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The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) online

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but the most important point was, that in France
the helm of state was now in the hands of men
who revived the opposition to Spain, not in com-
pliance with the requests of others, nor merely
as allies ; but of their own free will, and as the
cardinal point of French policy, — Vieuville and

Perhaps, however, their adoption of this line of
policy was less the result of choice than has ge-
nerally been imagined. France, as well as the
Austro- Spanish powers, was increasing and con-
centrating all her internal forces ; the kingly pow-
er, the unity and the nationality of feeling of the
country, were immeasurably enhanced by the vic-
tory over the huguenots ; and as her claims rose
with her strength, everything conspired to induce
her to attempt a bolder policy than that she had
hitherto pursued. This natural tendency as natu-
rally called into existence its appropriate organs ;


— men able and willing to carry it into effect,
Richelieu was from the very first determined to
resist the supremacy which the house of Austria-
had always asserted, and to which she had lately
set up new and loftier claims ; and to enter the
lists with her in a struggle for ascendency over

This resolution caused a far more perilous schism
in the catholic world than any former one, since it
seemed inevitably to lead to open war between the
two great powers. The execution of the Roman
treaty, which we have just mentioned, was now out
of the question ; and the endeavours of Urban VIII.
to hold the French to the concessions they had
made, were utterly vain. But an alUance with the
catholic opposition was not enough for France.
Although a cardinal of the church of Rome, Riche-
lieu had no scruple in entering into an undisguised
alliance with protestants.

His first step was to make advances to England,
with a view of breaking off that Spanish marriage,
which could not fail to add so greatly to the influ-
ence of the house of Austria. He was seconded in his
schemes by personal circumstances ; — the impa-
tience of James I., who longed for the return of his
son and of his favourite with all the yearning of an
old man who thinks himself near death ; and a
misunderstanding between the two ministers to
whom the conduct of the affair was entrusted,
Olivarez and Buckingham. Here, too, the event
was chiefly determined by the nature of the thing
itself. The affairs of the Palatinate disclosed in-


vincible difficulties in the negotiations with Au-
stria, Spain, Bavaria, and the Palatinate*; while
an alliance with France, considering the new line
of policy which that power had adopted, ren-
dered probable a prompt decision of the matter
by an appeal to arms. As this alliance not only
secured to the king of England so considerable a
dower, but also a prospect of attaching the English
catholics to the throne, James preferred a French
princess as a wife for his son, and guaranteed to
her the same religious immunities which he had
promised to the Spaniards.

Warlike preparations were immediately set on
foot. Richelieu conceived a plan, which for mag-
nitude and extent surpassed all hitherto known to
European policy, and of a nature completely his
own. His idea was, to cripple the Austrian pow-
er at one stroke by a general and simultaneous

He intended to co-operate with Savoy and
Venice in hostilities against the Spanish power
in Italy. Without the smallest regard to the plea-
sure of the pope, he marched French troo2)s sud-
denly into the Grisons, and drove the papal garri-
sons out of the fortified townsf.

He had not only contracted an alliance with

* It appears by a letter from the elector palatine of the 30th
of October, that force alone would have brought him to accede to
the propositions which were made to him.

f llelatione di IV. Ambasciatori, 1G25 : " II papa si doleva
che mai Bettune gli aveva parlato chiaro, e che delle sue pai'ole
non aveva compreso mai che si dovcssero portare le armi dolla
loga contra li suoi presidii." Tlie usual policy of France^


England, but renewed that with Holland ; and his
plan was that the Dutch should make a descent in
South America, and the English on the coast of
Spain. At the instigation of king James, the Turks
were set in motion, and threatened an assault on
Hungary. But the main point of attack was to be
Germany. The king of Denmark, who had long
been in a state of preparation, was at length re-
solved to lead into the field the forces of Denmark
and Lower Germany, in the cause of his kinsman
of the Palatinate. Not only did England promise
him help, but Richelieu bound himself to furnish a
subsidy of a million of livres for the expenses of
the war*. Thus supported by both these pow-
ers, Mansfeld w^as to join the king, and then to
make Kis way into the hereditary provinces of

Thus we see that in this general assault of na-
tions, one of the two most puissant catholic states
was arrayed against the other.

There is no question that this had a direct tend-
ency to check the progress of Catholicism. Although

* Extract from the Instruction of Blainville, in Siri, vi. 62 :
"Nel fondo di Alemagna" Mansfeld was to co-operate with him
(Siri, 641). Relatione di CarafFa : " (I Francesi) hanno tutta-
via continuato sino al giorno d'hoggi a tener corrispondenza
con li nemici di S. M*** Ces*"* e dar loro ajuto in gente e danari se
ben con coperta, quale pero non e stata tale che per molte lettere
intercette e per molti altri rincontri non si siano scoperti tutti
I'andamenti e corrispondenze : onde prima e doppo la rotta data
dal Tilly al re di Danimarca sempre Timperatore nel palatinato
inferiore e nelli contorni d'Alsatia v'ha tenuto nervo di gente,
dubitando die da quelle parti potesse venire qualche ruina." (See
Appendix, No. 112.)


the French confederacy was of a political nature,
yet so close was the connexion between ecclesia-
stical and political interests, that it could not but
greatly advance the cause of protestantism. The
protestants drew breath. A new champion, the
king of Denmark, arose in Germany, with fresh
and unimpaired strength, and sustained by the
grand combination of European policy. His tri-
umph would at once render abortive all the suc-
cesses of the imi^erial house, and of the catholic

But the difficulties involved in a project do not
come to light till the attempt is made to put it in
execution. BrilUant as were Richelieu's talents,
he had rushed too precipitately into an enterprise
to which all his inclinations were directed ; which
rose before him, whether in full consciousness, or
in dim presentiment, as the aim and purpose of his
life. This enterprise was pregnant with dangers to

Not only the German protestants — the adversa-
ries of the house of Austria, — but the French — the
enemies of Richelieu himself — were emboldened by
these new political combinations. We learn from
their own declarations, that they hoped, should the
worst happen, to be reconciled to the king by the
mediation of his present allies*. Rohan set him-

* Mcmoires de Rohan, part i. p. 146: " esperant que s'il ve-
noit u bout, les allies et ligucs avec le roi le porteroient plus fa-
cilement ^ un accomraodement."


self in motion by land, Soubise by sea. In May
162.5, the huguenots were in arms all over the

At the same moment the cardinal was met by
enemies, perhaps still more formidable, from the
other side. Spite of all his leaning to France,
Urban VIII. possessed too much sense of his own
dignity not to be deeply wounded and irritated by
the expulsion of his garrisons from the Grisons*.
He ordered troops to be raised and to march into
the Milanese, for the express purpose of re-taking
the lost places, with the co-operation of the Spa-
/ niards. It is very possible that these military de-
monstrations meant little ; but the ecclesiastical
influence which was involved in them was of the
greatest significance. The complaints of the paj^al
nuncio, that the most christian king was become
the ally of heretical princes, found an echo in
France ; the Jesuits proclaimed ultra-montane doc-
trines, and Richelieu was violently attacked by the
strict adherents of the church f. He found, it is
true, protection against them in the Galilean prin-
ciples, and defence in the parliaments ; neverthe-
less, he dared no longer have the pope for an
enemy. The catholic principle was too completely
bound up with the restored monarchy, for the car-

* Relatione di P. Contarini : " S. S'^ (he speaks of the first
moment after the reception of the news) somraamente disgustata,
stimando poco rispetto s' havesse portato alle sue insegne, del con-
tinuo e grandemente se ne quereleva." (See Appendix, No. 111.)

t Memoires du Cardinal Richelieu, Petitot, 23, p. 20.


dinal to brave tlic impression which spiritual ad-
monitions might make on his sovereign.

llichcheu thus saw himself assailed in the very
country which he ruled ; assailed, too, by the two
hostile parties at once. Whatever miglit be at-
tempted against Spain in future, his present posi-
tion was untenable ; he must hasten to get out of

And as in the attack he had shown a genius for
boundless combinations, for daring enterprising
designs ; so he now, in the moment of retreat, dis-
played that perfidious skill in making his allies
mere tools, and then betraying and deserting them,
which was so peculiarly and so invariably his own.

He first persuaded his new allies to support him
against Soubise. He himself had no naval force.
With Protestant resources drawn from foreign lands,
with Dutch and English ships, he overcame his Pro-
testant foes at home (September 1G25). He used
their mediation to force the huguenots to accept
disadvantageous terms ; they doubted not, that as
soon as he had got quit of these enemies, he would
renew the general attack in which they were all

What then was their amazement, when, on the
contrary, the news of the peace of Monzon, which
was concluded between France and Spain in March
1G20, was suddenly proclaimed! A papal legate
had been despatched for that purpose to both
courts ; and though it does not appear that he had
exercised any material influence on the terms of the


treaty, yet he at all events asserted the power and
efficacy of the catholic principle. Whilst Richelieu
was using the protestants for his own ends, under
a show of the strictest confidence, he had with
still greater zeal employed his negotiations with
Spain for their destruction. Concerning the Val-
telline, he agreed with Olivarez that it should re-
turn under the government of the Orisons ; but
should have an independent power of appointing to
its own offices, and an. uncontrolled liberty of catho-
lic worship*. The great catholic powers, which
appeared on the point of engaging in mortal com-
bat, in a moment stood re-united.

This event was partly brought about by the mis-
understandings which had arisen in the course of the
discussion of the treaty of marriage between France
and England, and of their mutual engagements.

All the hostile measures set on foot against Spain
were now necessarily brought to a stand.

The Italian princes were compelled, however re-
luctantly, to submit to what was unalterable ; Savoy
concluded a truce with Genoa ; Venice esteemed
herself fortunate that she had not fallen into the
power of Milan, and disbanded her troops. It was
asserted that the vacillating behaviour of the French
prevented the raising of the siege of Breda in 1625,
so that the loss of that important fortress to the
Spaniards was attributed to them.

* Du Mont, V. 2. p. 487, § 2 : " Qu'ils ne puissent avoir par
ci-apr&s autre religion que la catholique .... § 3. qu'ils puissent
elire par election entre eux leurs juges, gouverneurs et autre?
magistrats tous catholiques :" certain limitations then follow.
VOL. II. 2 M


But the greatest and most decisive reverse oc-
curred in Germany.

The forces of Lower Germany had ralUed round
the king of Denmark, under the shield, as it was
beheved, of the universal alliance against Spain.
Mansfeld advanced on the Elbe, while the emperor
had redoubled his efforts to meet him, knowing
how all-important were the results of the impend-
ing conflict.

When the armies met, the alliance no longer ex-
isted ; the French subsidies were not paid ; the
English succours arrived too late ; the imperial
troops were more disciplined and warlike than their
adversaries ; it followed that the king of Denmark
lost the battle of Lutter, and was compelled to fall
back upon his own country ; and that Mansfeld was
driven as a fugitive into those Austrian provinces,
which he had hoped to traverse as a conqueror and

The effects of this event were of necessity as
manifold as its causes.

In the first place, as regarding the imperial
dominions. These may be described in a word.
The last movement set on foot there in the cause
of protestantism — in the hope of the general com-
bination we alluded to — was crushed ; and the no-
bles, who had hitherto escaped vexation, were now
forced into conversion. On St. Ignatius' day, 1627,
the emperor proclaimed, that after the lapse of six
months, he would tolerate no one, not even of the


degree of lord or knight, in his hereditary kingdom
of Bohemia, who did not agree with himself and
with the apostolical church in the only true faith*.
Similar edicts were puhlished in Upper Austria, and
in the year 1628, in Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria,
and after some time, in Lower Austria also. It was
useless to entreat even for respite ; the nuncio Ca-
raffa represented that such entreaties were to be
ascribed only to the hope of a general change.
From that time these countries once more became
thoroughly catholic. What resistance had the no-
bility opposed to the house of Austria eighty years
before ! Now, the sovereign hereditary powers rose,
orthodox, victorious, and uncontrolled, above every

And still more extensive were the effects of the
recent victory in the rest of Germany. Lower Sax-
ony was completely subdued ; the imperial troops had
penetrated to the Cattegat ; they had possession of
Brandenburg and Pomerania ; Mecklenburg was in
the hands of the imperial general ; all these chief
seats of protestantism were in the power of a ca-
tholic army.

It became immediately evident how the catholic
party intended to profit by this state of things. A
prince of the imperial house was appointed bishop

* CarafFa, Relatione MS. " Havendo il S"" cardinale ed io
messo in consideratione a S. M*^, che come non si riformassero i
baroni e nobili eretici, si poteva poco o nulla sperare della con-
versione delli loro sudditi e per conseguenza havriano potuto
ancora infettare plan piano gli altri, piacque a S. M*^ di aggiun-
gere al S'" C^^ ed agli altri coramissarj autorita di riformare anche
li nobili."



of Halberstadt; and the pope, in virtue of his
apostolical power, nominated him also archbishop
of Magdeburg. There was no question, that if a
catholic archducal government could succeed in
planting itself there, it would urge on the restora-
tion of Catholicism throughout the see with the zeal
and rigour of the other ecclesiastical princes.

Meanwhile the anti-reformation proceeded with
fresh ardour in Upper Germany, Caraffa's cata-
logue of proclamations, issued from the imperial
chancery in the course of these years, is most
curious ; containing numerous admonitions, de-
crees, decisions, commands, — all in favour of
Catholicism*. The young count of Nassau-Sie-
gen, the younger counts palatine of Neuburg, and
the grand master of the Teutonic order, undertook
new reformations ; in the Upper Palatinate even
the nobility was forced into Catholicism.

The old legal proceedings instituted by spiritual
lords against the temporal estates for the recovery
of confiscated church property now assumed a dif-
ferent character from their former one. Würtem-
berg was thrown into a state of the greatest alarm.
All the old complainants, the bishops of Constance
and Augsburg, the abbots of Mönchsreit and Kai-
sersheim, prosecuted their claims against the ducal
houses, whose very existence was endangered f.

* Brevis enumeratio aliquorum negotiorum quK in jiuncto

reformationis in cancellaria imperii tractata sunt ab anno 1G20 ad
annum 1629, in the Appendix to the Germania sacra restau-
rata, p. 34.

t Sattler, Geschichte von Würtemberg unter den Herzogen,
Vol. vi. p. 226.


The bishops in every case gained their cause against
the cities ; the bishop of Eichstadt against Nürn-
berg, the chapter of Strasburg against the city of
Strasburg ; while Schwäbisch -Hall, Memmingen,
Ulm, Lindau, and many other cities, were com-
pelled to restore to the catholics the churches they
had taken from them.

If on every hand the protestants appealed to
the letter of the treaty of Augsburg, they had a
much stronger interest in a more general applica-
tion of its principles, as they were now under-

" After the battle of Lutter," says CarafFa, " the
emperor appeared to wake as from a long sleep :
freed from a great fear which had enthralled him
and his predecessors, he conceived the project of
restoring all Germany to the form marked out by
the terms of the peace of Augsburg." Not only
Magdeburg and Halberstadt, but Bremen, Ver-
den, Minden, Camin, Havelberg, Schwerin, and
almost all the North German ecclesiastical endow-
ments, were restored to Catholicism. This had
ever been the distant aim upon which the pope
and the Jesuits, in the most brilliant moments of
prosperity, had fixed their eyes. For this very
reason it was matter of some anxiety to the em-
peror. " He was doubtful," says CarafFa, " not of
the justice of the measure, but of the possibility of
its execution." But the zeal of the Jesuits, espe-
cially of his confessor Lamormain ; the favourable

* Senkenberg, Fortsetzung der Häberlinschen Reichsge-
schichte, vol. xxv, p. 633.


opinions of the four catholic electors ; the unwea-
ried solicitations of the papal nuncio, who himself
informs us that it cost him the labour of a month to
prevail, at length overcame all scruples. As early
as August 1628, the edict of restitution was framed
in the same form in which it afterwards appeared*.
Before it was published, it was once more sub-
mitted to the consideration of the catholic electors.
But a more extensive plan was connected with
this ; the catholics indulged the hope of winning
over the lutheran princes by measures of concilia-
tion. This was not to be attempted by theologians,
but by the emperor, or by some of the catholic
princes of the empire. The arguments which they
meant to urge were, that the conception entertained
of Catholicism in North Germany was erroneous ;
that the deviation of the unaltered Augsburg con-
fession from the catholic creed was very slight ; they
hoped to propitiate the elector of Saxony by leaving
him the patronage of the three great chapters of his
dominionsf: they did not even despair of exciting

* That this was the epoch of the drawing up of the edict,
appears from CaralFa, Commentar. de Germ, sacra restaurata,
p. 350. He remarks, that the edict was drawn up in 1628, and
published in 1629 : he then proceeds to say, " Annuit ipse Deus,
dum post paucos ab ipsa deliberatione dies Csesarem insigni vic-
toria remuneratus est." He speaks of the victory of "Wolgast,
obtained on the 22nd of August.

t As early as 1624 hopes were nourished in Rome of the con-
version of this prince. Instruttione a Mons"" Caraffa. " Venne
ancora qualche novella della sperata riunione con la chiesa cat-
tolica del sig"" duca di Sassonia, ma ella svani ben presto : con
tutto ciö il vederlo non infenso a' cattolici e nemicissimo de'
Calvinisti ed amicissimo del Magontino e convenuto nell' eletto-


the hatred of the lutherans against Calvinism, which
might then he made subservient to a complete re-
establishment of Catholicism. This idea was eagerly-
embraced at Rome, and worked out into a feasible
project. Urban VIII. had not the slightest inten-
tion of resting satisfied with the articles of the
peace of Augsburg, which had never been sanctioned
by a pope*. Nothing less than a complete resti-
tution of all church property, — nothing less than
a complete gathering together of all protestants
within the fold of the church, would satisfy him.

But Urban, intoxicated by his present prosperity,
aspired to a yet more daring project, — an attack
upon England. This plan from time to time re-
appeared, by a sort of necessity, in the grand catho-
lic schemes. The pope now hoped to avail him-
self of the renewed good understanding between
England and France for that purpose f.

He first represented to the French ambassador,
how offensive it was to France, that the English by
no means adhered to the promises made at the

rato di Baviera ci fa sperare bene : laonde non sara inutile cheS.S^
tengaproposito col detto Magontino di questo desideratoacquisto,"

* " A cui," says the pope of the treaty of Passau, in a letter to
the emperor, "non haveva giammai assentito la sede apostolica."

t In Siri, Memorie, vi. 257, some account, though very imper-
fect, is given of this affair. That given in the Memoires de
Richelieu, xxiii. 283, is merely partial. The statement in Nico-
letti, of which we here make use, is much more circumstantial
and authentic. (Concerning Nicoletti's work see App. No. 120.)


marriage. Either Louis XIII. ought to compel the
EngHsli to fulfil their engagements, or to wrest the
crown i'rom a prince who showed himself, as a here-
tic before God, and a violator of his word before
men, unworthy to wear it*.

He next addressed himself to the Spanish am-
bassador Ofiate. The pope said that, were it
merely from his duty as a knight, Philip IV. was
bound to succour the queen of England, his near
kinswoman, who was now suffering oppression on
account of her religion.

As soon as the pope perceived that he might in-
dulge any hope of a favourable result, he committed
the negotiation to Spada, the nuncio at Paris.
Among the influential men of France, cardinal
Berulle, who had conducted the negotiations con-
cerning the marriage, embraced this idea with the
greatest eagerness. He calculated how the Eng-
lish trading vessels might be captured on the
French coasts, and the English fleets burnt in their
own harbours. Olivarez adopted the plan, and
took immediate measures for its execution. Former
perfidies of France might indeed have made him

* According to Nicoletti, the pope says, " Essere il re di
Francia offeso nello stato pel fomento che I'lnghilterra dava agli
Ugonotti ribelli : nella vita, rispetto agli incitamenti e fellonia
di Scialcs, il quale haveva indotto il duca di Orleans a macchi-
nare contro S. M*^, per lo cui delitto fu poscia fatto morire : nella
riputazione, rispetto a tanti mancamenti di promcsse : e final-
mente nel proprio sangue, rispetto agli strapazzi fatti alia regina
sua sorella : ma quelle che voleva dir tutto, nell' anima, insidi-
ando ringlese alia salute di queUa della regina cd insiemc a
quella del christianissimo stesso e di tutti coloro che pur troppo
hebbero voglia di fare quello infelice matrimonio."


pause and doubt, and another great statesman,
cardinal Bedmar, opposed it on tliat ground ; but
the idea was too grand and comprehensive to be re-
jected by Olivarez, who in all things loved the
dazzling and magnificent.

The negotiation was carried on with the utmost
secrecy ; even the French ambassador in Rome, to
whom the first disclosures had been made, learned
nothing of its further progress. The articles
of the treaty were drawn up by Richelieu, cor-
rected by Olivarez, and adopted, with his amend-
ments, by Richelieu. On the 20th April, 1627,
they were ratified. The French engaged im-
mediately to begin their armament, and to put
their ports in a state of defence. The Spaniards
were ready that same year to commence the attack,
and it was agreed that the French should come to

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