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BOOK which the Count de Buren was bringing to the Emperor VIII.
from the Low-Countries. But though that general had to 1546.
traverse such an extent of country ; though his route lay through the territories of several states warmly disposed to favour the confederates ; though they were apprised of his approach, and by their superiority in numbers might easily have detached a force sufficient to overpower him, he advanced with such rapidity, and by such well-concerted move
ments, while they opposed him with such remissness, and Sept. 10. so little military skill, that he conducted this body to the
Imperial camp without any loss d.
UPON the arrival of the Flemings, in whom he placed great confidence, the Emperor altered, in some degree, his plan of operations, and began to act more upon the offensive, though he still avoided a battle with the utmost industry. He made himself master of Neuburg, Dillingen, and Donawert on the Danube: of Nordlingen, and several other towns, situated on the most considerable streams which fall into that mighty river. By this he got the command of a great extent of country, though not without being obliged to engage in several sharp encounters, of which the success was various, nor without being exposed, oftener than once, to the danger of being drawn into a battle. In this manner the whole autumn was spent; neither party gained any remarkable superiority over the other, and nothing was yet done towards bringing the war to a period. The Emperor had often foretold, with confidence, that discord and the want of money would compel the confederates to disperse that unwieldy body, which they had neither abilities to guide nor funds to support. Though he waited with impatience for the accomplishment of his prediction, there was no prospect of that event being at hand. But he himself began to suffer from the want of forage and provisions ; 'even the Catholic provinces being so much incensed at the introduction of foreigners into the Empire, that they furnished them with reluctance, while the camp of the confederates abound.
State of both armies.
d Sleid. 403.
e Belli Smalkaldici Commentarius Græco sermone scriptus a Joach. Ca. merario, ap. Freherum, vol. iii. p. 479.
ed with a profusion of all necessaries, which the zeal B O OK of their friends in the adjacent countries poured in with
VIII. the utmost liberality and good will. Great numbers of
1546. the Italians and Spaniards, unaccustomed to the climate or food of Germany, were become unfit for service through sickness f. Considerable arrears were now due to the troops, who had scarcely received any money from the beginning of the campaign; the Emperor, experiencing on this, as well as on former occasions, that his jurisdiction was more extensive than his revenues, and that the former enabled him to assemble a greater number of soldiers, than the latter were sufficient to support. Upon all these accounts, he found it difficult to keep his army in the field ; some of his ablest generals, and even the Duke of Alva himself, persevering and obstinate as he usually was in the prosecution of every measure, advising him to disperse his troops into winter-quarters. But as the arguments urged against any plan which he had adopted, rarely made much impression upon the Emperor, he paid no regard to their opinion, and determined to continue his efforts in order to weary out the confederates ; being well assured that if he could once oblige them to separate, there was little probability of their uniting again in a body . Still, however, it remained a doubtful point, whether his steadiness was most likely to fail, or their zeal to be exhausted. It was still uncertain which party, by first dividing its forces, would give the superiority to the other; when an unexpected event decided the contest, and occasioned a fatal reverse in the affairs of the confederates.
MAURICE of Saxony having insinuated himself into the Schemes of Emperor's confidence, by the arts which have already been
Saxony. described, no sooner saw hostilities ready to break out between the confederates of Smalkalde and that Monarch, than vast prospects of ambition began to open upon him. That portion of Saxony, which descended to him from his ancestors, was far from satisfying his aspiring mind ; and he perceived with pleasure the approach of civil war, as, amidst the revolutions and convulsions occasioned by it, opportunities of acquiring additional power or dignity, which at other
f Camerar. ap. Freher. 483.
BO O K times are sought in vain, present themselves to an enterpris
ing spirit. As he was thoroughly acquainted with the state 1546.
of the two contending parties, and the qualities of their leaders, he did not hesitate long in determining on which side the greatest advantages were to be expected. Having revolved all these things in his own breast, and having taken his final resolution of joining the Emperor, he prudently determined to declare early in his favour; that, by the merit of this, he might acquire a title to a proportional recompense.
With this view, he had repaired to Ratisbon in the month His league of May, under pretext of attending the diet; and after many
conferences with Charles or his ministers, he, with the most emperor.
mysterious secrecy, concluded a treaty, in which he engaged to concur in assisting the Emperor as a faithful subject; and Charles, in return, stipulated to bestow on him all the spoils of the Elector of Saxony, his dignities as well as territories h. History hardly records any treaty that can be considered as a more manifest violation of the most powerful principles which ought to influence human actions. Maurice, a professed Protestant, at a time when the belief of religion, as well as zeal for its interests, took strong possession of every mind, binds himself to contribute his assistance towards carrying on a war which had manifestly no other object than the extirpation of the Protestant doctrines. He engages to take arms against his father-in-law, and to strip his nearest relation of his honours and dominions. He joins a dubious friend against a known benefactor, to whom his obligations were both great and recent. Nor was the Prince who ventured upon all this, one of those audacious politicians, who, provided they can accomplish their ends, and secure their interest, avowedly disregard the most sacred obligations and glory in contemning whatever is honourable or decent. Maurice's conduct, if the whole must be ascribed to policy, was more artful and masterly ; he executed his plan in all its parts, and yet endeavoured to preserve,
in every step which he took, the appearance of what was fair, and virtuous and laudable. It is probable, from his subsequent behaviour, that, with regard to the Protestant religion at least his intentions were upright, that he fondly trusted to BO O K
h Haræi Anal. Brabant. vol. i. 638. Struvii Corp. 1018. Thuan. 84.
VIII. the Emperor's promises for its security, but that, according to the fate of all who refine too much in policy, and who
1546. tread in dark and crooked paths, in attempting to deceive others, he himself was, in some degree, deceived.
His first care, however, was to keep the engagements into His artiwhich he had entered with the Emperor closely concealed ; der to conand so perfect a master was he in the art of dissimulation, ceal his in.
tentions. that the confederates, notwithstanding his declining all connexions with them, and his remarkable assiduity in paying court to the Emperor, seemed to have entertained no suspicion of his designs. Even the Elector of Saxony, when he marched at the beginning of the campaign to join his associates, committed his dominions to Maurice's protection, which he, with an insidious appearance of friendship, readily un. dertook i. But scarcely had the Elector taken the field, when Maurice began to consult privately with the King of the Romans how to invade those very territories, with the defence of which he was intrusted. Soon after, the Emperor sent him a copy of the Imperial ban denounced against the Elector and Landgrave. As he was next heir to the former, and particularly interested in preventing strangers from getting his dominions into their possession, Charles required him, not only for his own sake, but upon the allegiance and duty which he owed to the head of the Empire, instantly to seize and detain in his hands the forfeited estates of the Elector ; warning him, at the same time, that if he neglected to obey these commands, he should be held as accessary to the crimes of his kinsman, and be liable to the same punishment k.
This artifice, which it is probable Maurice himself suggested, was employed by him in order that his conduct towards the Elector might seem a matter of necessity but not of choice, an act of obedience to his superior, rather than a voluntary invasion of the rights of his kinsman and ally. But in order to give some more specious appearance to this
k Sleid. 391. Thuan. 84.
i Struvii Corp. 1046.
BO O K thin veil with which he endeavoured to cover his ambition,
he, soon after his return from Ratisbon, had called together 1546.
the states of his country; and representing to them that a civil war between the Emperor and confederates of Smal kalde was now become unavoidable, desired their advice with regard to the part which he should act in that event. They having been prepared, no doubt, and tutored beforehand, and being desirous of gratifying their Prince, whom they esteemed as well as loved, gave such counsel as they knew would be most agreeable ; advising him to offer his mediation towards reconciling the contending parties; but if that were rejected, and he could obtain proper security for the Protestant religion, they delivered it as their opinion, that, in all other points, he ought to yield obedience to the Emperor. Upon receiving the Imperial rescript, together with the ban against the Elector and Landgrave, Maurice summoned the states of his country a second time; he laid before them the orders which he had received, and mentioned the punishment with which he was threatened in case of disobedience; he acquainted them that the confederates had refused to admit of his mediation, and that the Emperor had given him the most satisfactory declarations with regard to religion; he pointed out his own interest in securing possession of the electoral dominions, as well as the danger of allowing strangers to obtain an establishment in Saxony; and upon the whole, as the point under deliberation respected his subjects no less than himself, he desired to know their sentiments, how he should steer in that difficult and arduous conjuncture. The states, no less obsequious and complaisant than formerly, professing their own reliance on the Emperor's promises as a perfect security for their religion, proposed that, before he had recourse to more violent methods, they would write to the Elector, exhorting him, as the best means, not only of appeasing the Emperor, but of preventing his dominions from being seized by foreign or hostile powers, to give his consent that Maurice should take possession of them quietly and without opposition. Maurice himself seconded their arguments in a letter to the Landgrave, his father-in-law. Such an extravagant proposition was rejected with the scorn and indigna