Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

affected to despise this protest; and the prelates proceeded, B O O K notwithstanding, to examine and decide the great points in

X. controversy concerning the sacrament of the Lord's Supper,

1551. penance,

and extreme unction. This measure of the French Monarch, however, gave a deep wound to the credit of the council, at the very commencement of its deliberations. The Germans could not pay much regard to an assembly, the authority of which the second Prince in Christendom had formally disclaimed, or feel any great reverence for the decisions of a few men, who arrogated to themselves all the rights belonging to the representatives of the church universal, a title to which they had such poor pretensions.

The Emperor, nevertheless, was straining his authority Violence of to the utmost, in order to establish the reputation and juris- ror's prodiction of the council. He had prevailed on the three eccle- ceedings slastical Electors, the prelates of greatest power and dignity Protest

against the in the church next to the Pope, to repair thither in person. ants. He had obliged several German bishops of inferior rank, to go to Trent themselves, or to send their proxies.

He granted an Imperial safe-conduct to the ambassadors nomi. nated by the Elector of Brandenburg, the duke of Wurtemberg, and other Protestants, to attend the council; and exhorted them to send their divines thither, in order to propound, explain, and defend their doctrine. At the same time, his zeal anticipated the decrees of the council; and as if the opinions of the Protestants had already been condemned, he took large steps towards exterminating them. With this intention, he called together the ministers of Augsburg; and after interrogating them concerning several controverted points, enjoined them to teach nothing with respect to these, contrary to the tenets of the Romish church. Upon their declining to comply with a requisition so contrary to the dictates of their consciences, he commanded them to leave the town in three days, without revealing to any person the cause of their banishment; he prohibited them to preach for the future in any province of the Empire ; and obliged them to take an oath that they would punctually obey these in. junctions. They were not the only victims to his zeal. The Protestant clergy, in most of the cities in the circle of Swa

X.

BO O K bia, were ejected with the same violence; and in many

places, such magistrates as had distinguished themselves by 1551.

their attachment to the new opinions, were dismissed with the most abrupt irregularity, and their offices filled, in consequence of the Emperor's arbitrary appointment, with the most bigotted of their adversaries. The Reformed worship was almost entirely suppressed throughout that extensive province. The ancient and fundamental privileges of the free cities were violated. The people were compelled to attend the ministration of priests, whom they regarded with horror as idolaters; and to submit to the jurisdiction of magistrates, whom they detested as usurpers 9.

His endeavours to

council.

The Emperor, after this discovery, which was more exsupport the plicit than any that he had hitherto made, of his intention to

subvert the German constitution, as well as to extirpate the November. Protestant religion, set out for Inspruck in the Tyrol. He

fixed his residence in that city, as, by its situation in the neighbourhood of Trent, and on the confines of Italy, it appeared a commodious station, whence he might inspect the operations of the council, and observe the progress of the war in the Parmesan, without losing sight of such occurrences as might happen in Germany".

The siege DURING these transactions, the siege of Magdeburg was of Magde carried on with various success. At the time when Charles burg.

proscribed the citizens of Magdeburg, and put them under the ban of the Empire, he had exhorted and even enjoined all the neighbouring states to take arms against them, as rebels and common enemies. Encouraged by his exhortations as well as promises, George of Mecklenburg, a younger brother of the reigning Duke, an active and ambitious Prince, collected a considerable number of those soldiers of fortune who had accompanied Henry of Brunswick in all his wild enterprises; and though a zealous Lutheran himself, invaded the territories of the Magdeburgers, hoping that, by the merit of this service, he might procure some part of their domains to be allotted to him as an establishment. The

9

Sleid. 516. 528. Thuan. 276.

r Sleid. 329.

X.

1551.

citizens, unaccustomed as yet to endure patiently the calami- B O OK ties of war, could not be restrained from sallying out in order to save their lands from being laid waste. They attacked the Duke of Mecklenburg with more resolution than conduct, and were repulsed with great slaughter. But as they were animated with that unconquerable spirit, which flows from zeal for religion co-operating with the love of civil liberty, far from being disheartened by their misfortune, they prepared to defend themselves with vigour. Many of the veteran soldiers who had served in the long wars between the Emperor and King of France, crowding to their standards under able and experienced officers, the citizens acquired military skill by degrees, and added all the advantages of that to the efforts of undaunted courage. The Duke of Mecklenburg, notwithstanding the severe blow which he had given the Magdeburgers, not daring to invest a town strongly fortified, and defended by such a garrison, continued to ravage the open country.

As the hopes of booty drew many adventurers to the Maurice

takes the camp of this young Prince, Maurice of Saxony began to be

command jealous of the power which he possessed by being at the of the army head of such a numerous body, and marching towards Mag-ried on the deburg with his own troops, assumed the supreme command siege. of the whole army, an honour to which his high rank and great abilities, as well as the nomination of the diet, gave him an indisputable title. With this united force, he invested the town, and began the siege in form; claiming great merit with the Emperor on that account, as, from his zeal to execute the Imperial decree, he was exposing himself once more to the censures and maledictions of the

party with which he agreed in religious sentiments.

But the approaches to the town went on slowly; the garrison interrupted the besiegers by frequent sallies, in one of which George of Mecklenburg was taken prisoner, levelled part of their works, and cut off the soldiers in their advanced posts. While the citizens of Magdeburg, animated by the discourses of their pastors, and the soldiers encouraged by the example of their officers, endured all the hardships of a siege without murmuring, and defended themselves with

BOO K the same ardour which they had at first discovered ; the X.

troops of the besiegers acted with extreme remissness, re1551. pining at every thing that they suffered in a service which

they disliked. They broke out, more than once, into open mutiny, demanding the arrears of their pay, which, as the members of the Germanic body sent in their contributions towards defraying the expenses of the war sparingly and with great reluctance, amounted to a considerable sum ”. Maurice, too, had particular motives, though such as he durst not avow at that juncture, which induced him not to push the siege with vigour, and made him choose rather to continue at the head of an army exposed to all the imputations which his dilatory proceedings drew upon him, than to precipitate a conquest that might have brought him some accession of reputation, but would have rendered it necessary to disband his forces.

The city At last, the inhabitants of the town beginning to suffer surrenders distress from want of provisions, and Maurice, finding it to Maurice.

impossible to protract matters any longer without filling the

Emperor with such suspicions as might have disconcerted Nov. 3. all his measures, he concluded a treaty of capitulation with

the city upon the following conditions ; that the Magdeburgers should humbly implore pardon of the Emperor; that they should not for the future take arms, or enter into any

alliance against the house of Austria ; that they should submit to the authority of the Imperial chamber ; that they should conform to the decree of the diet at Augsburg with respect to religion; that the new fortifications added to the town should be demolished ; that they should pay a fine of fifty thousand crowns, deliver up twelve pieces of ordnance to the Emperor, and set the Duke of Mecklenburg, together with their other prisoners, at liberty, without ransom. Next day their garrison marched out, and Maurice took possession of the town with great military pomp.

BEFORE the terms of capitulation were settled, Maurice had held many conferences with Albert Count Mansfeldt, who had the chief command in Magdeburg. He consulted BOOK

Maurice's views at this juncture.

s Thuan. 277. Sleid. 514.

X. likewise with Count Heideck, an officer who had served with great reputation in the army of the league of Smalkalde,

1551. whom the Emperor had proscribed on account of his zeal for that cause, but whom Maurice had, notwithstanding, secretly engaged in his service, and admitted into the most. intimate confidence. To them he communicated a scheme, which he had long revolved in his mind, for procuring liberty to his father-in-law the Landgrave, for vindicating the privileges of the Germanic body, and setting bounds to the dangerous encroachments of the Imperial power. Having deliberated with them concerning the measures which might be necessary for securing the success of such an arduous enterprise, he

gave

Mansfeldt secret assurances that the fortifications of Magdeburg should not be destroyed, and that the inhabitants should neither be disturbed in the exercise of their religion, nor be deprived of any of their ancient immunities. In order to engage Maurice more thoroughly from considerations of interest to fulfil these engagements, the senate of Magdeburg elected him their Burgrave, a dig. nity which had formerly belonged to the electoral house of Saxony, and which entitled him to a very ample jurisdiction not only in the city but in its dependencies &

tages he

Thus the citizens of Magdeburg, after enduring a siege

The advanof twelve months, and struggling for their liberties, reli- derived gious and civil, with an invincible fortitude, worthy of the from his cause in which it was exerted, had at last the good fortune tions with to conclude a treaty, which left them in a better condition the Mag

deburgers. than the rest of their countrymen, whom their timidity or want of public spirit had betrayed into such mean submissions to the Emperor. But while a great part of Germany applauded the gallant conduct of the Magdeburgers, and rejoiced in their having escaped the destruction with which they had been threatened, all admired Maurice's address in the conduct of his negociation with them, as well as the dexterity with which he converted every event to his

[ocr errors]

t Sleid. 528. Thuan. 276. Obsidionis Magdeburgici Descriptio per Sebast. Besselmeierum, ap. Scard. ii. 518. VOL. III.

2 A

« VorigeDoorgaan »