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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

By the united forces of Mansfeld and Prince Christian


Against these two, and George Frederick of Baden, who joined them, Ferdinand II. sent Maximilian of Bavaria, to whom he promised the Palatinate as a reward, and Tilly, a general already famous both for his military talent and his inhumanity. The latter, who had been educated by the Jesuits for a priest, was in the Bavarian service. He was a small, lean man, with a face almost comical in its ugliness. His nose was like a parrot's beak, his forehead seamed with deep wrinkles, his eyes sunk in their sockets and his cheek-bones projecting. He usually wore a dress of green satin, with a cocked hat and long red feather, and rode a small, mean-looking gray horse.

Early in 1622 the Imperial army under Tilly was defeated, or at least checked, by the united forces of Mansfeld and Prince Christian. But in May of the same year, the forces of the latter, with those of George Frederick of Baden, were almost cut to pieces by Tilly, at Wimpfen. They retreated into Alsatia, where they burned and plundered at will, while Tilly pursued the same course on the eastern side of the Rhine. He took and destroyed the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg, closed the Protestant churches, banished the clergymen and teachers, and supplied their places with Jesuits. The invaluable library of Heidelberg was sent to Pope Gregory XV. at Rome, and remained there until 1815, when a part of it came back to the University by way of Paris.

[Sidenote: 1623.]

Frederick V., who had fled from the country, entered into negotiations with the Emperor, in the hope of retaining the Palatinate. He dissolved his connection with Mansfeld and Prince Christian, who thereupon offered their services to the Emperor, on condition that he would pay their soldiers! Receiving no answer, they marched through Lorraine and Flanders, laying waste the country as they went, and finally took refuge in Holland. Frederick V.'s humiliation was of no avail; none of the Protestant princes supported his claim. The Emperor gave his land, with the Electoral dignity, to Maximilian of Bavaria, and this act, although a direct violation of the laws which the German princes held sacred, was acquiesced in by them at a Diet held at Ratisbon in 1623. John George of Saxony, who saw clearly that it was a fatal blow aimed both at the Protestants and at the rights of the reigning princes, was persuaded to be silent by the promise of having Lusatia added to Saxony.

By this time, Germany was in a worse condition than she had known for centuries. The power of the Jesuits, represented by Ferdinand II., his councillors and generals, was supreme almost everywhere; the Protestant princes vied with each other in meanness, selfishness and cowardice; the people were slaughtered, robbed, driven hither and thither by both parties: there seemed to be neither faith nor justice left in the land. The other Protestant nations--England, Holland, Denmark and Sweden--looked on with dismay, and even Cardinal Richelieu, who was then practically the ruler of France, was willing to see Ferdinand II.'s power crippled, though the Protestants should gain thereby. England and Holland assisted Mansfeld and Prince Christian with money, and the latter organized new armies, with which they ravaged Friesland and Westphalia. Prince Christian was on his way to Bohemia, in order to unite with the Hungarian chief, Bethlen Gabor, when, on the 6th of August, 1623, he met Tilly at a place called Stadtloon, near Muenster, and, after a murderous battle which lasted three days, was utterly defeated. About the same time Mansfeld, needing further support, went to England, where he was received with great honor.

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