another; aristocratic license was followed by royal despo-
tism, which, regarding itself as above all law, sometimes set
itself above justice, and according to its own will disposed
of the fortune, the liberty, and the life of the citizens.
Under Richelieu were witnessed not only arbitrary confisca-
tions and imprisonments, but capital punishments pro-
nounced by letters patent addressed to Parliament.
The ministry of Cardinal Richelieu did not have as its
sole results in the interior of the kingdom the ruin of the
Protestants as a political party and the subjection of the
nobles ; important reforms also were effected or measures
taken for their completion.
In the management of the finances he did not show the
patient application of a wise administrator who has only his
budget to regulate. The needs of the war raised the ex-
penses so high that he employed to meet the disbursements
not the best methods, but those which were the most speedy
and efficacious, such as the creation of new offices, the
increase of taxes and of loans, often repeated at a high
rate of interest. At his death of the more than 80,000,000
francs that the country was paying the treasury was not
receiving 33,500,000 francs, and as the expenditure was
about 89,000,000 francs, the deficit amounted to 56,000,000
francs; three years' revenue was consumed in advance.
However, the spirit of order with which he was animated
264 THE ASCENDENCY OF FRANCE. [BOOK V.
caused him to discover a partial remedy, which was to prove
of service afterward by opening a way out of the chaos in
which even after Sully the financial organization of the king-
dom still continued. That remedy was the creation of
intendants (1635). These new magistrates, men of obscure
birth whose appointments could be revoked at the will of
the minister, had at once authority over the judiciary, over
the police, and over the finances. Docile agents of the
government, they were charged with preventing the encroach-
ment of the parliaments upon financial administration, and
with counterbalancing the too great power of the governors,
who, being nobles of the highest rank, considered them-
selves almost independent in their own provinces, and
thought of these as a patrimony which should be handed
down to their children; in fact through the weakness
of the rulers they had rendered these governorships almost
hereditary in their families. Them Richelieu succeeded
in dominating with the assistance of the intendants, who
exercised in the name of royalty an active inspection upon
all parts of the kingdom, concentrated gradually in
their own hands all the civil power of the province, and
ended under Louis XIV. by leaving to the governor only
military authority and representation. This was a gain for
the monarchy and for the national unity. Since the crea-
tion of a standing army under Charles VII. no measure
had struck the new feudalism a heavier blow.
One of the results of the siege of La Rochelle had been a
first attempt at organization of the French navy. Richelieu
intended that Brest, Havre, and Brouage should serve as
arsenals; he was mistaken in the last, but as to Brest, he
had chosen well. Before him the French had no real navy.
Numerous vessels were armed, and in the Thirty Years'
War French fleets controlled the ocean and the Mediter-
"As far as Gaul extended," said Richelieu, "so far should
France extend." But the Spaniards, masters of the Nether-
lands, Franche-Comte, and Roussillon, still surrounded
diminished France on three sides and held Italy through
Naples and Milan. He commenced with them. In the
first days of his ministry he had driven the Spaniards from
Valtellina. A few years later he interposed in Italy in
favor of a French prince, the Duke of Nevers, who had
just inherited the country around Mantua and Montferrat.
CHAP. XVII.] LOUIS XIII. AND RICHELIEU. 265
The Spaniards and the Duke of Savoy disputed his claim.
Richelieu himself marched across the Alps with an army of
36,000 men, and Louis XIII. forced the pass of Susa. The
Duke of Savoy hastened to sign the treaty of Susa, which
limited the Spaniards to the Milanais. But before the year
had passed the cardinal was obliged to again cross the Alps
with 40,000 men. The Imperialists, victorious in Germany,
had made incursions into the country of the Grisons, the
Spaniards into Montferrat, and the Duke of Savoy was
negotiating with all the world. Savoy was conquered and
Pignerol taken (March, 1629). The peace of Cheracco,
which Mazarin negotiated, re-established the Duke of Man-
tua in his domains, and compelled Victor Amadeus to sur-
render to Louis XIII. with Pignerol the free passage of the
Alps (April, 1631).
Thus in 1631 Richelieu had separated in Italy the
dominions of the two branches of the house of Austria, which
were making efforts to reunite, and had opened the penin-
sula to France, but without hampering her future action.
He soon made a fierce attack upon these enemies thus sep-
arated. This struggle is the French period of the Thirty
Years' War, narrated farther on. It began in 1635.
Richelieu conducted operations with such success that
when he died (December i, 1642), at the age of fifty-seven
years, he left the kingdom augmented by four provinces
Lorraine, Alsace, Artois, and Rousillon, Catalonia and Por-
tugal in revolt against Spain, and the Swedes and French
almost at the gates of Vienna.
He had therefore fulfilled the promise which he had
made to Louis XIII. on entering upon his ministry; he had
raised the name of the king to its proper place among foreign
nations. "People began to realize," says a contemporary
writer, ' 'that the power of the King of Spain, up to that time
so formidable, which seemed carrying him to universal
monarchy, was not what it appeared, and that France had,
on the contrary, resources inexhaustible and hitherto un-
recognized, arising from the union of all its parts, from its
great fertility, and from the infinite number of soldiers
always at hand; so that one can say without exaggeration
that France well governed can achieve greater things than
any other power in the world."
The dreaded minister did not love power alone; he had
also an inclination for arts and letters. Several useful insti-
266 THE ASCENDENCY OF FRANCE.
tutions date from his ministry. He founded the French
Academy in 1635, and intended it to govern the language and
to regulate taste; he enlarged the Sorbonne, the Royal
Library and Printing House; he erected the Palais Cardinal
(Palais Royal), the College of Plessis, and instituted the
Botanical Garden, to-day the Museum of Natural History.
He showed to writers a deference to which they had not
been accustomed; he granted pensions to scholars and
poets, to Corneille among others; he encouraged Voue't,
the painter, and he recalled Poussin from Rome; finally,
he saw the birth of the great literary century of France just
as he himself had begun the great political era; for "The Cid"
belongs to the year 1635 and the "Discourse on Method" to
1637. He was himself a remarkable writer. If he was
wrong in writing tragedies and in considering himself the
equal of Corneille he composed a multitude of works on
theology, highly esteemed in his own times, and his
"Memoirs," a political testament much valued in our day.
In these writings the emphasis and the pretentious style of
the period are often noticed, but sometimes also an energy
like that of Corneille.
Louis XIII. made no change in the policy of the car-
dinal, and summoned to his council one who was capable of
continuing it, Jules Mazarin, the friend and depositary of
the great minister's ideas. Louis survived Richelieu only
six months (May 14, 1643).
THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR.
The Northern Countries and Germany at the Time of the Thirty Years'
War. The Thirty Years' War : The Palatine and Danish Periods
(1618-26) ; the Swedish and French Periods (1630-48).
IN the sixteenth century the political balance had not yet
begun to change in the North, although by certain signs one
.. could already foresee that Russia was rising
The northern , , , J . , . _. .
countries and and Poland sinking. 1 he one, in fact, was
mT an o y f at the gradually gaining strength under the hand of
Thirty Years' the dukes of Moscow and their absolute
authority; the other, at the extinction of the
Jagellons in 1572, was becoming an elective kingdom, or
rather an aristocratic, turbulent republic, which conferred
the kingly title upon that foreign prince of whom she was the
least suspicious. Thus it was that in 1573 she had elected the
Duke of Anjou, who was afterward the unfortunate Henry
III. of France, and after he had fled from Warsaw Stephen
Battory, Prince of Transylvania (1575); finally, in 1587,
Sigismund, son of John III., King of Sweden. Sigismund
was deprived by his uncle, Charles IX., of his father's
crown. In order to regain it he made alliance with Austria,
and in 1598 began a war between Poland and Sweden,
which continued till 1629, when Richelieu interposed for its
cessation. Livonia and Prussia were the chief theater of
the war, but Russia also took part. The Polish nobility
preserved a military vigor which made it appear with honor
in these long contentions. Russia, on the contrary, troubled
by weakening civil dissensions in the period between the
extinction of the male line of Ruric (1598) and the acces-
sion of the Romanoffs (1613), lost the advantages which
she owed to Ivan IV. By the peace of Stolbova (1617) she
surrendered to Sweden Carelia and Ingria, that is to say,
she gave up all her right to the Baltic; at the treaty of
268 THE ASCENDENCY OF FRANCE. [BOOK V.
Divilina in 1618 she restored to Poland Smolensk and
Tchernigov, thereby being crowded back into those deserts
whence she was already attempting to emerge. At that
moment, therefore, when the Thirty Years' War was break-
ing out in Germany, Sigismund had gloriously defended his
claim to the crown of Poland, but he had not recovered the
crown of Sweden, which since 1611 had been worn by his
cousin, Gustavus Adolphus, grandson of the glorious
founder of the house of Vasa.
Gustavus Vasa had established in Sweden the almost
absolute authority of the king and the Lutheran reforma-
tion. The latter, menaced by his son, John III., by the
intrigues of the King of Spain, Philip II., and by the attacks
of the Polish king, Sigismund, took root in the country and
developed that fanatically intolerant spirit of which it still
furnishes such deplorable proofs. Another result of the
hostilities between Sweden and Poland was that, since the
latter had ben aided by Austria, the former was naturally
led to take up arms against the house of Hapsburg, when
the imperial troops arrived on the shores of the Baltic.
The force that royalty had gained in Sweden and the energy
of Lutheran sentiment with which the Swedes were ani-
mated, together with the talents of Gustavus and the faults
of his adversaries, will explain to us the brilliant part that
Sweden shortly played upon the German territory.
Denmark did not possess these advantages. In 1618
her king, Charles IV., was not a remarkable ruler, and the
government was weak because it was subject to a sort of
oligarchy formed by the high nobility. Moreover, if the
Danish navy was respectable the land forces were not, since
they were feudal levies which the lords controlled much
more than the king. Although possessor of Norway and
the southern provinces of Sweden, Denmark could not win
credit in the great conflict in store.
When Charles V., fallen from the height of his hopes, had
determined, in the middle of the century preceding, to
renounce his crowns he had first promulgated the peace of
Augsburg in order to end the religious wars in Germany
(1555). This peace could be nothing but a truce; for the
great questions remained unsolved. German slowness
allowed this truce to continue sixty-three years.
The new war was to arise from the clause containing the
ecclesiastical reservation. This forbade ecclesiastical bene-
CHAP. XVIII.] THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR. 269
ficiaries who joined the Protestant party to carry with them
the large estates of which the Church had given them the
temporary administration. This was just; but the seculari-
zations, which made hereditary property of estates held in
usufruct, had procured more proselytes for Luther among
the nobles than his most spirited dissertations against the
court of Rome. Before him the Catholic Church owned in
landed property a third of Germany; the abbots and bishops
were princes. What temptation did they not experience to
keep for themselves those immense estates that the Church
had intrusted to their charge in order to meet the expenses
of worship and relieve the poor! What a temptation also
had the temporal princes to lay hands upon this rich prey,
thus reducing the clergy to the poverty of apostolic days!
Thus in the north of Germany the Protestants invaded
the archbishoprics of Magdeburg and Bremen, the bishoprics
of Minden, Halberstadt, Verden, and Lubeck. But in the
west and south the Catholic opposition was greater. In
1582 Gebhard of Truchsess, Archbishop of Cologne, and as
such one of the seven electors of the empire, and Duke of
Westphalia, renounced Catholicism, married, but intended
to keep the electorate. The Pope declared his rights for-
feited and appointed a new archbishop, who was installed in
possession of Cologne by a body of Spanish troops. Geb-
hard had counted upon the Protestants; but as he had
embraced Calvinism the Lutherans deserted him and he
lost his duchy (1584).
Here the Reformers were beaten; so too they were in 1589
at Aix-la-Chapelle, whence their ministers were driven out;
at Strasburg, where they tried in vain to invest one of their
own number with the bishopric (1592); at Donauwerth
(1607), from which the Protestants were expelled and which
fell from the rank of a free town to that of a simple munici-
pality of the duchy of Bavaria.
Thus was accomplished the scheme of Catholic resto-
ration undertaken in Germany by the Holy See. The
Protestants, frightened by all the blows which they had
received, finally thought of defending themselves by organi-
zing their forces. In 1608 they concluded the Evangelical
Union. Their adversaries were unwilling to remain un-
armed in the face of such a threat, and formed on their
side the following year the Catholic League, under the
direction of Duke Maximilian of Bavaria.
270 THE ASCENDENCY OF FRANCE. [BOOK V.
This prince had early shown a fierce and implacable
hatred against the Reformation. When six years old he
wrote to his mother after the murder of Henry III. by
Jacques Clement: "With unspeakable pleasure I have
heard of the assassination of the King of France. I am
awaiting impatiently the confirmation of this news." Next
to him the most influential member of the league was Arch-
duke Ferdinand of Styria, afterward emperor, who declared
that he would beg his bread rather than tolerate heresy in
his domains. He had banished the Protestant ministers; he
caused their churches to be blown up with powder, and
10,000 of their Bibles to be burned at once. Then upon
the place of execution he had laid the corner stone of a
Capuchin monastery. To confront such men the Protestant
party, already weakened by the religious hatred of the
Lutherans for the Calvinists and of the Lutherans among
themselves, had no remarkable prince. The leaders
afforded Germany the spectacle of the most scandalous
rivalries. The Duke of Neuburg had become a Catholic
to acquire Cleves and Juliers after that rich succession
became open (1609); the Elector of Brandenburg turned
Calvinist for the same motive. The one called in the
Spaniards, the other the Dutch. Henry IV. was about
to intervene when he was assassinated. .
The house of Austria was not in a condition to profit by
these dissensions in Germany and in the Reformation. Also,
as we have just seen, not in the Austrian hereditary states but
in Bavaria, Catholicism resuming the offensive had found its
point of support. Since the death of Ferdinand I. (1564),
brother of Charles V. and his successor in the empire, the
German branch of this house had abandoned to the Spanish
branch the great role in Europe. The attacks of the Otto-
mans, the insubordination of the Hungarians and Bohe-
mians, finally, the division of the possessions of Ferdinand I.
among his sons, had thrown this house back into the posi-
tion from which Charles V. had caused it to emerge.
Though the imperial crown was retained, it borrowed no
less strength than it conferred. Maximilian II. (1564-76),
an enlightened and prudent prince, had been constantly
occupied by the Ottomans, the Transylvanians, and the
affairs of Poland, where he wished to be chosen king after
the flight of Henry III.; he troubled himself very little about
Germany, where, however, he preached to the Reformers
CHAP. XVIII.] THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR. 271
without being heeded the toleration that he himself practiced.
His son, Rudolph II. (1576-1612), was, on the contrary,
Aveak, incapable, and superstitious. He passed his life
with alchemists and astronomers who were still astrologers,
although Tycho Brahe was among their number. While
he was observing the stars and drawing up the Rudolphine
tables his armies were being beaten by the Ottomans and
he was losing his crowns. His brother, Mathias, under the
pretext that he was endangering the fortune of their house,
took up arms, and in 1608 forced the cession to himself of
Hungary, Austria, and Moravia, with the title of King-elect
This domestic quarrel rendered the Protestants more
daring in the hereditary provinces. Mathias granted them
freedom of worship in Austria; Rudolph was constrained
by a formidable uprising of the Bohemians to sign letters
patent by which he recognized the legal existence of a Bohe-
mian confession formulated in 1575 ; he granted the Protes-
tants the right of opening schools and of building churches,
and, a matter of graver import, permitted them to appoint
permanent officers, charged, under the name of defenders
of the faith, with superintending the execution of the letters
patent (July u, 1609). In 1611 Mathias forced his brother
to resign to him the crown of Bohemia. To Rudolph was
left only that of the empire, which the electors were about
to take away when he died.
Mathias was neither more clever nor more powerful.
Against him was done what he had done against Rudolph.
Upon him was imposed as coadjutor and heir the Archduke
Ferdinand of Styria, whose superior energy we have already
noticed. The momentary tolerance that the Protestants
had enjoyed in the hereditary states was followed by
persecution. They were driven from their offices, deprived
of their churches, and as soon as Austria was freed from
heresy Ferdinand openly announced his purpose of crush-
ing the religious liberties of Bohemia.
In 1618 some utraquists, or partakers of both bread and
wine in the Lord's Supper, wished to build churches for
The Thirty tn d r worship and were prevented. The
Years' War : defenders of the faith, having at their head
The Palatine ,, -, c , ,
and Danish Pe- the Count of Thum, an impetuous and vio-
riods (1618-36). lent man, pleaded the letters patent. Upon
receiving a derisive answer the riot broke out. They
272 THE ASCENDENCY OF FRANCE. [BOOK V.
repaired to the city hall of Prague, and, "according to an
ancient custom of Bohemia," threw the governors out of
the windows (May 23, 1618).
This event marks the beginning of the memorable so-
called Thirty Years' War, which extended its ravages from
the Danube to the Scheldt, from the banks of the Po to the
shores of the Baltic, which ruined the towns, devastated the
fields, carrying off the population and bringing back bar-
barism. Brought about by a multitude of circumstances, it
began in a religious question, the struggle between the two
religions, but it ended in a political issue, the humiliation
of the house of Austria and the aggrandizement of the
house of France.
After the window exploit of Prague the Bohemians
organized for defense and chose for their king the Elector
Palatine, chief of the Evangelical Union, son-in-law of the
King of England and nephew of the Stadtholder of Holland
(1619). But Frederick V. cared only for festivals, while Fer-
dinand II., who had become emperor at the death of Mathias
(1619), displayed the greatest activity; he treated with the
King of Poland, who sent him assistance, and with the Elec-
tor of Saxony, who gave no aid to the Bohemians; he
obtained subsidies from the Pope and soldiery from the
Catholic League and from the King of Spain, the head of
his house. Besieged in Vienna by the Bohemians of the
Count of Thurn and by the Hungarians of Bethlen Gabor,
menaced almost in his own cabinet by the members of the
States of Austria, who wished to force him to capitulate, he
withstood all these attacks, and his firmness gave time for
all the re-enforcements of the league to hasten thither.
Their arrival changed the face of things; the citizens
armed, confidence was restored, and the Count of Thurn,
recalled to Bohemia by a defeat of his colleague, Ernest of
Mansfield, raised the siege of Vienna.
At the same time a French embassy sent by de Luynes
had decided Gabor to sign a truce; it rendered another
service to the emperor by persuading the princes of the
Evangelical Union to abandon the Elector Palatine. Thus
de Luynes managed the foreign affairs of France.
The emperor could then assume the offensive against his
only remaining enemy. While the Spaniards were entering
the Palatinate and the Saxons Lusatia, the army of the
league triumphed over the Bohemians at the battle of White
CHAP. XVIII.] THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR. 273
Mountain near Prague (1620). Forced to demand pardon
and despoiled of her privileges, Bohemia in terror beheld
the punishment of the leaders of the insurrection: 27 were
beheaded; 29 escaped the same fate only by flight; 928
lords were deprived of their property; 38,000 families
departed from the country, where the Reformation was pro-
scribed. Two centuries later Bohemia still suffered from
this cruel restoration of Catholicism.
Meanwhile the unfortunate elector, put under the ban of
the empire (1621), fled to Holland, not daring to defend
even his hereditary state, where the Spaniards of Spinola
established themselves. This success revived the ambition
of the courts of Vienna and Madrid. The former schemes
of Charles V. and Philip II. were resumed; the reduction
of Holland and of Protestantism was dreamed of; soon
they were to dream of the destruction of German liberty.
But a man who possessed only his sword championed the
cause of Ferderick V. The violences committed in Bohemia
by Ferdinand furnished an army to the Count of Mansfield.
So many men were ruined that war seemed their only resource.
At the head of 20,000 adventurers who had pillage as pay-
ment Mansfield escaped through Bohemia and the upper
Palatinate from the pursuit of the Bavarian general Tilly,
traversed all Franconia, penetrating to the Rhenish Palati-
nate, where the elector hastened to join him. He defeated
the Spaniards and Tilly himself at Mingelsheim (1622).
But the Spaniards and Tilly united their forces, while
Mansfeld and the Burggrave of Baden-Durlach separated.
The latter was worsted at Wimpfen in Hesse. Christian of
Brunswick, another adventurer, who pillaged churches, and
melting the shrines of the saints struck off coins whereon
these words formed the legend, "Friend of God, Enemy of
Priests," levied 20,000 men in the north of Germany and
wished to join Mansfield; the combined army checked his
progress and defeated him at Hochst on the Main. The
Palatinate was again lost. Mansfield opened himself a pas-
sage to the frontiers of Champagne, which he did not dare
to cross, and then to the Netherlands. There he rejoined
Brunswick, who fought against the Spaniards the bloody
battle of Fleurus, in which, being severely wounded, he had
his arm cut off in the sight of his army to the sound of
drums and trumpets. Aided by the Dutch, they forced the
Spaniards to raise the siege of Berg-op-Zoom. Mansfield
274 THE ASCENDENCY OF FRANCE. [BOOK V.
then penetrated into Westphalia, which he ravaged, and
into West Friesland, where he fortified himself so strongly
that Tilly despaired of driving him out; then he passed
over into France and England, seeking everywhere enemies
for Austria and means for fighting against her.