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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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purpose at Bologna or Ferrara : the pope did not
venture either to promise or to refuse absolutely,
and sought to extricate himself from his difficulty
by a mental reservation*. The feudal rights of the
empire over Urbino and Montefeltro next came
under discussion, and the papal nuncio was unce-
remoniously told, that Wallenstein would inform
himself more accurately about them when he came
to Italy. This was, in fact, Wallenstein's inten-
tion. He had originally been opposed to an Italian

* " Se bene Urbano una volta uscl coll' ambasciatore Savelli
che bisognando si saria trasferito a Bologna o Ferrara, non intese
pero dire in correspettivita di quelle che espresse il principe di

CH.iv. §111.] IN 1629. 569

war ; but now that he saw, as he dechired, that the
pope and his allies wanted to crush the house of
Austria, he was for it*. He hinted that it was a
hundred years since Rome had been sacked, and
that it must be much richer now than then.

Neither was France to be spared. The emperor
thought to recover the three alienated bishoprics
by force of arms. His plan was to invade France
with Cossack troops from Poland ; and the quarrels
of Louis Xni. with his brother and his mother
seemed to offer a tempting opportunity.

The house of Austria thus occupied a position
which enabled it boldly to pursue its designs
against the protestants, and at the same time to
exercise a potent check on the catholic opposition
and on the pope himself.

* A letter by Pallotta on the 10th of August, 1628, shows
what was the general opinion of the pope at Vienna : " E stato
qui rappresentato da' maligni, che son quelli che vogliono la
guerra, che lo stato di Milano sta in grandissimo pericolo, es-
sende cosa sicura che papa Urbano havendo vastissimi pensieri
sia di cattivo animo verso la casa d' Austria, che perciö si habbia
da temere di S. S*^ non meno che di Veneziani e di Francesi ha-
vendo gli stati cosi vicini al ducato di Milano e potendo in un
tratto mettere potente esercito in campagna : e di pit; gli stessi
maligni hanno rappresentato per cosa giä stabilita che S. S^
vuole in ogni modo far fare re de' Romani il re di Francia, ed in
confermazione di cio hanno allegato che essendo la S^ S. nunzio
in Francia dicesse alia regina che s'egli arrivava ad esser papa,
voleva procurare di fare re de' Romani il suo figliuolo, il quale
ancora era fanciullo."



In former ages, whenever a conjuncture like that
which we have just described had been foreseen or
feared, even in a distant futurity, every pov/er in
Europe possessing the least remaining independence
had combined. It was now actually present. The
catholic opposition looked around for help beyond
the pale of Catholicism ; not, as before, from jea-
lousy, but for defence and salvation. But to whom
could this party turn ? England had ample employ-
ment at home, in the quarrels between the king and
the parliament, and moreover -was engaged in fresh
negotiations with Spain. The Netherlands were
overrun by the enemy ; the German protestants
either beaten or overawed by the imperial troops,
and the king of Denmark compelled to accede to a
disadvantageous peace. There remained only the
king of Sweden.

While the protestants were defeated on every
hand, Gustavus Adolphus alone had been victo-
riovis. He had conquered Riga, the whole of Li-
vonia as far as Dünamünde, and, as the Poles ex-
pressed it, " as much of Lithuania as he had
pleased;" in 1G26 he appeared in Prussia, chiefly,
as he said, to inspect the state of the clergy in the
diocese of Ermeland ; he had taken the two chief
seats of restored Catholicism in that country, Frau-
enburg and Braunsberg, and had thus opened a
new and strong asylum to oppressed protestantism.


All eyes were turned upon him. " Above all men,"
writes Rusdorf, as early as the year 1624, " I re-
vere and admire this victorious hero ; I honour him
as the sole prop of our cause, as the terror of our
common foes ; my prayers accompany the career
of his fame, which soars far above the reach of
envy*." Gustavus Adolphus had indeed suffered
some loss in the battle of the plain of Stumm,
where he himself was in imminent danger of being
taken prisoner ; but the chivalrous valour with
which he cut his way through the enemy, cast
an additional lustre over his reputation, and he
kept the field in spite of this reverse.

To this heroic prince the French now addressed
themselves. They first negotiated a truce between
him and the Poles, and it is very possible that the
views of the emperor upon Prussia, to which we
have alluded, conduced to inspire the magnates,
if not the king, of Poland, with an inclination for
peace f. They thus made some advance towards
the attainment of their chief aim — that of drawing
the king of Sweden to Germany ; and in case they
succeeded, the only reservation they contemplated
was, to introduce into the treaty some stipulations
in favour of Catholicism. With this condition
they declared themselves ready to aid the king,

* Rusdorf, Memoires, ii. 3 : " Ejus gloriam invidise metas
eluctatam, excelsam infract! animi magnitudinem, et virtutis ma-
gis ac magis per merita enitescentis et assurgentis invictum ro-
bur cum stupore adoro et sui:)plici voto prosequor."

t Rusdorf, 1. i. 724; " Poloniee proceres, si unquam, vel nunc
maxime pacem desiderabunt."


who was to bring a considerable army into the field,
with answerable supplies in money. After some
hesitation, king Gustavus consented to their pro-
posals. In his instructions he avoids all allu-
sion to religion ; alleging only as the objects of the
alliance, the restoration of the ancient rights of the
estates of Germany, the removal of the imperial
troops, and the security of commerce and of the
sea*. A compact was drawn out, in which the
king engaged to tolerate the catholic mode of wor-
ship wherever he found it, and in the aftairs of re-
ligion to abide by the laws of the empire (to use
the expression employed). This was necessary
also on account of the pope, to whom it was im-
mediately announced. The ratification of the treaty
was indeed retarded by some formalities, but in
the summer of 1630 it was regarded as definitivef.
The papal nuncio in France maintained that Ve-
nice had pledged herself to pay a third of the sub-
sidies!. I have not been able to make out what

* " Tenor mandatorum quae S. R. Maj. Suecise clementer vult

lit consiliarius ejus Dn. Camerarius observare debeat, Up-

saliee, 18 Dec. 1629." Mosers patriotisches Archiv., vol. vi.
p. 133.

-j- Bagni, 18 Giugno, 1630. He gives in the following form,
-with slight variations, the article which also appears in the
treaty of the 6th Jan. 1631 : "Si rex aliquos progressus faciet,
in captis aut deditis locis, quantum ad ea quae religionem spec-
tant, observabit leges imperii." He also shows what construc-
tion was put upon it. " Le quali leggi," he adds, " dicevano
dovere intendersi della religione cattolica e della confessione
Augustana." Thus Calvinism would have remained excluded.

I Bagni, 16 Luglio, 1630. " Sopragiunsero," it is said in the
extract, " nuove lettere del Bagni coll' aviso che alia prefata con-


foundation there is for this assertion, but it is cer-
tainly rendered probable by the general state of af-

But could it be hoped that Gustavus Adolphus
would be able single-handed to break the might of
the imperial allied armies, and to conquer them in
the field ? Nobody believed it possible. It ap-
peared therefore extremely desirable to excite a
movement in Germany itself, calculated to favour
his undertaking.

For this end the protestants might doubtless be
reckoned upon. Whatever might be the policy
suggested to individual princes by personal consi-
derations or by fear, yet that fermentation which
penetrates to the very core of social life, and which
is the harbinger of mighty convulsions, had seized
upon all minds. As a proof of this I will mention
only one thought which was rife at that time.
When attempts were made in some places to carry
into effect the edict of restitution, and the Jesuits
intimated their intention of not even recognising
the treaty of Augsburg, the protestants gave out
that before this could come to pass, the German
empire and nation should be utterly shattered and
overthrown : ' ' rather would they cast away all law
and order, and restore Germany once more to the
solitude and the wildness of her ancient forests."

But this was not all. Discontents and divisions
appeared on the catholic side also.

federatione fra il re di Francia e lo Sueco erasi aggiunta la re-
publica di Venetia, la quale obligavasi a contribuire per la terza


It is impossible to describe the agitation occa-
sioned by the design of the Jesuits to take posses-
sion of the huids of the restored monasteries. The
Jesuits were said to have declared that there were
no benedictines remaining ; that they had all fallen
off from the discipline of their order, and were not
competent to resume possession of the property
they had lost. They contested even their claims
on the score of service ; they would not hear of
conversions having been wrought by them ; what
appeared such, they said, w^ere only the work of
force*. Thus even before any restoration of the
church lands had taken place, they excited discord
and contention between the orders for the right
of possession, and between the emperor and the
pope for the right of collation.

To these religious differences were now added

* The violent controversial writings, attacks and replies pro-
duced by this affair, give us insight into the subject of dispute,
but none into the truth of the facts. " E verissimo," says the
papal nuncio in a letter written in cipher, " che i padri Gesuiti
hanno procurato e procurano col favore dell' imperatore, che non
puo esser maggiore, di non solo soprastare agli altri religiosi, ma
di escluderli dove essi v'hanno alcun Interesse o politico o spiri-
tuale." I find, nevertheless, that the emperor, however great at
that time his devotion to the Jesuits, was inclined in the year
1G29 to make entire restitution of their possessions to the older
orders. This is stated by Pier Luigi Caraffa, nuncio at Cologne.
But the Jesuits had already gained their point at Rome, where in
July 1629 a decree was issued, "che alcuna parte (dei beni
ricuperati) potesse convertirsi in erezloni di seminarj, di alunnati,
di scuole e di collegj tanto de' padri Gesuiti, quali in gran parte
furono motori dell' editto di Cesare, come di altri religiosi." The
schools of the Jesuits would thus have spread over all the north
of Germany.


secular ones of a yet more extensive nature. The
imperial troops were an insupportable burthen to
the country ; they exhausted its resources, and
those of its inhabitants ; and the princes had no
better treatment at the hands of the general, than
the citizen or the peasant at those of the soldier.
Wallenstein held the most insolent language. The
old allies of the emperor, the heads of the league,
above all Maximilian of Bavaria, were dissatisfied
with the present and anxious about the future.

In this situation of things it happened that Fer-
dinand assembled the catholic electors at Ratisbon
in the summer of 1630, with a view to procure the
election of his son as king of the Romans, On such
an occasion it inevitably followed, that all other
public affairs came under discussion.

The emperor plainly saw that he must concede
something. His private intention was to give way
on some points of German affairs ; he showed him-
self disposed to prolong the suspension of the edict
of restitution as it regarded the territories of Bran-
denburg and the electorate of Saxony ; to come to
some definitive accommodation concerning the pa-
latinate and Mecklenburg, to appease and conci-
liate Sweden (for which purpose negotiations were
already opened), and in the meantime to turn all
his forces upon Italy, in order to bring the Man-
tuan war to a termination, and to extort from the
pope a recognition of his ecclesiastical claims*.

* Dispaccio Pallotta, 2 Ag. 1630, gives the following amongst
the points which were to be taken into consideration: 1°. " Se si
doveva sospendere o tirare avanti Teditto della ricuperatione de'


He probably believed that since he had to deal
with German princes, he should obtain most by
conciliation and concession in German aftairs. But
the position of things was not so simple.

The spirit of the Italico-French opposition had
already insinuated itself amongst the catholic elec-
tors, and its leaders sought to turn the discontents
prevailing among the latter to their own ends.

First appeared the papal nuncio Rocci in Ratis-
bon, and as an inevitable consequence of his cha-
racter and function, used every possible means to
thwart the execution of the Italian and antipapal

The pope had charged him to make it his first
care to be upon a good understanding with the
elector of Bavaria ; in a short time he announced
that this understanding was maintained in the pro-
foundest secrecy* ; he produced a declaration of the
catholic electors, that they would preserve a strict
union with him in all ecclesiastical affairs, and
especially would maintain inviolate the jurisdiction
and dignity of the papal see. But to give a decisive

beni eccl" ; 2°, se havendosi da procedere avanti, si avesse da
sospendere quanto a quelli che erano negli stati dell' elettori di
Sassonia e di Brandenburgo : ed incUnavasi a sospenderlo ; 3".
quanto ai beneficii e beni eccl" che si erano ricuperati, preten-

dcTasi che alii imperatori spettasse la nominazione 6".

trattavasi di restituire il ducato di Mechelburgh agli antichi pa-
droni, siccome il palatinato almeno inferiore al palatino con pcr-
petuo pregiuditio della religione cattolica come era scguito con

* Dispaccio Rocci, 9 Sett. 1630: "E questa corrispondenza
riusci molto fruttuosa, perche Baviera di buon cuore opero che in
quel convento non si tratto delle operation! sopra mentovate."


turn to affairs, father Joseph, the confidant of
RicheUeu came to his aid. On no occasion was the
consummate cunning of that capuchin more busy,
more successful, or more obvious to all acquainted
with the transactions, than on this. His companion
in Ratisbon, Monsieur de Leon, who lent his name
to this embassy, is reported to have said, that father
Joseph had no soul, but in its stead shallows and
quicksands, into which everyone must fall who had
any deahngs with him.

By the instrumentality of such mediators the
Italico-French opposition quickly won over the em-
peror's German confederates. Nothing was done
.for the reconciliation of the empire with Sweden,
or for the pacification of the protestants ; nor
had the pope ever given his consent to the sus-
pension of the edict of restitution. On the other
hand, the electors pressed for the restoration of
peace in Italy ; they demanded the dismissal of the
imperial commander-in-chief, who had assumed
the bearing of an absolute dictator; and so mighty
was this influence, so adroitly was it exercised,
that the puissant emperor, at the zenith of his
power, yielded without resistance and without con-

While these negotiations were carrying on inRa-
tisbon, his troops had conquered Mantua; he might
regard himself as master of Italy, when at this mo-
ment, he consented to cede Mantua to the duke of
Nevers, in exchange for the empty formality of an
apology. But the other demands made upon him

VOL. II. 2 p


afforded perhaps yet more striking evidence of the
relative address of the parties. The German princes,
France, and the pope, were all equally overawed
by the general, on whose personal qualities the
whole fortune of the imperial arms depended. It
is no cause of wonder if they hated him and desired
to be rid of him. The emperor, for peace' sake,
gave him up.

At the very moment when he might have ob-
tained the sovereignty of Italy, he let it slip
through his hands. At the very moment when the
most formidable, most warlike enemy attacked him
in Germany, he dismissed the captain who alone
was capable of defending him. Never did policy
and diplomacy obtain a more solid or a more bril-
liant triumph.



This was the true commencement of the war. It
cannot be denied that Gustavus Adolphus opened it
under the most favourable circumstances. For the
imperial army drawn together by the name of Wal-
lenstein was personally devoted and bound to that
great commander. The emperor had disbanded a
part of it, and had subjected the contributions levied
by the generals, which had hitherto been left to


their own discretion, to the arbitration of the circles
of the empire*, and at length, by the act of dismissing
his general, he had destroyed his army and robbed it
of its moral force. With troops thus disgusted and
disheartened, Torquato Conti, an Italian who had
formerly been in the pope's service, had to make
head against the emboldened and zealous enemy.
As might have been anticipated, his failure was
complete ; the imperial army appeared no longer
the same ; nothing was seen but indecision, terror,
and disaster ; Gustavus Adolphus completely routed
it and took up a strong position on the lower Oder.

At first it was thought in southern Germany
that this was of little importance to the rest of the
empire ; and Tilly meanwhile continued his opera-
tions on the Elbe with perfect coolness. The con-
quest he at length achieved of Magdeburg appeared
to the pope a great victory and inspired the highest
hopes. A commissary was actually appointed at
Tilly's suggestion, to arrange the affairs of the arch-
bishopric according to the laws of the catholic

But it was this very measure which determined
the Protestant princes who had hitherto been waver-
ing, to join Gustavus Adolphus, and, while Tilly
sought to prevent them, to declare an enmity to
the league which rendered it impossible any longer
to discriminate between the leaguers and the impe-

* Adlzreitter, iii. xv. 48 : " Ceesar statuit ne in posterum sti-
pendia pro tribunorum arbitrio, sed ex circulorum prsescripta
moderatione penderentur."

2 p2


rialists. The battle of Leipzig followed. Tilly
was completely routed, and the protestant armies
overran the territories of the leagued princes, as
well as those of the emperor. Würzburg and Bam-
berg fell into the king's hands ; the protestants of
the far north encountered on the banks of the Rhine
the ancient champions of Roman Catholicism, the
troops of Spain ; their skulls lie mingled at Oppen-
heim. Mayence was conquered ; all the oppressed
princes joined the king, and the expelled count pa-
latine appeared in his camp.

Thus was the necessary result of an enterprise,
which had been excited and approved by the ca-
tholic opposition from political views, advantageous
to protestantism. The party that had been utterly
overpowered found itself once more victorious.
It is true, the king extended his protection to the
catholics generally, as he was bound to do by the
terms of his alliance ; but he at the same time
declared that he was come to rescue his fellow-
believers from the violence offered to their con-
sciences*; he took the lutheran ministers who lived
under catholic governments under his special pro-
tection — as for instance those of Erfurt ; he also
everywhere proclaimed the Augsburg confession ;
the ejected pastors returned to the Palatinate, and
the lutheran doctrine and worship once more tra-
versed the empire under the banners of the victo-
rious army.

* Letter from the king to the town of Schweinfurt, given in
Chemnitz, Schwedischer Krieg, Part I. p. 231.


Such were the strange and perplexed results of
the policy of Urban VIII. In so far as the king
attacked and overcame the Austrian power, he was
the natural ally of the pope, and this was imme-
diately evident in the affairs of Italy ; for disheart-
ened by the disasters in Germany, the emperor
acquiesced in more unfavourable terms in the affair
of Mantua, in the year 1631, than had been pro-
posed to him the year before at Ratisbon. Nay,
there even subsisted indirect, if not direct, ties be-
tween the papal see and the protestant powers
/ which were once more engaged in a successful
struggle. " I speak with good grounds," says
Aluise Contarini, who had been first at the French
and then at the Roman court, " for I was present
at all the negotiations ; the pope's nuncios always
favoured Richelieu's undertakings, both when they
had for their object his own safety, and when they
aimed at uniting Bavaria and the league with
France ; with regard to his alliance with Holland
and the protestant powers generally, they held their
peace, that they might not say they had sanction-
ed it. Other popes would perhaps have had this
connivance upon their conscience, but the nuncios
of Urban VIII. found this the road to greater con-
sideration and to personal advancement*."

The emperor made loud and bitter complaints ;
he said that the Roman court had first persuaded him
to publish the edict of restitution and now deserted

* Al. Contarini, Relatione di Roma, 1635.^ See App. No. 115.


him in the war which it had occasioned ; that the
pope had thwarted the election of his son as king
of the Romans ; that he had encouraged the elector
of Bavaria by word and deed to follow a separate
policy, and to ally himself with France ; that it was
in vain to apply to Urban for those succours in
money and troops which other popes had so often
afforded ; and that he even refused to pronounce
condemnation on the alliance of the French with
heretics, or to proclaim this war to be a war of re-
ligion*. In the year 1632, we find the imperial
ambassadors in Rome reiterating with peculiar
emphasis the last charge. The declaration of his
holiness, they say, may still produce the greatest
eff'ect ; it is still not absolutely impossible to drive
out the king of Sweden, who has not more than
thirty thousand men. The pope replied with frigid
pedantry, " With thirty thousand men Alexander
conquered the world." He persisted in asserting

* Aluise Contarini : " Gli Alemanni si pretendono delusi dal
papa, perche dopo aver egli reiteratamente persuaso I'imperatore di
ripetere dagli eretici i beni ecclesiastici d'Alemagna ch' erano in
loro mani, origine di tante guerre, resistesse S. S'^ poi alle rei-
terate spedizioni di card^^ e d'amb" nelle assistenze di danaro,
nel mandar gente e bandiere con Tesempio de' precessori, nel
publicar la guerra di religione, nell' impedire colle scomuniche
gli appo"-fi ai medesimi heretici della Francia : anzi nel medc-
simo tempo ritardata I'elettione del re de' Ilomani, confortato il
duca di Baviera con la lega cattolica all' unione di Francia, as-
sistendo lo medesimo di danari e di consiglio per sostenersi in
corpo separate. II papa si lugna d'esser teuuto eretico et ama-
tore di buoni progressi de' protestanti, come tal volta in efFetto
non li ebbe discari."


that it was not a war of religion, — that it concerned
only affairs of state ; and that moreover the papal
treasury was exhausted and he could do no more.

The members of the curia, and the inhabitants
of Rome were amazed. " Amidst the conflagration
of churches and monasteries," said they, " the
pope remained stiff and cold as ice. The king of
Sweden had more zeal for his lutheranism, than the
holy father for the only true faith."

The Spaniards once more proceeded to a protest.
Cardinal Borgia now appeared before Urban VIII.
as Olivarez had done before Sixtus V., to protest
solemnly against the conduct of his holiness. A
scene ensued even more violent than on that occa-
sion. Whilst the pope broke out into furious anger
and interrupted the envoy, the cardinals present
took part on one side or the other. The envoy was
forced to content himself with giving in a wTitten

Online LibraryLeopold von RankeThe ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) → online text (page 38 of 39)