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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

This required that two archbishoprics


the summer of 1627 Wallenstein again marched northward with an army reorganized and recruited to 40,000 men. John George of Saxony, who tried to maintain a selfish and cowardly neutrality, now saw his land overrun, and himself at the mercy of the conqueror. Brandenburg was subjected to the same fate; the two Mecklenburg duchies were seized as the booty of the Empire; and Wallenstein, marching on without opposition, plundered and wasted Holstein, Jutland and Pomerania. In 1628 the Emperor bestowed Mecklenburg upon him: he gave himself the title of "Admiral of the Baltic and the Ocean," and drew up a plan for creating a navy out of the vessels of the Hanseatic League, and conquering Holland for the house of Hapsburg. After this should have been accomplished, his next project was to form an alliance with Poland against Denmark and Sweden, the only remaining Protestant powers.

While the rich and powerful cities of Hamburg and Luebeck surrendered at his approach, the little Hanseatic town of Stralsund closed its gates against him. The citizens took a solemn oath to defend their religious faith and their political independence to the last drop of their blood. Wallenstein exclaimed: "And if Stralsund were bound to Heaven with chains, I would tear it down!" and marched against the place. At the first assault he lost 1,000 men; at the second, 2,000; and then the citizens, in turn, made sallies, and inflicted still heavier losses upon him. They were soon

reinforced by 2,000 Swedes, and then Wallenstein was forced to raise the siege, after having lost, altogether, 12,000 of his best troops. At this time the Danes appeared with a fleet of 200 vessels, and took possession of the port of Wolgast, in Pomerania.


In spite of this temporary reverse, Ferdinand II. considered that his absolute power was established over all Germany. After consulting with the Catholic Chief-Electors (one of whom, now, was Maximilian of Bavaria), he issued, on the 6th of March, 1629, an "Edict of Restitution," ordering that all the former territory of the Roman Church, which had become Protestant, should be restored to Catholic hands. This required that two archbishoprics, twelve bishoprics, and a great number of monasteries and churches, which had ceased to exist nearly a century before, should be again established; and then, on the principle that the religion of the ruler should be that of the people, that the Protestant faith should be suppressed in all such territory. The armies were kept in the field to enforce this edict, which was instantly carried into effect in Southern Germany, and in the most violent and barbarous manner. The estates of 6,000 noblemen in Franconia, Wuertemberg and Baden were confiscated; even the property of reigning princes was seized; but, instead of passing into the hands of the Church, much of it was bestowed upon the Emperor's family and his followers. The Archbishoprics of Bremen and Magdeburg were given to his son Leopold, a boy of 15! In carrying out the measure, Catholics began to suffer, as well as Protestants, and the jealousy and alarm of all the smaller States were finally aroused.

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