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The Thirty Years' War; the First Stuarts. page 2

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By this treaty, Sweden received, as a fief of the empire, giving three votes in the Diet, a large part of Pomerania, and some other north German territory. France had sovereign power in Alsace until 1871, except in Strasburg and some other imperial estates, and retained the bishoprics and cities of Metz, Toul, and Verdun. Brandenburg retained part of Pomerania, and received the archbishopric of Magdeburg as a duchy. The German princes became territorially independent of the emperor. The republics of the United Netherlands and of Switzerland finally assumed the same position of independence. As regarded the religious question, Catholics and Protestants, in all imperial affairs, were placed on an equality. Calvinists, as well as Lutherans, now had the freedom of worship granted by the Treaty of Passau and the Peace of Augsburg. Austrian and Bohemian Protestants gained no rights, but the Lower (Rhenish) Palatinate, Wurtemberg, Baden, and some other states had the exercise of the Protestant religion as in 1618. The members of the restored imperial court were to be Protestants and Catholics in equal numbers. All Church-property which the Protestants had held in 1624 was to remain in their possession. The Catholics were much disgusted by these concessions to their opponents, and the Pope (Innocent X.) issued a "bull," in which he declared the Peace to be, in his Latin, "null, vain, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, void, empty of strength and effect, in the past, the present, and the future." The day of Papal supremacy was waning, and to these awful denunciations no one paid the slightest heed. The Lower (Rhenish) Palatinate was transferred to the son of the former elector, now deceased. In regard to the position of the "Holy Roman Empire," the last link which bound Germany to Rome was broken; the principles by virtue of which the empire had existed were all abandoned, now that both Lutherans and Calvinists were declared free from the jurisdiction of the Pope or of any Catholic prelate. The empire now contained and recognised as its members persons who formed a visible body at issue with the Holy Roman Church, and schismatics had equal civil rights with Catholics. The sovereignty of Rome was thus abrogated, and the Roman theory of Church and State was annulled, so far as regarded Germany. In civil affairs, the rights of making war and peace, of raising troops, building fortresses, levying contributions, passing or interpreting laws, lay henceforth, not with the emperor, but with the Diet. In 1654 it became a permanent body, destined to be notorious for formal, pompous, vain trifling. Religious difficulties were to be henceforth settled, not in the Diet, but by negotiations between states concerned. The Peace of Westphalia ended the last of the religious wars, and was the close of the period of the Reformation and Catholic reaction, drawing a final line of demarcation between the two religions. Thirty years of war had ended in a compromise under which the religious position of each German territory was fixed by the intervention of foreign powers, the rights of the central government being utterly ignored.

The results of the war to Germany were deplorable and long-enduring. Not only had this wicked contest, while it raged, produced an infinite sum of misery to millions of innocent people; not only had towns and villages been ruined by hundreds, and the manufactures and commerce of the country thrown back for a century. Great moral, political, and intellectual mischief was caused. Literature and art almost perished. Apart from Frederick the Great, scarcely any grand character arose in Germany for a century and a half. There was no originality, no noble enterprise, no sacrifice made for great public interests, no instance in which the welfare of nations was preferred to the selfish passions of princes. The great Frenchman Richelieu had, in conjunction with Sweden, worked his will on Germany. The House of Hapsburg had been humbled. German unity had been, for a long period, made impossible. About 300 petty principalities, between the Alps and the Baltic, formed a confederation of the loosest kind, with no common treasury or efficient common tribunals, no means of coercing a refractory member; with different religions and different forms of government, and with the most embarrassing diversity of judicial and financial administration. Each petty prince had his own little court, a ridiculous copy of the pompous etiquette of Versailles; his own little army, separate coinage, tolls and customs-houses on the frontier, and a crowd of fussy, pedantic officials, with a chief minister who was often at once the minion of his sovereign and in the pay of some foreign court. These princes, freed from imperial control, were mere despots in their own dominions, symbols of a degraded condition of feudalism which had ousted the power of the feudal lord without the least benefit to the people. Political life, in the true sense, there was none, and down to the French revolution, save in Prussia and as regards the wars that were waged for territory, the history of Germany presents little more than "the scandals of buzzing courts, and the wrangling of diplomatists at never-ending congresses."

During the Thirty Years' War, the great contest for political freedom had been proceeding in the British Isles under the reigns of the first two Stuart kings. We shall deal with this great subject in the briefest fashion, on the assumption that all readers of this History of the World have a competent acquaintance with the annals of their own country. Turning first to Scotland, prior to the union of the crowns, we find that the weak, indolent, pedantic James VI., possessed of ideas involving a "divine right" both for sovereigns and for bishops, began to rule in the northern kingdom, in 1581, at 15 years of age, after a long minority passed under various regents - Moray, Lennox, Mar, Morton - and partly in a state of civil war for the realm. His proceedings in Scotland after 1603, when he became James I. of England, have been above given. Apart from strictly political events, the Gunpowder Plot (1605) is notable as having been due to the rage and disappointment of some fanatical Catholic converts who had expected concessions to their faith from the new sovereign and were met by an enforcement of the severe laws of Elizabeth against all who refused to go to the services of the Anglican Church or assisted at mass. The unjust result to the Catholics as a body, so loyal to their country and sovereign in recent Armada days, was the immediate and future enactment of further penal laws. The tyranny of James I. consisted in illegal raising of money by customs-dues without grant of Parliament, in the imposition of a "benevolence"; the dismissal from office of Chief-Justice Coke for his condemnation of the exaction; and the execution of Sir Walter Raleigh to please the court of Spain. Parliament showed a revival of power and spirit in successful impeachments, including that of the illustrious Chancellor; and in the "Great Protestation," asserting its liberties as the birthright of the people of England, and its right to discuss all urgent affairs of state. In the imprisonment of members for this attitude in favour of freedom, James continued a precedent of Elizabeth in a way which showed his ignorance or disregard of a changed state of feeling in his people.

Under Charles I. (1625-1649), the evil political training bestowed by the father wrought ruin for the son. In 1628 the Petition of Right against illegal taxation, martial law at home in time of peace, illegal imprisonment, and other grievances, received the royal assent, only to be outrageously violated, in every point, during the "Tyranny" lasting from 1629 to 1640. Wentworth (earl of Strafford), in civil affairs, archbishop Laud, in ecclesiastical matters, were the agents of despotic power. The High Commission Court punished Puritans by fines, imprisonment, and exile. The Star-Chamber - by fines, long imprisonments, cutting off of ears and nose, and fixing in the pillory - wrought havoc on opponents of the Crown, and money was raised by every kind of lawless device. The attempt to abolish Presbyterianism in Scotland caused a renewal of the former Covenants of 1557 and 1581 against "Popery," and the " Solemn League and Covenant" drew all classes together against the king. A rebellion in the north caused Charles to give way, from lack of good troops or money to pay them. In 1640 the Long Parliament met, with Pym, Hampden, Selden, Cromwell, and other patriots among its members. Stafford's head fell by an Act of Attainder; Laud became a prisoner in the Tower, to die on the scaffold some years later. The mad attempt of Charles to seize the Five Members in the House of Commons was the immediate cause of civil war in the summer of 1642. The genius of Cromwell and the valour of his "Ironsides " overcame the fiery efforts of Rupert and the cavaliers, and the great victories of Marston Moor and Naseby ruined the royal cause, and enabled a fanatical military section of the republican party to bring the king to a scaffold on January 30th, 1649. This violent, illegal, cruel, and most impolitic act made a practical end of monarchy in the British Isles for just the period during which the tyranny which provoked rebellion had endured. The efforts of the gallant Montrose in Scotland, in behalf of Charles, had finally failed in September, 1645, and the invading Scottish army of 1648 was destroyed by Cromwell, in August, at Preston.

In Ireland, during this period, some important events occurred. From 1605 to 1608 an able and vigorous administrator, Sir Arthur Chichester, was in power as lord-deputy, and the rebellious chiefs in Ulster, O'Neill and O'Donnell, who were earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel, were driven out when they opposed the introduction of English law, and the tribal institutions and hereditary jurisdictions of the chieftains were abolished. A large area of territory was confiscated, with the expulsion of native Irish to the south and west. It is in these appropriations of territory for the benefit of alien and Protestant possessors that we find the root of the Irish land-question and the source of most of her people's modern troubles. In 1610 the modern province of Ulster began to rise through the measure known as the "Plantation" or "Colonisation" in that region whereby the land was, to a large extent, placed in the hands of Scottish and English settlers, forming in course of time the great Protestant stronghold in the north of Ireland, the (centre of good tillage, and of flourishing manufactures. Under Charles I., Lord Wentworth (Stafford) ruled the country from 1632 to 1640, showing great ability and energy in maintaining order, and founding the linen-industry by the growth of flax in Ulster. In support of his tyrannical sovereign, he also raised a force of Irish troops for service in England. Disorder of the most serious character followed his return to England. The Catholic lords, mainly of English origin, caused the rebellion of 1641, in which the natives murdered some thousands of the Ulster Protestants. The Catholics were then practically masters of the country during the civil war in England.

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