By A. W. WARD, Litt.D., LL.D., F.B.A.

Gradual deterioration of Rudolf II and his system of government. 696

His personal characteristics. Growth of his insanity . 697

Archdukes Ernest, Matthias, and Maximilian . 698

Archduke Albert. The Styrian line . 699

Relations with the Turks in Rudolfs reign. Stephen Bocskai of Transylvania 700

The religious difficulty in Hungary and Austria . 701

Peasant insurrection in Austria . 702

The Reaction in Bohemia. The Palatinate . 703

The Formula Concordiae. Peace congress at Cologne . 704

Dutch immigration into German borderlands. Religious strife at Aachen . 705

Diet of Augsburg : the Turkish peril ; Aachen and Magdeburg difficulties . 706

Archbishop Gebhard of Cologne. Attempted Protestantisation of the see . 707

Failure of Gebhard's attempt. Ernest of Bavaria elected Archbishop . 708

Episcopal schism in Strassburg. Catholic reaction. Archduke Leopold invested with the see . 709

John Casimir guardian of Elector Palatine Frederick IV. Kammergericht blocked . 710

Death of Elector Augustus. Liberal reaction in Saxony. Krell appointed Chancellor . 711

Protestant Princes form the Torgau Alliance. Troubles in Saxony. Death of Christian I . 712

Deaths of John Casimir and Landgrave William. Landgrave Maurice succeeds . 713

Diet of Ratisbon. Rudolf's difficulties in east and west. Meeting of Protestant opposition at Heilbronn . 714

New Diet at Ratisbon. "Corresponding" Princes. Action of Kammergericht . 715

The Jülich-Cleves-Berg government and succession. Death of Duke John William. The claimants . 716

Spanish incursions in the north-west. Christian of Anhalt . 717

The Vierklosterstreit. Collapse of supreme judicial machinery of the Empire .- .718

Rudolf II and the succession. The Austrian Archdukes meet at Lmz . 719

Matthias empowered by Rudolf to act in Hungary and make peace with Turks. Treaty of Vienna and Peace of Zsitva-Torok . 720

Subversion of Rudolf's authority in favour of Matthias. Alliance of Pressburg .721

Negotiations of Protestant Princes with Henry IV. Brandenburg joins Protestant party .- . 722

The Donauwörth troubles. Commission of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria . 723

Diet of Ratisbon. Open schism between the two Protestant sections . 724

Foundation of the Protestant Union. Its constitution and original members 725

Rudolf renounces to Matthias Hungary, Austria and Moravia . 726

Bohemian Diet. Protestant Remonstrance followed by dissolution. Protestant assembly at Prague . 727

Letter of Majesty. Religious and national victory of the Bohemian Estates . 728

Development of Catholic League. The Julich-Cleves question. 729

The "possessing" Princes and Henry IV, European significance of issue . 730

Insecurity of western frontier of Empire. Archduke Leopold. Meeting of Princes at Prague . 731

Death of Henry IV. Danger of European war averted. Temporary calm . 732

Treaty of Xanten. Apprehended collision at Prague. Archduke Leopold's troops in Prague. Hungary, Moravia, and Austria arm for Matthias . 733

Matthias enters Prague and summons a Diet. Rudolf resigns Bohemia to Matthias . 734

Death of Rudolf II. Character of his rule . 735



THROUGHOUT more than a generation, covering the greater part of the long succession of years during which the Empire, disturbed within and menaced from without, drifted on towards the Thirty Years' War, the reigning Emperor was Rudolf II. The utter impotence of his rule, ending in collapse, directly contributed to render inevitable the outbreak of the European struggle of which Germany was the principal theatre. Before his downfall the condition of the Empire, and the progress of the intersecting religious and territorial questions that agitated it, had been materially affected by his policy and by that of other members of his dynasty. A few words thus seem called for as to his personality, and as to those of his brothers and principal German kinsmen.

It should, however, be remembered that after the accession of Rudolf II many years passed before the black cloud of insanity settled upon him, and before, at the very time when everything seemed to depend on his action, he hid himself away from the face of man, and allowed the confusion around him to become chaos. We must not think of him in 1576 as he appeared to the observant Tuscan Daniel Eremita in 1609, or even as some thirteen years earlier he was seen at Vienna by the well-informed Cambridge traveller, Fynes Moryson. At the time of his accession, little was known of him except that he had brought back from Spain, where he had spent nearly eight years, not only an unsmiling Castilian manner, but a predilection for Catholic advisers so marked as to alarm the Protestant Estates of his hereditary dominions. But neither was he now, nor did he ever become, a Spaniard in heart and mind. Among the many languages of which he was master (and which included a certain amount of Cech) he retained a predilection for the German tongue ; and he incurred censure for preferring Germans, to appointments in both Bohemia and Hungary. For the rest, though his disposition was reserved, his ways were mild. Not unskilled in bodily exercises, he had little liking for them ; but he took the constant interest of a genuine dilettante in almost every known branch of art and science, was in several himself no mean technical expert, and became gradually

the greatest patron and purchaser of his age, employing agents in all parts of Europe in the interests of his galleries of pictures and statuary, his collections of jewelry and curiosities of all kinds, and his botanical and zoological gardens at Prague. But he was no mere collector ; there was hardly an art or a science of which some distinguished representative was not to be found at his Court ; he was a great reader of Latin verse, and a friend of historical composition ; and he entered with special interest into mathematical, physical, and medical studies. Chemistry and astronomy-with their then inseparable perversions, alchemy and astrology- irresistibly attracted his speculative mind; and it is noticeable that Tycho Brahe and Kepler enjoyed his patronage in the later years of his reign, whereas in the earlier it was shared by Dr Dee and the rank impostor Kelley, who figured as Dr Dee's " seer."

Although, as time went on, Rudolf allowed his private tastes to distract him from the business of government, he both entertained from first to last a most exalted conception of liis Imperial dignity, and showed a notably intelligent insight into his responsibilities as a territorial sovereign, initiating or promoting in his dominions industrial, economical, and sanitary reforms. He asserted his political independence of both Rome and Spain ; nor were the papal claims disputed by him wholly formal, or the efforts which he made to recover the Netherlands for the Empire altogether idle. To this attitude on his part, rather than to his secret excesses and their consequences, should be attributed the breakdown of the negotiations carried on during many years, from 1579 onwards, for a marriage between him and the Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia. Like James I of England, between whom and Rudolf in his earlier and better years there is more than one point of resemblance, he devised schemes of mediation which he was powerless to carry out ; but he was devoid neither of sound political impulses nor of a certain magnanimity of purpose. His interest in public business was, however, at no time continuous ; and in the end it was manifested only by fits and starts. The symptoms of melancholia and madness were gradual in their advent ; but from 1597 or 1598 onwards he showed himself unwilling to sign papers or transact other ordinary business. His last appearance at a Diet of the Empire was in 1594 ; the Austrian and Hungarian Diets he had ceased to attend much earlier ; the last Bohemian Diet opened by him was that of 1598. About 1600 things grew worse, and the ascendancy of the chamberlain Wolfgang von Rumpf was exchanged for the régime of a series of valets, the most notorious of whom, Philip Lang, was not overthrown till 1608. Affairs had now fallen hopelessly out of gear ; to gain access to the Emperor was a process of intrigue and corruption ; even ambassadors were excluded from his presence. From these later years date acts of cruelty explicable only by a suspiciousness and pride intensified by madness, and political designs which bore the stamp of the same diseased origin.

The testamentary dispositions of Maximilian II, dictated by a desire of avoiding the dissipation of territorial power, left each of Rudolfs four brothers who grew to man's estate with nothing but an appanage and his ambition. Rudolf's celibacy, and in course of time his mental collapse, made the question of the succession the chief dynastic problem of his reign ; and it continuously occupied the attention of his brothers and kinsmen from 1581 onwards, when, on the occasion of a serious illness of the Emperor, it was first mooted by Archduke Charles of Styria.

Of Maximilian's sons the next in age to Rudolf, Archduke Ernest, who had been his companion in Spain, seems, though not flawless in character, throughout to have found more favour there than his elder brother. After missing the Polish throne, he was, on Rudolf's accession, entrusted with the government of Upper and Lower Austria, where his steady enforcement of the principles of the Counter-Reformation obtained for him the Golden Fleece from Philip, and a consecrated hat and sword from Pope Sixtus V. Later, Philip appointed him Governor-General of the " loyal " Provinces of the Netherlands, where, however, he died a few months after his arrival (February, 1595).

Very different was the career of the third brother, Archduke Matthias. He began it as if in religious questions he was minded, like his father before him, to be of no party. In truth, he was incapable of entering far into the principles or of taking up the policy of either side; though in a long period of expectancy he cast his eye upon sees that might provide him with a suitable income, and repressed the Protestants when he had a chance. His mind was shallow and his selfishness transparent ; but he had in his favour, besides a lightheartedness which made him ready for anything, a certain bonhomie that stood him in excellent stead, and a docility under skilful guidance so long as he deemed it in his interest to submit to it. Thus, after he had ultimately become the inevitable alternative to the existing anarchy, he was carried to the top, but speedily surrendered the control of the Imperial policy placed in his hands.

Maximilian II's fourth son and namesake, educated in Germany like Matthias and always faithful to him, had already in his youth been admitted into the German Order, of which he finally became High Master in 1590. He thus necessarily remained unmarried ; but he too had gone through his period of personal ambition when, during his coadjutorship in 1587, he was brought forward as a candidate for the Polish throne, vacant by the death of Stephen Bâthory. He maintained his candidature even after the Diet had voted in favour of his competitor, Prince Sigismund of Sweden ,• he twice invaded Poland, and was twice defeated by the Chancellor John Zamoyski ; on the second occasion he fell into captivity, nor was it till a year later that he was released on humiliating terms (1589). After this Maximilian devoted himself steadily to the service of his House, in the field against the Turks, and at home as

guardian of the young Styrian Archdukes. In 1595 his merits were rewarded by the government of the Tyrol and Anterior Austria ( Vor der-Österreich); and at two most critical dates in the history of the Habsburg dynasty he conspicuously contributed to preserve it from falling asunder.

The fifth son, Archduke Albert, had in his eleventh year been received at the Court of Philip II, whose goodwill he never afterwards lost. Created a Cardinal at the age of eighteen, and soon afterwards named Archbishop of Toledo (though it was not till long afterwards that he assumed the administration of his Province), he was in 1593 charged with the Viceroyalty of Portugal, and in 1596, as has been narrated elsewhere, was appointed his brother Ernest's successor in the government of the Spanish Netherlands. His marriage with the Infanta was not actually concluded till after her father's death ; nor is there any reason for holding Albert accountable for the Spanish design which seven years later sought to place him on the Imperial throne.

It may be worth remembering that the eldest daughter of Maximilian II, Anne, became in 1570 the fourth wife of Philip II, and thus transmitted to their son (afterwards Philip III of Spain) pretensions to the Austrian succession which had to be bought off. After her death in 1580, the widower with characteristic promptitude offered his hand to her younger sister Elizabeth, in the opinion of her late husband Charles IX of France the most virtuous woman in the world. A third daughter, Margaret, died at Madrid, in a Carmelite nunnery, whither half a century before she had retired with her mother, as to a customary dynastic retreat.

Of the side-lines of the House of Austria, the Tyrolese, as already noted, expired in 1595 with Archduke Ferdinand. On the other hand, at that date a sufficiency of male successors was assured to the Styrian line, whose head was Archduke Charles, the third and favourite son of Ferdinand I. Obviously, the succession to the hereditary dominions of the House of Austria must be expected ultimately to pass to this Styrian line. Archduke Charles died in 1590 ; but till 1596 his widow Maria, Albert of Bavaria's sister, acted as regent for her son Ferdinand, while he was pursuing his studies with the Jesuits at Ingolstadt. Ferdinand's younger brother Leopold came in 1607 to unite in his hands the bishoprics of Strassburg and Passau ; and his ambition suggested to Rudolf II in his last years a scheme of reaction and revenge. Their sister Anna's marriage in 1592 to .Sigismund III of Poland (Archduke Maximilian's former competitor) marked the reconciliation of Austrian and Polish interests, not only as against the Turk, but also in the cause of Rome.

In fine, the lives of these Habsburg Archdukes and Archduchesses, filled chiefly with a succession of duties imposed upon them in Court, camp, or cloister, are marked by a singular stillness. The traditional reserve and the secluded habits of the House contributed to debar it from frequent or intimate intercourse with the other German Princes,

either by a prodigal hospitality like that to which many of these were addicted, or even by means of an active diplomatic intercourse. The relations between Rudolf's government and the Princes of the Empire, cold enough to begin with, were by his habits of seclusion chilled to freezing-point.

No immediate break is perceptible in the policy of the Imperial government after Maximilian's mantle had fallen on Rudolf's shoulders. Like his father, he was primarily intent on saving the Netherlands for the House of Habsburg. To this end more especially Rudolf, again like his father before him, desired to be on good terms with the Estates of the Empire itself, to whom moreover he had constantly to appeal for aid against the Turks. But the good- or ill-will of the Estates depended on the treatment of the religious difficulty ; and towards this Rudolf stood in a different position from his father, both by reason of his own close connexion with the Catholic interest, and because of changes on the Protestant side which occurred at the very beginning of his reign.

The existing peace with the Turks was at the time of Rudolfs accession renewed on the same humiliating conditions, and, largely by means of superadded bribes, was nominally preserved till 1593-4. The frontier warfare had never stopped ; and the tension with the Turkish government had increased since the close of its Persian war (1589-90). In 1593 the rout of Hassan, Governor of Bosnia, who was slaughtered with some 18,000 of his troops at Sissek on the Kulpa, called forth an irresistible cry for vengeance, and a war began which lasted till 1606. The Türkenglocke was rung in every town and village of the Empire, and every effort was made to put its whole defensive power in action, though the thought had to be abandoned of making the Christian armament a matter of general European concern. In 1594 Archdukes Matthias and Maximilian both took the field; and the Voivods of Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia entered into an alliance with the Emperor. But in October, 1596, the new Sultan Mohammad III in person defeated Archduke Maximilian's forces in a three days' battle, with the awful loss of 50,000 men ; and a sort of general mourning was proclaimed by the Emperor in his Austrian dominions. In 1599 there was some talk of peace ; but the war continued till Mohammad's death in 1603, and went on under his successor Ahmad I.

In 1604 the Turks seemed to have found a most valuable ally in Stephen Bocskai, a Hungarian magnate who, two years after the Austrian rule, had in spite of many backslidings been established in Transylvania, was invested by the Porte with its Voivodship, as well as with the kingdom of Hungary. Many complaints had arisen against the Austrian administration of the Hungarian State, more especially against the employment of German officials, and the appointment of Bishops as Regents ; and a more recent grievance was the attempted restitution of Protestantised churches to Catholic patronage. Thus in 1605 a Diet at

Szerenes proclaimed Bocskai King, and his coronation followed. But there was no solidity in the movement ; and in the following year Archduke Matthias on the Emperor's behalf, with the aid of the patriotic Magyar Stephen Illeshazi, satisfied the Hungarian Estates by granting to them the administrative concessions desired by them, with full freedom of exercising both the Lutheran and the Calvinist forms of faith. Bocskai died in the same year. The fact that the Turkish Power was hard pressed both by a Persian war and by a formidable insurrection in Asia Minor further accounts for the peace which in November, 1606, the Imperial government was enabled to conclude with the Porte at Zsitva-Torok. Its real significance lies not so much in the territorial arrangements, as to which there was no real change, as in the abolition of the tribute, and in the recognition of the political and diplomatic equality of the two contracting Powers. Though more or less transitory in its effects, it was the first "peace with honour" concluded by a Habsburg Emperor with his arch-foe.

While the necessity for common sacrifices which the Turkish peril imposed upon the Empire during nearly the whole of Rudolf's reign in a measure tended to union among the Estates, the action taken by him in his hereditary dominions marked him from the first as a partisan in the perennial religious quarrel. Under the influence of the party of reaction at Vienna, he soon showed that his advent to power was likely to put a speedy end to the religious policy of his predecessor towards the Austrian Estates. Their power as to both the grant of taxes and the raising of levies was so considerable, and the concessions made by Maximilian in 1591 went so far, that the Catholic party had little time to spare. Before the close of the year 1576 Rudolf appointed Archduke Ernest to the government of Upper and Lower Austria. The Emperor himself almost at once took up his permanent residence at Prague, attracted by the airy prospects and ample accommodation of the Hradschin, round which clustered the palaces of the magnificent and cultured Bohemian nobility. In 1577-8, however, he spent the better part of a year in Austria, and set down his foot in the first instance against the progress of religious liberty in the towns. In June, 1578, an edict bade the Protestant preachers quit Vienna before nightfall and the country within a fortnight. At Linz, the Upper Austrian capital, the Estates had to do homage (though under protest) without having secured a renewal of Maximilian's engagements. Archduke Ernest met with much recalcitrance in carrying out his rulings. The measure of success reached by the Emperor's religious policy, which aimed at restricting Protestant worship in Austria to the lands of noble proprietors, was largely due to the activity of the Bishop of Passau's Vicar-General, Melchior Klesl, afterwards Bishop of Neustadt and of Vienna, The versatile statesmanship of this large-minded ecclesiastic-by birth a Wiener Kind, whom the Jesuits had rescued from Protestantism-has been charged with an

unreasonable weight of responsibility for results partly promoted, partly resisted by him. In the present instance he succeeded, not in undoing the privileges assured to the Austrian nobility by Maximilian, but in reforming the towns and their districts, which under his direction resumed a Catholic aspect. As the reaction spread from Lower into Upper Austria, the nobility there were supported in their resistance by the peasantry, a sturdy race of men, mostly proprietors of the lands tilled i by them, but subject to certain services (Roboten). The Diets became unmanageable, and in 1578-9 even resorted to the stopping of supplies. Thus things continued, the Church and the temporal authority occasion- ally colliding both in Austria and in the neighbouring Bavaria, but remaining united against Protestantism. In 1593 the renewed outbreak of the Turkish War, while it heightened the self-consciousness of the Estates and put arms into the hands of the peasantry, at the same time furnished the Austrian government, now under Archduke Matthias, with troops. The peasant insurrection which in 1595 spread through Upper Austria was no doubt largely provoked by the persistent endeavours of the government to advance the Counter-Reformation, but soon chiefly busied itself with the social grievances of the peasants, so that both Catholic and Protestant nobles united with the government in measures for its repression. A victory of the peasants at Neumarkt (November) led to the reference of the points at issue to the Emperor, and finally to the appointment in 1596 of an Imperial Commission, which ordered a disarmament of the unfortunate peasantry, and with the help of the Estates made an end of the insurrection. But the Estates did not altogether find their account in its close. By means of a Commission of reform instituted in 1597 the predominance of the Catholic Church was successfully restored in Austria, despite both the privileges of the nobility and the preferences of the towns. In 1598 Archduke Leopold, hitherto Coadjutor of Passau, succeeded (in the twelfth year of his age) as Bishop ; and Pope Clement VIII was able to withdraw from the diocese, which comprised the greater part of Austria, the concession of the Cup made by Pius IV a generation earlier.

Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola were in Rudolf s earlier years at least as strongly Protestant in sentiment as Upper and Lower Austria ; and towards the end of Archduke Charles' rule offered a violent resistance to his reactionary Commission of visitation. But before his death in 1590, and afterwards under Archduke Ernest's administration during Ferdinand's minority, the Counter-Reformation made considerable, though not unhindered, progress. Actual persecution, however, only began under the personal rule of Ferdinand, who after issuing a Commission in 1600, pui^ a stop to all Protestant worship and instruction, banished all Protestant preachers under pain of death, and left to the laity no choice but submission or banishment. By 1602 Catholicism was firmly established as the only form of religion permitted in the duchies under his sway.

It was this Styrian Counter-Reformation that encouraged Rudolf II in his attempts to enforce a religious reaction in Hungary and Bohemia. In the latter kingdom he had so early as 1581 issued an edict of banishment against the Bohemian Brethren. The nobles, many of whom belonged to the Brotherhood, were not accustomed to such a royal command: it remained a dead letter; and Rudolf's need of the Estates in the wars against the Turks long left it such. In 1602, however, he resolved to go back upon the letter of the Basel Compactâtes, allow no alternative in Bohemia to the Catholic Faith besides Utraquism, and reissue the ordinance of 1581, which was now extended to the Calvinists. Some Protestant churches were hereupon closed ; Catholic clergy were introduced into others ; and the school of Jungbunzlau, the hallowed "Carmel" of the Bohemian Brethren and a kind of later Deventer in its mingled traditions of piety and learning, was destroyed. These proceedings more than sufficed to set in flame the national spirit of Bohemian Protestantism ; and when in 1605 (rather late in the day) a Catholic Synod adopted the decrees of the Council of Trent, the various forms of Bohemian Protestantism, which collectively commanded an indisputable majority among the Estates, drew more closely together than ever. The success, about this time, of the Hungarian Protestants in obtaining the acceptance of their demands further encouraged the Bohemians in their determination to oppose an organised national resistance to the Catholic Reaction.

During its struggle against the forces of the Catholic Reaction, on whose side the Emperor and the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg seemed now definitively ranged, German Protestantism was weakened by the simultaneous working of many causes. Of these none •was at this time more marked than the growth of the more rigorous form of Lutheranism, and of its hostility both to those Lutherans whose attitude towards Calvinism was less uncompromising, and to Calvinism itself. In the month (October, 1576) of Maximilian IPs death died also the Elector Palatine Frederick III, who had made his capital, Heidelberg, an asylum of persecuted Calvinists, and the University in which it gloried a chosen seminary of Calvinistic youth from all parts of Europe. One of his sons, John Casimir, had, as has been seen, rendered substantial service to the Huguenot cause, and another, Christopher, had sacrificed his life in support of the rising in the Netherlands. But their eldest brother Lewis, now Elector Palatine, adhered to the Lutheran dogma, and immediately on his accession set about purging the Rhenish Palatinate of all Calvinistic teaching and preaching. Meanwhile John Casimir, to whom a small principality of his own had been assigned at Neustadt, kept up Calvinism in church and schools, and remained in intimate relation with the Protestant interest beyond the border.

The short-lived recovery of the Palatinate to Lutheranism gave much satisfaction to the Electors John George of Brandenburg, a very practical politician, and Augustus of Saxony. The latter was now intent upon bringing about a Lutheran union based upon a doctrinal exclusion of Calvinism, by means of a Formula Concordiae drawn up by the orthodox Lutheran divines in whom he confided-Martin Chemnitz, David Chytraens, and above all the indefatigable Württemberger Jacob Andreae, and, after a preliminary conference at Torgau in May, 1576,, communicated by the Saxon to the other Protestant governments. When in June, 1580, this Formula Concordiae was at last promulgated, the new test was found to divide the Protestant governments into-two unequal halves-the majority who had accepted it comprising,, with the three temporal Electors, the Houses of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, and Ernestine Saxony, and in the south Württemberg, Ansbach, the Neuburg Palatines and Baden ; the minority, who refused, Pomerania, Holstein, Anhalt, and Hesse, with John Casimir, Zweibrücken, and Nassau in the south. The Wetterau Counts also declined, and the majority of/ the Imperial town?. Thus, the adoption of the Formula Concordiae made patent the split among the Protestant Estates, and at the same time showed the preponderance among them of religious opinions which to all intents and purposes implied a conservative policy.

At the very time when the division among the German Protestants thus became manifest the insurrection in the Netherlands had reached a most critical stage ; and the Emperor Rudolf, who flattered himself that at the beginning of his reign he had helped to prevent the States General from coming to an understanding with the Duke of Anjou, showed a renewed desire to intervene. It has been seen elsewhere how Archduke Matthias held his entry into Brussels as Governor in January, 1578 ; and notwithstanding assurances to the contrary at Madrid, Rudolf seems to have ultimately approved his brother's step. Though, ignored by Philip and overshadowed by Orange, Matthias was after a useless sojourn dismissed (June, 1581), the King of Spain had before this signified his readiness to accept the Emperor's mediation. John Casimir's great coup had indeed been delivered in vain ; though with a force of above 10,000, half German and half Swiss, and partly paid with Queen Elizabeth's gold, he had joined the States' army in September, 1578, the further junction with the Huguenots had not proved practicable, and in January, 1579, he had quitted the country. But about the same date the Union of Utrecht was concluded ; and Philip seems to have thought it worth while to make some attempt by means of negotiations to preserve his sovereignty intact. Thus in May a formal peace congress was openetl at Cologne. But though a Deputationstag at Worms had approved the Emperor's mediation, his plenipotentiaries suggested no concessions as to religion which were satisfactory to the States ; in other words, the Imperial diplomacy had no basis of agreement to propose. Thus by

December the solemn mockery was over; and the final answer to Rudolf's futile attempt was the abjuration, in July, 1581, of the sovereignty of Philip by the United Provinces.

But though the Empire had accomplished less than nothing by its formal intervention in the affairs of the Netherlands, it could not in its turn remain unaffected by the progress of their war of liberation. Parma's campaign of 1579, which culminated in the capture of Maestricht, led to a succession of raids by both Spanish and Dutch soldiery across the German frontier; and, owing to the enterprise of Dutch privateers on the Rhine, the river was no longer safely navigable below Cologne, the chief waterway of trade with the south being thus practically stopped. Even more unsettling, however-for governments and populations alike were in this age more troubled by religious than by economic disturbances-was the continuous influx of Calvinist refugees from the Low Countries into the German border-lands, and the propaganda which they carried on there. These aliens, whom Alva had tried to induce the governments of Jiilich and Cologne to expel, were mostly laborious and peaceable artisans ; but they were uniformly full of bitter hatred against the Church of Rome. The centres of this immigration were Wesel in Cleves, Aachen, Cologne, and the prosperous sea-port of Emden, which had been the cradle of Anabaptism, and where in 1571 was held a Synod of all the Dutch Churches in Germany.

The duchies of Jiilich and Cleves were of course immediately exposed to the influence of this Dutch immigration, with whose aid a Reformed congregation established itself at Düsseldorf. In his religious opinions, as well as in his tolerant disposition Duke William resembled the Emperor Maximilian ; and he had married his eldest three daughters to» Protestant Princes. But he had secured the bishopric of Münster for his surviving son John William, and from about 1578 his views began to» take a Catholic turn. He issued some strong edicts against the DutcK refugees ; but they avoided persecution by keeping quiet.

In the free Imperial city of Aachen and its district-das Reich van Aachen, as it proudly called itself-a religious conflict had long been on foot. In 1580 both Lutherans and Calvinists, whose numbers were now swelled by the Dutch immigration, demanded the free exercise of their religion; and on the refusal of the strictly Catholic town council, supported by an Imperial Commission, the Protestants brought about a riot, and made themselves masters of the city (May, 1581). The Emperor sent two mandates in succession for the maintenance of the Catholic constitution of Aachen, but hesitated to enforce it. Hereupon Parma actually marched some troops across the frontier; and ultimately the Aacheners, anxious to avoid a new Imperial Commission, made over the whole matter to the Diet. Was the right of choosing its religion, granted by the Religious Peace to every Estate of the Empire, to be denied to Aachen because of the clause requiring all Imperial

towns where both religions were exercised at the time of the Peace to maintain them in the same proportions, although as a matter of fact in 1555 only one religion was established in this particular city ? If the Catholic minority here were to prevail, why should it not in other towns-say, in Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen ? If on the other hand •Protestant expansion were to be permanently stopped, how was Protestantism to protect itself against the Catholic Reaction ?

The Diet of Augsburg, which met in July, 1582, had been summoned by Rudolf to enable him to put in order the eastern frontier fortresses against the Turks, and to advise with him on the danger in the west, where the Netherlands seemed about to become a dependency of France, and where by way of warning the Imperial town of Cambray had just been handed over to Anjou. But in addition to the Aachen difficulty another religious question of typical significance thrust itself to the front. As has been seen, the great archiépiscopal see of Magdeburg had since 1566 been held by Prince Joachim Frederick of Brandenburg; but neither Maximilian nor Rudolf had in this instance been found willing to resort to the convenient arrangement of an indulgence (Induit), whereby the temporalities of a see might provisionally be granted to its occupant, although his election had not yet received the papal confirmation. Joachim Frederick now claimed to sit and vote at the Diet as administrator of the archbishopric. This unprecedented demand was resolutely resisted by the Catholic Estates ; and the new Elector of Mainz, Wolfgang von Dalberg, and Duke William V of Bavaria, who had succeeded in 1579, declared that they would quit the Diet if the claim were allowed. The administrator hereupon withdrew from Augsburg; and the Emperor was henceforth less ready than before to resort to the subterfuge of indulgences.

As to the defence of the western frontier, the Diet merely voted a trifling grant and gave ample authority for protective measures to the three Circles nearest to the border. In the matter of the Turkish aid, it was this time the towns who declared that they would make their assent to the moderate grant voted by the Electors and Princes depend upon the redress of grievances, in which they specially included the treatment of Aachen. When the Imperial government hereupon accepted the grant by the two Colleges as equivalent to one by the whole Diet, the protest of the towns was, notwithstanding the usual Saxon attempt at compromise, supported by the Protestant Princes. In the end the towns, whose discretion was apt to master their valour, paid their share under protest : and the Emperor appointed a new Commission at Aachen, consisting of the Electors of Saxony and Trier, freedom of religious worship being granted to the Protestants pendente Ute. The commissioners duly kept the question open as long as possible; and the Emperor having in 1593, in accordance with the conclusions of the Reichsliofrath, pronounced the Catholic town council restored and

Protestant worship abolished, the execution of this sentence was carried out five years later-sixteen after the matter had been first brought before the Diet. That Diet ended characteristically with a quarrel about the new Calendar, introduced by Pope Gregory XIII. Rudolf had at last found an occasion on which he led the party of progress ; but the age was too full of religious polemics for any Protestant to raise his voice in favour of the change, except the mathematician Kepler of Graz.

The failure of the Diet of 1582 to settle the religious difficulty in the north-west was immediately made manifest by the outbreak of serious troubles in the Electorate of Cologne. Here the capable and tolerant Salentin of Isenburg had in 1577 resigned his Archbishopric ; the noble House to which he belonged seemed likely to become extinct ; and he preferred a papal dispensation to marrying without one, and thus furnishing a test case as to the valuelessness of the reservatum ecclesiasticum. In his place Gebhard (II) of the noble Swabian family of Waldburg, a nephew of the zealous Cardinal Otto of Augsburg, was elected Archbishop and at once confirmed by Gregory XIII. The Protestant party in the Chapter, headed by Count Hermann von Neuenaar, a nephew of Archbishop Hermann von Wied, had carried Gebhard, calculating on his dissolute habits of life, for in the year after his election he was living with the Countess Agnes von Mansfeld. Early in 1582 her brothers made a raid in approved fashion on the Electoral Palace at Bonn, and obtained from Archbishop Gebhard a promise of marriage, which he appears to have made with the intention of resigning his Archbishopric. But Hermann von Neuenaar and his faction now represented to Gebhard that marriage was reconcilable with the retention of his see. The Protestantisation of the see, which must necessarily follow, would involve a defiance of the reservatum ecclesïastïcum, and with it of the whole Catholic party in the Empire. If successfully carried out it would effectually break up the north-western group of Catholic States, in which the defection of Aachen had already made a gap, and throw this portal of the Empire entirely open to the ingress of Dutch Protestant influence.

But Gebhard had a light heart, and in August, 1582, betook himself to his Westphalian dominions, where the Protestant element was strong, and where the close vicinity of the northern Netherlands made it easy to collect troops with the aid of John of Nassau, and the ever-ready John Casimir. At Cologne itself Gebhard could not reckon on the majority of the Chapter, while the town council kept down the Protestant malcontents in the city, and the Rhenish nobles were in the main adverse to his enterprise. A Diet of the whole Electorate held at Cologne in January, 1583, at which the ambassadors of Saxony and Brandenburg contented themselves with a platonic approval of Gebhard's proceedings, while the Imperial aid was promised to the Estates, should they resolve to resist him, broke up without formulating a decision ; and the two sides prepared for a conflict in arms. In February Gebhard married his

leman ; and in April the Pope issued his Bull of deprivation. In May Ernest of Bavaria, who in 1581 had added the Prince-bishopric of Liege to his other sees, was elected Archbishop of Cologne. Spanish troops had by the Emperor's request at the beginning of the year occupied the neighbourhood of Aachen.

Meanwhile Gebhard, who in March, 1583, had held a Diet of his own in Westphalia, and then set on foot as much of a Protestant reformation as was feasible, sought in his turn for outside support. The Protestant Princes were quite aware of the directness with which the problem of respecting the reservation ecclesiasticum, or of ignoring it in the interests of Protestant expansion, was now presented to them. But athwart any possibility of a combined Protestant movement of aggression lay the Formula Concordiae, and the unwillingness of its adherents to act with the Calvinists. In April, Gebhard formally conferred the chief command of his forces upon John Casimir, who in the summer executed a series of marches up and down the Rhine, while Henry of Navarre's emissary, Ségur, was soliciting the cooperation of the German Protestant Courts in his great combination with England and the Dutch, and promising pecuniary aid for the Cologne design. Such proceedings were little to the taste of the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg ; yet John Casimir might have defied the Imperial threat of the ban of the Empire (October), for not one of the Circles whom the Emperor had ordered to support the Cologne Chapter had stirred in response to his mandate. But about the same time the death of the Elector Palatine Lewis called his brother home to assume the regency on behalf of the young Elector Frederick IV ; and John Casimir's army was disbanded, though portions of it found their way back to Westphalia.

In January, 1584, Gebhard gained a victory at Alost over Duke Frederick of Saxe-Lauenburg, the commander of the capitular troops; but in the same month Bonn, which was still held for Gebhard, was surrendered by mutineers to a Spanish and Bavarian force. There now only remained to recover the Westphalian portion of the Electoral dominions, where with some pecuniary assistance from the States General Gebhard still stood his ground. In March Duke Ferdinand of Bavaria nearly succeeded in cutting him off' with all his forces ; but he contrived to escape with a thousand horse into the Netherlands, where he and his wife were received by William of Orange at Delft. In Gebhard's rear Westphalia was speedily re-catholicised under the eyes of the Bavarian commander ; but events in the Netherlands, the assassination of Orange (July) in particular, put any further Dutch support of Gebhard out of the question, and after some further hesitation Ernest was admitted into, the body of Electors of the Empire {Kurfürstenverein) of which, as his nephew's guardian, John Casimir was now a member.

After one or two attempts at recovering his Electorate by force, Gebhard threw up the game, and withdrew to his deanery at Strassburg,

where three deposed and excommunicated Canons of Cologne were likewise members of the Chapter. They transplanted the Cologne war to Strassburg by establishing themselves by force of arms, and with the sympathy of the Strassburg citizens, in the capitular premises ; and Gebhard remained in possession here till his death. In 1592 he helped to bring about an episcopal schism in Strassburg, which began by a double election of Bishops-Cardinal Charles of Lorraine, Bishop of Metz, and John George of Brandenburg, son of the administrator of Magdeburg. The former appeared on the scene with an armed force, with whose operations Huguenot troops in Dutch pay interfered ; and after in 1593 a truce had been arranged on the uti possidetis basis, an Imperial Commission was appointed to bring the matter to a conclusion. But on this occasion Austrian policy was vigilant. In 1598 an Imperial "indulgence" was granted to the Cardinal of Lorraine, which enabled him to postulate Archduke Leopold as his Coadjutor ; and in 1599 the Cardinal was invested with the see. Austria had thus secured an important further footing in Elsass ; and in November, 1604, the compromise of Hagenau brought the Strassburg episcopal quarrel to a close, John George being bought out. In 1601, Gebhard was laid to rest with great pomp in Strassburg minster. Few men personally so insignificant have made more stir in the world.

The recognition of Ernest of Bavaria at Cologne had in 1585 been followed by his election as Prince-Bishop of Munster, John William of Cleves having by his elder brother's death become heir to his father's duchies. In the same year the sees of Paderborn and Osnabrück, and not long afterwards that of Minden, were restored to Catholic occupancy. Of greater importance was the progress of the Counter-Reformation in the see of Würzburg under the high-minded and strenuous Bishop Julius Echter von Mespelbronn. He made over to the Jesuits the theological and philosophical faculties of the University of Würzburg, founded by him in 1582 ; and from 1585-7 reformed his diocese root and branch. His example was more or less effectively followed in other sees of the south-west and south, notably in Bamberg and in Salzburg.

In Bavaria Duke William V, whose ultramontane tendencies were shown by his concordat with Pope Gregory XIII (1583), warmly favoured the idea of a working alliance among the Catholic Princes. But, though this might have most easily been brought about by the development of the Landsberg League, the perennial jealousy between the Bavarian and Austrian Houses, which no religious or political sympathy and no intermarriage could subdue, made itself felt ; and in the end Archduke Ferdinand of the Tyrol quitted the League, followed by the city of Nürnberg. For the rest, the infirm state of health of William V obliged him in 1591 to admit his son Maximilian to a share in the ducal government ; but he did not wholly resign till 1598, when an epoch of unprecedented significance began in the history of Bavarian policy.

While the Baden-Baden Margraves had been educated as Catholics under Bavarian guardianship, Margrave Jacob III of Baden-Hochberg was brought over from Lutheranism to the Church of Rome through the efforts of Johannes Pistorius, himself a convert and afterwards confessor of the Emperor Rudolf (1590). But Jacob, who thus applied the principle of the reservatum ecclesiasticum by immediately imposing his faith upon his dominions, died a few months later-some said from poison, others from excess.

The progress of the Counter-Reformation was favoured in varying measure by the long succession of Popes beginning with Pius V and Gregory XIII. Sixtus V (1585-90) was more occupied with French and Spanish than with German affairs ; and in his differences with the Jesuits the Emperor Rudolf refused to join Duke William V of Bavaria in intervening. Gregory XIV (1590-1) during his brief pontificate unhesitatingly fell in both with the principles of the Catholic Restoration and with the Spanish policy which had caused so much searching of heart to Sixtus. The ascendancy of the Jesuits was temporarily obscured under the politic rule of Clement VIII (1592-1605) ; but in Paul V (1605-21) a Pontiff of fiery determination once more ascended the papal throne, under none of whose occupants during the whole of this period the struggle against heresy had ceased.

On the death in 1583 of the Lutheran Elector Palatine Lewis, John Casimir had assumed the guardianship of the nine-year old Elector Frederick IV, leaving the other guardians appointed by Lewis's will to institute a suit before the Kammergericht. The unwillingness of the Emperor in 1588 to admit the administrator Joachim Frederick of Magdeburg to a seat, in the ordinary rotation, on the Commission of revision to which all the decisions of the Kammergericht were subject, blocked the whole revisory process and thus rendered futile the decisions of the tribunal itself. This encouraged John Casimir, whom in 1585 the Emperor had invested with the Palatinate in the name of his nephew, not only to provide for the latter a thorough Calvinistic education, but to effect a complete restoration of Calvinism in the Rhenish Palatinate, while in the Upper Palatinate going as far as he could in the same direction. These proceedings, together with John Casimir's attempts to bring over to his faith the young Elector's sister Christina and to coerce his own Lutheran wife Elizabeth, Augustus of Saxony's daughter, into Calvinism, widened the breach between Palatine and Saxon policy. Yet at no time was combined action among the German Protestants more urgently needed by the common cause, endangered as it was by the assassination of Orange (1584) and the capitulation of Henry III to the League (1585). Elizabeth just before sending Leicester into the Netherlands, commissioned an agent (Bodley) to the German Courts, whither he was soon followed by another diplomatist (Ségur) on behalf of Henry of Navarre. In October John Casimir,

whose designs were warmly seconded by the far-sighted Landgrave William of Hesse-Cassel, conveyed to Elizabeth proposals for a jointly equipped expedition on a scale even larger than that for which she had promised her support. Neither Augustus of Saxony nor John George of Brandenburg would go beyond joining in an embassy to Henry III ; but on February 16, 1586, the Elector Augustus died.

The event was of great significance for the peace of the Empire abroad and at home. The desire for an active foreign policy was growing wider and warmer among the Protestant Princes of all shades of religious opinion. Much therefore depended on the line of religious policy which the new Elector of Saxony might elect to follow. It is quite unlikely that the young Christian I had formed any deliberate design of introducing Calvinism into his Electorate, or that his chief minister, Nicolas Krell, was an instrument in the hands of John Casimir and the Palatine Councillors. It is more probable that under Krell's influence Christian inclined to the broader "Philippist" theological views which had maintained themselves in opposition to the Formula Concordiae in spheres of Saxon society at all times open to academical inspiration. So early as 1587 he announced his intention of dispensing with the adherence to the Formula imposed on clergy and teachers ; and in 1589 he appointed Krell Chancellor, abolishing his Privy Council as a permanent authority. In 1590 the ecclesiastical change was made definite by the abolition of the sacramental rite of exorcism (the conjuration of the Devil to depart from the baptised and regenerate), which the Calvinists had long discontinued and to the retention of which Melanchthon had declared himself indifferent.

With regard to foreign policy, however, though Christian I was on the friendliest of terms with John Casimir, caution was still thought desirable. In October, 1586, the German Protestant embassy to Henry III of France, after being kept waiting for two months, had been unceremoniously sent home; and in November Krell, though in sympathy with the Huguenots, drew up a memorandum against the participation of Protestant Estates of the Empire in foreign religious wars. But John Casimir was not to be held back, and early in 1587 concluded a treaty of alliance, drawn up in the grand style, with Navarre. John Casimir's actual resources, however, were limited to 150,000 florins from Queen Elizabeth, and a third of the sum from Denmark and Navarre ; and the German army, commanded by the Duke of Bouillon, were after a useful campaign cut up by Guise (November).

It would be unjust to hold John Casimir responsible for the interruption of peace, for the embers of the Cologne war had never died out. The Stadholder of Gelders, Count Adolf von Neuenaar, had with the aid of the Geldrian captain Martin Schenck von Nydeggen, who had learnt the military art under Parma, harried Archbishop Ernest's dominions by a petty warfare which he pretended to carry on

in Gebhard's name. Ernest fell back on the aid of Parma, who captured Neuss and allowed a massacre to follow (July). Bonn was hereupon taken by Schenck (December, 1587), and retaken by the Spaniards (September, 1588) ; and in the following year (1589) Spanish troops occupied the important Cologne frontier fortress of Rheinberg.

Thus, on the Lower Rhine, a chronic state of foreign invasion had come to prevail, while higher up, and in Elsass, the continued French wars had led to a perpetual ingress and egress of armed forces. Foreign intervention must before long seek to determine the future of the western borderlands. Meanwhile, the course of the struggle against Spain and Rome reached its most critical stage in 1588 and '89, the years of the destruction of the Armada, and of the height of the religious and political conflict in France. Henry IV now once more sought the aid of the German Protestant Princes ; and in 1590 Christian I and John Casimir at Flauen agreed upon a list of grievances to be laid before the Emperor, which included the Strassburg and Aachen cases, and the reservatum ecclesiasticum. Brandenburg joined the two other Electors ; but Rudolf turned a deaf ear to their remonstrance. After withdrawing from a Deputationstag held at Frankfort (September, 1590), where complaints had been made in vain of the Spanish violations of the frontier, the representatives of the three Temporal Electors, together with those of the Administrator of Magdeburg, the three Landgraves of Hesse, and the rest of the party of movement, met at Torgau (February, 1591). Here, an aid to Henry IV of 8000 foot and 6000 horse, to be partly paid by English money, was voted, and the young Prince Christian of Anhalt was appointed to the command. Within the Empire the Torgau Alliance was to be purely defensive; but it marked unmistakably the advance of the Calvinist interest. The House of Anhalt was known to incline that way ; and already in 1588 the Duke of Zweibrücken had established Calvinism, with a catechism of his own on the Heidelberg model.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Alliance of Torgau there occurred, however, an inopportune series of deaths. The earliest of these was that of Christian I of Saxony. The storm against his religious and administrative changes had broken out, when, early in 1591, he had ordered exorcism to be omitted from the christening of his youngest daughter. The nobility, who believed their ascendancy at issue, by a corporate protest identified themselves with the Lutheran resistance; many ministers who denounced the government were driven into exile ; and the population, by refusing to receive either of the Sacraments at the hands of the conforming clergy, placed themselves under a sort of interdict. In the midst of these troubles Christian died, the victim « of infirmity, vexation, and drink (September, 1591). His successor, Christian II, was a boy of eight years of age ; and his appointed guardians, Duke Frederick William of Saxe-Altenburg and the Elector John George of Brandenburg, were both rigid adherents of the Formula

Concordiae. They at once ordered a visitation, which, with the general approbation of nobility and people, uprooted Calvinism-or crypto-Calvinism-throughout the electorate. Krell was after a long enquiry put to death (1601). The domination of the Formula Concordiae was reasserted in the electorate, where for many generations to come it remained a rule of faith as free from loopholes as the Decrees of the Council of Trent. When Christian II grew into manhood he seems to have become a type of too many of the German Princes of his day ; entirely given up to the delights of show, sport, and drinking-bout, devoid of all mental vigour and shrinking from the ghost of an initiative. He kept wholly aloof from cooperation with the Protestant party in the Empire ; and the day-dream of a union between Saxony and the Palatinate as the two leaders of that party was over.

Not long afterwards (January, 1592) John Casimir's unquiet spirit passed away. Only a few weeks were wanting to the coming of age of the Elector Palatine Frederick IV ; but John Casimir had taken care to name a species of committee (Oberrath) of the Privy Council, which conducted affairs both before and after his nephew's actual accession. It was, of course, thoroughly Calvinist and in sympathy with the Huguenots; and in the following year the Elector married Louisa Juliana, daughter of the murdered William of Orange. Frederick IV steadily adhered to the far-sighted policy of John Casimir, whose death nevertheless was a serious loss to the cause of which he had long been the foremost champion. The Amberger Händel (a Lutheran agitation in the Upper Palatinate, provoked by the old Count Palatine Richard) hampered the outset of the new rule; and, owing to his profuse expenditure, Frederick's finances soon fell into disorder. Not all his pleasures were, however, unrefined ; and his respect for intellectual power raised the University of Heidelberg and its library to unprecedented renown.

In the same year (September, 1592), died Landgrave William * the Wise " of Hesse-Cassel, leaving behind him a son, Landgrave Maurice, only twenty years of age, but destined to become a guiding spirit of the Calvinist party of action. Thus, though the Torgau Alliance seemed forgotten almost so soon as it had been formed, the time could not fail to arrive for resuming the idea which that compact had embodied.

Such was the political situation in the Empire when a crisis seemed to announce itself on its western as well as on its eastern borders. In July, 1593, Henry IV abjured Protestantism; but he speedily made it clear that his conversion would only leave him more free than before to carry on his struggle with the Spanish Power, and that he had never been more anxious to secure the cooperation of the German Protestant Princes. And, before the year was out, a Turkish alarm arose such as had not been previously experienced in this reign.

The immediate situation of affairs in which the Diet met at Ratisbon on June 2, 1593, was by no means a promising one for the Emperor.

He had to bring forward a more urgent demand for aid against the Turks than on any previous occasion ; but in his hereditary dominions, on whose levies the defence of the frontier must in the first instance depend, nobility, towns, and peasantry were banding together against his authority. It was well that in 1592 he had made his peace with Poland by Archduke Maximilian's final renunciation of his claims to the throne, and by marrying Ferdinand of Styria's sister Anne to King Sigismund III. On the other hand, Rudolfs western policy, in which Austrian and Imperial interests had more or less coincided, had been wholly unsuccessful; and he could only fall back upon a general support of Spanish action, provided the government of the Netherlands were entrusted to Austrian Archdukes.

Though the majority at the Diet was prepared to vote the Turkish grant, and though Saxony went with the majority, the Protestant opposition, inspired by Palatine counsellors, were resolved to utilise the opportunity for their purposes. On March, 1594, a meeting was held at Heilbronn, which was attended in person by the young Elector Palatine, Frederick IV, Duke Frederick of Württemberg, a Prince of eager dynastic ambition, the Calvinist Duke of Zweibrücken, and the Margraves of Ansbach and Baden-Durlach. They drew up a list of grievances of unprecedented completeness, and formulated a distinct statement of the Palatine reading of the Religious Peace. A free right of change of religion was claimed for ecclesiastical States and foundations, and for Imperial towns ; the right of Catholic rulers to expel their Protestant subjects, and the validity of the Dedaratio Ferdinandea, were denied ; and a protest was added against the jurisdiction of the Rekhshqfrath as concurrent with that of the paralysed Reichskammergericht.

In May Rudolf at last appeared in person at the Diet; and the conflict seemed likely to declare itself on the question of the admissibility of Protestant Administrators of episcopal sees, of whom not less than seven, headed by Joachim Frederick of Magdeburg, had found their way unsummoned to Ratisbon. The Heilbronners had resolved to make their own attendance conditional upon the admission of the seven, when an anti-Calvinist faction formed itself among the northern and other small Lutheran Princes, headed by the Ernestine Duke Frederick William of Saxe-Altenburg, who was acting as regent of the Saxon Electorate during the minority of Christian II. They were ultimately joined by Württemberg. Having, in spite of some recalcitrance on the part of Magdeburg, succeeded in maintaining the exclusion of the Administrators, the "moderate" faction was encouraged to use its endeavours to weaken the effect of the Heilbronn draft. The Palatine • party (or most of its members) indeed declared that they would make the Turkish grant conditional upon the redress of their grievances ; and the Catholics retorted by grievances of their own, and by charging the Calvinists, not the Lutherans, with being the real disturbers of the peace.

In the end the Turkish grant-an unusually large one, calculated to suffice till 1600-was made over the heads of the minority, which did not venture to protest.

But, as has been seen, the campaigns against the Turks were unsuccessful (1594-6) ; and a new Diet therefore had to be summoned, which met at Ratisbon in December, 1597. Rudolf, who was becoming more and more unwilling to appear in public, was represented by Matthias, unadorned by any Hungarian laurels ; and the same game was played over again, with increased determination, by the Palatines and their allies, the " Corresponding " Princes (die Correspondirenden), as about this time the party came to be called. It comprised the Heilbronn group, with the addition of Duke Henry Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbiittel, the Hessian Landgraves, the Anhalt Princes, and the Wetterau Counts, together with, shortly after the close of the Diet, the Administrator Joachim Frederick of Brandenburg, who in 1598 succeeded as Elector of Brandenburg. The towns-as usual Lutheran and to some extent Imperialist in their sympathies, and pre-eminently timid-held aloof at the last. In the face of an Imperial demand for an enormous grant, they not only protested against its exorbitancy, but declared the minority not bound by the vote of the majority. A majority vote was, however, actually passed in favour of a grant half as large again as that to which the Corresponding Estates were prepared to assent. When, hereupon, the ban of the Empire was, according to usage, proclaimed against defaulters, the minority protested (April, 1598). Shortly after the dissolution of the Diet the Kammergericht summoned certain of the defaulters (May) ; and though nearly five years elapsed before, on the attempted enforcement of judgment, payment by composition was made, a serious constitutional conflict had thus been added to the thickening difficulties of the Empire-at Aachen, in the Strassburg diocese, and in the Jiilich-Cleves duchies.

Of the Jülich-Cleves-Berg question the dangerous significance had long been patent. While in Jiilich most of the nobles were Catholics, in Berg (whose Estates sat with those of Jülich) and in Cleves Protestantism was in the ascendant; the towns being, of course, throughout open to Calvinist immigration. Frequent incursions of both Spanish and Dutch troops took place accordingly ; and the agreement of the Estates of the duchies for their common defence (1587) was quite ineffective. In 1584, John William, the only surviving son of Duke William, had through Bavarian and papal management been married to the Catholic Jacobaea of Baden-Baden ; and on being admitted to a share in the government of the duchies in consequence of his father's mental derangement, had endeavoured to repress Protestantism and show himself obsequious to the Spanish government in the Netherlands. But by 1590 John William himself was hopelessly insane. There were no children from his marriage.

The primary question to be settled, when the old Duke William should pass away, was that of the government of the duchies. The Emperor at once issued a mandate entrusting it to the ducal Council, which was mainly Catholic; but the Estates held a meeting at Düsseldorf (the Jlilich capital) for the assertion of their rights. Duke John William's ambitious consort, the Catholic Jacobaea, was likewise preparing to assert her pretensions. On Duke William's solicitation the principle of indivisibility had been established for his dominions by Imperial privileges granted by Ferdinand I and Maximilian II ; and as far back as 1546 he had obtained from Charles V a further privilege, granting the right of succession to his female line in case of the extinction of his male. It was, however, uncertain whether these grants could be held to extinguish an older privilege, dating back to Frederick III and Maximilian I, which in the event of the extinction of the male line of Julich-Berg reserved the succession in these two duchies to the whole House of Saxony. It is true that this older privilege had been twice ignored: once when Maximilian had made Maria of Julich-Berg capable of succeeding and thus of bringing these duchies as a dowry to Duke John III of Cleves (1516), and again when in 1544 the right of succession had been granted to John Ill's daughter Sibylla, who had married the Elector John Frederick of Saxony. In the troublous days of 1546 the Ernestine claim had gone to the wall ; and now there seemed a prospect of a revival, with the goodwill of the Emperor, of the pretensions of the whole Saxon House, represented by the Albertine Elector.

The female line of Duke William of Julich-Cleves-Berg consisted of four daughters. Of these the eldest, Maria Eleonora, was married to the mad Duke Albert Frederick of Prussia ; which duchy was administered for him by Margrave George Frederick of Brandenburg-Ansbach, one of the leaders of the advanced Protestant party in the Empire. Her sons having died young, her claims were by their supporters declared to pass to her youngest daughter Anna, who had married John Sigismund, eldest son of Joachim Frederick, Administrator of Magdeburg and from 1598 Elector of Brandenburg. But this was disputed by the husband of Duke William's second daughter Anna, Count Palatine Philip Lewis of Neuburg, to whose son by her, Wolfgang Wilhelm, it was contended that the female claim to the duchy would ultimately pass. The husbands of the third daughter, Magdalena, and the fourth, Sibylla,-Count Palatine John of Zweibrücken and the Catholic Margrave Philip of Baden-Baden-were of no immediate importance.

Thus, when on January 5, 1592, Duke William died at Düsseldorf a conflict at once broke out around his helpless successor, Duke John William. The Protestant claimants demanded the establishment of an administration on their behalf, and so early as 1594 the States General offered to intervene; but the time had not yet come. At first the Duchess Jacobaea, who secured an Imperial mandate in her favour,

seemed to control the situation ; but in 1595 an Imperial Commission placed the government in the hands of the ducal Council. Less than two years later the Duchess was found dead in her bed, and the Emperor forbade an enquiry. The Councillors covenanted to allow no claimant to the succession to enter the country till a judicial settlement should have been accepted by the Estates and themselves; and every year during which the mad Duke continued to linger on seemed to ripen the pear for the plucking of Spain.

But many changes were to take place on the shifting scene of European politics before the Julich-Cleves difficulty brought the great contending forces to the very brink of a collision. The war which in 1595 Henry IV had with the support of England and the United Provinces declared against Spain ended in 1598 with the Peace of Vervins and the liberation of the soil of France; and, though the struggle in the Netherlands was not yet over, Philip II had made up his mind to sacrifice the Spanish rule over them in order that they should not be wholly lost to the House of Habsburg. In the very month of his death (September, 1598) a large and ill-paid Spanish army flooded the north-western parts of the Empire, took Calvinist Wesel, and commenced an irregular Counter-Reformation in the Westphalian and neighbouring Circles. Such was the indignation created by these proceedings that in March, 1599, the Corresponding Princes at Frankfort voted the raising of 16,000 men against the Spaniards. Some of the contingents were actually levied; but the new Elector of Brandenburg was too much hampered by home difficulties to come forward, and even the Palatines were unprepared for immediate action. The command over the force voted at Frankfort was offered to Prince Christian of Anhalt, but declined by him.

It is thus-falling back in order to advance more surely-that the incarnation of the militant Calvinism which was to become responsible for the outbreak of the direst of European religious wars begins to play a part in political history. Christian of Anhalt-Bernburg, like his elder brother John George of Anhalt-Dessau, was a linguist and a traveller ; already in his nineteenth year, the Emperor Rudolf, whom he never ceased to attract, had attached him to an embassy to Constantinople. Through Queen Elizabeth he was introduced to Henry of Navarre, and in 1591 commanded a German force for whose services in aid of the Huguenots Henry long remained in his debt. He afterwards served in the Strassburg war (1592). But the statesman predominated in him over the military commander; and in 1595, after his marriage to Countess Anne of Bentheim, he settled at Amberg as governor of the Upper Palatinate. Their Court was French in manners and language ; and like his elder brother he had become a declared Calvinist. There can be no doubt as to the sincerity of his religious convictions ; but the keynote of the policy, which in person and by means of his correspondence

(Kanzlei) he came to pursue with a ubiquitous activity, and a versatility of resource beyond compare even in this restless and unscrupulous age, was enmity against the House of Habsburg as the arch-foe of the liberty (Libertäf) of the German Princes.

Christian of Anhalt, as a Palatine official, had, in pursuance of the Palatine policy of the hour, declined to take charge of an insufficient army and an immature movement ; and, though not long after this the Spaniards withdrew from the Empire except from the fortress of Rheinberg, both the Aachen and Strassburg difficulties were, as has been seen, settled against the Protestant interest. Much anxiety was therefore felt as to the revisions of four recent judgments of the Kammergericht, awaited about this time (1600) from the Deputationstag assembled at Speier, in accordance with powers conferred upon that body by the Diet of 1594. These judgments, ranging in their dates from 1593 to 1599, ordered the restitution of four convents of the southwest-Christgarten, Frauenalb, St Margaret's at Strassburg, and Hirschhorn-which had been appropriated by the territorial lords of their respective districts, on the principle that the provisions of the Religious Peace were not applicable to ecclesiastical foundations appropriated after the Treaty of Passau. This view seemed likely to be accepted by the Committee of revision ; but the move was checkmated by the Palatines and their adherents at Speier, who objected in limine to any revision involving a point disputed between Catholics and Protestants by any other body than the Diet. In the following year the " Corresponding " Estates agreed at Friedberg (July) to allow no further visitations of the Kammergericht. As they at the same time resolved to oppose the execution of any judgment of the Reichshofrath, this issue of the so-called Vierklosterstreit amounted, as it had been intended to amount, to a collapse of the supreme judicial machinery of the Empire.

Nor were the Catholics able to remedy this breakdown at the Diet which the continued expenditure of the Turkish War once more made it necessary to summon to Ratisbon for 1603. The Emperor obtained his grant, though the minority adhered to their new principle that it was not bound on this head by the vote of the majority. But on what proved the main question of debate, the " Corresponding " Estates, rather than listen to the renewed proposal that the revisions of Kammergericlit judgments should be committed to a Deputationstag, withdrew from the sittings of the Diet; whereupon Archduke Matthias simply postponed the whole question (July, 1603). Beyond a doubt the advanced Protestant party had rightly apprehended the wish of the Catholics to recover all the ecclesiastical foundations confiscated since 1552 ; but, as an alternative to recovery by judicial process, the Protestants proposed a course which, as Maximilian of Bavaria pointed out, could hardly but lead to anarchy.

Maximilian-who had succeeded to the government of the paternal

duchy in 1597-was a personage of the utmost importance for the whole course of the conflict in the Empire from this time forward till his death, three years after the close of the Thirty Years' War. While the religious policy of " Maximilian the Catholic " was traditional in his House, and strengthened by a strong personal belief both in the vitality of Catholicism and in the value of wholeheartedness in its champions, the dynastic and territorial point of view was with him, as with most of his fellow Princes, the determining one. He worked in accord with the Jesuits, though by no means a tool in their hands ; and as a politician he took advantage of the necessities as well as the successes of the House of Austria. At home, he vigorously reorganised the legal, financial, and military system of his duchy; abroad, his influence, strengthened by that of his brother the pluralist Archbishop of Cologne, was rooted in a rare combination of prudence-"propria imperantis virtus(tm) as he told his son-with resolute high courage.

In the interval between the Diets of 1603 and 1608 a more definite shape was gradually assumed by the struggle between the party of movement among the Protestants, of which Christian of Anhalt was the soul, and the determined Catholic resistance, led by Maximilian of Bavaria. But the new feature in the situation was the reluctant surrender by Rudolf II into the wavering hands of his brother Matthias of the remnant of Imperial responsibility for the maintenance of peace among the contending forces. The tribunals of the Empire had broken down ; and now followed a wholly unprecedented personal humiliation of the head of the Empire himself. During the earlier and longer part of Rudolf IPs reign it was not so much want of insight as an utter weakness in action which had caused his impotence at home and abroad. Now, his insane suspiciousness and perversity of judgment retarded action of any sort, and frequently ended in sheer inaction. Though he never permanently lost his wits, he sank into a hypochondria which he neither controlled nor was capable of controlling. He feared assassination, and (it is said under the nightmare of a prediction that his murderer would be a monk) conceived a violent prejudice against clergy and Church, and fell into a special distrust of the Jesuits.

Protracted discussions had already taken place among the Archdukes as to the succession in Rudolf's dominions as well as in the Empire; Philip III of Spain and Pope Clement VIII were now taken into confidence; and their envoys and Ernest of Cologne made some representations to the Emperor. But neither these nor the visit of Archdukes Matthias and Maximilian in 1603 had the slightest effect. Meanwhile, as has been seen, everything had gone wrong in Hungary ; and the religious agitation .had communicated itself to Bohemia and the German hereditary lands. In April, 1605, Matthias and Maximilian, with their Styrian kinsmen, Ferdinand and his younger brother Maximilian Ernest, met at Linz, whence they all repaired to Prague, with an entreaty that the Emperor

would make over the conduct of Hungarian affairs to Matthias, and proceed to regulate the succession. Making some pretence about marriage negotiations on his own account he, notwithstanding continued pressure from Matthias, persisted in his refusal to accept a successor ; but at last he empowered Matthias to settle matters in Hungary and Transylvania, and to make peace with the Turks (May-October, 1605).

These tasks, as we have seen, were actually accomplished by Matthias- the former by means of concessions to the Hungarian Protestants, which could not but exercise a contagious effect upon Bohemia and the Austrian duchies. Matthias, however, though he had in him no really Protestant vein like his father's, ran the risk of offending not only the Emperor, but Spain and the new Pope, Paul V, and went counter to the counsel of Klesl, with which in his heart he agreed. The safety of Austria, and secondarily of the Empire, outweighed all other arguments ; and on April 25,1606, the Archdukes had at Vienna concluded a family compact, which decided the situation. On the ground of the Emperor's mental incapacity Matthias was in the name of the entire House of Austria appointed its head ; and the Archdukes agreed that, should an Imperial election be rendered necessary by the same cause, they would use their best endeavours to secure the choice of Matthias.

Thus assured, Matthias at last, on June 23,1606, by the conclusion of the so-called Treaty of Vienna brought to an issue his long negotiation with the Hungarian Estates, who would have preferred as an additional security to elect him King. On November 11 followed the Peace of Zsitva-Torok with the Turks. But Matthias could not yet feel certain of ultimate success in the difficult game which he was playing against the cunning perversity of his elder. The Emperor ratified the Hungarian compact, but with a reservation of his coronation oath, and the Turkish Peace, with the unconcealed intention of speedily breaking it. And, although the rest of the Archdukes-including Archduke Albert, the joint ruler of the Spanish Netherlands-adhered to the family compact, cooperation for its purposes was now refused by Archduke Ferdinand. He may not have quite seized the significance of the agreement, which it is said his pious mother, the Bavarian Maria, now first made clear to him ; he may have shrunk from proceedings prejudicial to the divine authority of the Emperor ; he may have distrusted the policy of Matthias-and he may have thought of the Imperial Crown for himself. In any case, his withdrawal took away all security from the compact, and left Matthias once more face to face with an uncertain future. That the Emperor was turning to the Styrian line, was also indicated by his appointment of Ferdinand as his commissioner for the Diet summoned for the close of 1607 ; and there seems also to have been talk of his diverting the Bohemian succession to his favourite, Leopold, Ferdinand's ambitious younger brother. Meanwhile he sank deeper and deeper into a succession of long spells of

silent gloom, varied by outbursts of ungovernable fury. How long could this endure ?

It was in these circumstances that Matthias resolved on carrying further the policy of the Treaty of Vienna, and, rashly or otherwise, entered on a course of action fraught with the most momentous consequences. He entered into close relations with the Hungarian leaders, and placed himself in touch with the league between them and their friends and sympathisers in Moravia and Austria, which after long negotiations had been concluded at Rossitz in December, 1607. Having made up his mind to a policy of concession to the Estates in all the dominions of the House, he on his own authority opened at Pressburg (January, 1608) a meeting of the Hungarian Estates, in which committees of the Austrian Estates took part. The leader of the Hungarians was Stephen Illeshazy; the foremost among the Austrians was Baron Erasmus von Tschernembl, who had thrown in his lot with the Protestants and was in frequent correspondence with Christian of Anhalt. At Pressburg Matthias progressed from the simple demand of a Turkish grant and the establishment of order in Austria to what was in effect a confederation between himself and the Hungarian and Austrian Estates against his brother's authority. On February 1-3,1608, the Pressburg alliance was concluded for upholding the treaties of 1606 (Vienna and Zsitva-Torok, which Rudolf was scheming to overthrow), and to this it was further agreed to invite the adherence of all the Estates which had joined in the Vienna compact. In other words, a general alliance of the Estates of Rudolfs dominions was to subvert his policy and government in favour of those of Matthias.

Ignoring a prohibitory mandate from the Emperor, Matthias hereupon with some difficulty secured the approval of the Pressburg alliance at a meeting of the Upper and Lower Austrian Diets, and more easily that of the Moravian Estates, largely through the exertions of Karl von Zerotin, a member of the Moravian Brotherhood, and akin in spirit to Illeshazy and Tschernembl. Matthias now levied taxes and troops, and set forth for the Bohemian frontier, issuing a manifesto in which he completely identified himself with the demands of the associated Estates, including that for the deposition of Rudolf II. On the frontier he met envoys from Philip III and Pope Paul V, who proposed to him that he should content himself with Hungary and Austria, and leave Bohemia to his brother. But Matthias was no longer his own master. On May 4, 1608, the Bohemian Estates, with those of Silesia and Moravia, were to meet the committees of the Pressburg allies ; and on the decision of Bohemia the solution of the whole problem must depend.

In this eventful summer of 1608, when the fraternal discord in the House of Austria had reached its crisis, the advanced Protestant party was at last» driven into opening a new stage in the religious conflict in the Empire. The renewed activity of Spain on the Netherlands frontier,

marked by Spinola's reoccupation of Rheinberg in 1606, was extremely disquieting, especially as, through the marriage (1599) of Duchess Antonia of Lorraine to Duke John William, Jülich-Cleves had of late been bound more closely than ever to the Spanish-Catholic interest. But while Frederick IV of the Palatinate, for dynastic reasons, at this time rather hung back from action, Christian of Anhalt was, since the death of George of Ansbach in 1603, more than ever the chief moving spirit among the Calvinists ; and inasmuch as nothing was to be expected from Protestant action at the Diet, he more and more concentrated his efforts upon two parallel lines of action. In the first place, the Estates, impeded by no consideration for the Empire at large, must fully and formally adopt the expedient of a union in imperio on which the meeting at Heilbronn had resolved in 1594; in the second place, such a union must assure itself of foreign support, and more especially of that of France. Christian of Anhält's " Chancery " was at work in the United Provinces, and among Austrians, Hungarians, and Bohemians, in the last instance not without an eye to the chances of a throne to be possibly alienated from the House of Austria. The first direct step in advance seems to have been taken when, on receiving a visit in 1602 from Landgrave Maurice of Hesse-Cassel (then on the eve of adopting Calvinism), Henry IV urged on his guest the expediency of a union or alliance between the Protestant Princes of Germany-with the immediate object of supplanting the Austrian by the Bavarian House at the next Imperial election. But though French envoys continued to work for this end, this particular scheme was dropped, to be revived later. The general purposes of this policy and its relations to Sully's ideas of a permanent reconstruction of the map of Europe and of its political system, are discussed elsewhere. In planning the overthrow of what remained of the Habsburg ascendancy in Europe, Henry could not but turn his thoughts to the German Protestant Princes, who were becoming more and more willing, with French aid, to unite for the defence of their religion and its securities against the Catholic Reaction, for the maintenance of their "liberty" against the Imperial authority of a reinvigorated House of Austria, and for the protection of the north-western frontier of the Empire against the renewed designs of Spain.

Henry's quarrel with the Duke of Bouillon for a time engrossed his attention and alienated Protestant sympathies ; but during this period (1603-5) Anhalfs activity continued, and the Protestant party of movement was materially strengthened by the definite accession of Brandenburg. In 1603 the Elector Joachim Frederick had made a territorial settlement which enabled him to assert with vigour the Brandenburg pretensions on the Jülich-Cleves duchies. He now married his grandson George William to Elizabeth, daughter of Frederick IV ; and the two Electors concluded an alliance with the States General for military aid in certain contingencies. Brandenburg, into which John

Sigismund was actually to introduce Calvinism in 1608, was now bound to the Palatine party. Of the return, on the other hand, of the Elector Christian to the policy of his father there was no hope; and the political influence of Saxony was on the wane. Still even in Lutheran Saxony as in Lutheran Württemberg there was a growing sense of uneasiness at the growth of Jesuit influence, and the Universities of Wittenberg and Tübingen continued to supply Austria with Protestant preachers and to flood it with anti-papal literature.

Thus Anhalt continued his manoeuvres and intrigues for the formation of a Protestant union which should in the first place direct its efforts to breaking the tenure of the Imperial throne by the House of Austria- perhaps beginning by securing the succession of the celibate Archduke Maximilian. With this most recent draft from his Chancery in his hands, Anhalt in 1606 repaired to Paris, where Henry IV now offered, in the event of a strong alliance of German Princes being brought about, to contribute two-thirds of the cost of the forces to be jointly raised by it and himself. But on Christian's return the plan, which would have amounted to a direct cooperation on the part of the proposed union in Henry's action against Spain on behalf of the United Provinces, fell through once more, owing to the unwillingness of both Brandenburg «nd the Palatinate to venture so far (1607). Thus the prospect of a union for which Christian of Anhalt had been labouring seemed once more remote when the time approached for the meeting of the Diet, io be presided over in the Emperor's name by Ferdinand of Styria, the pupil of the Jesuits. At last-immediately before the meeting of the Diet-an event occurred which abruptly brought the religious parties face to face, and through the effect of which the combination which Henry IV and Christian of Anhalt had in vain sought to bring about was actually accomplished.

Donauwörth was a small Imperial town in the Swabian Circle, where at the time of the Religious Peace both Catholicism and Protestantism had been professed, but which now contained less than a score of Catholic households. But the younger generations of the Benedictines of the Holy Cross at Donauwörth, most of whom had been trained at Dillingen, had resolved to stem the tide ; and many years since had to this end revived the use of processions. In 1603 they had added the waving of banners ; whereupon the Protestant town council had intervened ; so that in 1605 Bishop Henry of Augsburg obtained from the Reichshqfrath a summary mandate. On the strength of this in September, 1606, a procession of special provocativeness was held ; and a riot of corresponding vehemence ensued, which the town council was unable to restrain. Duke Maximilian of Bavaria was now commissioned by the Emperor to inspect the case, and protect the conventual clergy and other Catholics at Donauwörth in the exercise of their religion.

Maximilian, probably moved chiefly by territorial considerations,

accepted the Imperial commission. Without loss of time, he, in April, 1607, ordered the Donauwörth town council to pledge itself that Catholic worship should remain undisturbed, and to allow a procession to be held. When the town council declined to comply, he gave it the choice between submission or the Ban of the Empire. Great agitation ensued among the neighbouring Protestant Estates-Neuburg in particular, Württemberg, Ansbach, and the cities of Ulm and Nürnberg; but their meeting at Stuttgart (July) led to no result. On November 12 the Ban of the Empire was actually promulgated against Donauwörth, and Maximilian was charged with its execution. The Protestant towns armed ; but Württemberg and the Elector Palatine hung back ; and when on December 8 Maximilian had a force of 5000 foot and 600 horse in readiness, Donauwörth was left without an auxiliary. The Protestant preachers and some of the citizens fled; and on December 17 a body of 600 foot and 300 horse took possession of the town. Nobody was hurt in life or limb, but in all other respects the Bavarians treated Donauwörth as a conquered town; and Maximilian, who now perceived the significance of the pledge which he had secured, soon made it clear that he intended to keep a firm hand upon it.

When in January, 1608, the Diet was opened at Ratisbon, the importance of the Donauwörth incident very speedily became manifest. At a meeting of all the Protestant Estates the principle of making the large Turkish grant demanded by Archduke Ferdinand conditional on the redress of the Protestant grievances, and on the confirmation of the Religious Peace and the Treaty of Passau, was unanimously adopted. The Protestants refused to have a vote taken on the Catholic counter proposal that the Religious Peace should be confirmed with a clause restoring the exact condition of things in 1555; and, when the Catholics insisted, they withdrew for further instructions (February). When hereupon Ferdinand proposed a simple confirmation of the Peace, the Palatines demanded an express rejection of the proposed Catholic addition, and finally withdrew from the Diet, together with the Branden- burg ambassadors and those of most of the " Corresponding " Princes. The Saxons, who had accepted the concession, remained, with the representatives of a minority among the Protestant Princes and of the always timorous towns (April).

Thus the Diet of 1608 had ended in an open schism between the two Protestant sections; and the time had come for closing up the ranks of the party of movement. The Donauwörth incident had not only quickened the sympathies of Brandenburg, but also those of the Lutheran Philip Lewis of Neuburg, who had come forward on behalf of the town and was much alarmed by consequent Imperial menaces. When, after the breaking-up of the Diet, the Elector Palatine, the acknowledged leader of the Calvinists, was at last prevailed upon by Anhalt to take action, and when Lutheran Württemberg, afraid of

further judicial decisions against the confiscation of ecclesiastical property, gave in its adhesion, the goal was reached at last.

On May 16, 1608, a few weeks after the collapse of the Diet, while Maximilian of Bavaria was keeping a firm hold on Donauwörth and Archduke Matthias was marching upon Prague, the Union of the Evangelical Estates was formally concluded at Anhausen in the margra-vate of Ansbach. Its original members were the Elector Palatine, the Duke of Württemberg, the Count Palatine of Neuburg, and the Margraves of Ansbach, Culmbach, and Baden; Zweibrücken and the Houses of Oettingen and Anhalt soon acceded ; then came in Strassburg, Nürnberg and Ulm, respectively at the head of the Alsatian, Franconian and Swabian towns, with several others ; in 1609 the new Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg joined, together with Landgrave Maurice of Hesse-Cassel, who in 1607 had openly adopted Calvinism and was a pensioner of France. Hesse-Darmstadt, on the other hand, had been lost to the Protestant party, as had Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in the north, by reason of the Imperialism of Duke Henry Julius, due to dynastic and personal motives. Saxony too stood persistently aloof.

The slow birth of the Protestant Union had at last been expedited by a craving for political security rather than for religious expansion ; and it defined its primary purpose as the defence of any of its members if attacked in contravention of the laws of the Empire-which of course included the Religious Peace. At its head was to stand a Director, who for the first three years was to be the Elector Palatine ; the military command was to appertain to the Estate attacked, but that of troops employed outside the territory of the Union to the Director, who was to name a Lieutenant-General. The contributions for the first five years were to produce a sum of not much more than half a million of florins ; so that only a very large development of the Union and its resources could furnish the means for undertaking a serious war. As for Donauwörth, Maximilian retained it as a redeemable pledge; and in July, 1609, a provisional oath of homage to him was administered to the civic authorities. The retention of Donauwörth became a standing Protestant grievance ; but, with brief interruptions, the town henceforth remained Bavarian, and strictly Catholic.

Anhält's intrigues had for some time been particularly active in Bohemia; and he seems at one time to have thought of an armed intervention for placing Archduke Maximilian on the Bohemian, and then on the Imperial, throne. But the general ferment in the Habsburg dominions had come to a more speedy issue. A vast majority of the Bohemian population-nine-tenths, according to a more or less conjectural estimate -were tinder one name or another Protestant ; and there were religious grievances in abundance against the growing tendencies of Rudolfs government. On the other hand, the Bohemian Estates had a profound sense of autonomy; if the throne were vacant, they might place on it a

Protestant Prince, such as the Elector of Saxony ; and they were much offended by the self-reliance of the Estates of Moravia, a dependency of the Bohemian Crown. Thus though many Bohemian lords appeared at Czaslau, to listen to Matthias' proposals, the Bohemian Estates as such gathered at Prague, upon which Matthias now gradually advanced with his army. When he had reached Böhmisch Brod, some twenty miles' march from the capital, Rudolf confirmed the Treaties of Vienna and Zsitva-Torok ; while a few days later (May 25, 1608) he sought to gain the goodwill of the Bohemian Estates by allowing to all adherents of the Confession of 1575-that is, practically to all Protestants-the free exercise of their religion, until a new Diet should have made a final religious settlement. But these concessions to pressure from within and from without proved of no avail ; and on June 25, when Matthias was only five miles from Prague, Rudolf was at last prevailed upon to cede to his brother the Hungarian Crown, together with the territorial dominion in Austria and Moravia. Bohemia, with Silesia and Lusatia, were, with the reversion of the Tyrol, to remain to Rudolf, who, however, agreed to confirm the "free election" by the Bohemian Estates of Matthias as his successor. Thereupon Matthias and his army quitted Bohemia, where it left no good name behind. The Austrian and Moravian representatives had meanwhile bound themselves by a secret covenant to refuse homage to Matthias, should he withhold religious freedom from their lands. His own victory had been one of neither creed nor principle; but it had given a tremendous shock to the authority of the Emperor, while taking from him the greater part of his territorial dominions ; and it had added proportionately to the self-consciousness of the Estates, who were mainly Protestant in their sympathies and aspirations.

Matthias had to thank Anhalt for nothing; and the resolution passed at a meeting of the Union at Rothenburg (August) inviting the accession of the Austrian dominions could not be expected to lead to any result. Indeed, under the advice of Klesl, once more in favour, Matthias was evidently veering in a Catholic direction, while the Estates in the lands surrendered to him were still looking for the fulness of their reward. The Moravian Estates, led by Zerotin, were so far encouraged by his promises as to do homage to Matthias (August) ; but in Austria the majority, headed by Tschernembl, formulated a demand of unrestricted religious liberty for the towns as well as the nobles, and of official parity; and on this being resisted by Matthias, withdrew from the Vienna Diet to Horn, whence they issued a declaration refusing homage before redress of grievances. In March, 1609, an embassy from the Union appeared at Linz and Vienna ; but it brought to the Austrian Estates nothing but vague undertakings for the future.

On March 19, Matthias gave a grudging assent to a resolution which granted to the Austrian nobility the required liberty of religious worship,

while the towns received a verbal promise, supplemented by certain guarantees, against arbitrary changes. Offices, it was ingeniously resolved, were henceforth to be conferred on the grounds of merit only, preference being given to the old families of the land. Hereupon the hitherto recalcitrant Austrian Estates did homage. But Matthias had as usual satisfied nobody. While he had incurred the deep resentment of Pope Paul V, the Estates only awaited an opportunity of securing something more ; and in return he was himself, as he informed Klesl, only awaiting his opportunity for revoking what he had conceded.

In Bohemia, as was seen, Rudolf had saved himself by postponing a final settlement to another Diet ; and of this he contrived to delay the meeting till the end of January, 1609. When it met, the majority showed itself intent upon establishing a comprehensive ecclesiastical and educational system under the protection of a Committee of Defensors. The uncompromising resistance of Rudolf enabled the broad-minded Wenceslas von Budowee, chief of the association of Brethren, to maintain among all the Protestant sections a unity of purpose and action which found full expression in the Remonstrance, drafted by him and read in the Diet, against Rudolfs threat of dissolution. The threat was, however, carried into execution (April 1, 1609). During these proceedings only a small minority, of whom the chief members were the Chancellor von Lobkowitz, William von Slawata, and Jaroslav von Martinitz, had stood by the Crown.

The Protestant majority in the Bohemian Diet had agreed to meet again on May 4 in an assembly of their own. The intervening month they devoted to stirring up the country and to appeals for outside support, while Rudolf, afraid to resort to force, remained inactive. When the time of the meeting drew near, the Protestant nobles who had flocked to Prague sent deputation upon deputation to him, but he refused to yield. On May 4 the Protestant Estates opened their sittings in the Neustadt town-hall in the midst of a kind of popular panic ; and after a Justification had been drawn up, the Emperor was at last terrified into summoning the Diet which was to formulate the religious settlement.

When this Diet met on May 25, Rudolf, now largely under the influence of Archduke Leopold, strove to restrict the Protestants to the footing allowed them under Ferdinand I. But the very Catholics perceived the futility of so perverse an offer; and the Diet replied by bluntly declaring its determination to resort to force against any attempt at oppression, while announcing a national armament at the national expense, and presenting the draft of a religious settlement almost identical with what afterwards came to be known as the Letter of Majesty. When hereupon Rudolf made the transparent proposal to refer the whole question for arbitration to all the Spiritual and Temporal Electors, the Diet retorted by appointing a provisional government of thirty Directors -ten from each of the three Estates-and levying a force of 3000 foot

and 1500 horse. After a vain attempt at intervention by Christian II of Saxony, negotiations were opened between Rudolf and the Diet ; and on July 9,1609, he signed the Letter of Majesty, and confirmed an agreement between the Estates sub unâ and those sub utrâque on those points which the Letter had left open.

The Letter of Majesty granted to all inhabitants of Bohemia freedom of choice between the Catholic faith and the Confession of 1575, "which some call the Augustinian"; but the building of churches or of schools was to be permissible only to the three Estates-that is, to the Nobles, Knights, and Royal towns. In the supplementary agreement the concession was added, that if on any royal domain-whether in a town or elsewhere-the Protestants should be without a church or churchyard, these might there be provided by them. Inasmuch as according to Bohemian law ecclesiastical domains stood directly under the administration of the royal treasury, they were commonly spoken of as "royal," as well as royal domains proper. It is clear that in concluding the agreement which supplemented the Letter of Majesty the Protestants understood " royal " domains as including ecclesiastical ; and that the subsequent proceedings, which were to lead to the actual outbreak of the Thirty Years1 War, were based on a bonâ flde interpretation of an accepted term.

Once more, on the eve of its long eclipse, the Bohemian nation seemed to have gained a great religious and a great national victory in one. Well might Archduke Leopold bitterly lament to Maximilian of Bavaria, that the Emperor had been driven not only to grant everything but to confirm it with a privilegium. A Silesian Letter of Majesty had rapidly followed on the Bohemian ; and through the length and breadth of their dominions Rudolf and Matthias had alike been obliged to yield to the demands of their Estates. Even the Styrian Estates, with those of Carinthia and Carniola, sent a deputation to Archduke Ferdinand to demand the restoration of their religious liberties. But his reply was a direct refusal. The Catholic cause was not yet lost.

Meanwhile, grievously smitten in those south-eastern lands, it had suffered a heavy blow on the other side of the north-western border. On April 9, 1609, Spain had at last concluded a Twelve Years1 Truce with the United Provinces, and two months later a treaty of alliance had been concluded by them with France and England. In the face of these events the formation at Munich on July 10 of the Catholic Union (it did not yet call itself League), by Maximilian of Bavaria with a few Bishops and Abbots, might seem of slight importance. But since the occupation of Donauwörth, at all events, Maximilian was well aware of his own importance in the religious struggle. Both during the Diet of 1608 and afterwards his efforts for a consolidation of the Catholic party had been incessant ; but they had in the first instance only resulted in a defensive

alliance, under Bavarian directorship, with the Bishops of Passau and Würzburg, and a few other prelates of the Bavarian, Swabian, and Franconian Circles. Already, however, a month later the association was joined by the three Spiritual Electors, the Rhenish members being placed under the directorship of Mainz, though the general military command remained with Bavaria. At a meeting held at Würzburg in February, 1610, when several other prelates joined, it was decided to invite the accession of Archdukes Ferdinand and Maximilian and of other Catholic Estates, and to extend the system of foreign alliances. A treaty with Spain, which promised two regiments of foot and one of horse, was actually concluded in August, 1610 ; and the Catholic League {Liga), as it soon came to be called, gradually developed into a great alliance, with Pope Paul V himself as a member, on behalf of the Catholic faith. But its fundamental principle of self-defence was jealously guarded by Maximilian, who remained its right hand.

On March 25, 1609, the Jülich-Cleves question had at last forced itself to the front on the death of the childless Duke John William. Hitherto the Imperial (and Spanish) policy had prevailed as to the government of the duchies ; but as to the succession it had been wholly wanting in resolution. So late as August, 1608, the Reichshqfrath had declared that without the assent of the Electors none of the privileges were valid on which the claims of the several pretenders were based ; if so, the whole of the inheritance escheated to the Emperor. There was a general notion that he favoured the Saxon claim ; but nothing had been done towards either recognising it or buying it up in the interests of Sibylla, Duke John William's fourth sister, who had married as her second husband Margrave Charles of Burgau (son of Archduke Ferdinand of the Tyrol), and whom Philip II had at one time advised putting forward as the Austrian and Catholic claimant.

To this Austro-Spanish inaction, largely no doubt due to the Truce with the United Provinces and to fear of French intervention, the Protestant side had opposed a greater measure of vigour. But while John Sigismund, now Elector of Brandenburg, who represented the claims of the eldest sister as descending to his wife, obtained promises of aid from the leading personages in the Dutch Republic, his claims were at the Court of Henry IV and in the counsels of the Union, more especially after Maria Eleonora's death in 1608, crossed by those of Neuburg, on behalf of which no exertion was spared by Wolfgang William, as the second sister's eldest son.

On the death of John William of Jülich-Cleves, the Emperor at once named commissioners to carry on the government of the duchies in conjunction with the widowed Duchess Antonia and her Council; but she very soon withdrew. Then (May) he summoned the claimants before the disputed tribunal of the Reichshqfrath, and in the meantime forbade their taking possession. But before this both Brandenburg and Neuburg

had actually or symbolically occupied Cleves (with Mark and Ravenstein) and Julich-Berg (with Ravensburg) respectively. After a compact for joint action without prejudice to their several claims had been concluded between them at Dortmund (June), to which Zweibrücken afterwards adhered, Margrave Ernest, the Elector of Brandenburg's brother and representative, and Count Palatine Wolfgang William held their joint entry into Düsseldorf (July). The " Possessing " (Possedlrenden) Princes, as they were called, now defied the Imperial mandates, and, refusing to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Reichskofraih, demanded judgment by a tribunal of their peers. The pressing question, however, was whether they could keep possession ? The only place in the duchies still held against them was the fortress of Jülich, which the ducal officer in command seemed disposed to make over to the Emperor. And into Jülich Archduke Leopold, eager for the laurels which he had missed in Bohemia, now threw himself by Rudolfs order with some 800 men (July). There was no prospect of supplies from Archduke Albert, or-for some time, at least-from Spain. On the other hand, the "Possessing" Princes had not more than 1200 men at their disposal; and Ernest of Brandenburg was unsupplied with money.

A difficulty which had already become a European question was not to be solved by a conflict conducted on such a scale. Of the ulterior purposes of the foreign policy of Henry IV there could be little doubt, though his immediate intentions were carefully veiled. He had from the first encouraged the "Possessing" Princes, and, when the news of the entry of Archduke Leopold into Jülich reached him, at once increased his armaments. But he had good reason for avoiding precipitation. The Union, at its meeting, held at Schwäbisch-Hall (May) had only harked back to the old Protestant grievances ; and, when Christian of Anhalt hereupon repaired to the Emperor's presence at Prague, to menace him with the open revolt of the Princes of the Union, Rudolf had merely promised the restitution of Donauwörth, which had of course remained unaccomplished. On his return Anhalt had at last taken up the Jülich-Cleves question in earnest; and after the forces of the "Possessing" Princes had by contributions from the Elector Palatine and others been raised to a total of 5000 foot and 1200 horse, he was himself offered the command (October). He made his acceptance dependent on French support, and armed with proposals adopted by a meeting of Princes at Stuttgart, betook himself to Paris, where he had two audiences of the King (December).

He returned to Germany, greatly elated, and bringing with him two proposals. One of these was a written statement that if the Possessing Princes and the Union were prepared to take the field for the capture of the fortress of Jülich with 8000 foot and 2000 horse, Henry IV was prepared to furnish the same force for the same purpose. The other was a plan, which Anhalt was authorised to communicate to the Union " comme de luy mesme? for an attack upon the line of the Meuse, to be

conducted by France and the United Provinces (upon whose assent the execution of the plan depended), and in which after the capture of Jiilich the army of the Union and the Possessing Princes was to cooperate.

At another meeting of the Union held at Schwäbisch-Hall (February, 1610), it was agreed to accept the French proposal as to an attack upon Jiilich; and an agreement on these lines was speedily confirmed by Henry IV. But as to the larger scheme more hesitation was shown. It must be remembered that the Princes only outnumbered the more timorous towns by a couple of votes. In the end, Anhalt was authorised to offer to Henry IV the aid of the Union forces, provided that the invasion of the Spanish Netherlands should have been begun by the French and Dutch ; that Jiilich should have been captured; and that the members of the Union should not be engaged in any hostilities within the Empire. Henry IV hereupon once more received Anhalt in Paris (March-April), where they agreed that he should at once proceed to Düsseldorf to prepare for a German attack on Jiilich, while the King should ascertain the willingness of the States General to cooperate with him in the march upon the Meuse. Thus matters stood in April, 1610 ; and during the next few weeks there can be no doubt that Protestant Europe was in expectation, more or less assured, of the opening of a campaign which might perhaps not begin, and would certainly not end, with the capture of the fortress of Jiilich. This feeling of friendly interest extended to the Scandinavian north ; while James I of England, after characteristically offering to participate in an arbitration, had promised to furnish in aid a force of 4000 men.

Meanwhile the Empire was in a worse state of defence on its western frontier than on its eastern ; and its helpless head could only authorise Archduke Leopold, glad to escape from Jiilich, to raise a military force in his sees of Passau and Strassburg. No sooner had the news of these latter levies reached the Elector Palatine and other of the "Corresponding" Princes, than they immediately raised a large body of troops of their own, and by March had sent them " in self-defence " into Elsass.

The influence of Leopold's restless ambition seems to have been strong on Rudolf in this last stage of his unhappy reign, when he was craving for revenge upon his brother Matthias, and impotently longing to undo the religious concessions to which only his necessity had consented. His armaments were probably due to purposes of this sort, to which Leopold cannot have been a stranger, quite as much as to the fear of foreign intervention in the Jiilich-Cleves difficulty; and it was with his own grievances uppermost in his mind that, on May 1, 1610, the Emperor opened a meeting at Prague of the Electors of Mainz, Cologne, and Saxony, the faithful Duke Henry Julius of Brunswick, and the anti-Calvinist Landgrave Lewis of Hesse-Darmstadt, together with Archdukes Ferdinand and Maximilian, and a representative of Archduke Albert. But here, too, the Jiilich question came to the front ; and the ways of resisting the Possessing Princes were discussed.

On May 8, Henry IV announced to Archduke Albert and the Archbishop of Cologne (as Bishop of Liege) that he would be obliged to march through a portion of their territories, in order to assist his ancient allies in Jiilich, Cleves, and Berg. Albert, whose preparations for resistance were incomplete, on May 15 reluctantly granted leave of transit. But he had reckoned without the luck of his House. On May 14 Henry IV was assassinated at Paris. Whatever part he might have intended to play, or actually have played, in the affairs of Europe, the western peril of the Habsburgs had for the time passed away. Instead of an armed combination between the chief Powers of Protestant Europe, the House of Austria had in the first instance only to face an alliance of German Estates, disheartened by the catastrophe which had delayed the outbreak of a great European war, and had perhaps saved the Empire from speedy disruption.

But though with the death of Henry IV the Jiilich-Cleves question lost its European interest, it was not yet at an end. The government of Maria de' Medici, notwithstanding the almost immediate change in its general foreign policy, resolved to satisfy the amour-propre of the French nation by furnishing the aid promised at Schwäbisch-Hall. In July a French army marched from Metz upon Jülich, before which already lay a large force of Dutch and English troops under Maurice of Nassau, and the troops of the Possessing Princes, with others sent by the Union, under Anhalt. On September 1 the 2000 defenders of the fortress capitulated to a besieging force of 30,000 ; and a handful of troops occupied Jiilich for the Possessing Princes. Archduke Leopold's levies had been unable to come to the rescue ; for so early as June the Union had despatched from 8000 to 9000 men under Margrave Joachim Ernst of Ansbach into Elsass. The excesses committed by this soldiery led the Emperor to issue a mandate against the entire Union and to charge |' Duke Maximilian of Bavaria with its execution. Maximilian judiciously | ascertained at Prague that the Emperor was unlikely to adhere to so f bold a line of conduct ; but at a meeting of the League at Munich a I levy of nearly 20,000 troops was agreed upon, and in August the Union | withdrew its troops from Strassburg territory, while Leopold's forces | there were in turn reduced and finally disbanded. In November, Union and League mutually agreed to dismiss their forces.

On every side the fires seemed flickering out once more ; and it was characteristic of this temporary calm that, in October, 1610, an attempt was made to set up a Catholic-Lutheran League, headed by Bavaria and Saxony, "for the defence of the Imperial constitution," and that a meeting of Princes for the purpose was summoned to Würzburg. But Christian II j of Saxony could not make up his mind ; and by April, 1611, the project was abandoned. In the contested duchies themselves things went quietly after the capitulation of the fortress of Jülich. The foreign troops had all withdrawn; those of the Union had been disbanded; and each of the Possessing Princes was able to maintain his occupation by means of ;

a handful of armed men. Nothing came of Rudolf IPs provisional investiture of Christian II with the duchies during his drunken sojourn at Prague (July); though by the Treaty of Juterbok (March, 1611) the Saxon Elector was nominally admitted to a share in the government. Wolfgang William, notwithstanding his anti-Calvinistic tendencies, attempted a settlement with John Sigismund, who was on the eve of formally adopting Calvinism ; but the result was a hopeless quarrel ; and the Neuburger now turned to Bavaria, and after, in July, 1613, secretly becoming a convert to Rome, clinched his new alliance in September by marrying Duke Maximilian's sister Magdalena. A new and dangerous phase seemed about to begin in the perennial question of the duchies, when Philip III of Spain promised his support to this interesting convert, and the Calvinist Elector of Brandenburg appealed for aid to Maurice of Nassau. In September, 1614, he and Spinola confronted one another, and the latter occupied Wesel in Cleves. But once more the rupture of the truce by an actual collision was averted ; and by the Treaty of Xanten (November) the two " Possessing " Princes agreed on a partition of government, without abandoning the principle of unity ; thus leaving the dispute just where it had stood at the time of the assassination of Henry IV, and ignoring the claims of Saxony and the Imperial authority. The only difference now was that of the Princes in possession one was a Calvinist and one a Catholic, and that the apple of religious conflict had thus been cut in half.

Meanwhile, the Emperor at Prague had striven to gain the assent of the Convention of loyal Princes to his designs of recovery and revenge. They actually called upon Matthias to restore the ceded lands to the Emperor, and signified their willingness to accept his favourite Archduke Leopold as Roman King. But they were not prepared to go to war with Matthias and the united Hungarian, Moravian, and Austrian Estates, all of whom were arming. The Bohemian Estates too were in agitation ; at the end of January, 1611, they obliged Rudolf to assemble a Diet, which levied troops in addition to the militia called out by the Crown officiais. A surprise on the Emperor's part was apprehended; and the Hussite spirit of the people was once more up. Their fears had not been vain, for on February 15 Archduke Leopold at the head of the soldiery (between 5000 and 7000 men), levied by him in the see of Passau, which the Emperor had promised to order him to disband, but had left him without the money for disbanding, occupied the Kleinseite of Prague, after a short conflict with the troops of the Estates. From the two sides of the Moldau the armies confronted one another ; and in the Altstadt a savage riot, in which the mob devastated four convents and murdered some of their inmates, was with difficulty suppressed by the Estates, who hereupon, without consulting the Emperor, established a Committee of Thirty Directors for the government and defence of the country.

It is not surprising that this determination and the knowledge that the Estates had applied to Matthias for aid, caused Rudolfs resolution

and Leopold's courage to fail them at the last. Early in March the Passau troops were paid off, and, headed by the disillusioned Archduke, took their departure-a wild and undisciplined force, prefiguring the mercenary hordes of the Thirty Years' War, and believed by the Bohemian people to be in league with the Evil One. As they marched out of Prague, a body of Austrians and Moravians, sent forward by Matthias, marched in, and were soon joined by troops of the Estates, commanded by Count Matthias Thurn. On March 24, 1611, Matthias, who had marched from Vienna with his main army of 10,000 men, expecting to encounter the Passauers, since disbanded, entered Prague. He came, as he had told envoys of the Estates who met him on the Moravian frontier, as the guardian of the Letter of Majesty, and was welcomed by an outburst of patriotic and Utraquist enthusiasm.

Matthias now summoned a Diet, of whose intentions to himself he had previously been made aware, and placed a garrison in the Castle, where the Emperor was now a mere prisoner. The ambassadors of the loyal Electors of Saxony and Mainz were still using their good offices with Matthias, and the faithful Duke Henry Julius of Brunswick still remained with the Emperor. When the Diet assembled in April, Rudolf tried delay as his last resource ; but in the end menaces, or what came very near to them, forced him to resign conditionally the Bohemian Crown. The coronation of Matthias followed on May 23, after he had promised on the preceding day to confirm all the rights and liberties of the Bohemians and to sanction the alliance concluded by them with the Silesians. But as Rudolf's intention of revoking his conditional resignation was known, further proceedings became necessary ; and at last, on August 11, he was coerced into a clear and certain bargain. Rudolf, retaining private rights of property, formally resigned the Bohemian Crown to his brother, and undertook to "commend him to the Electors" At their approaching meeting.

Rudolf now only had the Imperial Crown, certain rights in Anterior Austria and the Tyrol, and his private revenues in Bohemia. But, though his authority was all but extinct, the spirit of revenge had not been laid within him. A meeting of Electors (Kurfürstentag) was about to be held to consider the situation, including the prospects of the succession. Rudolf prepared for this meeting with the double intent of discrediting Matthias and preventing the election of any successor to himself. At an earlier date there had been some notion of transactions between him and the militant Calvinist party; but the death of the Elector Palatine Frederick IV had intervened (September, 1610). Though not a great Prince, he was a stout Calvinist, and, in his later years at least, open to ideas of a free union between Christian confessions such as animated some of his descendants in a less bigoted age. His heir was Frederick V, a boy of fifteen, to whom Anhalt had succeeded in inducing the Emperor to allow the Calvinist John II of Zweibrücken to be named guardian instead of the Lutheran Philip

Lewis of Neuburg. Now, at the last, Rudolf again entered into communications with the agents of the Union, thereby, it seems, actually giving rise to an apprehension "ne Caesar ad apostasiam declinaret.'" When the Margrave of Ansbach found his way to Prague, it is said that the Emperor adopted him as his son and charged him to watch the Imperial interests at the Kurfürstentag. At other times grotesque marriage projects occupied the Emperor's bewildered brain ; and carriages were kept ready to carry him off into safety in the lands of the Union.

In October, 1611, the preliminary meeting of Electors actually took place at Nürnberg. The preference oscillated between Matthias and Albert, Leopold being left unmentioned ; and it was resolved that, on the hypothesis of the Emperor's assent being accorded, the final meeting for the election of a Roman King should be held on May 21, 1612. Rudolf, when pressed for his assent, gave way in principle, but ordered the immediate summoning of a Diet to Ratisbon. Here the madman seems to have hoped, by throwing himself on the side of the Protestants, to divide the Electors, to ruin the chances of Matthias, and perhaps himself to regain all that he had lost. In December, 1611, the Archdukes held another family meeting at Vienna, where they entered into an engagement to preserve the Imperial Crown, so far as in them lay, to the House of Habsburg, and to secure it for Matthias. At Prague the Emperor had already donned his travelling clothes for his journey to Ratisbon. But the end was at hand. About the new year he was seized with a mortal malady, and he had other reasons for knowing that his death was near. It came on January 12, 1612. His servants were cruelly treated ; most of his bastard children were at a distance or in obscurity. No tragic catastrophe was ever more complete.

The long years of Rudolf's misrule had terribly intensified the religious hatreds which made the Thirty Years' War inevitable; but he had benefited no cause, as he left behind him barely a friend. In his powerless hands the political and judicial authority of the Empire had alike collapsed ; its eastern frontier-line would have been effaced had he not surrendered his guardianship ; the western had been preserved only by the assassin's dagger from an irruption which must almost inevitably have ended in dismemberment. But all comments on such a reign and life are swallowed up by compassion for the poor human being, by nature neither bad nor ignoble, whose doom would not have been darker or drearier had he during the latter half of his sixty years been the inmate of a madhouse instead of the occupant of an Imperial throne.

The reign of Rudolf II had been the seed-time of war ; the prospects of peace which his death brought with it could be only partial and temporary ; for he at least had exercised no control over the destinies of the peoples under his territorial rule, or over those of the Empire of which he was the elected chief.