know whether even now he trusted for this to the Union, the product of his earlier handiwork ; but could the Bohemian records be revived from their ashes it would matter little, for the issue of the struggle dealt swiftly and fatally with the whole of his political edifice.
At first things seemed to go well. Towards the end of October " the Palatinate," as Louisa Juliana exclaimed, " was on its way into Bohemia." On the last day of the month Frederick held his entry at Prague ; on November 4 he was crowned. Queen Elizabeth's regal presence and personal charm suited the glamour of the young pair's sudden elevation, and their popularity sufficed to counterbalance the Calvinistic aggressiveness of their Court-preacher Scultetus and the occasional offence given by their own light-heartedness. The expenditure of the Court, however, though not prodigal, added to the general financial pressure, which at times had to be met by extortions in the convents and elsewhere. While the new régime was weak at home and, as was but to be expected, quite powerless to control an aristocracy which had always been high-tempered and of late self-governing, this weakness was not in the eyes of the nation compensated by any manifest accession of extraneous support, the hope of which had been the real motive of the election of Frederick. He was recognised as King of Bohemia by the United Provinces and Venice, as well as by Sweden and his fellow-members of the Union. But Gustavus Adolphus had his hands full with Poland ; and the States General, while prepared to fulfil their promise of a monthly subsidy of 50,000 ducats from May, 1619, shrank from an armed intervention. On the other hand, Bethlen Gabor had now begun to move. This remarkable personage, half barbarian in his ways of life, while in religion an eager and disputatious Calvinist, was, like other Transylvanian potentates before him, obliged to depend alternately upon the goodwill of the Sultan and the favour of the Emperor, unless, as now, he took his fortunes into his own hands.
In August, 1619, his design of conducting an expedition in aid of the Bohemians was announced to the Directors ; and in the course of September the greater part of Upper Hungary fell easily into his hands. He obliged Forgacz, the Catholic Palatine of Hungary, to summon a Diet for November 11 ; and it was obvious that Hungary would speedily be added to the confederation whose hostility confronted the Emperor. On October 12 Bethlen Gabor entered Pressburg, and its castle immediately surrendered to him. Archduke Leopold had no choice but to summon Bucquoy from Bohemia to defend the Austrian duchies ; and on September 19 he began his retreat, laden with the spoils of his master's kingdom and followed by the Bohemian leaders, with a force superior to his own in numbers, but unequal to preventing either his junction with Dampierre or his safe transit over the Danube (October 25). Once more Vienna seemed to be on the eve of a siege ; the Bohemians under Thurn and Hohenlohe cooperating with Bethlen Gabor's victorious army and with an Austrian insurrectionary force which guarded the river against any possible succour from Bavaria, while maintaining communications with the Protestant malcontents in the capital itself. But the combination was broken up by the news that Bethlen Gabor's old adversary, Drugeth de Homonnay, had entered Upper Hungary with the aid of a force of Polish Cossacks ; and by the end of November the Transylvanian army had begun its homeward march. Bethlen had been unable to recover his expenses from his Bohemian allies ; and it may be doubted whether Frederick's Palatine advisers looked on their Oriental auxiliary with perfect satisfaction. However, without his aid Vienna could not be taken or held ; and the Bohemian army was itself, as usual, without its pay. It therefore likewise turned homewards.
Ferdinand had thus gained a respite, and though Bethlen, who had now been formally elected "Prince" of Hungary, on January 15, 1620, entered into a formal alliance with the Bohemian Crown which precluded either side from accepting peace without the concurrence of the other, he found it in his interest immediately to concede to the Emperor a nine months' truce on the utl possidetis basis. Bethlen immediately proclaimed throughout Hungary an ample system of religious toleration approved by the Diet, and set about regulating his relations with the Porte.
Ferdinand could thus for the moment concentrate his efforts on the Bohemian struggle, the significance of which for the religious future of Europe was becoming more and more widely manifest. Early in 1620, Pope Paul V doubled his subsidy to the Emperor ; the Grand Duke Cosimo of Tuscany and the Republic of Genoa transmitted contributions; and Philip III of Spain, besides sending more gold than his coffers could spare, levied troops on a large scale in both Italy and the Spanish Netherlands. By November, 1619, some 7000 of these troops
As things then stood, it seemed of almost equal importance that, after long and complicated negotiations, Ferdinand was successful in securing the support of John George of Saxony. The Elector's ultimate decision was due in part to loyal sentiment, in part to his hereditary jealousy of his Ernestine kinsmen of Weimar, whom Palatine diplomacy had not omitted to tempt with the bait of his Electorate, and partly by the Imperial promise of territorial gain in the shape of a lien upon both the Lusatias, and of security for the sees and other ecclesiastical foundations in Protestant hands in the two Saxon Circles. This last promise, which was to acquire a great importance at no remote date, was confirmed at a meeting of Catholic Princes, including Bavaria, held at Mühlhausen (March, 1620), so far as an undertaking to abstain from all armed intervention in the matter of these possessions extended. At the same meeting a resolution condemning the Bohemian
While the Catholic side was thus prepared, the body which claimed to represent the Protestant interest in the Empire-that interest to which the majority of its population had adhered through long years of hope deferred or development arrested-continued to hesitate, and finally collapsed. But the ignominy summarised in a song of the day- -is not wholly to be visited on the most unfortunate of all the leagues of the Wars of Religion epoch. In order to satisfy the purposes of a policy compounded of dynastic ambition and of antagonism to the House of Habsburg, Anhalt had hurried the Elector Palatine into a path into which he had not prepared the Union for following him, nor could expect it to follow him in contravention of its avowed purpose, and without the allies whom his diplomacy had so long been wooing in almost every part of Europe. The members of the Union met at Nürnberg in November, 1619, together with the representatives of seven other Protestant Princes, including the Elector of Brandenburg, and discussed their general position with an amplitude rarely surpassed even in that argumentative age. But while they peremptorily called upon the Duke of Bavaria to satisfy them within two months as to the views of the Catholic Estates concerning the expediency of a joint conference on all their grievances, they resolved for the present to adhere strictly to a defensive attitude. Maximilian of course refused, and during the ensuing transactions, already noted, the Union was left out in the cold. Its ambassador, Buwinkhausen, obtained from the States General the promise of a monthly subsidy to the Union, equal in amount to that paid by them to the Bohemians ; while James I, who had finally decided to limit his assistance to Frederick to the event of an attack upon
On April 30,1620, the mandate-practically the Imperial declaration of war-went forth, which ordered the Elector Palatine to quit the Emperor's dominions by June 1, and threatened him, in case of non-compliance, with the ban of the Empire. About the same time the commission was issued which empowered the Elector of Saxony to occupy the Lusatias and Silesia; and shortly afterwards a similar commission against Upper Austria reached Maximilian. The net was closing round the insurrection and round its creature, the unfortunate Twelfth-night King.
As so often happens at the eleventh hour, a last effort had been made in the spring of 1620 by the Government of Mary de' Medici to mediate between the Emperor and his adversaries, so as still, if possible, while serving the interests of the Catholic Church, to avoid a war which might increase the prestige and power of Spain. These negotiations, carried on by an embassy headed by the Duke of Angoulême, came to nothing ; but the French intervention had been at first welcomed at Ulm, where the members of the Union were holding a meeting (June, 1620), and whither Maximilian had sent envoys. The army of the Union, some 13,000 strong, was encamped hard by ; while the troops of the League, numbering about 24,000 men, were gathered some twenty miles lower down the Danube. In July the two associations entered into an undertaking of abstention from all offensive operations against each other. But Bohemia was expressly excluded from the compact, the League in return promising not to attack Frederick's hereditary dominions. In other words, while Spinola might swoop down on the Palatinate, Maximilian might invade Bohemia, with his rear secure. On July 24, 1620, Tilly entered Upper Austria, and the first stage in the great conflict in arms had begun.