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BO O K been issued against the prisoner by the sole authority of the
Emperor, and was destitute of every legal formality which
could render it valid. But the court-martial, presuming the 1547.
Elector 'to be thereby manifestly convicted of treason and rebellion, condemned him to suffer death by being beheaded. This decree was intimated to the Elector while he was amusing himself in playing at Chess with Ernest of Brunswick, his fellow-prisoner. He paused for a moment, though without discovering any symptom either of surprise or ter
ror ; and after taking notice of the irregularity as well as inThe clec. justice of the Emperor's proceedings : “ It is easy, continutor's mag nanimity.
ed he, to comprehend his scheme. I must die, because Wittemberg will not surrender; and I shall lay down my life with pleasure, if, by that sacrifice, I can preserve the dignity of my house, and transmit to my posterity the inheritance which belongs to them. Would to God, that this sentence may not affect my wife and children more than it intimidates me! and that they, for the sake of adding a few days to a life already too long, may not renounce honours and territories which they were born to possess 8!” He then turned to his antagonist, whom he challenged to continue the game. He played with his usual attention and ingenuity, and having beat Ernest, expressed all the satisfaction which is commonly felt on gaining such victories. After this he withdrew to his own apartment, that he might employ the rest of his time in such religious exercises as were proper in his situation h.
It was not with the same indifference, or composure, tress of his that the account of the Elector's danger was received in family.
Wittemberg. Sybilla, who had supported with such undaunted fortitude her husband's misfortunes, while she imagined that they could reach no farther than to diminish his power or territories, felt all her resolution fail as soon as his life was threatened. Solicitous to save that, she despised every other consideration ; and was willing to make any sacrifice in order to appease an incensed conqueror. At the same time, the Duke of Cleves, the Elector of Brandenburg, and Maurice, to none of whom Charles had communicated BOOK
g Thuan. i. 142.
h Struvü Corpus, 1050.
IX. the true motives of his violent proceedings against the Elector, interceded warmly with him to spare his life. The
1547. first was prompted to do so merely by compassion for his sister, and regard for his brother-in-law. The two others dreaded the universal reproach that they would incur, if, after having boasted so often of the ample security which the Emperor had promised them with respect to their religion, the first effect of their union with him should be the public execution of a Prince, who was justly held in reverence as the most zealous protector of the Protestant cause. Maurice, in particular foresaw that he must become the object of detestation to the Saxons, and could never hope to govern them with tranquillity, if he were considered by them as accessary to the death of his nearest kinsman, in order that he might obtain possession of his dominions.
he surrenders the
WHILE they, from such various motives, solicited His treaCharles, with the most earnest importunity, not to execute ty with
, the sentence; Sybilla, and his children, conjured the Elec- by which tor, by letters as well as messengers, to scruple at no concession that would extricate him out of the present danger, electorate ; and deliver them from their fears and anguish on his account. The Emperor, perceiving that the expedient which he had tried began to produce the effect that he intended, fell by degrees from his former rigour, and allowed himself to soften into promises of clemency and forgiveness, if the Elector would show himself worthy of his favour, by submitting to reasonable terms. The Elector, on whom the consideration of what he might suffer himself had made no impression, was melted by the tears of a wife whom he loved, and could not resist the entreaties of his family. In compliance with their repeated solicitations, he agreed to May 19. articles of accommodation, which he would otherwise have rejected with disdain. The chief of them were, that he should resign the Electoral dignity, as well for himself as for his posterity, into the Emperor's hands, to be disposed of entirely at his pleasure ; that he should instantly put the Imperial troops in possession of the cities of Wittemberg and Gotha; that he should set Albert of Brandenburg at
BO O K liberty without ransom; that he should submit to the des
crees of the Imperial chamber, and acquiesce in whatever
reformation the Emperor should make in the constitution of 1547.
that court; that he should renounce all leagues against the Emperor or King of the Romans, and enter into no alliance for the future, in which they were not comprehended. In return for these important concessions, the Emperor not only promised to spare his life, but to settle on him and his posterity the city of Gotha and its territories, together with an annual pension of fifty thousand florins, payable out of the revenues of the Electorate ; and likewise to grant him
a sum in ready money to be applied towards the discharge and re- of his debts. Even these articles of grace were, clogged prisoner.
with the mortifying condition of his remaining the Emperor's prisoner during the rest of his life i. To the whole, Charles had subjoined, that he should submit to the decrees of the Pope and council with regard to the controverted points in religion ; but the Elector, though he had been
perşuaded to sacrifice all the objects which men commonly hold to be the dearest and most valuable, was inflexible with regard to this point; and neither threats nor entreaties could prevail to make him renounce what he deemed to be truth, or persuade him to act in opposition to the dictates of his conscience.
Maurice As soon as the Saxon garrison marched out of Wittemput in pos- berg, the Emperor fulfilled his engagements to Maurice ; the elector. and in reward for his merit in having deserted the Protests al domi.
ant cause, and having contributed with such success tonions.
wards the dissolution of the Smalkaldic league, he gave him possession of that city, together with all the other towns in the Electorate. It was not without reluctance, however, that he made such a sacrifice; the extraordinary success of his arms had begun to operate, in its usual manner, upon his ambitious mind, suggesting new and vast projects for the aggrandizement of his family, towards the accomplishment of which the retaining of Saxony would have been of the utmost consequence. But as this scheme was not then
i Sleid. 427. Thuan. i. 142. Du Mont, Corps Diplom. iv. p. 11. 332.
ripe for execution, he durst not yet venture to disclose it; BOOK nor would it have been either safe or prudent to offend Maurice, at that juncture, by such a manifest violation of
1547. all the promises, which had seduced him to abandon his natural allies.
The Landgrave, Maurice's father-in-law, was still in Negocia
tions with arms;
and though now left alone to maintain the Protestant the Land, cause, was neither a feeble nor contemptible enemy, His grave. dominions were of considerable extent ; his subjects animated with zeal for the Reformation; and if he could have held the Imperialists at bay for a short time, he had much to hope from a party whose strength was still unbroken, whose union as well as vigour might return, and which had reason to depend, with certainty, on being effectually supported by the King of France. The Landgrave thought not of any thing so bold or adventurous; but being seized with the same consternation which had taken possession of his asso, ciates, he was intent only on the means of procuring favourable terms from the Emperor, whom he viewed as a conqueror, to whose will there was a necessity of submitting, Maurice encouraged this tame and pacific spirit, by mag, nifying, on the one hand, the Emperor's power; by boasting, on the other, of his own interest with his victorious ally; and by representing the advantageous conditions which he could not fail of obtaining by his intercession for a friend, whom he was so solicitous to save. Sometimes the Landgrave was induced to place such unbounded confidence in his promises, that he was impatient to bring matters to a final accommodation. On other occasions, the Emperor's exorbitant ambition, restrained neither by the scruples of decency nor the maxims of justice, together with the recent and shocking proof which he had given of this in his treatment of the Elector of Saxony, came so full into his thoughts, and made such a lively impression on them, that he broke off abruptly the negociations which he had begun; seeming to be convinced that it was more prudent to depend for safety on his own arms, than to confide in Charles's generosity. But this bold resolution, which despair had suggested to an im
BO O K patient spirit, fretted by disappointments, was not of long IX.
continuance. Upon a more deliberate survey of the ene
my's power, as well as his own weakness, his doubts and 1547.
fears returned upon him, and together with them the spirit of negociating, and the desire of accommodation.
The condi. MAURICE, and the Elector of Brandenburg, acted as metions pre- diators between him and the Emperor; and after all that the empe. the former had vaunted of his influence, the conditions pre
scribed to the Landgrave were extremely rigorous. The articles with regard to his renouncing the league of Smalkalde, acknowledging the Emperor's authority, and submitting to the decrees of the Imperial chamber, were the same which had been imposed on the Elector of Saxony. Besides these, he was required to surrender his person and territories to the Emperor; to implore for pardon on his knees; to pay an hundred and fifty thousand crowns towards defraying the expenses of the war; to demolish the fortifications of all the towns in his dominions except one; to oblige the garrison which he placed in it to take an oath of fidelity to the Emperor; to allow a free passage through his territories to the Imperial troops as often as it shall be demanded; to deliver up all his artillery and ammunition to the Emperor; to set at liberty, without ransom, Henry of Brunswick, together with the other prisoners whom he had taken during the war; and neither to take arms himself, nor to permit any of his subjects to serve against the Emperor or his allies for the future k.
To which The Landgrave ratified these articles, though with the he submits. utmost reluctance, as they contained no stipulation with re
gard to the manner in which he was to be treated, and left him entirely at the Emperor's mercy. Necessity, however, compelled him to give his assent to them. Charles, who had assumed the haughty and imperious tone of a conqueror, ever since the reduction of Saxony, insisted on unconditional submission, and would permit nothing to be added to the terms which he had prescribed, that could in any degree limit the fulness of his power, or restrain him from be
k Sleid. 430. Thuan. 1. iv. 146.