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BOO K rate joy at the success of their arms.
Charles himself, acXI.
customed to a long series of prosperity, felt the calamity most 1553. sensibly, and retired from Metz into the Low-Countries, affected
much dejected with the cruel reverse of fortune which -afwith the State of his fected him in his declining age, when the violence of the affairs.
gout had increased to such a pitch, as entirely broke the vigour of his constitution, and rendered him peevish, difficult of access, and often incapable of applying to business. But whenever he enjoyed any interval of ease, all his thoughts were bent on revenge ; and he deliberated, with the greatest solicitude, concerning the most proper means of annoying France, and of effacing the stain which had obscured the reputation and glory of his arms.
All the schemes concerning Germany, which had engrossed him so long, being disconcerted by the peace of Passau, the affairs of the Empire became only secondary objects of attention; and enmity to France was the predominant passion which chiefly occupied his mind.
The vio- The turbulent ambition of Albert of Brandenburg excitceedings of
ed violent commotions, which disturbed the Empire during Albert of this year. That Prince's troops having shared in the calaBrandenburg.
mities of the siege of Metz, were greatly reduced in number. But the Emperor, prompted by gratitude for his distinguished services on that occasion, or perhaps with a secret view of fomenting divisions among the Princes of the Empire, having paid up all the money due to him, he was enabled with that sum to hire so many of the soldiers dismissed from the Imperial army, that he was soon at the head of a body of men as numerous as ever. The bishops of Bamberg and Wurtzburg having solicited the Imperial chamber to annul, by its authority, the iniquitous conditions which Albert had compelled them to sign, that court unanimously found all their engagements with him to be void in their own nature, because they had been extorted by force; enjoined Albert to renounce all claim to the performance of them; and, if he should persist in such an unjust demand, exhorted all the Princes of the Empire to take arms against him as a disturber of the public tranquillity. To this decision, Albert opposed the confirmation of his transactions
with the two prelates, which the Emperor had granted him B OOK as the reward of his having joined the Imperial army at Metz; and in order to intimidate his antagonists, as well as
1553. to convince them of his resolution not to relinquish his pretensions, he put his troops in motion, that he might secure the territory in question. Various endeavours were employed, and many expedients proposed, in order to prevent the kindling a new war in Germany. But the same warmth of temper which rendered Albert turbulent and enterprising, inspiring him with the most sanguine hopes of success, even in his wildest undertakings, he disdainfully rejected all reasonable overtures of accommodation.
Upon this, the Imperial chamber issued its decree against He is conhim, and required the Elector of Saxony, together with se- the Impeveral other Princes mentioned by name, to take arms in or- rial chamder to carry it into execution. Maurice, and those associ. ated with him, were not unwilling to undertake this service. They were extremely solicitous to maintain public order by supporting the authority of the Imperial chamber, and saw the necessity of giving a timely check to the usurpations of an ambitious Prince, who had no principle of action but regard to his own interest, and no motive to direct him but the impulse of ungovernable passions. They had good reason to suspect, that the Emperor encouraged Albert in his extravagant and irregular proceedings, and secretly afforded him assistance, that, by raising him up to rival Maurice in power, he might, in any future broil, make use of his assistance to counterbalance and control the authority which the other had acquired in the Empire'.
THESE considerations united the most powerful Princes April 2.
A confede. in Germany in a league against Albert, of which Maurice was declared generalissimo. This formidable confederacy, ed against however, wrought no change in Albert's sentiments ; but
him, of he knew that he could not resist so many princes, if he should Maurice allow them time to assemble their forces, he endeavoured, was head.
1 Sleid. 585. Mem. de Ribier, ii. 442. Arnoldi vita Maurit. ap. Men. ken. ii. 1242.
BOO K by his activity, to deprive them of all the advantages which
they might derive from their united power and numbers ;
and for that reason marched directly against Maurice, the 1553.
enemy whom he dreaded most. It was happy for the allies that the conduct of their affairs was commited to a Prince of such abilities. He, by his authority and example, had inspired them with vigour; and having carried on their preparations with a degree of rapidity of which confederate bodies are seldom capable, he was in condition to face Albert before he could make any considerable progress.
He attacks Their armies, which were nearly equal in number, each Albert,
consisting of twenty-four thousand men, met at Sieverhausen, in the dutchy of Lunenburg; and the violent animosity against each other, which possessed the two leaders, did not
suffer them to continue long inactive. The troops, inflamJune 9. ed with the same hostile rage, marched fiercely to the com
bat; they fought with the greatest obstinacy; and as both generals were capable of availing themselves of every fa
vourable occurrence, the battle remained long doubtful, each and defeats gaining ground upon the other alternately. At last victory
declared for Maurice, who was superior in cavalry, ånd Albert's army fled in confusion, leaving four thousand dead in the field, and their camp, baggage, and artillery, in the hands of the conquerors. The allies bought their victory dear, their best troops suffered greatly, two sons of the Duke of
Brunswick, a Duke of Lunenburg, and many other persons but is kil- of distinction, were among the number of the slain m. But led in the all these were soon forgotten ; for Maurice himself, as he
led up to a second charge a body of horse which had been broken, received a wound with a pistol-bullet in the belly, of which he died two days after the battle, in the thirty-second year of his age, and in the sixth after his attaining the electoral dignity.
Of all the personages who have appeared in the history of this active age, when great occurrences and sudden revo
m Historia pugnæ infelicis inter Maurit. & Albert. Thom. Wintzero auctore apud Scard. ii. 559. Sleid. 583. Ruscelli epistres aux Princes, 154. Arnoldi vita Maurit. 1245.
lutions called forth extraordinary talents to view, and afford- BOOK
X I. ed them full opportunity to display themselves, Maurice
may justly be considered as the most remarkable. If his exor
1553. bitant ambition, his profound dissimulation, and his unwarrantable usurpation of his kinsman's honours and dominions, exclude him from being praised as a virtuous man ; his pru. dence in concerting his measures, his vigour in executing them, and the uniform success with which they were attended, entitle him to the appellation of a great Prince. At an age when impetuosity of spirit commonly predominates over political wisdom, when the highest effort even of a genius of the first order is to fix on a bold scheme, and to ex. ecute it with promptitude and courage, he formed and conducted an intricate plan of policy, which deceived the most artful Monarch in Europe. At the very juncture when the Emperor had attained to almost unlimited despotism, Maurice, with power seemingly inadequate to such an undertaking, compelled him to relinquish all his usurpations, and established not only the religious but civil liberties of Germany on such foundations as have hitherto remained unsha. ken. Although, at one period of his life, his conduct excited the jealousy of the Protestants, and at another drew on him the resentment of the Roman Catholics, such was his masterly address, that he was the only Prince of the age who, in any degree, possessed the confidence of both, and whom both lamented as the most able as well as faithful guardian of the constitution and laws of his country.
Albert conTHE consternation which Maurice's death occasicned
tinues the among his troops, prevented them from making the proper war. improvement of the victory which they had gained. Albert, whose active courage, and profuse liberality, rendered him the darling of such military adventurers as were little solicitous about the justice of his cause, soon re-assembled his broken forces, and made fresh levies with such success, that he was quickly at the head of fifteen thousand men, and renewed his depredations with additional fury. But Henry of Brunswick having taken the command of the allied troops, defeated him in a second battle, scarcely less bloody than the for- Sept. 12.
Even then his courage did not sink, nor were his
BOO K resources exhausted. He made several efforts, and some of
them very vigorous, to retrieve his affairs : But being laid under the ban of the Empire by the Imperial chamber; being driven by degrees out of all his hereditary territories, as well as those which he had usurped; being forsaken by ma
ny of his officers, and overpowered by the number of his He is dri- enemies, he fled for refuge into France. After having been, ven out of for a considerable time, the terror and scourge of Germany, Germany.
he lingered out some years in an indigent and dependent
state of exile, the miseries of which his restless and arrogant Jan. 12, spirit endured with the most indignant impatience. Upon 1557. his death without issue, his territories, which had been seiz
ed by the Princes who took arms against him, were restored, by a decree of the Emperor, to his collateral heirs of the house of Brandenburgh".
Maurice's Maurice having left only one daughter, who was afterbrother
wards married to William Prince of Orange, by whom she Augustus succeeds had a son who bore his grandfather's name, and inherited him in the
talents for which he was conspicuous, a violent dis
great dignity. pute arose concerning the succession to his honours and ter.
ritories. John Frederick, the degraded Elector, claimed the electoral dignity, and that part of his patrimonial estate of which he had been violently stripped after the Smalkaldic war. Augustus, Maurice's only brother, pleaded his right; not only to the hereditary possessions of their family, but to the electoral dignity, and to the territories which Maurice had acquired. As Augustus was a Prince of considerable abilities, as well as of great candour and gentleness of manners, the states of Saxony, forgetting the merits and sufferings of their former master, declared warmly in his favour. His pretensions were powerfully supported by the King of Denmark, whose daughter he had married, and zealously espoused by the King of the Romans, out of regard to Maurice's memory
The degraded Elector, though secretly favoured by his ancient enemy the Emperor, was at last oblige ed to relinquish his claim, upon obtaining a small addition to the territories which had been allotted to him, together
n Sleid. 592. 594. 599. Struv. Corp. Hist. Germ. 1075,