History of Germany and Austria

The Empire of the West, which Charlemagne had constructed at so much cost of blood and treasure, fell to pieces after he had gone to the grave; and the crown of Germany, being separated from that of the Frankish monarchy, was worn by one branch of the Carlovingian race, while the members of another were enacting the part, without exercising the authority, of kings on the banks of the Seine. But in 911, the various princes of Germany, assuming an attitude of independence, elected Conrad of Franconia to the Imperial throne; and he, after a reign rendered troublous by the inroads of the Hungarians, was succeeded by Henry of Saxony, surnamed the Fowler.

Previous to the time of Charlemagne, the Germans considered it indicative of servitude to live in cities, and argued that even the fiercest animals lost their courage when confined. The prejudice had gradually worn away; and Henry, in order to resist the Hungarian horsemen, induced his subjects to build towns, surrounded them with ramparts, fortified them with towers, and enjoined a certain number of his nobles, albeit their favorite occupation was hunting, to reside within the walls.

Otho the Great, son of Henry, becoming emperor in 938, checked the indefatigable Hungarians, rendered Bohemia tributary to the Imperial crown, forced the Danes to receive baptism, and, on the invitation of the pope, marched to settle the affairs of Italy. At Rome he was crowned emperor, dignified with the title of Caesar Augustus, and invested with the right of nominating the pope.

The son and grandson of Otho having successively enjoyed the Imperial dignity, it was, on the decease of the latter, conferred on his nephew, Henry of Bavaria, who asserted by arms his claim to the sovereignty of Italy.

Conrad II, duke of Bavaria, or the Salic, next enjoyed the crown, and rendered fiefs hereditary. By his wife, Gisella of Swabia, he had a son, who succeeded him, in the person of Henry III, surnamed the Black; and he, being a prince of spirit and ability, vindicated his right to create popes, nominated three in succession, and departing this life in 1056, left an infant son of his own name, under the care of his widow, Agnes of Guienne.

Henry IV succeeded to the Imperial throne on the eve of a great and momentous struggle, to which he was sacrificed from his youth upward. Being carried off from his widowed mother and intrusted to intriguing prelates, his young mind was deliberately corrupted; and he was encouraged to indulge in vicious courses. He was then commanded by pope Alexander to appear before the tribunal of the Holy See, and answer for his debaucheries. Henry treated this mandate with contempt; but soon after, Alexander died, and the papal throne was ascended by Hildebrand, one of the most remarkable men Europe ever saw.

Hildebrand, the son of a carpenter in a little town of Tuscany, had risen to be prior of Clugny, and in that capacity had become conspicuous for austerity and self-denial. On the nomination of Leo IX to the papal chair, he had pursuaded that pious prelate that an emperor had no right to create a pope, and even prevailed on Leo's successor to confer on the College of cardinals the exclusive right of voting at papal elections. For his ser vices to the church, Hildebrand had successively been appointed cardinal and chancellor of the Holy See; and in 1073, he was elected as pope by the Sacred College. But before assuming the tiara, he obtained the youthful emperor's assent, and then assuming the title of Gregory VII, he prepared to throw off his mask, and execute his mission of 'pulling down the pride of kings.'

Meantime the Saxon subjects of the emperor, on the verge of revolt, sent deputies to demand an audience of him, and explain their grievances.

The deputies found Henry engaged with a game of hazard, and he contemptuously bade them to wait till it was finished. The Saxons indignantly rose in arms under Otho of Nordhim, and in a few hours the emperor was a fugitive. A Diet, or Assembly of the States, was held to depose him, and bestow the crown on Rodolph of Swabia; but a display of excessive loyalty on the part of the citizens of Worms caused the dissolution of the Diet, and Henry, panting for vengeance, led, in the depth of a severe winter, his gallant army to the Saxon frontier,. There, however, he found the insurgent forces of Otho so much superior to his own, that he was tinder the necessity of capitulating; but at this point, the great feudatories of the empire taking up his quarrel, Henry, with the whole strength of Germany, encountered the rebellious Saxons on the banks of the Unstrut, and, at a fearful cost of life, gained a bloody victory.

Meanwhile, Gregory, having enacted a law forbidding priests to g marry, and another precluding kings from the right of investing spiritual dignitaries, sent two legates to cite Henry to appear before him for his delinquencies, in continuing to bestow and sell investitures. This brought the dispute between the pope and the emperor to a crisis, for the legates being unceremoniously dismissed, and a Diet held at Worms having deposed Hildebrand, he, in retaliation, excommunicated the emperor, and released all that prince's subjects from their oath of allegiance.

It was about the opening of the year 1076, that Henry, returning to Utrecht from a campaign against the revolted Saxons, became aware that he was under the papal ban; and in autumn a Diet held at Tribur decided that, in the event of the emperor not being received into the bosom of the Church by the following February, a Diet should be held at Augsburg, and his crown given to another. Henry, thereupon, took up his residence at Spire, where, deserted by his courtiers, he was consoled by his injured but forgiving wife the pure and faithful Bertha. When months had worn away, and the pope still refused to receive him in Italy as a penitent, the proud emperor, assuming the garb of a pilgrim, and accompanied by Bertha, with their infant child in her arms, undertook, in the midst of a singularly severe winter, to cross the Alps, which, after the utmost danger and fatigue, they almost miraculously accomplished.

About the end of January the emperor appeared as a humble suppliant at the gate of the castle of Canossa, in whose feudal halls the pope was enjoying the hospitality of his faithful adherent, Matilda, countess of Tuscany. In the trenches of that Italian fortress, while the Aphenines were covered with snow, and the mountain streams with ice, Henry, cold, fasting, barefoot, and unclad, save with a scanty woolen garment, stood for three whole days, imploring, with tears of agony and cries for mercy, the pity of Hildebrand. As the third day was drawing to a close, the pope relaxed, admitted the humiliated emperor to his presence, and after subjecting the royal victim to the depth of debasement, revoked the papal anathema.

The degradation to which the emperor had been exposed so galled his subjects, that they meditated a removal of the imperial crown to the head of his infant son, Conrad; the Saxons having elected Rodolph as their sovereign, defeated Henry in two battles; and Hildebrand once more pronounced against him the sentence of excommunication. But the emperor had his revenge; for his rival, Rodolph, having fallen in battle by the hand of Godfrey of Bouillon, and the pope's Norman allies being absent in the East, the banners of Germany were suddenly displayed before the walls of Rome. In the spring of 1084 the besiegers entered the Eternal City. Gregory took refuge in the castle of St. Angelo, and Clement III, a rival pontiff, placed the Imperial crown on Henry's brow. But the return of the warlike Normans caused the Imperial troops to retreat with precipitation; while the Roman citizens rising against his allies compelled Hildebrand to fly for shelter to Salerno. There, broken with time and trouble, he expired; and his last words were, 'I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.'

Henry returned to Germany, where he reigned for a while undisturbed by civil war; but Pope Pascal, aspiring to follow in the footsteps of Hildebrand, incited Henry, the Emperor's eldest son, to rebellion; and the youth declaring that he could not acknowledge as king or father a man who was excommunicated, treacherously imprisoned his sire, and assembling a Diet was proclaimed in his stead. Two prelates were sent to demand the regalia from the deposed Emperor; he, receiving them in his symbols of sovereignty, refused; but, laying violent hands on him, they dragged him from his chair, and forcibly divested him of the regal robes. Poor and distressed, Henry escaped from prison, and raised a considerable force to assert his rights; but he died at Liege in 1106, before active operations commenced. His body, denied a resting-place in consecrated ground, was interred in a cave near Spire.

Henry V, though indebted to the Pope for support in his parricidal rebellion, was no sooner established on the Imperial throne, than, reviving the claim of investiture for which his father had contended, he invited the Pope to Germany, that they might settle the dispute. But Pascal having appealed to the King of France, and a fruitless conference having been held at Chalons, Henry entered Italy with eighty thousand men, and after a tedious interview in the church of St. Peter, ordered his guards to take Pascal into custody. The populace of Rome rushed to the Pope's rescue; a battle was fought under the walls; and the carnage was so terrible that the waters of the Tiber were stained with blood. Pascal, taken prisoner, crowned the Emperor, and confirmed the right of investiture; but hardly had Henry departed when the Pope changed his tune, and pronounced a sentence of excommunication. The Emperor once more entered Rome, chased the Pope to the territories of the Norman princes, and marched to take possession of Tuscany, which Matilda, during Hildebrand's visit to Canossa, had bequeathed to the Church. Meanwhile Pascal died, and the States of the Empire having implored Henry to make peace with the new Pope, a Diet was held at Worms, and the matter accommodated. In 1125 a pestilential disease carried Henry to the grave; and the Imperial dignity, after being enjoyed till 1138 by Lothario II, was bestowed upon Henry's nephew, Conrad, duke of Franconia. A rival appeared in the person of the haughty Duke of Bavaria, whose followers called themselves Guelphs, from his family name; while the adherents of the Emperor adopted the appellation of Ghibelines, from Hihghibelin, the village of which Frederick, the brother of Conrad, was a native. Both parties took up arms, and during the contest a romantic incident occurred at the siege of Weinsberg. The Guelphs in the castle, after being long besieged, yielded on condition that the Duke of Bavaria and his officers should be allowed to retire unmolested: but the noble Duchess, apprehending a breach of faith, stipulated that she and the other women in the castle should be allowed to come forth and be conducted to a place of safety, with as much as each of them could carry. Conrad, who expected to see the ladies loaded with jewels, gold, and silver, was in no small degree surprised when the Duchess and her fair comrades appeared carrying their gallant husbands; and he was so touched at this display of conjugal affection, that he granted most favorable terms to the Guelphs.

The preaching of St. Bernard, though in French, and therefore unintelligible to the Germans, had nevertheless a powerful effect on the latter; and Conrad, resolving to take part in the second Crusade, embarked with a mighty army: but being betrayed by Greek guides in Asia Minor, his forces were surprised and defeated amidst the defiles of Laodicea. The defeated Emperor, returning to Europe, died in 1151, and was succeeded by his nephew, Frederick Barbarossa, who was soon involved in a struggle with Henry the Lion duke of Saxony, with the Italian cities, and with another enemy infinitely more formidable than either.

Early in the twelfth century, Nicolas Breakspear, an English mendicant, was strolling about from place to place, when chance directed his vagrant steps to the convent of St. Rufus, in Provence, where the canons received him as a servant. Being afterward admitted as a monk, Nicolas rose to the rank of Abbot. In 1154, by personal merit and good fortune, the Anglo-Saxon beggar was placed in the papal chair as Adrian IV, and before crowning Frederick he insisted that the Emperor should on bonded knee kiss his foot, hold his stirrup, and lead his white mule by the bridle for nine paces. Frederick reluctantly consented to perform the ceremony at Venice; but purposely mistaking the stirrup, he remarked with a sneer, 'I have yet to learn the business of a groom.'

The Emperor proved himself an able politician and a stout soldier. To abridge the power of the martial nobles, he followed the example of Louis VI, of France, and conferred charters of community, which enfranchised the people and formed them into corporations.

Going to the third Crusade, this great ruler was drowned in crossing the river Seneff, and was succeeded on the Imperial throne by his son, Henry VI, who was speedily involved in Italian wars.

A few years earlier the throne of Sicily had been filled by William, a king of the Guiscard line, who had espoused Joan, a sister of Richard of England, without being blessed with heirs. William, however, had an aunt, named Constance, whose chance of being queen appeared so certain, that Henry, who was at once poor and avaricious, wedded, with great pomp, the princess, though she was thirty-two - an advanced age for a royal Italian bride. But when William died, so strong was the prejudice against a female sovereign, that his illegitimate son Tancred was proclaim ed King. Henry prepared to assert his claim, but the lion-hearted King of England, on his way to Palestine, arrived at Sicily, and indignant to find his sister deprived at once of her dower and her freedom, commenced aggressions. Subsequently, however, Richard concluded with Tancred a league, offensive and defensive, and the Emperor, however he might have dealt with the Sicilian King, had no fancy for playing at the game of carnage with RichardCoeur de Lion. He therefore waited till the English King's departure, and entering Italy, laid siege to Naples in the summer of 1091; but when a fever, which carried off a large portion of his army, prostrated himself, the Emperor, in alarm, raised the siege, and executed an inglorious retreat. But he treasured up his malice, and his day of triumph came.

When Richard had been seized, imprisoned, and forced to pay an enormous ransom, Tancred died, and his son was placed on the throne. Availing himself of the money extorted from Richard, Henry who had meanwhile incorporated into a regular order the Teutonic knights, originally destined for the service of the sick in Palestine, and built for them a house at Coblenz - announced his resolution of undertaking a Crusade. But instead of going to the Holy Land, he marched into Sicily, the throne of which he seized, after perpetrating revolting cruelties. At length, one of the Norman princes having been tied naked to a chair of red-hot iron, and crowned with a circle of the same burning metal, the Empress in disgust turned against her husband, incited the inhabitants to rebel, and imposed upon him the most humiliating conditions. Henry died at Messina, poisoned, as was said, by his Italian spouse, and his son, Frederick II, was placed on the Imperial throne; but the German princes, indignant at seeing the crown become hereditary, held a Diet at Cologne, and elected Otho, duke of Brunswick, son of Henry the Lion. Civil war arose between the princes, and Otho IV was crowned at Rome by the Pope; but Frederick allied himself with Philip Augustus, king of France, who at the village of Bovines, in 1214, totally defeated and ruined the rival. Upon this disaster Otho retired to Brunswick, where he became a devotee; while Frederick, having been crowned with unwonted magnificence, afterward undertook a Crusade without the papal sanction, and on his return was excommunicated by Gregory IX. From that period his life was one lon g and vexatious struggle with the Popes; the Dominican friars preached a holy war against him; a defeat before Parma made him retire to recruit his army in Sicily; and there he died in the year 1251.

His son Conrad, last Emperor of the house of Swabia, assumed the Imperial title; but after his death, in 1254, there was an interregnum of several years, during which Richard, earl of Cornwall, brother of Henry III of England, spent large sums to secure his election as King of the Romans, which he deemed a certain step to the Imperial dignity; but several of the Electors being favorable to Alphonso, king of Castile, aspiration was not fulfilled.

At length, in 1274, the German princes, though impatient of subordination, willing that the throne should be occupied by an emperor whose influence was not such as to excite their jealousy, elected Rodolph of Hapsburg, a Swiss baron; but the king of Bohemia, of whose household Rodolph had been steward, unable to brook the sovereignty of his former inferior, not only refused homage for his fiefs, but seized on the Duchy of Austria. He was soon compelled to give up Austria and do homage for Bohemia and Moravia, but bargained for the latter ceremony being performed in private. To gratify him in this particular, a close pavilion was erected on the small island of Cumberg, and thither came the Bohemian, decked with gold and jewels, while the Emperor appeared in plain and simple habiliments. The Bohemian was nervously anxious to avoid a public scene; but at a critical moment the curtains of the pavilion, falling aside, revealed to thousands of soldiers the proud King on bonded knee before his former steward. Incited by a haughty spouse, he renounced his allegiance; but the Emperor taking the field, slew the hapless King in battle, and, to aggrandize the house of Hapsburg, bestowed Austria on his second son, Count Albert.

Adolph of Nassau being next elected Emperor, Count Albert of Austria, incited by Philip IV of France and supported by a minority of the Electors, rose in arms, slew Adolph in a battle at Spire, and was soon after crowned as Emperor. Thereupon Pope Boniface summoned him to answer for Adolph's murder; but a bitter feud arising between the French King and the Pope, the latter found it convenient to court Albert's alliance, and transferred to him the sovereignty of France. However, Albert soon had his hands full at home; for having, as hereditary sovereign of several Swiss cantons, made an attempt to seize the whole of the provinces, the natives combined, and with a small army won successive victories.

The end of Albert was particularly tragical. In 1309 he was walking one day on the banks of the Russ, when his companion, a nephew, whose patrimony he had unjustly retained, drawing his sword, inflicted a mortal wound; and the Electors raised to the throne Henry of Luxembourg , the most renowned knight of an age which boasted of Robert Bruce and Giles de Argentine. The martial Emperor having avenged his predecessor's assassination, fought his way to Rome, imposed a tribute on the Italian States, and died in 1314; poisoned, as was supposed, by emissaries of the Pope. Louis of Bavaria was then elected; and, after a long dispute, defeated and captured Frederick the Handsome, of Austria. But successive Popes proved his mortal foes; and though the death of his Austrian competitor left Louis without a rival, Benedict XII, who resided at Avignon, vindictively pursued him to the grave. His subjects were made to choose between their sovereign and the pontiff: discord and disorder loosened the frame-work of society; and the fraternity known as the Friends of God, by the spread of their doctrines, prepared the way for that religious reformation which was accomplished in the following century.

On the death of Louis, in 1348, the king of Bohemia, -favored by the Pope, obtained the vacant throne, with the title of Charles IV. This Emperor issued the celebrated Golden Bull, which limited the number of Electors to seven, because of the seven mortal sins and the candlestick with seven branches. The publication was signalized by an ostentatious ceremony, in which the Electors took their appropriate parts as hereditary officers. The Archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, and Triers, carried the Imperial seals of Germany, Italy, and Gaul; the Duke of Luxembourg, as proxy of the Bohemian King, officiated as cupbearer, and poured wine from a golden flagon into the Emperor's golden cup; the Duke of Saxony, as grand-marshal, appeared with a silver measure of oats; the Elector of Brandenburg presented the Emperor and Empress with water in basins of gold; and the Count Palatine, in presence of the great officers of state, served up the viands in dishes of the most precious metal.

The Emperor Maximilian, known as the Moneyless, described Charles as 'the pest of the empire,' and not without cause for he first dissipated the Imperial territories in Italy, and in 1376, to secure the election of his son, Wenceslaus, as King of the Romans, he promised each of the Electors a hundred thousand crowns. Unable to pay so large a sum, he alienated the ample Imperial domain which stretched along the banks of the Rhine from Basil to Cologne, and dying in 1378, was succeeded by the son for whom he had made so great a sacrifice.

Wenceslaus proved himself the most cruel and vicious of mankind. He is said to have walked the streets with an executioner, to put to death such persons as incurred his dislike, to have drowned in the Moldau a monk who refused to reveal the confessions of his wife, the Queen of Bohemia, and even to have, in an hour of intoxication, ordered his cook to be roasted alive. The tyrant was, in consequence of his gross incapacity, deprived of the Imperial crown, which was given to Robert, the Count Palatine; and he, in his turn, was succeeded by Sigismund, brother of Wenceslaus, and King of Hungary.

Christendom was at that period scandalized by the great schism of the West, produced by the cardinals having elected three rival popes each considering himself endowed with all the attributes which Hildebrand had claimed for the Vicar of Christ; and Sigismund, eager to settle the controversy, visited England to consult Henry V. But finding that hero wholly occupied with French wars, the Emperor returned, and in 1418 summoned the Council of Constance, which settled the dispute by degrading the three rivals and electing Martin V.

The new pontiff was installed by an imposing ceremony. Arrayed in pontifical vestments, he mounted a richly-caparisoned mule, which was led by the reins, with due solemnity, by the Emperor and the Elector of Brandenburg. A magnificent canopy was held over the Pope's head by four Counts; several princes walked around; and forty thousand equestrians took part in the procession. The Council then went to more serious, work, and summoned John Huss, a disciple of Wicliffe. Huss, after de fending the articles of his faith, was declared a heretic, stripped of his sacerdotal habit, crowned with a mitre of paper, on which were painted three devils, and condemned to be burned with his writings. The victim died praising God, and was followed to the stake by Jerome of Prague.

When Sigismund went down to his tomb in 1436, his son-in-law, Albert of Austria, who inherited the crowns of Hungary and Bohemia, was raised to the Imperial throne; and after dividing Germany into six circles, each regulated by a Diet, he was succeeded by his cousin, Frederick III. At the beginning of this long and languid reign, while war was raging between the Turks and Hungarians, John Guttenberg invented at Strasburg the art of printing, which brought into operation the power of the pen; and that potent weapon being, on the revival of learning, directed first against spiritual, and then against temporal despotism, materially influenced those revolutions which have gradually removed ancient landmarks, and changed the face of Continental Europe.

Maximilian I succeeded his brother Frederick in 1493, and, to terminate the calamities created by private feuds, instituted, at the stately city of Frankfort, the Imperial Chamber, consisting of a president appointed by the Emperor, and sixteen judges, chosen by him and the States; and he prevailed on the Diet to consent to the Aulic Council as the Emperor's Court, and without appeal. After wearing the crown with honor, and exhibiting much enthusiasm for science and literature, Maximilian, in 1519, disappeared from the stage of affairs on the eve of great events; and his grandson Charles, the juvenile King of Spain, who inherited Austria, be came a candidate for the Imperial dignity. In this he was opposed by Francis I, whose ambassadors impressed upon the Electors the necessity of showing that the empire was not an heir-loom in the house of Austria; and the Electors, with whom it was a rule not to select any prince already occupying an important position, caring little for either candidate, laid the diadem at the feet of Frederick of Saxony, a man of great prudence and popularity. Frederick, however, declined the distinction, and recommended them to choose the King of Spain, who was accordingly elected on 28th June, 1520, and crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle in the following October.

Thirty-seven years before that important event, the wife of a miner, named Luther, (a worthy, studious, and stubborn man), had, in the little town of Eisleben, become the mother of a boy, who was named Martin, from having been born on St. Martin's Eve. Removed in infancy to Mansfeld, on the banks of the Vipper, young Luther, while standing by his father's forge, or accompanying his mother to gather fagots in the forest, indulged in the anticipation of becoming a scholar, and being sent, after some preparatory training, to Erfurt, he excited by his intellectual powers the admiration of the whole university. One day, while reading keenly in the library, he came upon a Latin copy of the Bible, the pages of which he perused with breathless interest; and resolving upon a monastic life, he entered the Convent of St. Augustine at the age of twenty-one. After spending three years in the cloister, Luther accepted a professorship in the University of Wittemberg, which Frederick, the Elector of Saxony, had founded. And in 1512 being sent as envoy to Rome, where Pope Julius then reigned, and his monastic illusions vanishing into air, he commenced his career as a Reformer, and was excommunicated by Leo X, who did not like his hunting, shooting, and fishing to be disturbed by heretics. Luther retaliated by publishing the 'Babylonish Captivity'; and the book being burned, he, in 1520, publicly committed to the flames the Pope's bull and decretals.

The popular spirit in Germany was in Luther's favor; for though, from the days of Louis of Bavaria, the Emperors had acknowledged the ascendancy of the Popes, the people had exhibited an increasing dislike to the yoke of Rome, and in 1512 the populace of the Rhenish provinces had displayed their discontent by forming the League of Shoes, Maximilian, it appears, had not manifested any dislike to the new faith; but Charles V had inherited enough of Spanish bigotry to decide his opinions, and in 1521 he summoned Luther to appear before the Diet of Worms, and answer for his doctrines. The bold Reformer soon arrived from Wittemberg in a wagon, Vended himself with great spirit, and afterward escaped into Saxony, where, secured by his friend the Elector in the fortress of Wartberg, while branded by the Pope as a viper of hell,' he commenced his translation of the Bible. And matters did not rest here, for the mind of Europe was in agitation.

While, in England, Henry was attacking alike the Catholics and Protestants; while, in Scotland, Cardinal Beaton was feasting his eyes with the burning of heretics; while, in France, the brave and glory-loving Francis was sullying his fame by consenting to the villages of the Vaudois being converted into a desert waste; the Emperor Charles was by no means indifferent to the interest of the Romish Church within the Imperial dominions. And when freed by the death of his impetuous rival from apprehensions of war, he gained, at Muhlberg, a victory over the Confederates at Smalcalde, which placed the venerable Frederick of Saxony in his power. Strangely, at that crisis, the Lutherans turned for aid to Henry II of France, who though bent on persecution at home, on certain conditions proclaimed himself their champion. But ere his services could be rendered, Maurice of Saxony, to whom Charles had given the Electorate, prefer. ring to be a chief of the Protestants to figuring as the Emperor's creature, after much dissimulation marched on Inspruck, and almost succeeded in capturing Charles, who, after escaping over the. Alps in a litter, sick and solitary, signed the Convention of Passau, which was converted into a definitive peace in 1552 - the era of religious liberty in Germany.

At the close of this war, weary of the world, the great Emperor, having previously abdicated the Spanish throne in favor of his son Philip, resigned the Imperial crown to his brother Ferdinand, king of the Romans. After a reign of eight years, that prince was succeeded by his son, Maximilian II, who died in 1596, while preparing to support his election as King of Poland.

Rodolph II, son of Maximilian, was so entirely devoted to the study of astronomy and astrology that he saw with indifference his dominions usurped by his brother Matthias, who, succeeding to the Empire in 1612, procured .the election of his cousin Ferdinand to the thrones of Hungary and Bohemia. Both nations revolted, and the Hungarians were appeased; but Ferdinand was a pupil of the Jesuits, and the Bohemian Protestants, to whom he was obnoxious, advanced in arms to the gates of Vienna; and, while Matthias was on his dying bed, commenced that terrible conflict known in history as the Thirty Years' War.

Ferdinand, though elevated to the imperial throne, was sternly rejected by the Bohemians, who offered their crown to Frederick, the Elector Palatine, and son-in-law of the first James of England. Frederick, proceeding to Prague, accepted the gift, but rashly, as it soon appeared; for in November, 1620, the Imperialists coming thither, under Tilly, inflicted a defeat, which made the Elector and his fair spouse, whom Men called the Queen of Hearts, fly to the Hanle, while their friends surrendered town after town in the Palatinate to the Italian general Spinola. The Duke of Batavia, ere long, took possession of the Electorate; and its hereditary sovereign, homeless and houseless, in spite of the alliance of the King of Denmark, remained a pensioner on Dutch bounty at the Hague.

The tyranny of Ferdinand speedily led to the confederacy of Leipsic, of which Gustavus Adolphus, the heroic King of Sweden, was chief. After bearing the banner of Protestantism in triumph through Germany, that Lion of the North fell in the battle of Lutzen, and the fortunes of the Elector seemed desperate. But when the Emperor had closed his checkered career, and been succeeded by his son Ferdinand III, and when Germany was suffering from famine and poverty, the consequence of the long war, the Protestants, with the aid of France, found matters assuming a more favorable aspect. Turenne won the battle of Sommerhausen; Wrangel captured Prague; and the great Condé's victory at Lens, where the Archduke Leopold, brother of the Emperor, had his army routed, compelled Ferdinand to consent to the Peace of Westphalia, by which the Palatine family were restored and religious equality decreed.

The peace was grateful to the inhabitants after their long struggle. Their losses were gradually repaired, their lands cultivated, and their towns rebuilt; but on the death of Ferdinand, and the accession of his unamiable son, Leopold, in 1658, the Hungarians rose in insurrection, made Tekeli their prince, and called in the Turks to their aid. The reigning Sultan, in 1683, raised the most formidable force ever sent against Christendom; and Lorrain, the Imperial general, retired before the Turkish crescent. Leopold and his household fled from Vienna; two-thirds of the inhabitants followed; the city was besieged, and it would have fallen but for the timely arrival of John Sobieski, king of Poland, who defeated the invaders, and took the famous standard of Mohammed, which was sent as a present to the Pope. Fearful was the vengeance which Leopold now took on the Hungarians. A scaffold, erected in the market-place of Eperies, stood there so many months, that the executioners were weary of victims. At length, the Hungarian nobles having been summoned to Vienna, declared the crown hereditary: the States at Presburg confirmed the decree; and the Emperor's son, Joseph, at the age of nine, was acknowledged as King of Hungary.

When Charles, king of Spain, breathed his last, without heirs, and Louis XIV sent his grandson Philip V to Madrid, Leopold, whose mother was daughter of Philip III, claimed the Spanish throne for his second son, the Archduke Charles. England supported the Austrian claim, and the war was still raging when, in 1705, Leopold dying, was succeeded on the Imperial throne by his son Joseph, who seized Mantua and Milan, assailed the temporal power of the Pope, and made everything bend to his power. In the midst of his successes he expired, in 1711, and Charles VI, whom the allies were attempting to place on the Spanish throne, having obtained the Imperial crown, the treaty of Utrecht terminated the War of Succession. To that treaty Charles at first refused his assent; but when a French army under Marshal Villars had passed the Rhine, he acceeded to the views of the allies, and obtained Milan, Naples, and the Netherlands.

One of the greatest and most successful captains of that age was Prince Eugene. His father being a member of the house of Savoy, and his moth er a niece of Cardinal Mazarin, he applied to Louis XIV first for an abbey, and then for a regiment. The Grand Monarch, little understanding the applicant's character, refused in both cases. Prince Eugene, taking service with the Emperor, was associated with the illustrious Marlborough in those brilliant victories that have made the name of the 'handsome Englishman' immortal, had the distinction of expelling the French from Italy, and in 1717, undertook the memorable siege of Belgrade, the strongest castle in Europe. Surrounded in his camp by a hundred and fifty thousand Turks, he routed them with immense slaughter, and captured the place, which remained in possession of Austria for twenty-two years.

Charles, anxious that the hereditary dominions of the house of Austria should be settled on his daughter, the celebrated Maria Theresa, obtained the assent of the European powers to a pragmatic sanction. But hardly had his eyes closed in 1740, when events verified the observation of Prince Eugene: 'The best guarantee in this case would be an army of a hundred thousand men.' Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, claimed Selesia, captured Breslau, after winning the battle of Molwitz; while Charles of Bavaria, whom Louis XV had caused to be crowned as King of Bohemia, was chosen Emperor, with the title of Charles VII. But Maria Theresa, though deserted by her allies, was a woman of too high spirit to be daunted by adverse circumstances. She convoked the States of Hungary, and taking her infant son in her arms, addressed the assembly in Latin, the idiom of the States - ' I place in your hands,' she said, 'the daughter and son of your kings. They look to you for succor, and depend on you for safety.'

The Hungarian nobles, too chivalrous to resist such an appeal from such lips, drew their glittering swords, and exclaimed with one accord, we will die for our Queen,' and levied an army which brought her enemies to reason. At length, after an English army had won the battle of Dettingen, and Charles VII had been removed by death, peace was restored, and the husband of the popular Queen was raised, in 1745, to the Imperial throne, with the title of Francis I. But, in 1756, the Seven Years' War breaking out between France and England, Maria Theresa, regretting the cession of Selesia to the Prussian King, flattered the vanity of Madame Pompadour, and secured the aid of France. The skill and intrepid courage of Frederick prevailed, and after seven bloody campaigns, he signed a peace with the Empress-Queen.

On the death of his father, Joseph, the son of Maria Theresa, ascended the Imperial throne, and issued some oppressive edicts against the Netherlands, which his grandfather had acquired at the close of the Spanish war. The inhabitants had been contented under the rule of Maria Theresa, but revolted at Joseph's tyranny; and terrible was the punishment. Their houses were ruthlessly entered at midnight; women and their infants were slain with one bayonet, and their husbands were, without trial, carried off prisoners to Vienna on the banks of the Danube. These cruelties prompted the Netherlands to declare themselves forever released from Austrian sway, and to treat every offer of indemnity with contempt.

This Emperor's conduct was otherwise praiseworthy; he abolished the system of torture, with servitude and villeinage, granted a liberal toleration in religion, and was easy and affable in communicating with his subjects. He was succeeded in 1790 by his brother Leopold, who, during his brief reign, restored tranquillity in the Netherlands, and was hesitating about the course he should pursue toward revolutionary France, when he died in 1792.

Francis II then succeeded his father, and took a conspicuous part in the struggle, as has already been related. But in 1806, when fourteen princes of Germany formed the Confederation of the Rhine, and acknowledged the victorious Napoleon as their protector, Francis, finding himself deprived of all his honors as head of the Germanic body, abandoned the ancient title, and styled himself Emperor of Austria.

When Napoleon, after making the kings of the earth bow down before his mighty energies, fell in 1814, Vienna, the capital of the new empire, was the scene of one of the most important assemblies of modern days. There the Emperors of Austria and Russia, the King of Prussia, and many ,of the Germanic princes, met the representatives of England and France, to establish the territorial limits of the Continental States upon recognized principles of international policy. That was the celebrated Congress of Vienna; and while withholding the Netherlands from Austria, it restored Lombardy, and added thereto all the ancient possessions of the far-famed Venetian republic. The Germanic Confederation was likewise dealt with, and something done toward harmonizing the interests of the independent states into a nationality.

The Emperor Francis died in 1835, after an eventful reign of forty three years, leaving his dominions to his son Ferdinand, under the auspices of the profound Metternich. But during the revolutionary epoch of 1848, while the Hungarians were in arms to assert their independence, he abdicated; and his brother declining to accept the Imperial crown, it came to the son of the latter, Francis Joseph, who thereupon assumed the titles of Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.