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13: Chapter XIII (1617)

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When the forlorn emperor Rudolph had signed the permission for his brother Matthias to take the last crown but one from his head, he bit the pen in a paroxysm of helpless rage. Then rushing to the window of his apartment, he looked down on one of the most stately prospects that the palaces of the earth can offer. From the long monotonous architectural lines of the Hradschin, imposing from its massiveness and its imperial situation, and with the dome and minarets of the cathedral clustering behind them, the eye swept across the fertile valley, through which the rapid, yellow Moldau courses, to the opposite line of cliffs crested with the half imaginary fortress-palaces of the Wyscherad. There, in the mythical legendary past of Bohemia had dwelt the shadowy Libuscha, daughter of Krok, wife of King Premysl, foundress of Prague, who, when wearied of her lovers, was accustomed to toss them from those heights into the river. Between these picturesque precipices lay the two Pragues, twin-born and quarrelsome, fighting each other for centuries, and growing up side by side into a double, bellicose, stormy, and most splendid city, bristling with steeples and spires, and united by the ancient many-statued bridge with its blackened mediaeval entrance towers.

But it was not to enjoy the prospect that the aged, discrowned, solitary emperor, almost as dim a figure among sovereigns as the mystic Libuscha herself, was gazing from the window upon the imperial city.

"Ungrateful Prague," he cried, "through me thou hast become thus magnificent, and now thou hast turned upon and driven away thy benefactor. May the vengeance of God descend upon thee; may my curse come upon thee and upon all Bohemia."

History has failed to record the special benefits of the Emperor through which the city had derived its magnificence and deserved this malediction. But surely if ever an old man's curse was destined to be literally fulfilled, it seemed to be this solemn imprecation of Rudolph. Meantime the coronation of Matthias had gone on with pomp and popular gratulations, while Rudolph had withdrawn into his apartments to pass the little that was left to him of life in solitude and in a state of hopeless pique with Matthias, with the rest of his brethren, with all the world.

And now that five years had passed since his death, Matthias, who had usurped so much power prematurely, found himself almost in the same condition as that to which he had reduced Rudolph.

Ferdinand of Styria, his cousin, trod closely upon his heels. He was the presumptive successor to all his crowns, had not approved of the movements of Matthias in the lifetime of his brother, and hated the Vienna Protestant baker's son, Cardinal Clesel, by whom all those movements had been directed. Professor Taubmann, of Wittenberg, ponderously quibbling on the name of that prelate, had said that he was of "one hundred and fifty ass power." Whether that was a fair measure of his capacity may be doubted, but it certainly was not destined to be sufficient to elude the vengeance of Ferdinand, and Ferdinand would soon have him in his power.

Matthias, weary of ambitious intrigue, infirm of purpose, and shattered in health, had withdrawn from affairs to devote himself to his gout and to his fair young wife, Archduchess Anna of Tyrol, whom at the age of fifty-four he had espoused.

On the 29th June 1617, Ferdinand of Gratz was crowned King of Bohemia. The event was a shock and a menace to the Protestant cause all over the world. The sombre figure of the Archduke had for years appeared in the background, foreshadowing as it were the wrath to come, while throughout Bohemia and the neighbouring countries of Moravia, Silesia, and the Austrias, the cause of Protestantism had been making such rapid progress. The Emperor Maximilian II. had left five stalwart sons, so that there had seemed little probability that the younger line, the sons of his brother, would succeed. But all the five were childless, and now the son of Archduke Charles, who had died in 1590, had become the natural heir after the death of Matthias to the immense family honours--his cousins Maximilian and Albert having resigned their claims in his favour.

Ferdinand, twelve years old at his father's death, had been placed under the care of his maternal uncle, Duke William of Bavaria. By him the boy was placed at the high school of Ingolstadt, to be brought up by the Jesuits, in company with Duke William's own son Maximilian, five years his senior. Between these youths, besides the tie of cousinship, there grew up the most intimate union founded on perfect sympathy in religion and politics.

When Ferdinand entered upon the government of his paternal estates of Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, he found that the new religion, at which the Jesuits had taught him to shudder as at a curse and a crime, had been widely spreading. His father had fought against heresy with all his might, and had died disappointed and broken-hearted at its progress. His uncle of Bavaria, in letters to his son and nephew, had stamped into their minds with the enthusiasm of perfect conviction that all happiness and blessing for governments depended on the restoration and maintenance of the unity of the Catholic faith. All the evils in times past and present resulting from religious differences had been held up to the two youths by the Jesuits in the most glaring colours. The first duty of a prince, they had inculcated, was to extirpate all false religions, to give the opponents of the true church no quarter, and to think no sacrifice too great by which the salvation of human society, brought almost to perdition by the new doctrines, could be effected.

Never had Jesuits an apter scholar than Ferdinand. After leaving school, he made a pilgrimage to Loretto to make his vows to the Virgin Mary of extirpation of heresy, and went to Rome to obtain the blessing of Pope Clement VIII.

Then, returning to the government of his inheritance, he seized that terrible two-edged weapon of which the Protestants of Germany had taught him the use.

"Cujus regio ejus religio;" to the prince the choice of religion, to the subject conformity with the prince, as if that formula of shallow and selfish princelings, that insult to the dignity of mankind, were the grand result of a movement which was to go on centuries after they had all been forgotten in their tombs. For the time however it was a valid and mischievous maxim. In Saxony Catholics and Calvinists were proscribed; in Heidelberg Catholics and Lutherans. Why should either Calvinists or Lutherans be tolerated in Styria? Why, indeed? No logic could be more inexorable, and the pupil of the Ingolstadt Jesuits hesitated not an instant to carry out their teaching with the very instrument forged for him by the Reformation. Gallows were erected in the streets of all his cities, but there was no hanging. The sight of them proved enough to extort obedience to his edict, that every man, woman, and child not belonging to the ancient church should leave his dominions. They were driven out in hordes in broad daylight from Gratz and other cities. Rather reign over a wilderness than over heretics was the device of the Archduke, in imitation of his great relative, Philip II. of Spain. In short space of time his duchies were as empty of Protestants as the Palatinate of Lutherans, or Saxony of Calvinists, or both of Papists. Even the churchyards were rifled of dead Lutherans and Utraquists, their carcasses thrown where they could no longer pollute the true believers mouldering by their side.

It was not strange that the coronation as King of Bohemia of a man of such decided purposes--a country numbering ten Protestants to one Catholic--should cause a thrill and a flutter. Could it be doubted that the great elemental conflict so steadily prophesied by Barneveld and instinctively dreaded by all capable of feeling the signs of the time would now begin? It had begun. Of what avail would be Majesty-Letters and Compromises extorted by force from trembling or indolent emperors, now that a man who knew his own mind, and felt it to be a crime not to extirpate all religions but the one orthodox religion, had mounted the throne? It is true that he had sworn at his coronation to maintain the laws of Bohemia, and that the Majesty-Letter and the Compromise were part of the laws.

But when were doctors ever wanting to prove the unlawfulness of law which interferes with the purposes of a despot and the convictions of the bigot?

"Novus rex, nova lex," muttered the Catholics, lifting up their heads and hearts once more out of the oppression and insults which they had unquestionably suffered at the hands of the triumphant Reformers. "There are many empty poppy-heads now flaunting high that shall be snipped off," said others. "That accursed German Count Thurn and his fellows, whom the devil has sent from hell to Bohemia for his own purposes, shall be disposed of now," was the general cry.

It was plain that heresy could no longer be maintained except by the sword. That which had been extorted by force would be plucked back by force. The succession of Ferdinand was in brief a warshout to be echoed by all the Catholics of Europe. Before the end of the year the Protestant churches of Brunnau were sealed up. Those at Klostergrab were demolished in three days by command of the Archbishop of Prague. These dumb walls preached in their destruction more stirring sermons than perhaps would ever have been heard within them had they stood. This tearing in pieces of the Imperial patent granting liberty of Protestant worship, this summary execution done upon senseless bricks and mortar, was an act of defiance to the Reformed religion everywhere. Protestantism was struck in the face, spat upon, defied.

The effect was instantaneous. Thurn and the other defenders of the Protestant faith were as prompt in action as the Catholics had been in words. A few months passed away. The Emperor was in Vienna, but his ten stadholders were in Prague. The fateful 23rd of May 1618 arrived.

Slawata, a Bohemian Protestant, who had converted himself to the Roman Church in order to marry a rich widow, and who converted his peasants by hunting them to mass with his hounds, and Martinitz, the two stadholders who at Ferdinand's coronation had endeavoured to prevent him from including the Majesty-Letter among the privileges he was swearing to support, and who were considered the real authors of the royal letters revoking all religious rights of Protestants, were the most obnoxious of all. They were hurled from the council-chamber window of the Hradschin. The unfortunate secretary Fabricius was tossed out after them. Twenty- eight ells deep they fell, and all escaped unhurt by the fall; Fabricius being subsequently ennobled by a grateful emperor with the well-won title of Baron Summerset.

The Thirty Years' War, which in reality had been going on for several years already, is dated from that day. A provisional government was established in Prague by the Estates under Protestant guidance, a college of thirty directors managing affairs.

The Window-Tumble, as the event has always been called in history, excited a sensation in Europe. Especially the young king of France, whose political position should bring him rather into alliance with the rebels than the Emperor, was disgusted and appalled. He was used to rebellion. Since he was ten years old there had been a rebellion against himself every year. There was rebellion now. But his ministers had never been thrown out of window. Perhaps one might take some day to tossing out kings as well. He disapproved the process entirely.

Thus the great conflict of Christendom, so long impending, seemed at last to have broken forth in full fury on a comparatively insignificant incident. Thus reasoned the superficial public, as if the throwing out of window of twenty stadholders could have created a general war in Europe had not the causes of war lain deep and deadly in the whole framework of society.

The succession of Ferdinand to the throne of the holy Wenzel, in which his election to the German Imperial crown was meant to be involved, was a matter which concerned almost every household in Christendom. Liberty of religion, civil franchise, political charters, contract between government and subject, right to think, speak, or act, these were the human rights everywhere in peril. A compromise between the two religious parties had existed for half a dozen years in Germany, a feeble compromise by which men had hardly been kept from each others' throats. That compromise had now been thrown to the winds. The vast conspiracy of Spain, Rome, the House of Austria, against human liberty had found a chief in the docile, gloomy pupil of the Jesuits now enthroned in Bohemia, and soon perhaps to wield the sceptre of the Holy Roman Empire. There was no state in Europe that had not cause to put hand on sword- hilt. "Distrust and good garrisons," in the prophetic words of Barneveld, would now be the necessary resource for all intending to hold what had been gained through long years of toil, martyrdom, and hard fighting,

The succession of Ferdinand excited especial dismay and indignation in the Palatinate. The young elector had looked upon the prize as his own. The marked advance of Protestant sentiment throughout the kingdom and its neighbour provinces had seemed to render the succession of an extreme Papist impossible. When Frederic had sued for and won the hand of the fair Elizabeth, daughter of the King of Great Britain, it was understood that the alliance would be more brilliant for her than it seemed. James with his usual vanity spoke of his son-in-law as a future king.

It was a golden dream for the Elector and for the general cause of the Reformed religion. Heidelberg enthroned in the ancient capital of the Wenzels, Maximilians, and Rudolphs, the Catechism and Confession enrolled among the great statutes of the land, this was progress far beyond flimsy Majesty-Letters and Compromises, made only to be torn to pieces.

Through the dim vista of futurity and in ecstatic vision no doubt even the Imperial crown might seem suspended over the Palatine's head. But this would be merely a midsummer's dream. Events did not whirl so rapidly as they might learn to do centuries later, and--the time for a Protestant to grasp at the crown of Germany could then hardly be imagined as ripening.

But what the Calvinist branch of the House of Wittelsbach had indeed long been pursuing was to interrupt the succession of the House of Austria to the German throne. That a Catholic prince must for the immediate future continue to occupy it was conceded even by Frederic, but the electoral votes might surely be now so manipulated as to prevent a slave of Spain and a tool of the Jesuits from wielding any longer the sceptre of Charlemagne.

On the other hand the purpose of the House of Austria was to do away with the elective principle and the prescriptive rights of the Estates in Bohemia first, and afterwards perhaps to send the Golden Bull itself to the limbo of wornout constitutional devices. At present however their object was to secure their hereditary sovereignty in Prague first, and then to make sure of the next Imperial election at Frankfurt. Time afterwards might fight still more in their favour, and fix them in hereditary possession of the German throne.

The Elector-Palatine had lost no time. His counsellors even before the coronation of Ferdinand at Prague had done their best to excite alarm throughout Germany at the document by which Archdukes Maximilian and Albert had resigned all their hereditary claims in favour of Ferdinand and his male children. Should there be no such issue, the King of Spain claimed the succession for his own sons as great-grandchildren of Emperor Maximilian, considering himself nearer in the line than the Styrian branch, but being willing to waive his own rights in favour of so ardent a Catholic as Ferdinand. There was even a secret negotiation going on a long time between the new king of Bohemia and Philip to arrange for the precedence of the Spanish males over the Styrian females to the hereditary Austrian states, and to cede the province of Alsace to Spain.

It was not wonderful that Protestant Germany should be alarmed. After a century of Protestantism, that Spain should by any possibility come to be enthroned again over Germany was enough to raise both Luther and Calvin from their graves. It was certainly enough to set the lively young palatine in motion. So soon as the election of Frederic was proclaimed, he had taken up the business in person. Fond of amusement, young, married to a beautiful bride of the royal house of England, he had hitherto left politics to his counsellors.

Finding himself frustrated in his ambition by the election of another to the seat he had fondly deemed his own, he resolved to unseat him if he could, and, at any rate, to prevent the ulterior consequences of his elevation. He made a pilgrimage to Sedan, to confer with that irrepressible intriguer and Huguenot chieftain, the Duc de Bouillon. He felt sure of the countenance of the States-General, and, of course, of his near relative the great stadholder. He was resolved to invite the Duke of Lorraine to head the anti-Austrian party, and to stand for the kingship of the Romans and the Empire in opposition to Ferdinand. An emissary sent to Nancy came back with a discouraging reply. The Duke not only flatly refused the candidacy, but warned the Palatine that if it really came to a struggle he could reckon on small support anywhere, not even from those who now seemed warmest for the scheme. Then Frederic resolved to try his cousin, the great Maximilian of Bavaria, to whom all Catholics looked with veneration and whom all German Protestants respected. Had the two branches of the illustrious house of Wittelsbach been combined in one purpose, the opposition to the House of Austria might indeed have been formidable. But what were ties of blood compared to the iron bands of religious love and hatred? How could Maximilian, sternest of Papists, and Frederick V., flightiest of Calvinists, act harmoniously in an Imperial election? Moreover, Maximilian was united by ties of youthful and tender friendship as well as by kindred and perfect religious sympathy to his other cousin, King Ferdinand himself. The case seemed hopeless, but the Elector went to Munich, and held conferences with his cousin. Not willing to take No for an answer so long as it was veiled under evasive or ornamental phraseology, he continued to negotiate with Maximilian through his envoys Camerarius and Secretary Neu, who held long debates with the Duke's chief councillor, Doctor Jocher. Camerarius assured Jocher that his master was the Hercules to untie the Gordian knot, and the lion of the tribe of Judah. How either the lion of Judah or Hercules were to untie the knot which was popularly supposed to have been cut by the sword of Alexander did not appear, but Maximilian at any rate was moved neither by entreaties nor tropes. Being entirely averse from entering himself for the German crown, he grew weary at last of the importunity with which the scheme was urged. So he wrote a short billet to his councillor, to be shown to Secretary Neu.

"Dear Jocher," he said, "I am convinced one must let these people understand the matter in a little plainer German. I am once for all determined not to let myself into any misunderstanding or even amplifications with the House of Austria in regard to the succession. I think also that it would rather be harmful than useful to my house to take upon myself so heavy a burthen as the German crown."

This time the German was plain enough and produced its effect. Maximilian was too able a statesman and too conscientious a friend to wish to exchange his own proud position as chief of the League, acknowledged head of the great Catholic party, for the slippery, comfortless, and unmeaning throne of the Holy Empire, which he considered Ferdinand's right.

The chiefs of the anti-Austrian party, especially the Prince of Anhalt and the Margrave of Anspach, in unison with the Heidelberg cabinet, were forced to look for another candidate. Accordingly the Margrave and the Elector-Palatine solemnly agreed that it was indispensable to choose an emperor who should not be of the House of Austria nor a slave of Spain. It was, to be sure, not possible to think of a Protestant prince. Bavaria would not oppose Austria, would also allow too much influence to the Jesuits. So there remained no one but the Duke of Savoy. He was a prince of the Empire. He was of German descent, of Saxon race, a great general, father of his soldiers, who would protect Europe against a Turkish invasion better than the bastions of Vienna could do. He would be agreeable to the Catholics, while the Protestants could live under him without anxiety because the Jesuits would be powerless with him. It would be a master-stroke if the princes would unite upon him. The King of France would necessarily be pleased with it, the King of Great Britain delighted.

At last the model candidate had been found. The Duke of Savoy having just finished for a second time his chronic war with Spain, in which the United Provinces, notwithstanding the heavy drain on their resources, had allowed him 50,000 florins a month besides the soldiers under Count Ernest of Nassau, had sent Mansfeld with 4000 men to aid the revolted estates in Bohemia. Geographically, hereditarily, necessarily the deadly enemy of the House of Austria, he listened favourably to the overtures made to him by the princes of the Union, expressed undying hatred for the Imperial race, and thought the Bohemian revolt a priceless occasion for expelling them from power. He was informed by the first envoy sent to him, Christopher van Dohna, that the object of the great movement now contemplated was to raise him to the Imperial throne at the next election, to assist the Bohemian estates, to secure the crown of Bohemia for the Elector-Palatine, to protect the Protestants of Germany, and to break down the overweening power of the Austrian house.

The Duke displayed no eagerness for the crown of Germany, while approving the election of Frederic, but expressed entire sympathy with the enterprise. It was indispensable however to form a general federation in Europe of England, the Netherlands, Venice, together with Protestant Germany and himself, before undertaking so mighty a task. While the negotiations were going on, both Anspach and Anhalt were in great spirits. The Margrave cried out exultingly, "In a short time the means will be in our hands for turning the world upside down." He urged the Prince of Anhalt to be expeditious in his decisions and actions. "He who wishes to trade," he said, "must come to market early."

There was some disappointment at Heidelberg when the first news from Turin arrived, the materials for this vast scheme for an overwhelming and universal European war not seeming to be at their disposition. By and by the Duke's plans seem to deepen and broaden. He told Mansfeld, who, accompanied by Secretary Neu, was glad at a pause in his fighting and brandschatzing in Bohemia to be employed on diplomatic business, that on the whole he should require the crown of Bohemia for himself. He also proposed to accept the Imperial crown, and as for Frederic, he would leave him the crown of Hungary, and would recommend him to round himself out by adding to his hereditary dominions the province of Alsace, besides Upper Austria and other territories in convenient proximity to the Palatinate.

Venice, it had been hoped, would aid in the great scheme and might in her turn round herself out with Friuli and Istria and other tempting possessions of Ferdinand, in reward for the men and money she was expected to furnish. That republic had however just concluded a war with Ferdinand, caused mainly by the depredations of the piratical Uscoques, in which, as we have seen, she had received the assistance of 4000 Hollanders under command of Count John of Nassau. The Venetians had achieved many successes, had taken the city of Gortz, and almost reduced the city of Gradiska. A certain colonel Albert Waldstein however, of whom more might one day be heard in the history of the war now begun, had beaten the Venetians and opened a pathway through their ranks for succour to the beleaguered city. Soon afterwards peace was made on an undertaking that the Uscoques should be driven from their haunts, their castles dismantled, and their ships destroyed.

Venice declined an engagement to begin a fresh war.

She hated Ferdinand and Matthias and the whole Imperial brood, but, as old Barbarigo declared in the Senate, the Republic could not afford to set her house on fire in order to give Austria the inconvenience of the smoke.

Meantime, although the Elector-Palatine had magnanimously agreed to use his influence in Bohemia in favour of Charles Emmanuel, the Duke seems at last to have declined proposing himself for that throne. He knew, he said, that King James wished that station for his son-in-law. The Imperial crown belonged to no one as yet after the death of Matthias, and was open therefore to his competition.

Anhalt demanded of Savoy 15,000 men for the maintenance of the good cause, asserting that "it would be better to have the Turk or the devil himself on the German throne than leave it to Ferdinand."

The triumvirate ruling at Prague-Thurn, Ruppa, and Hohenlohe--were anxious for a decision from Frederic. That simple-hearted and ingenuous young elector had long been troubled both with fears lest after all he might lose the crown of Bohemia and with qualms of conscience as to the propriety of taking it even if he could get it. He wrestled much in prayer and devout meditation whether as anointed prince himself he were justified in meddling with the anointment of other princes. Ferdinand had been accepted, proclaimed, crowned. He artlessly sent to Prague to consult the Estates whether they possessed the right to rebel, to set aside the reigning dynasty, and to choose a new king. At the same time, with an eye to business, he stipulated that on account of the great expense and trouble devolving upon him the crown must be made hereditary in his family. The impression made upon the grim Thurn and his colleagues by the simplicity of these questions may be imagined. The splendour and width of the Savoyard's conceptions fascinated the leaders of the Union. It seemed to Anspach and Anhalt that it was as well that Frederic should reign in Hungary as in Bohemia, and the Elector was docile. All had relied however on the powerful assistance of the great defender of the Protestant faith, the father-in-law of the Elector, the King of Great Britain. But James had nothing but cold water and Virgilian quotations for his son's ardour. He was more under the influence of Gondemar than ever before, more eagerly hankering for the Infanta, more completely the slave of Spain. He pledged himself to that government that if the Protestants in Bohemia continued rebellious, he would do his best to frustrate their designs, and would induce his son- in-law to have no further connection with them. And Spain delighted his heart not by immediately sending over the Infanta, but by proposing that he should mediate between the contending parties. It would be difficult to imagine a greater farce. All central Europe was now in arms. The deepest and gravest questions about which men can fight: the right to worship God according to their conscience and to maintain civil franchises which have been earned by the people with the blood and treasure of centuries, were now to be solved by the sword, and the pupil of Buchanan and the friend of Buckingham was to step between hundreds of thousands of men in arms with a classical oration. But James was very proud of the proposal and accepted it with alacrity.

"You know, my dear son," he wrote to Frederic, "that we are the only king in Europe that is sought for by friend and foe for his mediation. It would be for this our lofty part very unbecoming if we were capable of favouring one of the parties. Your suggestion that we might secretly support the Bohemians we must totally reject, as it is not our way to do anything that we would not willingly confess to the whole world."

And to do James justice, he had never fed Frederic with false hopes, never given a penny for his great enterprise, nor promised him a penny. He had contented himself with suggesting from time to time that he might borrow money of the States-General. His daughter Elizabeth must take care of herself, else what would become of her brother's marriage to the daughter of Spain.

And now it was war to the knife, in which it was impossible that Holland, as well as all the other great powers should not soon be involved. It was disheartening to the cause of freedom and progress, not only that the great kingdom on which the world, had learned to rely in all movements upward and onward should be neutralized by the sycophancy of its monarch to the general oppressor, but that the great republic which so long had taken the lead in maintaining the liberties of Europe should now be torn by religious discord within itself, and be turning against the great statesman who had so wisely guided her councils and so accurately foretold the catastrophe which was now upon the world.

Meantime the Emperor Matthias, not less forlorn than through his intrigues and rebellions his brother Rudolph had been made, passed his days in almost as utter retirement as if he had formally abdicated. Ferdinand treated him as if in his dotage. His fair young wife too had died of hard eating in the beginning of the winter to his inexpressible grief, so that there was nothing left to solace him now but the Rudolphian Museum.

He had made but one public appearance since the coronation of Ferdinand in Prague. Attended by his brother Maximilian, by King Ferdinand, and by Cardinal Khlesl, he had towards the end of the year 1617 paid a visit to the Elector John George at Dresden. The Imperial party had been received with much enthusiasm by the great leader of Lutheranism. The Cardinal had seriously objected to accompanying the Emperor on this occasion. Since the Reformation no cardinal had been seen at the court of Saxony. He cared not personally for the pomps and glories of his rank, but still as prince of the Church he had settled right of precedence over electors. To waive it would be disrespectful to the Pope, to claim it would lead to squabbles. But Ferdinand had need of his skill to secure the vote of Saxony at the next Imperial election. The Cardinal was afraid of Ferdinand with good reason, and complied. By an agreeable fiction he was received at court not as cardinal but as minister, and accommodated with an humble place at table. Many looking on with astonishment thought he would have preferred to dine by himself in retirement. But this was not the bitterest of the mortifications that the pastor and guide of Matthias was to suffer at the hands of Ferdinand before his career should be closed. The visit at Dresden was successful, however. John George, being a claimant, as we have seen, for the Duchies of Cleve and Julich, had need of the Emperor. The King had need of John George's vote. There was a series of splendid balls, hunting parties, carousings.

The Emperor was an invalid, the King was abstemious, but the Elector was a mighty drinker. It was not his custom nor that of his councillors to go to bed. They were usually carried there. But it was the wish of Ferdinand to be conciliatory, and he bore himself as well as he could at the banquet. The Elector was also a mighty hunter. Neither of his Imperial guests cared for field sports, but they looked out contentedly from the window of a hunting-lodge, before which for their entertainment the Elector and his courtiers slaughtered eight bears, ten stags, ten pigs, and eleven badgers, besides a goodly number of other game; John George shooting also three martens from a pole erected for that purpose in the courtyard. It seemed proper for him thus to exhibit a specimen of the skill for which he was justly famed. The Elector before his life closed, so says the chronicle, had killed 28,000 wild boars, 208 bears, 3543 wolves, 200 badgers, 18,967 foxes, besides stags and roedeer in still greater number, making a grand total of 113,629 beasts. The leader of the Lutheran party of Germany had not lived in vain.

Thus the great chiefs of Catholicism and of Protestantism amicably disported themselves in the last days of the year, while their respective forces were marshalling for mortal combat all over Christendom. The Elector certainly loved neither Matthias nor Ferdinand, but he hated the Palatine. The chief of the German Calvinists disputed that Protestant hegemony which John George claimed by right. Indeed the immense advantage enjoyed by the Catholics at the outbreak of the religious war from the mutual animosities between the two great divisions of the Reformed Church was already terribly manifest. What an additional power would it derive from the increased weakness of the foe, should there be still other and deeper and more deadly schisms within one great division itself!

"The Calvinists and Lutherans," cried the Jesuit Scioppius, "are so furiously attacking each other with calumnies and cursings and are persecuting each other to such extent as to give good hope that the devilish weight and burthen of them will go to perdition and shame of itself, and the heretics all do bloody execution upon each other. Certainly if ever a golden time existed for exterminating the heretics, it is the present time."

The Imperial party took their leave of Dresden, believing themselves to have secured the electoral vote of Saxony; the Elector hoping for protection to his interests in the duchies through that sequestration to which Barneveld had opposed such vigorous resistance. There had been much slavish cringing before these Catholic potentates by the courtiers of Dresden, somewhat amazing to the ruder churls of Saxony, the common people, who really believed in the religion which their prince had selected for them and himself.

And to complete the glaring contrast, Ferdinand and Matthias had scarcely turned their backs before tremendous fulminations upon the ancient church came from the Elector and from all the doctors of theology in Saxony.

For the jubilee of the hundredth anniversary of the Reformation was celebrated all over Germany in the autumn of this very year, and nearly at the exact moment of all this dancing, and fuddling, and pig shooting at Dresden in honour of emperors and cardinals. And Pope Paul V. had likewise ordained a jubilee for true believers at almost the same time.

The Elector did not mince matters in his proclamation from any regard to the feelings of his late guests. He called on all Protestants to rejoice, "because the light of the Holy Gospel had now shone brightly in the electoral dominions for a hundred years, the Omnipotent keeping it burning notwithstanding the raging and roaring of the hellish enemy and all his scaly servants."

The doctors of divinity were still more emphatic in their phraseology. They called on all professors and teachers of the true Evangelical churches, not only in Germany but throughout Christendom, to keep the great jubilee. They did this in terms not calculated certainly to smother the flames of religious and party hatred, even if it had been possible at that moment to suppress the fire. "The great God of Heaven," they said, "had caused the undertaking of His holy instrument Mr. Doctor Martin Luther to prosper. Through His unspeakable mercy he has driven away the Papal darkness and caused the sun of righteousness once more to beam upon the world. The old idolatries, blasphemies, errors, and horrors of the benighted Popedom have been exterminated in many kingdoms and countries. Innumerable sheep of the Lord Christ have been fed on the wholesome pasture of the Divine Word in spite of those monstrous, tearing, ravenous wolves, the Pope and his followers. The enemy of God and man, the ancient serpent, may hiss and rage. Yes, the Roman antichrist in his frantic blusterings may bite off his own tongue, may fulminate all kinds of evils, bans, excommunications, wars, desolations, and burnings, as long and as much as he likes. But if we take refuge with the Lord God, what can this inane, worn-out man and water-bubble do to us?" With more in the same taste.

The Pope's bull for the Catholic jubilee was far more decorous and lofty in tone, for it bewailed the general sin in Christendom, and called on all believers to flee from the wrath about to descend upon the earth, in terms that were almost prophetic. He ordered all to pray that the Lord might lift up His Church, protect it from the wiles of the enemy, extirpate heresies, grant peace and true unity among Christian princes, and mercifully avert disasters already coming near.

But if the language of Paul V. was measured and decent, the swarm of Jesuit pamphleteers that forthwith began to buzz and to sting all over Christendom were sufficiently venomous. Scioppius, in his Alarm Trumpet to the Holy War, and a hundred others declared that all heresies and heretics were now to be extirpated, the one true church to be united and re-established, and that the only road to such a consummation was a path of blood.

The Lutheran preachers, on the other hand, obedient to the summons from Dresden, vied with each other in every town and village in heaping denunciations, foul names, and odious imputations on the Catholics; while the Calvinists, not to be behindhand with their fellow Reformers, celebrated the jubilee, especially at Heidelberg, by excluding Papists from hope of salvation, and bewailing the fate of all churches sighing under the yoke of Rome.

And not only were the Papists and the Reformers exchanging these blasts and counterblasts of hatred, not less deadly in their effects than the artillery of many armies, but as if to make a thorough exhibition of human fatuity when drunk with religious passion, the Lutherans were making fierce paper and pulpit war upon the Calvinists. Especially Hoe, court preacher of John George, ceaselessly hurled savage libels against them. In the name of the theological faculty of Wittenberg, he addressed a "truehearted warning to all Lutheran Christians in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and other provinces, to beware of the erroneous Calvinistic religion." He wrote a letter to Count Schlick, foremost leader in the Bohemian movement, asking whether "the unquiet Calvinist spirit, should it gain ascendency, would be any more endurable than the Papists. Oh what woe, what infinite woe," he cried, "for those noble countries if they should all be thrust into the jaws of Calvinism!"

Did not preacher Hoe's master aspire to the crown of Bohemia himself? Was he not furious at the start which Heidelberg had got of him in the race for that golden prize? Was he not mad with jealousy of the Palatine, of the Palatine's religion, and of the Palatine's claim to "hegemony" in Germany?

Thus embittered and bloodthirsty towards each other were the two great sections of the Reformed religion on the first centennial jubilee of the Reformation. Such was the divided front which the anti-Catholic party presented at the outbreak of the war with Catholicism.

Ferdinand, on the other hand, was at the head of a comparatively united party. He could hardly hope for more than benevolent neutrality from the French government, which, in spite of the Spanish marriages, dared not wholly desert the Netherlands and throw itself into the hands of Spain; but Spanish diplomacy had enslaved the British king, and converted what should have been an active and most powerful enemy into an efficient if concealed ally. The Spanish and archiducal armies were enveloping the Dutch republic, from whence the most powerful support could be expected for the Protestant cause. Had it not been for the steadiness of Barneveld, Spain would have been at that moment established in full panoply over the whole surface of those inestimable positions, the disputed duchies. Venice was lukewarm, if not frigid; and Savoy, although deeply pledged by passion and interest to the downfall of the House of Austria, was too dangerously situated herself, too distant, too poor, and too Catholic to be very formidable.

Ferdinand was safe from the Turkish side. A twenty years' peace, renewable by agreement, between the Holy Empire and the Sultan had been negotiated by those two sons of bakers, Cardinal Khlesl and the Vizier Etmekdschifade. It was destined to endure through all the horrors of the great war, a stronger protection to Vienna than all the fortifications which the engineering art could invent. He was safe too from Poland, King Sigmund being not only a devoted Catholic but doubly his brother-in- law.

Spain, therefore, the Spanish Netherlands, the Pope, and the German League headed by Maximilian of Bavaria, the ablest prince on the continent of Europe, presented a square, magnificent phalanx on which Ferdinand might rely. The States-General, on the other hand, were a most dangerous foe. With a centennial hatred of Spain, splendidly disciplined armies and foremost navy of the world, with an admirable financial system and vast commercial resources, with a great stadholder, first captain of the age, thirsting for war, and allied in blood as well as religion to the standard-bearer of the Bohemian revolt; with councils directed by the wisest and most experienced of living statesman, and with the very life blood of her being derived from the fountain of civil and religious liberty, the great Republic of the United Netherlands--her Truce with the hereditary foe just expiring was, if indeed united, strong enough at the head of the Protestant forces of Europe to dictate to a world in arms.

Alas! was it united?

As regarded internal affairs of most pressing interest, the electoral vote at the next election at Frankfurt had been calculated as being likely to yield a majority of one for the opposition candidate, should the Savoyard or any other opposition candidate be found. But the calculation was a close one and might easily be fallacious. Supposing the Palatine elected King of Bohemia by the rebellious estates, as was probable, he could of course give the vote of that electorate and his own against Ferdinand, and the vote of Brandenburg at that time seemed safe. But Ferdinand by his visit to Dresden had secured the vote of Saxony, while of the three ecclesiastical electors, Cologne and Mayence were sure for him. Thus it would be three and three, and the seventh and decisive vote would be that of the Elector-Bishop of Treves. The sanguine Frederic thought that with French influence and a round sum of money this ecclesiastic might be got to vote for the opposition candidate. The ingenious combination was not destined to be successful, and as there has been no intention in the present volume to do more than slightly indicate the most prominent movements and mainsprings of the great struggle so far as Germany is concerned, without entering into detail, it may be as well to remind the reader that it proved wonderfully wrong. Matthias died on the 20th March, 1619, the election of a new emperor took place at Frankfurt On the 28th of the following August, and not only did Saxony and all three ecclesiastical electors vote for Ferdinand, but Brandenburg likewise, as well as the Elector-Palatine himself, while Ferdinand, personally present in the assembly as Elector of Bohemia, might according to the Golden Bull have given the seventh vote for himself had he chosen to do so. Thus the election was unanimous.

Strange to say, as the electors proceeded through the crowd from the hall of election to accompany the new emperor to the church where he was to receive the popular acclaim, the news reached them from Prague that the Elector-Palatine had been elected King of Bohemia.

Thus Frederic, by voting for Ferdinand, had made himself voluntarily a rebel should he accept the crown now offered him. Had the news arrived sooner, a different result and even a different history might have been possible.

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