[Readings in European History,  J. H. Robinson, ed. and tr., vol. 2 (Boston:  Ginn and Company, 1906), pp. 200-215]

The activities of the Jesuits in the Catholic Reformation led to suspicians on the part of the Protestant Princes of Germany, which brought out in a letter written by the elector of Saxony, a Lutheran, to his representative at the diet in 1608. [Elector of Saxony to the Diet, 1618, in Readings in European History, pp. 200-201.]

How violently the restless Jesuits and their followers are exerting themselves to undo, by their absurd interpretations and preposterous attacks, the precious and solemnly ratified Religious Peace [of Augsburg] which was drawn up long years ago for many weighty reasons by his Roman Imperial Majesty and all the estates of the empire, is but too clear. Nay, they would completely abolish it and then do away altogether with our true Christian religion, in which we were born and brought up and in which we would live and die. All this is sufficiently proved by the innumerable, violent, and poisonous books which they issue throughout the Roman Empire, directed against the said Religious Peace and its clear provisions, declaring it to be no more than ad interim,-a temporary concession of toleration, designed to last only until the conclusion of the Council of Trent; even going so far as to imply that his Imperial Majesty of happy memory had no authority to arrange the peace among the estates of the empire without the consent of the pope. Moreover they stir up harsh persecutions hitherto unheard of in the Holy Roman Empire, all with a view to accomplishing their end,- namely, to promote discord among the estates of the Holy Roman Empire, to rouse the several governments against their subjects and vice versa, and to check and suppress our true Christian religion and bring it back into the condition and contempt in which it was before the establishment of the religious and secular peace.

We know, however, that his Roman Imperial Majesty [Rudolf II] and the peace-loving Catholic estates, with their Christian and loyal German feelings, have no pleasure in the dangerous practices of the Jesuits and their adherents. . . . Moreover, since the nature and character of the Jesuits and their followers are as notorious among Catholics as among Protestants, and since what they have been up to in Sweden, Poland, France, the Netherlands, and, recently, in Italy, is well known, they should be estimated accordingly and precautions taken against their dangerous plots.

Below is a description of  the opening of the Thirty Years' War by an English historian of the time, Rushworth.  When it broke out, James I of England was deeply interested in 1618 in negotiating a marriage between his son and heir, Charles, and a Spanish princess [Readings in European History,  pp. 201-203].

Whilst Spain and England were thus closing, the fire brake out in Germany between the states and princes Protestant and the house of Austria. These commotions, involved and drew along the affairs of most Christian princes, especially of the two potent kings now in treaty. The Catholic cause and the lot of the house of Austria engaged the king of Spain, who was the strongest branch of that stock. King James must needs be drawn in, both by common and particular interest: the religion which he professed and the state of his son-in-law, the elector palatine, who became the principal part of those wars and the most unfortunate. It was an high business to the whole Christian world, and the issue of it had main dependence upon the king of England, being the mightiest prince of the Protestant profession. But this king's proceedings were wholly governed by the unhappy Spanish treaty.

The clouds gather thick in the German sky; jealousies and discontents arise between the Catholics and the Evangelics, or Lutherans, of the Confession of Augsburg. Both parties draw into confederacies and hold assemblies; the one seeking by the advantage of power to encroach and get ground, the other to stand their ground and hold their own. The potency of the house of Austria, a house devoted to the persecution of the reformed religion, became formidable. The old emperor Mathias declared his cousin german, the archduke Ferdinand, to be his adopted son and successor, and caused him to be chosen and crowned king of Bol. mia and Hungary, yet reserving to himself the sole exercise of kingly power during his life.

The Jesuits triumphed in their hopes of King Ferdinand. The pope exhorted the Catholics to keep a day of jubilee and to implore aid of God for the Church's high occasions. To answer this festival the elector of Saxony called to mind that it was then the hundredth year complete since Martin Luther opposed the papal indulgences, which was the first beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Whereupon he ordained a solemn feast of three days for thanksgiving and for prayer to God to maintain in peace the purity of the Word and the right administration of the sacraments. The professors of the universities of Lipsick and Wittemberg, the imperial towns of Franckford, Worms, and Noremburg, -yea, the Calvinists also,-observed the same days of jubilee against the Romish Church, and much gold and silver was cast abroad in memory of Luther, whom they called blessed. . . . . .

The Bohemian troubles took their first rise from the breach of the edict of peace concerning religion and the accord made by the emperor Rudolf whereby the Protestants retained the free exercise of their religion, enjoyed their temples, colleges, tithes, patronages, places of burial, and the like, and had liberty to build new temples and power to choose defenders to secure these rights and to regulate what should be the service in their churches. Now the stop of building certain churches on lands within the lordships of the Catholic clergy (in which the Evangelics conceived a right to build) was the special grievance and cause of breach.

On the 23d of May the chief of the Evangelics went r armed into the castle of Prague, entered the council charm t ber, and opened their grievances; but, enraged by opposi- P tion, they threw Slabata, the chief justice, and Smesansius, X one of the council, and Fabricius, the secretary, from an high window into the castle ditch; others of the council, temporizing in this tumult and seeming to accord with their demands, were peacefully conducted to their own houses. Hereupon the assembly took advice to settle the towns and castle of Prague with new guards; likewise to appease the people and take the oath of fidelity. They chose directors, governors, councilors provincial to govern affairs of state, and to consult of raising forces against the enemies of God and the king and the edicts of his Imperial Majesty. They banished the Jesuits throughout all Bohemia.

After the expulsion of the " Winter King " from Bohemia, his English wife, Elizabeth, wrote to her father, James I,  the letter below [Elizabeth of Bohemia to James I, 13 November 1620, in Readings in European History,  pp. 203-204]:


I do not wish to importune your Majesty with a very long letter. The Baron de Dona will not fail to inform your Majesty of the misfortune that has befallen us and which has compelled us to leave Prague, and to come to this place, where God knows how long we shall remain. I therefore most humbly entreat your Majesty to protect the king and myself by sending us succor; otherwise we shall be brought to utter ruin. It is your Majesty alone, next to Almighty God, from whom we expect assistance. I most humbly thank your Majesty for the favorable declaration you have been pleased to make respecting the preservation of the Palatinate. I most humbly entreat you to do the same for us here and to send us sufficient succor to defend ourselves against our enemies; otherwise I do not know what shall become of us. I therefore again entreat your Majesty to have compassion on us, and not to abandon the king at this hour, when he is in such great need. As to myself, I am resolved not to leave him; for if he should perish, I will perish also with him. But whatever may happen, never, never shall I be other than, sire,

Your Majesty's most humble and obedient daughter and servant, ELIZABETH.

BRESLAU, November 23/13, 1620.

The following verses are supposed to be the reflections of a good Catholic upon the reckless experiment of the Calvinistic Frederick, the " Winter King " of Bohemia, who was not only unable to hold his new crown, but lost his old possessions, the Rhenish palatinate [Catholic Song, "Poor Winter King", in Readings in European History,  pp. 204-205]:

Oh, shame on you, poor Winter King !

What 's this that you have done ?

Is 't not a very naughty thing

To snatch the kaiser's crown ?

Now you will have to stay away

Alike from Rhine and Prague,

And more than that-shame and dismay

Your days and nights will plague.

Dear Fritz, good fellow, oh, come now,

Give up, give up the crown !

To hell, to meet your just reward,

Full soon you will go down.

So every one who flies too high

Is sure to go amiss;

Presumption, aiming at the sky,

Must pay in hell's abyss.

Alas ! dear Fritz, my gay young blood,

I think it well may be

A seasoned switch betimes had spared

This monstrous infamy.

Right well you knew, and all the world,

Right well they know this thing,

That Ferdinand alone can be

Bohemia's lawful king.

So come, dear Fritz, rouse up and go

To Ferdinand, your king,

And beg him graciously to show

Full pardon for your sin.

Give to your king what is his own,

To God what is his due,

So shall you for your sin atone

And act the good prince, too.


The machinations and bloody campaigns of Wallenstein -who had forced the emperor to make him duke of Mechlenburg after outlawing the legitimate dukes- aroused the suspicion and anger of the Catholic princes as well as of the Protestants At a meeting of the electors, summoned at Regensburg in the summer of 1630, all joined in demanding from the reluctant emperor the immediate dismissal of Wallenstein, just as Gustavus Adolphus had arrived on German soil.  Below is the 1630 demand of the electors for the dismissal of Wallenstein [Readings in European History,  pp. 205-207]:

The electors, in a dignified and reasonable address, expressed their firm conviction that the whole blame for the misery, disgrace, and infamy, the cruel and unnecessary military exactions, which were daily increasing, rested with the new duke in Mechlenburg, who, as commander of the imperial forces, had been invested, without the consent of the estates, with such powers as no one before him had ever exercised. The soldiery, now become unspeakably numerous, served no other purpose than to lay waste the common fatherland. Moreover war has been waged upon those against whom it had never been declared. Contributions which, according to the decrees of the diet, no one had the right to demand without the consent of the assembled estates, were levied at the duke's own will and pleasure and wrung from the people in barbarous ways. It was shown that the electorate of Brandenburg alone in the last few years had furnished hventy million gulden, to say nothing of the terrible disturbances and destruction that war always brings with it. They complained, moreover, most bitterly of the excessive pomp and magnifi6ence maintained by the duke and his officers, in the way of clothing, gold and silver utensils, and costly horses.

[Among the complaints from other princes and estates of the realm, the following, presented to the emperor by an ambassador from the duke of Pomerania, is especially noteworthy.] The duke of Pomerania doubts not that your Imperial Majesty has in remembrance how that he has at divers times protested against the unheard-of and unspeakable hardships and extortions which have now for almost three years been practiced upon him and his subjects by the troops quartered in the land, and which still continue unabated; whereof he once more most earnestly complains, and humbly begs for relief. The burden has now become so great that he can bear it no longer.

According to the decisions and decrees of the imperial diet, he is under no obligation to support an army by himself and bear unaided a burden that should be divided among all the members of the empire. Nevertheless, for almost three years past, he has had to maintain within his dukedom and other territories over a hundred companies of your Imperial Majesty's army, besides sending supplies to outside points, and having the soldiery continually marching about the country. The outlay in the principality of Stettin alone amounts to fully ten million gulden; this can be verified at any time.

Worst of all are the vexatious means used in collecting these monthly contributions from our officials and subjects. A new and unheard-of modus extorquendi has been invented, such as was never before practiced by honest soldiers quartered in a friendly land; and the exactions are carried out with such rigorous excess under the officers in charge that the miserable victims can scarce keep shirts on their backs. And what insolent excesses and willful interference with church services, despoiling of churches, violation of graves of the dead, infringements of every sort of our sovereignty and authority, disarming of our subjects and curtailing of our revenue as ruler ! This last has actually gone so far that it is impossible for us, from all the length and breadth of our land, to maintain a table befitting our princely rank; whereas every captain, out of his own district alone, lives in more than princely style and sends away large sums besides. Toward the poor people they are barbarous and tyrannical beyond words, beating, burning, and plundering, and depriving them of the very necessities of existence, till they are in danger of soul as well as body, for they are driven to such unnatural and inhuman food as buds of trees and grass, and even to the flesh of their own children and of dead bodies.

Gustavus Adolphus before sailing for Germany bade a touching farewell to the representatives of his people assembled at Stockholm [May 1630, Readings in European History,  pp. 207-209]:

I call on the all-powerful God to witness, by whose prow idence we are here assembled, that it is not by my own wish, or from any love of war, that I undertake this campaign. On the contrary, I have been now for several years goaded into it by the imperial party, not only through the reception accorded to our emissary to Lubeck, but also by the action of their general in aiding with his army our enemies, the Poles, to our great detriment. We have been urged, moreover, by our harassed brother-in-law [the elector of Brandenburg] to undertake this war, the chief object of which is to free our oppressed brothers in the faith from the clutches of the pope, which, God helping us, we hope to do.

But even as the pitcher that goes daily to the well must sometime break, so will it be with me; for though, for the welfare of the Swedish kingdom, I have already gone through many dangers and seen much shedding of blood, and have come through it all so far-thanks to God's gracious protection- without bodily harm, yet the time will come when all is over for me and I must say farewell to life. Therefore I have desired before my departure to see you all, from far and near, subjects and estates of Sweden, gathered about me, that we may together commend ourselves and each other, in body, soul, and estate, to our allgracious God, in the hope that it may be his will, after this weary and troublous life, to bring us again together in the heavenly and everlasting life that he has prepared for us.

Especially do I commend you, counselors of the kingdom, to the all-powerful God, desiring that you may never fail in good counsel, that you may uphold your office and rank to the honor of God, that his holy word may remain undefiled to ourselves and our descendants in the fatherland, so that peace and unity may blossom and flourish, and discontent, discord, and dissension be unknown, and that your counsels may ever bring safety, quiet, and peace to the fatherland. Finally, may you strive to bring up your children to respect the laws and in every way to serve and strengthen the government of the kingdom. This is the wish of my whole heart.

You of the knight's estate I likewise ardently commend to the Most High God, with the hope that you may stand by your traditions, and that you and your descendants may regain for yourselves and spread abroad through the whole world the undying renown of the Goths, our forefathers, whose once famous name is now, alas, long forgotten-yea, well-nigh despised-by foreigners, but whose spirit has already, during my reign, shone forth again in your manly behavior, your unfailing courage, your sacrifices of blood and life. May our descendants once more glory in the might of their forefathers, who subjugated various kingdoms and ruled through hundreds of years to the welfare of the fatherland. May their name again win undying fame and be feared by kings and princes, and may you of the noble class gain world-wide renown. This do I hereby wish you.

You of the priestly class I would, in parting, remind of your duty to admonish your hearers (whose hearts are in your keeping) to be faithful and true to their rulers and perform their duty obediently and cheerfully. Strengthen your flocks, that they may live together in peace and concord and not be led astray by the counsels of evil men. But it is not enough that you instruct them in these matters-it is my wish that you should walk before them in blameless rectitude, offending none, so that not only by your teaching and preaching, but by your example as well, they may become a useful and peaceful people.

For you, burghers, I wish that your little cottages may grow into big stone houses, your little boats into great ships; and that the oil in your cruses may never fain This, for you, is my parting wish.

For the rest, I wish for you all that your fields may wax green and bring forth fruit a hundredfold; that your chests may overflow, and your comfort and well-being grow and increase, so that your duty may be done with joy and not in sighing. Above all, do 1 commend you, each and every one, in soul and body, to God Almighty.

Upon his arrival in Germany, Gustavus was received with natural suspicion by the Protestant princes of northern Germany, who were not unnaturally reluctant to ally themselves with a powerful foreign monarch against the emperor. The Swedish king thus expostulated with the cautious representative of his brother-inlaw, the elector of Brandenburg [Readings in European History,  pp. 209-211]:

I have received your explanation of the grounds on which my honored brother-in-law seeks to dissuade me from this war. I confess I should have expected a different sort of embassy, since God has brought me thus far, and since I have come into this land for no other purpose than to free it from the thieves and robbers who have so plagued it, and, first and foremost, to help his Excellency out of his diffficulties. Does his Excellency then not know that the emperor and his followers do not mean to rest till the evangelical religion is wholly rooted out of the empire, and that his Excellency has nothing else to expect than being forced either to deny his religion or to leave his country ? Does he think by prayers and beseechings and such like means to obtain something different ?

For God's sake, bethink yourselves and take counsel like men ! I cannot go back-jacta est alea. transivimus Rubiconem.  I seek not my own advantage in this war, nor any gain save the security of my kingdom; I can look for nothing but expense, hard work, trouble, and danger to life and limb. I have found reason enough for my coming in that Prussia has twice sent aid to my enemies and attempted to overthrow me; thereafter they tried to seize the east port, which made it plain enough what designs they had against me. Even so has his Excellency, the elector, like reasons, and the time has come for him to open his eyes and face the situation, instead of acting as the representative-nay, rather servant-of the emperor in his own land; qui se fait brebis, le loup we mange.

Now is his opportunity, since his territory is free of the emperor's troops, to garrison and defend his fortresses. If he will not do this, let him give me a single stronghold,- Custrin, for instance,-and I will defend it, and you can persist in the indolence that your master loves. What other course is there open ? For I tell you plainly that I will know nor hear nothing of " neutrality "; his Excellency must be either friend or foe. When I reach his frontier he must declare himself either hot or cold. The fight is between God and the devil. If his Excellency is on God's side, let him stand by me; if he holds rather with the devil, then he must fight with me; there is no third course, -that is certain.  You must undertake to transmit this commission faithfully to his Excellency, for I have no one whom I can spare to send to him....

Gustavus lingered in northern Germany for some months, until finally the Protestant princes were induced to join him by the fall of Magdeburg  in 1631 and the fearful massacre of its inhabitants by the imperial troops under Pappenheim and Tilly. This event is thus described by a writer of the period [Readings in European History,  pp. 211-213]:

So then General Pappenheim collected a number of his people on the ramparts by the New Town, and brought them from there into the streets of the city. Von Falckenberg [the ambassador of Gustavus Adolphus, who had brought some aid to the beleaguered city] was shot, and fires were kindled in different quarters; then indeed it was all over with the city, and further resistance was useless. Nevertheless some of the soldiers and citizens did try to make a stand here and there, but the imperial troops kept bringing on more and more forces -cavalry, too-to help them, and finally they got the Krockenthor open and let in the whole imperial army and the forces of the Catholic League,-Hungarians, Croats, Poles, Walloons, Italians, Spaniards, French, North and South Germans.

Thus it came about that the city and all its inhabitants fell into the hands of the enemy, whose violence and cruelty were due in part to their common hatred of the adherents of the Augsburg Confession, and in part to their being imbittered by the chain shot which had been fired at them and by the derision and insults that the Magdeburgers had 
heaped upon them from the ramparts.

Then was there naught but beating and burning, plundering, torture, and murder. Most especially was every one of the enemy bent on securing much booty. When a marauding party entered a house, if its master had anything to give he might thereby purchase respite and protection for himself and his family till the next man, who also wanted something, should come along. It was only when everything had been brought forth and there was nothing left to give that the real trouble commenced. Then, what with blows and threats of shooting, stabbing, and hanging, the poor people were so terrified that if they had had anything left they would have brought it forth if it had been buried in the earth or hidden away in a thousand castles. In this frenzied rage, the great and splendid city that had stood like a fair princess in the land was now, in its hour of direst need and unutterable distress and woe, given over to the flames, and thousands of innocent men, women, and children, in the midst of a horrible din of heartrending shrieks and cries, were tortured and put to death in so cruel and shameful a manner that no words would suffice to describe, nor no tears to 
bewail it....

Thus in a single day this noble and famous city, the pride of the whole country, went up in fire and smoke; and the remnant of its citizens, with their wives and children, were taken prisoners and driven away by the enemy with a noise of weeping and wailing that could be heard from afar, while the cinders and ashes from the town were carried by 
the wind to Wanzleben, Egeln, and still more distant places.

In addition to all this, quantities of sumptuous and irreplaceable house furnishings and movable property of all kinds, such as books, manuscripts, paintings, memorials of all sorts, . . . which money could not buy, were either burned or carried away by the soldiers as booty. The most magnificent garments, hangings, silk stuffs, gold and silver lace, linen of all sorts, and other household goods were bought by the army sutlers for a mere song and peddled about by the cart load all through the archbishopric of Magdeburg and in Anhalt and Brunswick. Gold chains and rings, jewels, and every kind of gold and silver utensils were to be bought from the common soldiers for a tenth of their real value....


The treaties of Westphalia, the one signed at Munster and the other at Osnabruck, are voluminous, and would fill more than a hundred pages of this volume if printed in full. They contain but six or seven really memorable articles, and are for the most part filled with multitudinous provisions regarding the church lands over which Catholics and Protestants had so long been contending, and minor territorial changes among the lesser German states. The treaty of Osnabruck opens as follows [Readings in European History,  pp. 213-214]:

In the name of the  Holy and Indivisible Trinity. To all whom these presents may concern, be it known:

When the divisions and disorders which began several years ago in the Roman Empire had grown to a point (to where not only all Germany but some of the neighboring kingdoms as well, especially Sweden and France, found themselves so involved that a long and bitter war resulted, in the first instance between the most serene and powerful prince and lord, Ferdinand II, emperor elect of the Romans, always august, king of Germany, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, etc., archduke of Austria, duke of Burgundy, Brabant, etc., etc., etc., ... of glorious memory, his allies and adherents, on the one part, and the most serene and powerful prince and lord, Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, of the Goths and Vandals, grand prince of Finland, duke of Esthonia, etc., also of glorious memory, together with the kingdom of Sweden, its allies and adherents, on the other part; later, after the decease of these aforementioned, between the most serene and powerful lord, Ferdinand III, emperor elect of the Romans, always august, king of Germany, etc., etc., and the most serene and very powerful princess and lady, Christina, queen of Sweden, of the Goths and Vandals, etc. g from which war resulted a great effusion of Christian blood and the desolation of divers provinces, until at last, through the movings of the Divine Goodness, it came about that both parties began to turn their thoughts toward the means of reestablishing peace, and by a mutual agreement made at Hamburg, December 25 (New Style), or the Isth (Old Style), of the year 1641, between the parties, the date July 11 (New Style) or 1 (Old Style) was fixed for the meeting of the plenipotentiaries at Osnabruck and at Munster in Westphalia. In accordance with this the ambassadors plenipotentiary duly appointed by both parties appeared at the said time and places named, to wit . . . 
[here follow the names of the ambassadors and their numerous titles].

After invoking the aid of God and exchanging their credentials, copies of which are inserted word for word in the present treaty, they arranged and agreed upon the articles of peace and amity which follow, to the glory of God and for the welfare of the Christian commonwealth; the electors, princes, and estates of the Holy Roman Empire being 
present and approving.

As head of the Catholic Church, Pope Innocent X promptly declared null and void all the articles in the treaties of Westphalia relating to religious matters.  Below is his nullification of the treaties [Readings in European History,  pp. 214-215].

Consumed by zeal for the house of the Lord, we are especially concerned with the endeavor everywhere to maintain the integrity of the orthodox faith and the authority of the Catholic Church, so that the ecclesiastical rights of which we have been appointed guardian by our Saviour shall not in any way be impaired by those who seek their own interest rather than God's, and that we may not be accused of negligence when we shall render account to the Sovereign Judge. Accordingly it is not without deep pain that we have learned that by several articles in the peace concluded at Osnabruck, August 6,1 1648, between our very dear son in Christ, Ferdinand, king of the Romans and emperor elect, his allies and adherents, on the one hand, and the Swedes, with their allies and adherents, on the other, as well as in that peace which was likewise concluded at Munster in Westphalia on the twenty-fourth day of October of this same year I648, between the same Ferdinand, king of the Romans, etc., and our very dear son in Jesus Christ, Louis, the very Christian king of the French, his allies and adherents, great prejudice has been done to the Catholic religion, the divine service, the Roman apostolic see, the ecclesiastical order, their jurisdictions, authority, immunities, liberties, exemptions, privileges, possessions, and rights; since by various articles in one of these treaties of peace the ecclesiastical possessions which the heretics formerly seized are abandoned to them and to their successors, and the heretics, called those of the Augsburg Confession, are permitted the free exercise of their heresy in various districts. They are promised places in which they may build temples for their worship and are admitted with the Catholics to public offices and positions....

The number seven of the electors of the empire, formerly ratified by the apostolic authority, is increased without our consent or that of the said see, and an eighth electorate has been erected in favor of Charles Louis, count of the Rhenish palatinate, a heretic. Many other things have been done too shameful to enumerate and very prejudicial to the orthodox religion and the Roman see....

CAccordingly] we assert and declare by these presents that all the said articles in one or both of the said treaties which in any way impair or prejudice in the slightest degree, or that can be said, alleged, understood, or imagined to be able in any way to injure or to have injured the Catholic religion, divine worship, the salvation of souls, the said Roman apostolic see, the inferior churches, the ecclesiastical order or estate, their persons, affairs, possessions, jurisdictions, authorities, immunities, liberties, privileges, prerogatives, and rights whatsoever,-all such provisions have been, and are of right, and shall perpetually be, null and void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, condemned, rejected, frivolous, without force or effect, and no one is to observe them, even when they be ratified by oath....

Given at Rome in Santa Maria Maggiore, under seal of the fisherman's ring, November 26th of the year 1648, and of our pontificate the fifth.