THE LATER YEARS OF THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR. (1635-48.)
By Dr A. W. WARD.
The Franco-Swedish stage of the War . 364
Difficulties of Sweden . 365
Bauer and Torstensson . 366
Operations of the French and Bernard of Weimar .367
French retreat into Lorraine .368
Compact between the French Crown and Bernard . 369
Treaty of Wismar. Campaign on the Rhine . 370
Capitulation of Hanau. Invasion of Picardy . 371
Battle of Wittstock. Death of Ferdinand II . 372
Peace negotiations. Wrangel in Brandenburg . 373
Banér on the Oder. Bernard on the Upper Rhine . 374
Battles of Rheinfelden. Bernard before Breisach . 375
Battle of Wittenweier. Götz and Savello . 376
Siege and capture of Breisach .377
Franco-Swedish alliance renewed. The Hochfeld fiasco .378
Disputes between French Government and Bernard . 379
Death of Bernard of Weimar .380
Efforts to secure Bernard's army. Erlach . 381
The Bernardines in the service of France . 382
Military movements after Bernard's death . 383
Diet of Ratisbon. "Hippolithus a Lapide" . 384
Death of Banér. Peace conferences arranged . 385
Battle of Breitenfeld . 386
Torstensson invades Denmark .387
Guébriant's difficulties and death .388
Battle of Jankau. Rakdczy . 389
Battle of Herbsthausen. Operations of Enghien and Turenne . 390
Truce of Kötschenbroda between Saxony and Sweden .390
Bavarian truce with Sweden and France . 391
Bavaria resumes the Imperial alliance. Melander . 392
Invasion of Bavaria. Attack upon Prague . 393
Peace . 394
THE LATER YEARS OF THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR. (1635-48.)
THE abstention of all but a few historians from essaying a comprehensive account of the final period of the Thirty Years' War reflects only too faithfully the weariness of the generation which, heartsick and hopeless, witnessed the last thirteen years of the struggle carried on in the central regions of Europe. From 1635 to 1648, the War continued its course through what may be called its Franco-Swedish stage, shifting to and from almost every part of Germany between the Alps and the Baltic, and everywhere leaving behind it desolation unutterable. But what made this last period of the War so singularly bewildering, and to those Germans in whom a spark of national feeling survived so humiliating, was the fact that, after France had come to take a direct part in the conflict, it centred in a contention on German soil between alien ambitions and interests. Sweden was now wholly intent upon a settlement guaranteeing to her the safeguards which her position as a Baltic Power demanded, together with some acknowledgment of her sacrifices and successes in the earlier part of the War. As, however, between France and Spain, whose Government since the fall of Wallenstein had identified its interests with those of the House of Austria, there seemed no prospect of a solution being found for the resuscitated problems of their historic rivalry-which had to be fought out on German soil, with the aid of German arms, and at the cost of the very life-blood of the German nation. No Estate of the Empire could find shelter within the four corners of the Peace of Prague, or protect itself by means of any newly devised league of armed neutrality, against the fury of this War, which was essentially foreign and hardly even pretended any longer to be waged for religious ends. The soldiery of the House of Habsburg and its allies still alternated the old Catholic war-cries with the Imperialist "Ferdinandus"; and the remnant of their German adversaries still saw in the "cause commune" for which they fought side by side with the troops of France, the Gospel cause commended to Heaven by the soldiers of Gustavus Adolphus on the morning of so
During the summer of 1635, the renewal at Compičgne of the Franco-Swedish alliance, of which Oxenstierna had taken care to delay the ratification, failed to counterbalance the Emperor's success in concluding the Peace of Prague. That Peace had drawn, or was drawing, over to him nearly all the Protestant Estates of the Empire. Early in July, William of Weimar placed his troops under Saxon control ; and by the end of that month Duke George of Lüneburg accepted the Peace and threw up his command under the Alliance of Heilbronn. Even Landgrave William of Hesse-Cassel declined to unite his troops with those of Bernard of Weimar, outside whose camp there remained no rallying-point for militant German Protestantism. Much therefore had to be accomplished before the Franco-Swedish alliance could dominate the progress of the conflict, as it had in the days of Gustavus Adolphus' victorious advance. Unless the truce concluded in 1629 through French mediation between Sweden and Poland, and about to expire in the autumn of 1635, were renewed, and converted into an enduring peace, Sweden could not command the resources necessary for carrying on the war in Germany. In vain, before concluding with France, Oxenstierna had sought to raise funds in England and Holland, and at Venice. The Swedish Government was, moreover, suspicious of the intentions of Christian IV of Denmark. In the early part of 1635 he actually thought of entering into an alliance with Poland; but Oxenstierna opportunely facilitated the succession of the Danish Prince Frederick in the archiépiscopal province of Bremen, and Christian IV never acceded to the Peace of Prague. But if Sweden was to continue to take part in the German War, she must come to terms with Poland ; and to this end Richelieu sent one of the most capable of French diplomatists, Claude de Mesmes, Count d'Avaux, to Stuhmsdorf, where the negotiations for the renewal of the Swedish Truce with Poland were carried on. His efforts were supported by the Dutch and English ambassadors at the conference, and expedited by a lavish flow of money.
The desire of George William of Brandenburg for a settlement giving him undisturbed possession of his Prussian duchy prevailed over the Imperialist policy which, by Schwarzenberg's advice, he had followed in acceding to the Peace of Prague. The compact concluded between Sweden and Poland at Stuhmsdorf in September, 1635, for a period of twenty years, left Brandenburg in full possession of East Prussia ; but, by liberating the Swedish troops under Torstensson which had held Prussia and Livonia, placed both Mecklenburg and Pomerania in the power of Sweden ; jeopardised the prospect of the acquisition of Pomerania by the Brandenburg dynasty on the death, then imminent, of Duke Bogislav XIV ; and seriously threatened the security of the Mark.
Oxenstierna could now once more pursue the German War with vigour, and relieve Marshal Banér, who had stood his ground himself in a very difficult situation with that tenacity which distinguished him even among Swedish commanders. During the earlier months of 1635, and after the conclusion of the Peace of Prague, his army, which to the indignation of the Elector of Saxony was quartered in the diocese of Magdeburg, diminished in numbers and was much disheartened. He feared that his neighbour, Duke George of Lüneburg, between whom and himself there had been constant friction, would entirely go over to the Imperial side, as both he and Duke William of Weimar, with their forces, actually did before the close of the year. A dangerous conspiracy against Banér's authority had to be suppressed in his own headquarters ; and Oxenstierna, against whom the malcontents were violently excited, was obliged to take his departure secretly by night from Magdeburg to the Baltic coast. From July, 1635, onwards, a collision between Banér's army and the Saxon troops seemed imminent ; and while they closed in upon the Elbe, Banér, who was losing all control over the mutinous German officers in his army, fell back upon Thuringia. On October 16 John George issued his declaration of war against Sweden, in a document full of involutions worthy of the Saxon Chancery; and, while his army marched down the Elbe past Havelberg in order to cut off Banér from Pomerania and the sea, an Imperial force attempted to prevent Torstensson, now approaching from the north, from effecting a junction with him. But Torstensson, though a constant sufferer from infirmities brought on by his imprisonment at Ingolstadt after he had fallen into the enemy's hands at Nürnberg, had learnt rapidity of movement as well as strategical skill from his master Gustavus, and outmarched his opponents. Thus, when on November 1 Banér had by a successful fight at Dornitz opened the passage across the Elbe into Mecklenburg, Torstensson was quickly on the spot; and between them the two Swedish generals once more controlled all Mecklenburg and Pomerania. The attempt of the Saxons to advance into the former duchy was repelled by the Swedes at Goldberg (December 7) ; and, driving them back into Brandenburg, Banér took Havelberg, the fortifications of Werben, and the dam at
Fehrbellin (December 12-January 2). Meanwhile, Torstensson had defeated another division of the Saxons at Kyritz further north (December 17). At first the Elector of Brandenburg had trembled both for the safety of his capital and for his own ; but Berlin was covered by Saxon and Imperialist troops; and, while Banér's moved on to Thuringia and Saxony, George William on January 26, 1636, launched against him a uselessly provocative declaration of war.
While thus in north-eastern Germany Sweden recovered much of the ground formerly held by her, and of her military prestige, the operations of France proved by no means equally successful.
War was actually declared by France against Spain by a herald who made his appearance at Brussels on May 26, 1635 ; and the war which Richelieu had for some months been assiduously preparing was opened all along the line of the French eastern frontier. The efforts of France in the Netherlands, in Italy, and in the Valtelline, have been noted elsewhere. A fourth army, under old Marshal La Force, was to cooperate with Bernard of Weimar in the defence of the Rhine. But, notwithstanding the diplomatic exertions of Feuquičres, the relations between Bernard and the French Crown were still unsettled, and La Force was detained in Lorraine by the attempt of Duke Charles to recover his duchy (April). Bernard, eager to recross the Rhine from Speier and to offer battle to Gallas, who at the head of 20.000 men was approaching the right bank, was unable to run the hazard without French support, and, to make sure of this, was obliged to move back ; while the Imperialists secured all the places of transit on the Upper and Middle Rhine, taking Kaiserslautern where the famous Swedish Yellow Regiment was cut to pieces, forcing Heidelberg to capitulate, and laying siege to Mainz (June-July). It was not till July 27 that Bernard, whose force had dwindled to 7000 men, effected his juncture with an army of 12,000 French under Cardinal La Valette, whom Richelieu had at last ordered to advance from Langres. La Valette, though not a general of first-rate capacity, cooperated loyally with Bernard of Weimar; and his indifference to the wrath of Pope Urban VIII made him a fitting agent of the present policy of his fellow Cardinal. The siege of Mainz was now raised by the Imperialists ; and on August 8 Bernard held his entry into the city, while La Valette took Kreuznach. But they were unable to prevent their adversaries from shortly afterwards occupying Frankfort, which, though so long the headquarters of the Suedo-German Alliance, always favoured the Emperor.
Bernard of Weimar's position in the Gustafsburg on the right bank of the Rhine opposite Mainz speedily became untenable. No dependence was to be placed upon his officers, who had remained unpaid for about a year, unless he could satisfy their demands ; and he informed Feuquičres that, if he was to carry on operations on the right bank for the King and " the common cause," he must have a sufficient army, and
Gallas, who had reached Lorraine in November when King Louis XIII himself appeared on the scene to confront him and Duke Charles, was, probably in consequence of BaneVs victories in the Mark, ordered to fall back on Elsass. His retreat was carried out in wintry weather, and amidst extraordinary sufferings-" splendidissima miseria " is the phrase of the Irish chaplain of Devereux's (formerly Walter Butler's) regiment. About half of Gallas' army of invasion reached Zabern (Saverne), where in its winter-quarters it dwindled still further. But, though the attempt to drive the French and Bernard out of Elsass and Lorraine had failed, the Middle Rhine, the Lower Moselle, and the Saar, as well as the Main and the Neckar, remained in the hands of the Imperialists ; and, besides Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Frankenthal, Mainz had capitulated to them (December). Bernard of Weimar was cut off from the right bank of the Rhine, Strassburg being the only place of transit across the river not in hostile hands.
The results of the French campaign on the Rhine had thus been hardly less disappointing than that of the other campaigns designed by Richelieu for the year 1635 ; and it had become clear that, if another Imperialist irruption across the Rhine was to be prevented and the right bank to be attacked, terms must be made with Bernard of Weimar. There was no other body of German troops as to which negotiation remained possible except that levied by Landgrave William of Hesse-Cassel, who was still hesitating as to his ultimate action.
The difficulties of Bernard's position had increased by his retreat upon Lorraine after he had half committed himself to France. Had he been devoid, as he was not, both of national pride and of religious enthusiasm, he might still have become a freebooter like some Protestant Princes in an earlier stage of the War, or followed the example which had now been so widely set, and made his peace with the Emperor. Even at a later date a locus poenitentiae would have been found open for him, if he had brought his troops over with him. But he preferred the readier way : and, on October 27, an agreement was signed at Paris between his agent Ponikau and the French Government, which remained the basis, though a somewhat shifting one, of the subsequent relations
This compact, which had been speedily ratified by Louis XIII, was promptly signed by Bernard on November 19. The only stipulation which he desired to add was that the quarterly payments of the subsidy on which the maintenance of his army would depend should be made in advance. It is not easy to decide whether the French or Bernard correctly interpreted the agreement between them : in other words, whether he had become a paid officer of the French Crown, or whether he still stood towards it in the relation of an auxiliary. But for the ambiguity in the terms of the compact, it would probably never have been concluded. As a matter of fact, the payment of the subsidy was constantly delayed ; the force for which it was to provide was always found insufficient ; and so things went on in a vicious circle. The first two months of the year 1636 passed without Bernard's being able to augment his army, which had been ordered to occupy the line of the Saar and face the Spaniards at Luxemburg, and without any money reaching him from Paris. Early in March he presented himself in person at the French capital. But his and Grotius' representations there only resulted-and this through the personal intervention of Richelieu-in obtaining for him an immediate payment of 600,000 livres, with which, worn in both health and temper, he returned in May to the scene of war.
In the meantime Richelieu's resolution to overthrow the ascendancy of the House of Habsburg was more firmly fixed than ever; and Oxenstierna, after long hesitating as to the ratification of the Treaty of
Coinpiegne, had in consequence of the successes of the Swedish arms become less intent upon the scheme of a separate peace with the Emperor, and more disinclined to accept Danish mediation. Thus, on March 20, 1636, the Treaty of Wismar was concluded between France and Sweden, in which for the first time the two Powers agreed to join in the conflict with the House of Habsburg, France prosecuting it on the left bank of the Rhine, while Sweden, annually subsidised by France with a million of livres, carried her arms into Silesia and Bohemia. But for the present this treaty, like that of Compičgiie, remained unratified by Queen Christina; and soon afterwards Oxenstierna returned home to Sweden, whence he did not again return to Germany. He had formed the wise resolution to restrict himself henceforth to general instructions concerning the conduct of the war, upon which he perceived that the political settlement of German affairs entirely depended. The councillors of war who from 1635 onwards " assisted " the chief Swedish commanders seem ordinarily to have abstained from indiscreet interference.
The campaign of 1636 on the Lower Rhine was left to the Dutch, with whom France in April concluded a subsidy treaty ; in Italy, Marshal Créquy was with Italian assistance to drive the Spaniards out of Lombardy ; and Condé was to occupy Franche Comté. Thus, if La Valette and Bernard of Weimar succeeded in completing the expulsion of the Spaniards from Elsass and Lorraine, not only would the whole eastern frontier of France be rendered secure, but it would be advanced to the Rhine and the Jura, and the war might even be carried to the right bank of the river by Bernard's augmented army. The Imperialists were, however, on their side, determined on a great offensive operation, the invasion of Picardy. In May the Alsatian campaign began, La Valette, who had already gained some successes there early in the year, relieving Hagenau, and then, in conjunction with Bernard of Weimar, besieging Zabern (July). Turenne was wounded in the course of the siege, which ended with the capitulation of the place, into which a French garrison was laid. Nearly the whole of Upper Elsass was now in the hands of the French and Bernard; and Gallas was practically precluded from entering Franche Comté, to whose capital, Dole, Condé was laying siege.
Bernard of Weimar would gladly have taken advantage of his successes by crossing the Rhine and coming to the rescue of Hanau. From the autumn of 1635 to June, 1636, this fortress, where the " black1' Sir James Ramsay, an indomitable Scottish captain celebrated in both history and fiction, had been placed in command by Gustavus Adolphus, held out in the midst of terrible hardships against a besieging Imperialist army. Urged on by his consort Amalia Elizabeth, a Countess of Hanau by birth, and beyond question one of the most remarkable women of her time, Landgrave William of Hesse-Cassel had come to an understanding with France; and on June 14, with the aid of a Swedish force under
Alexander Leslie (afterwards Earl of Leven), now commanding in Westphalia relieved the gallant garrison. But, though the anniversary of this spirited exploit was celebrated for at least two centuries as a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing, it was of no avail ; for the Imperialists soon began a new siege of Hanau, which this time remained unrelieved. Bernard of Weimar was prevented from crossing the Rhine by the refusal of the Strassburgers, who feared the vengeance of Gallas, to allow him the use of their bridge or to supply materials for the construction of a substitute. Ramsay concluded an honourable capitulation, and was allowed to remain in Hanau as a private individual. In December, 1637, he contrived to recover temporary command of the place, but soon lost it again and died in prison. Landgrave William, unable to prevent the awful devastation of his dominions by the Imperialists under Götz, was in August placed under the ban of the Empire; and the administration of his landgravate was granted to his enemy, George of Hesse-Darmstadt, who retained it till William's death in September, 1637. His high-spirited and sagacious widow managed to conclude a truce with the Emperor, who could not leave out of account the Hesse-Cassel troops, now encamped at Leer in East Frisia. Thus not only was the landgravate preserved from political extinction, but, after Amalia Elizabeth had at Dorsten concluded a treaty with Sweden and France (August, 1639), her Government asserted itself as an all but independent Power in the transactions of both war and peace.
Meanwhile, in July, 1636, the invasion of Picardy, heralded by a manifesto issued by the Cardinal Infante on behalf both of the Emperor and of Spain, had begun in earnest ; and the whole country between Somme and Oise was flooded by an irruption of horsemen. The most redoubtable among their leaders, Johann von Werth, caused a panic among the Parisians, though no attempt was actually made to cross the Oise and to march upon Paris. On the southern frontier Condé was ultimately obliged to raise the siege of Dole, which he had invested in May, and to retire from Franche Comté; and in the same month (August) La Valette and Bernard of Weimar were unable to prevent the junction between Charles of Lorraine and Gallas, which seemed the prelude to a second invasion of France, with King Ferdinand of Hungary at its head. But this was prevented by La Valette and more especially by Bernard of Weimar, who captured the camp of the renowned Croat cavalry general, Isolani ; and, finally, the memorable relief of St Jean-de-Losne, gratefully remembered by France down to the days of the Revolution, obliged Gallas once more to evacuate the Burgundian frontier-lands (November).
Bernard had been unable to render to France or to the " common cause any service beyond that of a strenuous defence. By the end of October, 1636, a mere driblet of the promised subsidies had come into his hands ; and his army numbered little more than one-third of the
After the warfare along the French frontier had come to an end with the recrossing of the Rhine at Breisach by Gallas in January, 1637, Bernard spent several months in negotiations at Paris, where he agreed to give a receipt in full for all the payments hitherto made to him by the French Government, though they fell short by at least one-half of the amount promised to him. But he arrived at no satisfactory settlement, even as to his own powers in the conduct of the war. Before, however, the campaign of 1637 opened, the political situation as a whole had been changed by some important events.
The Emperor Ferdinand II, after a reign of almost unparalleled vicissitudes of peril and of success, had passed away (February 15,1637). His tenacity of purpose, due in part to religious bigotry, which at the beginning of his reign had enabled him to breast a sea of troubles, had, together with the subsequent triumph of his arms, produced in him a self-confidence which seemed to raise him to the height of his opportunities. But he was not really capable of conceiving or carrying through any definite policy of his own, or even of consistently following the counsels of his advisers. After he had abandoned Wallenstein, and thrown himself upon the support of the Princes of the Empire, his policy became less aggressive, though he was not to live to see the complete breakdown of the religious restoration on which he had set his heart. The changes which he sought to enforce in the religious condition of the Empire had brought Sweden into the field, and given France her opportunity of intervention. But the revival of the conflict between France and the House of Habsburg was inevitable ; nor is he to be held accountable for it, any more than for the renewed cooperation between the Austrian and Spanish dynasties. The expansion, during the last three years of his reign, of the Great War into a general European conflict, cannot therefore justly be laid to his charge.
The election, on December 22, 1636, of his son and namesake as
Roman King had been achieved by Ferdinand II in the face of many difficulties, of which the chief had been the intrigues, carried on with the approval of Pope Urban VIII, for the choice of Maximilian of Bavaria in his stead. Ferdinand III resembled his father in his religious earnestness and in the purity of his personal life. But, though a pupil of the Jesuits and a rigorous Catholic in the affairs of his own dominions, he was in matters of religion more amenable to reason than his predecessor ; and, though he had the nominal credit of the victory of Nördlingen, his disposition was not warlike. Thus, however difficult it might prove to obtain his assent to the sacrifice of any right which he possessed or any hope that he cherished, his accession on the whole improved the prospects of peace.
Pope Urban had proposed himself to France as mediator in peace negotiations, to be carried on at Cologne between the Catholic Powers ; but Richelieu had demanded that to these negotiations the United Provinces and Sweden should also be admitted. The States General, after being approached on the subject by the Seigniory of Venice, signified their willingness to be represented at the conferences ; but from Sweden only a lukewarm assent was to be extracted (December, 1636). Even now Sweden, desirous of still keeping open the possibility of a separate accommodation with the Emperor, had not ratified the Wismar Treaty ; so that d'Avaux, on being appointed French plenipotentiary in Germany in April, 1637, proceeded not to Cologne, but to Hamburg, to discuss there the situation with Adler Salvius, to whom, with Steno Bielke, Oxenstierna on leaving Germany had entrusted the conduct of Swedish diplomatic affairs.
The prospects of France and her allies in the spring of 1637 were sufficiently clouded to render Richelieu willing to listen to pacific overtures. In Italy, Duke Odoardo of Parma concluded a treaty of neutrality with Spain ; and, in the Valtelline, Rohan yielded to a general rising in the Grisons against France. Richelieu threw the strength of the French forces on the Netherlands frontier, while Bernard of Weimar, detained in Franche Comté, could not attempt any movement to the right bank of the Rhine till late in the summer. Thus Banér, who after falling back from Leipzig upon Torgau looked for aid from Bernard, was left unsupported to face the approach of Gallas from the Rhine, and of the Imperialist forces from Westphalia. He had moreover, before the close of 1636, detached a division of his army under Marshal Wrangel into Brandenburg, with the object of compelling George William to treat with Sweden. But, in December, the arrival in the electorate of an Imperialist force finally gave the upper hand to Schwarzenberg's counsels; and the Elector resolved upon levying an army of his own in support of the Emperor. The death of Bogislav XIV of Pomerania was imminent, and actually took place in March, 1637; and George William at once set up his lawful claim to the coveted duchy, now for
Meanwhile Banér, whose army had sunk to not more than 16,000 men, had felt himself unable to face the Imperialists, of whom a force nearly doubling the Swedish in numbers was approaching under Gallas. Spreading the report that he was about to march on Erfurt, he carried out a retreat into Lusatia and towards the Oder with such skill, that he had put fifteen hours' march between himself and Gallas before the latter had tidings of his departure from Torgau. He reached Fürstenberg on the Oder on July 3, and was about to continue his march to Landsberg on the Warthe-which marks the boundary-line between Silesia and Poland-and there unite with Wrangel, when he learnt that Gallas had by a shorter route already reached that place with his whole force. Once more, however, Banér deluded his adversary by spreading a rumour that he designed to march through Poland on Pomerania, and, recrossing the Oder in light marching order, effected his junction with Wrangel at Neustadt. Gallas now withdrew upon Küstrin; and Banér had in masterly fashion, as represented by a popular engraving of the day, opened the sack with his sword and made his way out. Nevertheless, his retreat into Pomerania had involved the sacrifice of all the positions gained in Saxony and Brandenburg in consequence of the victory of Wittstock ; and by far the larger part of Pomerania had fallen into the hands of the Imperialists, although they took up their winter-quarters in Mecklenburg, as a less exhausted territory.
Bernard of Weimar, although, after a successful campaign in Franche Comté, he had early in August crossed the Rhine at Rheinau, half-way between Strassburg and Breisach, and successfully engaged Johann von Werth at Ettenheim, was in September obliged to return to the left bank, and had to find winter-quarters for his troops in the bishopric of Basel. In this operation he was greatly aided by Erlach, an officer in the service of Bern-of whom more hereafter. The general had been much discouraged by the futility of his campaign, and by the lack of support which had once more reduced his force to less than 4000 men. Before long the series of successes which marks the final part of his career was at last to ensure consideration for his demands ; Bernard's sympathies and interests were alike on the right bank of the Rhine; and Richelieu was gradually awakened to the fact that, notwithstanding his bargain with France, this German Prince could not be used merely as an instrument for securing the French dominions on the left.
In the winter of 1637-8 Bernard began by ignoring the federal
In January, 1638, the whole of the 2,400,000 livres due to Bernard had at last been paid, and he had been promised a similar sum for the second year of the compact. But the question of the supreme command remained unsettled, and it was not till the beginning of May that a body of 4000 French troops under Count de Guébriant actually joined Bernard near Rheinfelden. He had now some 14,000 men under his command, as against the 16,000 Imperialists under Count Götz, who had reached the Black Forest in order to protect Breisach, on the capture of which Bernard was known to be intent. Götz contrived to throw some supplies and a small body of troops into Breisach ; and though Bernard sat down before the fortress, he found his strength insufficient for pressing the siege further at present, and followed Götz in the direction of Strassburg. The course of the campaign had materially reduced the numbers of Bernard's army ; and before he could risk a decisive battle in the open he must have French support.
At last it arrived, though in scanty numbers. Once more Bernard had put strong pressure upon the French Government-this time through an agent of remarkable capacity, who had begun his career as page to the arch-politician, Christian of Anhalt. Hans Ludwig von Erlach, after serving under several commanders, including Gustavus Adolphus himself, had entered the service of his native city, Bern, vhcre, in opposition to the efforts of the Swiss Cantons for the pre-^ervation of a common neutrality towards foreign belligerent Powers, he had come forward as a partisan, first of Sweden and the Heilbronn Alliance, and then of France. At the first battle of Rheinfelden he was in Bernard's camp, but fell into the enemy's hands, out of which
Bernard's subsequent victory delivered him. He now entered into Bernard's service, and became his right hand in Court and camp during the remainder of his life. Erlach's prolonged endeavours at Paris to secure for the Duke the French contingent promised to Bernard by Feuquičres, and a substantial portion of the subsidy due to him, were, however, only partially successful; nor could he obtain any assurance as to the fulfilment of the promise of investiture with the " landgravate of Elsass," made to him in the treaty of October 27, 1635, To place so much power in the hands of a Protestant Prince was repugnant to the powerful Jesuit party at Court, and even to the supple Father Joseph. The concessions actually made to Bernard were doubtless largely caused by the attempts made to draw him over even now to the side of the Emperor. At this very time (June, 1638) efforts were made in this direction by his own family, and in particular by its head, Duke John Ernest of Weimar, who sent an official named Hoffmann to urge Bernard's acceptance of the Peace of Prague. But he haughtily rejected these overtures, and, while declaring himself in favour of a satisfactory general peace, recommended the Emperor, if of the same way of thinking, to send ambassadors to Hamburg to negotiate with those of France and Sweden.
The confidence in France which Bernard had on this occasion manifested or professed proved in so far warranted that, on August 6, his army in the Breisgau was actually joined by about 2000 French troops (less than half of the force promised to Erlach) under Turenne, whose military reputation already stood high. Thus reinforced, Bernard marched upon the Kinzig, along which stood the forces of the enemy. The army of the Empire opposed to him, amounting to some 12,000 men, was led by Field-Marshal Count von Götz, a general of great self-confidence but moderate military ability (formerly a Protestant and a Mansfelder), to whom the Elector of Bavaria had after the capture of Johann von Werth delegated the chief command ; while a smaller division, levied by the Emperor, was under the incompetent Duke of Savello. On May 9, when Savello with the vanguard of the Imperialist army was approaching Breisach with supplies, Bernard of Weimar fell on him as his soldiers were straggling out of the defile at Wittenweier, and put him to flight before Götz came up with the rear-guard. After a brave resistance he was likewise routed, and Bernard's extraordinary élan had gained another signal victory. The Imperialist army was all but annihilated, though Götz and Savello made their way to Tübingen and Heilbronn respectively, there to engage in mutual angry recriminations.
Now that the Breisgau had been freed from the foe, the opportunity had at last arrived for Bernard to seize the prize which he had so long coveted. On August 18 his army arrived in face of Breisach. The fortress, crowning a steep rock on the right bank of the Rhine, which was connected with the Alsatian side by means of a bridge running
In view of the strength of the fortress, the magnitude of the efforts made to relieve it, and the success with which they were averted, the siege of Breisach forms one of the most memorable events of the Great War. Yet, although the place, and the passage over the Rhine which it commanded, were of unequalled importance to the Powers contending for the mastery of the border-lands from the Alps to the Low Countries, the progress of the War was not so decisively affected by Bernard's capture of Breisach as might have been expected. As a matter of fact, France had during this year dissipated her strength, and there had been nothing to redeem a series of failures-in the Netherlands, in Italy, and above all on the further side of the Spanish frontier, except the progress of Bernard which had culminated in this success.
On the other hand the Swedish arms had once more made a signal advance. Oxenstierna had finally abandoned all thoughts of a separate peace with the Emperor, and was intent upon reaching a complete understanding with France. After long negotiations at Hamburg between Salvius and the Marquis St Chaumont, and his successor, Count d'Avaux, a treaty was in March, 1638, concluded for three years, which renewed the Franco-Swedish alliance, adapting it to the altered
Banér hereupon received reinforcements and supplies from Sweden which enabled him, in July, 1638, to resume operations with renewed vigour, and, after recovering Pomerania and Mecklenburg, to drive Gallas into Silesia and Bohemia, where the reduced Imperialist forces took up their winter-quarters. The military activity of the Swedes could not but confirm the Elector George William in the fears which inclined him to adhere to the Emperor, and which induced him, in this year 1638, to conclude at Kössenick an important commercial treaty with Poland. The compact was to be followed up by the joint invasion of Swedish Livonia by Poland, Brandenburg, and the Emperor. This explains why, early in 1639, the Polish Prince John Casimir was arrested at Marseilles on his way to Spain.
On the other hand the Swedish Government gave some support to the attempt set on foot early in 1638 at Meppen on the Ems by the young "Elector Palatine," Charles Lewis, to recover his patrimony by means of an expedition equipped by English money. But the design ended disastrously in October at Hochfeld between Weser and Werra, where the remnant of the delivering force was practically annihilated. This was the only actual contribution on the part of England to the later stages of a conflict in whose beginnings she had played so prominent a part. In 1638, Sir Thomas Roe, Elizabeth of Bohemia's assiduous correspondent, appeared at Hamburg as representative of the English Government in the futile peace negotiations which were being carried on there ; but his declaration that England had no wish for an open rupture with the Emperor was only significant of his master's well-founded suspicions of the French Government. The same feeling would in the following year (1639) have induced Charles I, had he been able, to support a final design of Spain to obtain the control of the Baltic.
But this was a mere effort of the imagination. From the Franco-Swedish alliance, on the other hand, great things might be expected in 1639, if cooperation proved possible between two such commanders as Banér and Bernard of Weimar. The energy with which the Swedish Marshal entered on his campaign in January implied that he actually looked forward to such a cooperation. Crossing the Elbe, he passed through the Brunswick lands, apparently with the view of obliging Duke George of Luneburg to abandon his neutrality ; but he soon
Before BaneVs campaign, which had begun so successfully, came to an inglorious end, Bernard of Weimar's career had been cut short at what had seemed its most critical moment. The crowning achievement of Bernard's military career, the taking of Breisach, had at once brought to the front the question-who should be master in the captured fortress ? Bernard regarded the French promise to him of the " land-gravate of Elsass " as including the possession of the fortresses there ; and no reservation to the contrary had been made by the French Government. Now, although Breisach was not in Upper Elsass but in the Breisgau, the Austrian Government had administered both territories conjointly ; and Bernard insisted upon the fact that Elsass had no value for him without Breisach. On the other hand, the French Government was resolved upon resisting his claim on the fortresses, and on Breisach in particular, especially as he coupled with it a demand that the annual subsidy paid to him should be doubled, since his army now amounted to nearly 18,000 men. About the turn of the year he had anticipated events by naming Erlach Governor of Breisach; and when in January, 1689, he marched in person into Franche Comté and took up his quarters at Pontarlier, he clearly indicated that, at the risk of relieving the Imperialists of any immediate apprehensions and postponing the conjunction with the Swedes, he meant in the first place to protect his own interests. In March he sent Erlach to Paris, and secured the concession that he should hold Breisach and the other fortresses in accordance with the treaties, together with the promise of an augmentation of the French troops commanded by Guébriant. But his pecuniary demands were not satisfied ; and the instructions sent to Guébriant included the imposition upon Bernard of a written declaration that he held the town and fortress of Breisach under the authority of the French Crown, and would never admit troops into it except by that authority.
The tension between him and the French Government was increasing; and Bernard's self-confidence could not but be heightened by the overtures made to him from other quarters. The truce concluded by the Landgravine of Hesse-Cassel had in August, 1638, led to the conclusion of the Treaty of Mainz, by which the Calvinist Estates were to be admitted to the Peace of Prague ; but the Emperor refused to ratify the essential clause of the treaty. Bernard hereupon pressed the Landgravine
Such were the contradictions in which the uncertainty of his position, together with an ambition neither unnatural nor ignoble, involved this brave soldier of fortune, who was at the same time a sincere patriot and an ardent Protestant. The charge, brought against him by French diplomacy at Hamburg, of a desire to secure a dominion for himself at the expense of the King of France was only partially correct. The immediate plans entertained by him in the last weeks of his life remain, however, to some extent obscure ; his ambition was still unquenched, but he seems to have had some forebodings of the nearness of his end. Early in July he left Franche Comté, though with what precise purpose in his mind is unknown ; an outbreak of the plague at Pontarlier furnishes a sufficient reason for his departure. At Hüningen on the Rhine he was prostrated by an attack of sickness, and was taken on by boat to Neuenburg, where he died on July 11, 1639, in his thirty-fifth year. Whether he was carried off by fever, apparently of a typhoid kind, or was poisoned, has long been disputed ; in the latter case, the deed was one of private resentment because of the excesses committed by his soldiery in Franche Comté. He bequeathed his " very considerable " conquered lands and fortresses, which he wished to remain part of the Empire of the Germanic nation, to such one of his Weimar brothers as might accept the charge, and admonished his inheritor to be true to Sweden. Should none of his brothers accept, his conquests were in equity to go to the King of France, provided that garrisons consisting of his
Sixteen years passed before the remains of the great captain were committed to their last resting-place at Weimar. No such interval occurred before the dissipation of his schemes, which had depended solely on his own personality as a commander. The first and most anxious care of the four " Directors," as Erlach and his associates were now called, was to keep the army together ; and, as the French subsidies had for the present stopped, a month's pay was at once provided by means of a fund of some 300,000 livres reserved by Bernard for emergencies. The army was reckoned, according to a calculation which no doubt included the garrisons, at 6000 foot and 5000 horse ; and even if this estimate of its actual numbers was excessive, they might at any time be increased by a victory to a force so formidable as decisively to effect the progress of the War. To whom would this army offer its allegiance ?
Many suitors, to borrow Queen Christina's satiric phrase, presented themselves. The Queen of Sweden's own agent, Mockel, was in attendance at Benfeld, and sought to sow discord between the soldiery and their commanders. But as Sweden would have had to take the army into her pay without the least chance of securing the Breisgau, the prospect possessed no attraction for Oxenstierna. The attempt of the Palatine pretender, Charles Lewis, to put in an appearance with the aid of English money was frustrated by his being arrested at Moulins by Richelieu's orders (October), and confined at Vincennes for the greater part of a year. The Weimar Dukes, though announcing their intention to accept their brother's territorial legacy, would have nothing to do with his army. On the other hand, the Emperor, by mandates and by direct negotiation at Breisach, sought to bring over officers and soldiers into his service. But the effort broke down ; and there is no proof that a simultaneous attempt was made by Spain. Finally, the suggestion that the army should, under the command of the Directors, make war on its own account, could not be seriously entertained as a permanent solution of the problem.
The Directors and other chief officers of the army had from the first made up their minds that it was necessary for them to come to terms with France ; and in the circumstances in which they were placed it seems idle to talk of treason. A fortnight after Bernard's death, they sent Colonel von Flersheim to Paris to furnish the King with a general assurance of their faithful services, and to ask for a continuation of the subsidies. Early in August Guébriant informed the officers at Breisach that Duke Bernard, whom they had honoured as a Prince, had been simply their commanding officer, and that they belonged less to
Erlach was appointed Governor-General of the conquered places in the Breisgau and Upper Elsass, and his salary was raised from 12,000 to 18,000 livres ; but it was only in the year before the close of the War that he was appointed Lieutenant-General of the French armies in Germany. Up to that date his success as a negotiator had brought him little but bitterness ; and, though his reputation rose in his last years, it has continued to suffer from the obloquy which always attaches to such transactions as that which he carried through in 1639. But the violent abuse of him as a traitor to Bernard of Weimar, to his House, and to the cause which he had served, is unjustified. Erlach acted in the spirit of his former chief; and his army only sold itself in the sense applicable to most of the armies of the Thirty Years' War.
On October 30, 1639, the "Directors" and other regimental commanders of the Bernardine army swore fidelity to the King of France
That the German War after Bernard of Weimar's death entered into a new and more active stage was not only due to Richelieu, and to the rapidity with which, at the very time when he was assailing the power of the Spanish monarchy by sea and land, he took advantage of the opportunity offered in Germany by the death of the great captain whose movements France had so imperfectly controlled. It was also due to the energy and diplomatic skill of the Swedish commander-in-chief, Marshal Banér. Nothing had come of the Emperor's attempt in the summer of 1639 to draw off the Swedes from Bohemia by an incursion into Livonia under the command of Colonel Booth ; or of the diplomatic efforts at Hamburg of the Imperial plenipotentiary Count Kurtz to tempt Sweden to a separate peace by the offer of Stralsund and Rügen.
In May, when Banér, after moving from Bohemia into Saxony and then into Thuringia, was joined at Erfurt by the Duke of Longueville, his army numbered not less than 22,000 foot and 20,000 horse ; and included, with the Bernardines, the Hessians under Melander, and George of Lüneburg's troops under General von Klitzing. But the opportunity of striking a decisive blow with this large combined force passed away again for the present. Banér, who was much depressed by the death in camp of his wife, failed to keep the force together, and the Imperialists under Piccolomini at Saalfeld refused his challenge to battle. Melander resigned his command in dudgeon; and a wide-spread dissatisfaction among the Bernardines had to be suppressed by Longueville, who later in the year was succeeded in the command by Guébriant. In June, Banér moved towards the Weser, followed by the Imperialists; but neither army could find the necessary supplies in the north-west.
The sufferings entailed upon a large proportion of the Empire by
The motives that had led to the Peace of Prague were thus once more at work to bring about a more effectual settlement on similar lines. On the other side it seemed clear that some effort should be made to stay the flow of Imperialist sentiment ; and the requisite antidote was supplied by a publication which appeared in this year, 1640, under the title Dissertatio de Ratlone status in Imperio Romano-Germanico. This pamphlet bore the pseudonym "Hippolithus a Lapide," but has been attributed with much probability to the Pomeranian Bogislav von Chemnitz, afterwards historiographer to the Crown of Sweden. It would be difficult to exaggerate the effect-both immediate and enduring-of the demonstration supplied in this famous treatise both of the inherent weakness of the Emperor's position in the constitutional system of the Empire, and of the manner in which the House of Austria, in accordance with its traditional policy, had abused its Imperial opportunities. The Dissertatio cannot be shown to have exercised any direct influence upon the proceedings of the Diet of Ratisbon ; but the reception given by the Diet to the Emperor's proposals as to the best way of securing peace, and of carrying on war till peace was assured, proved its desire to restore and render permanent, by means of a general amnesty, the distribution of power in the Empire which had existed before the outbreak of the War.
The prospects of the opponents of a dominant Imperial authority were further improved by the death (in December, 1640) of the sorely tried Elector, George William of Brandenburg, who was not born to set right the time. He was succeeded by a prince of stronger mould, Frederick William, afterwards called the Great Elector, the inconsistencies of whose policy were not less than those of his father's, but were at all events successful in advancing the political importance of his State. He threw off the control of Schwarzenberg, who died shortly afterwards (March, 1641) ; and soon, under the form of a truce, concluded a treaty of neutrality for two years with Sweden, to the hand of whose young Queen he for a time aspired (July, 1641). Before this, the Ratisbon Diet, which had drawn up a statement of the appalling sufferings inflicted
Whether or not in secret conference with Duke George of Luneburg, Banér had, in December, 1640, returned to Erfurt, where he was joined by Guébriant and the Bernardines. Early in January, 1641, he began a march which about a month later brought him so close to Ratisbon that he was able to fire a few cannon-balls into the city across the Danube. But stress of weather prevented him from crossing the river, and obliged him gradually to retreat to his old quarters at Zwickau, while Guébriant, with whom he had been involved in more than one dispute, established himself in Thuringia. In April Banér received the news of the death of Duke George of Luneburg, one of the shrewdest of the Protestant Princes, though intent upon dynastic ends rather than on the victory of the " common cause " ; and on May 20 Banér himself succumbed at Halberstadt to his fatigues, or perhaps to his excesses; thus ending, in his forty-fifth year, a career distinguished by rare military and political ability.
Meanwhile the Diet at Ratisbon had continued its deliberations on the gravamina preferred on both sides, and was not dissolved till October, 1641, after an Abschied announcing an amnesty from which the Emperor's hereditary dominions were excluded. Moreover, it was rendered nugatory by being made conditional upon an actual reconciliation with the Emperor of the Estates desirous of benefiting by it-in other words upon their renunciation of their adherence to Sweden and France. These two Powers had, on August 21, renewed the treaty of alliance concluded for three years in March, 1638; and their proposal that future negotiations for peace should be carried on at Münster and Osnabrück was accepted by the Emperor and Spain (December, 1641), March 25, 1642, being appointed as the day of the opening of the congress at these two places. The Ratisbon Diet had agreed that the Electors and other Estates were entitled to take part in these negotiations ; but the meeting of the Deputationstag' at Frankfort, which the Diet had arranged for the following May, was delayed till February, 1643.
The desire for peace, to which the restricted amnesty granted at Ratisbon was regarded as a preliminaiy step, was intensified by the successful recovery of the Swedes from the difficulties which had followed upon the death of Banér. The bonds of discipline had of late been utterly relaxed in his army, in which the Swedish troops formed a quite small minority, amounting, according to one account, to not more than 600 men ; and there was a serious danger of the army falling hopelessly into pieces. But Guébriant, who had rejoined Banér shortly before his death, contrived to infuse new spirit into what had been a malcontent and leaderless host. On June 29, 1641, Archduke Leopold William and Piccolomini, intent upon relieving the Imperialist garrison at Wolfen-buttel, which the Brunswick Dukes were seeking to recover, made an
Lennart Torstensson, Count of Ortala, the last of the Swedish generals distinguished in the War who had been trained by Gustavus himself, was worthy of his master, not only by virtue of his strategic gifts, but also by his power of maintaining among his troops a discipline at once firm and humane. No sooner had he arrived on the Aller (November 25) than Guébriant, who had been pressing for his recall from an intolerable position, took his departure for the Rhine with the Bernardines. These troops, though their complaints continued to testify to their corporate survival, were soon afterwards formally absorbed in the French army, which was also joined by over 3000 Hessians. On January 16, 1642, at Hulst, between Kempen and Crefeld, he gained a victory over the Imperialists under General Lamboy, who was taken prisoner with a large number of his officers. After allowing his army a few months1 rest, Guébriant (now Marshal) recommenced operations early in the summer of 1642. But though he entered into communications with Frederick Henry of Orange, he declined to confine himself to acting in conjunction with the Stadholder, and early in October once more crossed the Rhine and marched upon the Weser. In November he was in Thuringia, where in the following month he had an interview with Torstensson, soon after the Swedish victory at Breitenfeld ; but no reunion of their forces took place.
Torstensson, after recovering from a severe attack of illness, had begun operations with extraordinary energy. His purpose was a direct attack upon the Austrian lands. After taking up his quarters at Salzwedel in the Mark Brandenburg he advanced, in April, 1642, into Silesia ; took Glogau ; penetrated (May) into Moravia, whose capital Olmütz he occupied (June), sending forward some of his light troops within a distance of not much more than twenty-five miles of Vienna. In July, however, he was obliged by the approach of the Imperialists in numbers superior to his own to withdraw into Silesia, whence he passed into Saxony. Here, in the face of the Elector's unchanged attitude of resistance, he was besieging Leipzig, when the Imperialists, coming up with him, forced him to give them battle. On November 2, 1642, the second battle of Breitenfeld was fought, in which the losses of the Imperialists in dead, wounded, and prisoners reached a total not far short of 10,000, and their commander-in-chief, Archduke Leopold William, barely made his own escape. The remnants of the Imperialist force did not rally till they had reached Bohemia; but, as Torstensson's junction with Guébriant had not been effected, the
Of a sudden the Swedish commander-in-chief, whose marches and counter-marches, menacing Bavaria as well as Austria, had begun to perplex his own army, disclosed to his officers a design which elicited their enthusiastic approval. Christian IV of Denmark, never tired of essaying tasks beyond his power of achievement, had long sought to play the part of mediator in the European conflict. In December, 1641, he had succeeded in bringing about the adoption, at Hamburg, of preliminaries of peace, which were to be discussed at Munster and Osnabrück in the following year. But the actual effects of this formal agreement had been slight ; and from about the middle of 1642 Christian's jealous animosity against Sweden revived. The Emperor was assured that Denmark would definitively espouse his cause in the War if he would give consideration to her special claims and requirements. These were for the most part connected with the archiépiscopal see of Bremen, and with the long-cherished designs of the Danish Crown upon Hamburg, which in the spring of 1643 led to a blockade of that city. Christian IV, notwithstanding the unsatisfactory condition of his finances, was once more prepared to rush into war; but the far-sighted statesmanship of Oxenstierna anticipated his intentions. In September of the same year Torstensson received instructions to invade the Danish dominions. Though disabled by disease, he quickly completed his preparations ; and by the middle of December his army had reached Holstein, where Duke Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp at once came to terms. Early in January, 1644, the frontier of Jutland was crossed, and by the end of the month the whole province had been reduced to submission. Once more Christian IV's arrogant rashness had brought him to the brink of ruin. While Poland had disappointed him by declining to create a diversion against Sweden, the United Provinces seemed disposed to favour her. Torstensson approached Zealand from the west, and Horn (liberated from his imprisonment) blockaded Malmö, so as to cooperate from the other side of the Sound in an attack upon Copenhagen. The attempt of the Archbishop of Bremen to come to his father's aid was easily frustrated by a Swedish force under Königsmarck.
It was not until the end of May, 1644, that the Imperialists under Gallas, unchecked by the Transylvanian, began to move slowly from bohemia into Saxony and thence towards Holstein. An indecisive naval battle (paradoxically known as that of Kolberg Heath) fought on July 1, failed to open a prospect of a successful attack on the Danish capital.
In August Torstensson, execrating his ill luck, left Wrangel to carry on the Danish War (the further course of which is narrated elsewhere), and moved south with his main force. In November he stood on the Saale, face to face with Gallas ; but for this year it was impossible to do more than inflict a defeat upon him at Jüterbok, and oblige him to withdraw into winter-quarters in Bohemia. Gallas1 force had dwindled to 4000 men, less than a third of its former number ; and the disfavour incurred by him was such that he had to resign his command.
In the west, too, the affairs of the Franco-Swedish alliance had once more begun to prosper. After his interview with Torstensson, Marshal Guébriant-whether or not in pursuance of a plan concerted between them for an attack upon Bavaria-had marched towards the Neckar (December, 1642). The Bavaro-Imperialist army of defence was commanded by Field-Marshal Franz von Mercy, while a cavalry force under Johann von Werth was near at hand. Tired of the pleasures of his French captivity, the renowned commander had, early in the year, been exchanged for the Swedish Field-Marshal Horn, and was now once more at the front. Guébriant, though much discouraged by the death of Cardinal Richelieu, was assured by the new Minister, Cardinal Mazarin, of his confidence, and warmly congratulated on the successful repulse of an attempt by Johann von Werth. But the French Marshal was unable to undertake any offensive action without further assistance; and his operations were hampered by the death of Louis XIII, though immediately afterwards Enghien's great victory of Rocroi (May 19,1648), assured the safety of the northern frontier of France. It was not till the latter part of October that Enghien, drawing near from Lorraine, sent to Guébriant a reinforcement of 5000 men under the command of the Holstein Count Rantzau. Guébriant hereupon designed to march upon Munich ; but, while engaged in the siege of Rottweil, he was wounded, and died on November 24, 1643. On the same day, his troops, commanded by Rantzau, were routed at Tuttlingen by the Imperialists, whose entire cavalry had been now placed under Johann von Werth ; and Rantzau himself was taken prisoner with a large number of officers.
But, as is related elsewhere, the French Government and its new chief, Mazarin, whom Richelieu had himself designated as his successor, were resolved to adhere to the course marked out by him. On Guébriant's death, Turenne, who had recently earned fresh laurels by the conquest of Piedmont, was appointed to the command of the army of the Rhine ; and at the head of 10,000 men, including the remnants of the Bernardines and Guébriant's other troops, held the left bank of the Rhine as far down as Breisach against the Bavarians under Mercy. After, in June, 1644, he had crossed the Rhine and was advancing upon the sources of the Danube, Enghien at last joined him ; and their superior forces now confronted those of Mercy and Johann von Werth. A protracted series of battles now ensued (August 4, 5, and 9) near Freiburg in the Breisgau,
Thus in the following year (1645) the Emperor's enemies were able to close in upon his hereditary dominions and upon those of his Bavarian ally. Every effort was made by Ferdinand to meet the approach from Saxony of Torstensson, who had with Oxenstierna's assent postponed a resumption of the Danish campaign. In February, after securing the cooperation of Rakoczy, he set forth to meet the Imperialist army, commanded by Hatzfeldt, Götz, and the ubiquitous Johann von Werth, and animated by the arrival of the Emperor at Prague and the news that the Blessed Virgin had in a vision promised victory to his arms. At Jankau, near Tabor, the two armies met on March 5, each numbering about 16,000 men, when a battle in which no quarter was given on either side resulted in a complete victory for the Swedes-mainly, it would seem, due to their artillery. In the end they surrounded the Imperialist centre, making prisoners of between four and five thousand officers and men, including the commander-in-chief Hatzfeldt, with all their field gear. The Emperor made his way back to Vienna, which once more trembled for its safety. Gallas was substituted for Hatzfeldt, and the defence of Upper Austria was entrusted to Archduke Leopold William; the Court withdrew to Grätz. By the end of April Torstensson was within little more than 30 miles of Vienna, but diverged to lay siege to Brunn. Fortunately for Ferdinand III and the safety of his archduchy, the Transylvanian, George Rakoczy, after concluding, in April, 1645, a treaty with France, which, in return for liberal subsidies, pledged his services to her and Sweden, was during his advance through Hungary repeatedly defeated by the Imperialists under Götz and Puch-heim, and finally stopped in his march by a message from Constantinople. Ordered by the weak Sultan Ibrahim to cease at once from hostilities against the Emperor, Rakoczy concluded a peace, in which he entirely disengaged himself from the Franco-Swedish alliance (August).
While Torstensson had once more been disappointed by the course of a campaign begun with high hopes, the defensive forces of the Emperor had steadily increased. In his hereditary dominions he had ordered a more or less general levy ; and in the west Mercy's surprise and defeat, on May 5, of Turenne, who had once more crossed the Rhine, at Herbst-hausen, near Mergentheim (the old Franconian seat of the German Order), set free a further Imperialist force. In September Torstensson therefore judged it well to raise the siege of Brunn, and to begin a retreat upon Bohemia.
But this turn in the course of the War was not to prove enduring. After his reverse at Herbsthausen, Turenne had withdrawn upon Hesse-Cassel, where the indefatigable Landgravine had induced Christopher von Königsmarck to unite his Swedish division with Turenne's army, already reinforced by her own troops. Königsmarck, a daring campaigner, had in 1644-5 rendered substantial service to his Government by the conquest of the dioceses of Verden and Bremen, of which he had been appointed Governor-General. When Enghien and Turenne had once more united on the Neckar (July), their forces exceeded 30,000 men, and even after Königsmarck had taken his departure to Saxony (July), still considerably outnumbered the Bavarians under Mercy, who, on August 3, gave battle to the French at Allerheim, near Nördlingen. A furious cavalry charge under Johann von Werth failed to turn the fortunes of the day in favour of Mercy's army, and he fell himself in the field. Enghien's victory- doubtful to the last, and very dearly bought-was followed by the capitulation of Nördlingen, which the Imperialists had held since the great battle of 1634 ; but the success was not vigorously pushed, and the French troops took up their winter-quarters on the left bank of the Rhine, in Elsass.
Still, the French arms had asserted their ascendancy in the southwest, while Königsmarck carried fire and sword through the Saxon electorate, and by threatening to reduce the country for many miles round Dresden to a desert, forced the Elector John George to a six-months' truce (September). This truce, concluded at Kötschenbroda, and afterwards prolonged till the conclusion of the War, at last freed the Saxon electorate from the incubus of Swedish occupation, thirteen years after the conclusion of the Peace of Prague. Besides being granted a free transit through the Elector's dominions, the Swedes were left in possession of Leipzig, together with Torgau; and, being now on a friendly footing with Brandenburg, they had the whole course of the Elbe and Oder, as well as that of the Weser, under their control. In the same month Christian IV at last signed the humiliating Peace of Brömsebro with Sweden and the United Provinces. Thus, when in December, 1645, Torstensson's bodily infirmities obliged him to resign the chief command, he was succeeded in it by Karl Gustaf Wrangel, a gallant officer, but not comparable in political grasp to either Torstensson or Banér.
Wrano-el was unable in 1646 to prevent the junction of part of the Bavarian army with the Imperialists under Archduke Leopold William ; ' and their consequent preponderance of strength obliged the Swedes to abandon Bohemia. WrangeFs wish to effect a junction with the French army, now under Turenne, was-perhaps in part owing to Mazarins continued desire to spare Bavaria-not carried into effect till July. The invasion of the electorate, which inflicted terrible sufferings upon its inhabitants, then began, and soon extended over the whole country. Augsburg was only saved by the sudden appearance of Johann von Werth, with the vanguard of the Bavaro-Imperialist army (October) ; and though Munich, recently put in a better condition of defence, was left unattacked, and eastern Bavaria undevastated, Maximilian's lands were suffering unspeakably from both friend and foe, while his treasury was empty. He could see no prospect of peace dawning at Münster, and at last showed himself willing to treat for a separate settlement.
Such was the meaning of the truce concluded at Ulm on March 14, 1647, between the Electors of Bavaria and Cologne on the one side, and Sweden and France on the other. The Bavarian troops were withdrawn from the Emperor's army ; and the free Imperial towns of Überlingen and Memmingen were placed in the hands of the Swedes. Augsburg was to remain neutral ; but Bavaria at large was to be evacuated by the French and Swedes, the Upper Palatinate remaining open to the transit of their troops. The Elector of Mainz and the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt hastened to give in their adhesion to the compact.
Thus the whole weight of the task of carrying on the war against Sweden and France had been thrown back upon the Emperor; and, although the excesses of his troops in Bavaria and his neglect in the peace negotiations of the Elector's interests might palliate Maximilian's action, the indignation at Vienna knew no bounds. The Elector was given to understand that his Palatine claims would now have to take care of themselves ; and no secret was made of the Imperial overtures for a separate peace which Wrangel transmitted to Queen Christina. Ferdinand III did not hesitate to summon the Bavarian army-numbering some 20,000 men-to prefer the allegiance which it owed to him as Emperor to any territorial claim ; nor did the call remain altogether unanswered. It was obeyed by the impetuous Johann von Werth, whose loyalty to Maximilian had hitherto been more than unimpeachable, with Count von Sporck, and a few other officers. The Elector replied by setting a price on Werth's head, and ordering the devastation of his estate; and Werth's and his companions' own regiments declared their intention of adhering to the Elector.
Maximilian was, however, within a few months partly frightened, partly encouraged into a further change of policy. In September, 1647, he concluded the Treaty of Pilsen, by which he returned to the Imperial alliance, though refusing to receive back Werth and Sporck.
The Imperial and Bavarian armies were hereupon united once more, and, "Gallas having died in the preceding year, were placed under the command of Melander (Holzapfel)-the gigantic, peasant-born soldier, who, after commanding the Hesse-Cassel troops till he quarrelled with the Landgravine and her foreign allies, passed into the service of the Emperor and was created a Count of the Empire. The truce with Sweden was at an end ; but Maximilian was still hoping to remain on good terms with France, when just before the close of the year a trumpeter brought to Munich Turenne's message that his Government had likewise broken with Bavaria.
Meanwhile Wrangel had begun his campaign of 1647 by the recovery of Nördlingen (April); but the instructions of Oxenstierna, consistently intent upon keeping open the line of communication between the Baltic coast and the Austrian dominions, transferred the operations of the main Swedish army to Bohemia. In July Wrangel took Eger, though Melander was less than fifteen miles off. The Emperor was himself in camp, and barely escaped capture in a cavalry surprise ; in return, Johann von Werth, who with Melander was fretting at the interference of Hofkriegsrathsprasident Count Schlick, executed a brilliant coup de mam after his own heart at Triebel (August). But no general engagement ensued ; and, after the Bavarians had reinforced the Imperialists, Wrangel withdrew, by way of Saxony and Hesse, to the further side of the Weser. Melander delayed in Hesse, in order to settle accounts with the Landgravine, and thus lost the chance of crushing Wrangel ; for the menaces of France induced the Bavarian Elector once more to withdraw his contingent from the Imperialist army (November-December).
Neither in 1646 nor in 1647 had France been able to put out her strength ; and Mazarin's success in alienating Bavaria from Austria had failed to achieve the expected result. The French army had to be recalled from Germany ; for the northern frontier of France had become unsafe since the Dutch had slackened their military operations, so that Archduke Leopold William, now Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, was preparing to assume the offensive together with the irrepressible Duke of Lorraine. Thus, in May, 1647, Turenne withdrew across the Rhine into Elsass ; but was stopped by an attempt at mutiny on the part of the remnant of the Bernardines, who refused to serve outside Germany or for any cause but that of German and Protestant liberty. Recrossing the Rhine, he succeeded in repressing this attempt, partly by a ruthless use of force, partly by arrangements made with the help of Erlach. A fraction of Bernard's old followers rejoined Turenne's force ; the rest marched to Franconia ; and some 1600 of these were actually incorporated in Konigsmarck's division of the Swedish forces.
By the end of the year 1647, however, France had definitively broken
The Imperialist army under Montecuculi and Gronberg hereupon hurriedly withdrew upon the Isar, followed by Wrangel and Turenne, whose troops, for the most part Germans, devastated the dominions of Maximilian, now a fugitive at Salzburg, with extraordinary fury. Their progress was arrested by the Inn, heavily swollen by the spring floods, and, though several attempts were made to cross this river, it proved the boundary of their march. Behind it stood Piccolomini and Count Francis Fugger, with a force of not less than 20,000 men. Early in August the two armies came to closer quarters, and Johann von Werth's efforts more than once brought sections of them into actual collision. As the season wore on, however, the Franco-Swedish forces withdrew beyond the Lech (October) ; and Piccolomini was about to make his way into the Upper Palatinate in order thence to pass into Bohemia and take part in the conflict there, when, greatly to his relief, and to the disappointment of the Swedes, the news arrived of the conclusion of peace (November).
Meanwhile (for the successful operations in Hesse against the Imperialists under Lamboy must be passed by) Königsmarck, whom Wrangel before his invasion of Bavaria had detached from his main army, had entered Bohemia from the Upper Palatinate. Early in the morning of July 26, his force, not numbering more than 500 foot and 500 horse, of which the nucleus consisted of the remnant of the Bernardines, arrived before the Kleine Seite of Prague (on the left bank of the Moldau), and just before daybreak by an escalade took possession of part of the wall close to the Premonstratensian convent of Strahow. Their guide was Count Odowalski, formerly an officer in the Imperial service, from which he had been dismissed by Melander. The seizure, effected without the loss of a single man, was followed
At the end of the month 8000 Swedish troops, under the Count Palatine Charles Gustavus (afterwards King Charles X of Sweden), arrived ; while Count Rudolf Colloredo, who defended the city on the right bank, received a reinforcement of about the same strength. A prolonged siege ensued ; and at the end of October Charles Gustavus, whose efforts had so far failed, had marched towards Eger in order to unite his forces with Wrangel's main army, when in Bohemia too, where thirty years earlier the Great War was held to have begun, its course was stopped by the news of the conclusion of peace.
How this end had been reached, and on what terms the settlement was at last made, will be told in another chapter. There also some attempt must be made to indicate, however faintly, the lacerated and all but lifeless condition in which the War now ended had left the midlands of Europe.