Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

whelming fire of the Turkish batteries, when they surrendered on honorable conditions ; and on Christmas day (A. D. 1522), Soleyman made his triumphant entry into what had been a city, but was now a shapeless mass of ruins.

On the death of Louis, Ferdinand of Austria, who had married the sister of the unfortunate monarch, claimed the crowns of Hungary and Bohemia. He received quiet possession of the latter kingdom ; but the Hungarians chose for their sovereign John Zapolya, prince palatine of Transylvania. Zapolya, finding himself unable to resist the power of Ferdinand, claimed the protection of the Turks. Soleyman marched ir. person to his aid, and, not satisfied with expelling the Austrians from Hungary, pursued them into their own country, and laid siege to Vienna (A. 1. 1529). He failed in this enterprise, and was compelled to retreat after having lost eighty thousand men. 'The

emperor Charles V., alarmed at the progress of the Turks, tried to form a general confederation of the German princes against them, but found that the troubles occasioned by the progress of the Reformation would prevent any cordial union. He resolved, however, to check the growth of their naval power in the Mediterrenean, where Khair-ed-dín, * or Barbarossa, a pirate whom Soleyman had taken into his service, captured Tunis and Algiers, and was collecting a formidable naval force. Charles took advantage of Soleyman's being engaged in conquering the pachalic of Bagdad from the Persians, to invade Africa, where he made himself master of Tunis. Soleyman, returning victorious from Asia, was so enraged at his losses in Africa, that he resolved to attempt the conquest of Italy. The imprudence of a Venetian captain turned the wrath of the sultan upon the republic of Venice; he attacked two Turkish galleys in the Adriatic, for some mistake about their signals, and satisfaction being refused, Soleyman proclaimed war.

But while thus engaged in the west, Soleyman did not neglect the enlargement of his eastern dominions. His generals conquered the whole of Arabia, and his admirals issuing from the Red sea, attacked but without success, the Portuguese dominions in India. In the mean time the Venetian senate entered into an alliance with the emperor Charles V., and the pope, Paul III. ; their united navies were placed under the command of the celebrated Doria, but his success was far from according with the expect-tions that the allies had formed. The war, however, led to no decisive result; it was suspended by occa sional truces, during which Soleyman took the opportunity of enlarging his Asiatic dominions at the expense of Persia.

The knights of St. John, expelled from Rhodes, obtained a settlement in the island of Malta ; they directed their attention to naval affairs, and inflicted severe damages on the Turks by sea. Soleyman, roused by the complaints of his subjects, resolved that Malta should share the fate of Rhodes, and collected all his forces for the siege (A. D. 1565). The knights maintained their character for obstinate valor with more success than on the former occasion : after a sanguinary contest for five months, the Turks were forced to retire, with the loss of twenty-four thousand men and all their artillery. Soleyman prepared to take revenge by com

* Khair-ed-dín signifies “ the goodness of the faith.” This terror of the Christians was named Barbarossa, on account of his “ red beard."

[ocr errors]

pleting the conquest of Hungary ; but while besieging Sigeth, he fell a victim to disease, produced by old age and fatigue (A. D. 1566), after having raised the Turkish empire to the highest pitch of its greatness.

Selim II., soon after his accession, made peace with the Germans and Persians, but renewed war with the Venetians, from whom he took the important island of Cyprus (A. D. 1571). But while the Turkish army was thus engaged, their fleet was utterly destroyed in the battle of Lepanto, by the allied Venetian, imperial, and papal navy. The allies neglected to improve their victory, and Selim soon repaired his losses. But this sultan sank into the usual indolence of oriental sovereigns, his successors followed his example, and the Ottoman power began rapidly to decline. The Austrian rulers became convinced of the impolicy of harsh measures, and conceded to the Hungarians full security for their political and religious liberties, at the diet of Presburg. Hungary was henceforth united to Austria, and the last war, directly resulting from he Reformation, happily terminated.

CHAPTER VII.

THE AUGUSTAN AGES OF ENGLAND AND

FRANCE.

Section 1.-State of the Continental Kingdoms after the Peace of Westphalia.

Though the treaty of Westphalia restored tranquillity to northern Europe and Germany, France and Spain continued the war in which they had originally but a secondary share, with all the obstinacy of principals. At the same time, France was distracted by civil broils less fatal than those of England, but scarcely less sanguinary. The prime mover in these disturbances was the coadjutor-archbishop of Paris, afterward known as the Cardinal de Retz; he wished to gain the post of prime minister from Cardinal Mazarine, and he induced several princes of the blood, with a large portion of the nobility, to espouse his quarrel. The parliaments of France resembled those of England only in name; they were colleges of justice, not legislative assemblies, and the members purchased their seats. This was the body with which Retz commenced his operations; instigated by the ambitious prelate, the parliament of Paris thwarted all the measures of the queen-regent and her minister, until Anne of Austria, irritated by such factious opposition, ordered the president and one of the most violent councillors to be arrested. Her orders were scarcely executed when the populace arose, barricaded the streets, threatened the cardinal and the regent, and procured the release of the prisoners. Alarmed by the repetition of similar outrages, the queen, attended by her children and her minister, retired from Paris to St. Germains, where their distress was so great that they were obliged to pawn the crown jewels to procure the common necessaries of life. These intrigues led to a desultory civil war, which began to assume a serious aspect after the arrest of the ambitious duke of Condé, who had repeatedly insulted the queen and the cardinal ; the factious took up arms in all the provinces, and the duke of Orleans, uncle to the young king, placed himself at the head of the malcontents (A. D. 1650). Mazarine was unable to resist the confederacy; he liberated Condé and his associates, in the vain hope of conciliating their favor, but was obliged to fly to Cologne, where he continued to govern the queen-regent as if he had never quitted Paris. By his intrigues, which were now seconded by de Retz, the duke of Bouillon, and his brother Turenne, were detached from the confederates, and by their aid Mazarine was enabled to enter the kingdom at the head of an army, and resume his former authority. Condé, proclaimed a traitor by the parliament of Paris, threw himself upon the

و

protection of Spain, and obtained from that power a body of troops, with which he pursued the court from province to province, and finally entered Paris. Turenne, who commanded the royal forces, brought the young king within sight of his capital; and Louis witnessed a fierce conflict in the suburb of St. Antoine, which terminated in the defeat of

his army.

Encouraged by this success, the parliament of Paris proclaimed the duke of Orleans "lieutenant-general of the kingdom," and the prince of Condé, " commander-in-chief of the armies of France.” But the danger with which these appointments threatened the monarchy, was averted equally by the rashness of Condé and the prudence of the king. Condé instigated a tumult, in which several citizens lost their lives; Louis conciliated his subjects by sending the cardinal into temporary exile, and was received into his capital with the loudest acclamations. No sooner was the royal authority re-established, than Mazarine was recalled and invested with more than his former power.

During these commotions, the Spaniards had recovered many of the places which they had previously lost to the French, and Louis de Haro, who governed Spain and Philip IV. as absolutely as Mazarine did France and its youthful sovereign, hoped by means of Condé's great military talents to bring the war to a triumphant issue. But the French found a general in Marshal Turenne, who was more than a rival for Condé; he compelled the Spaniards to raise the siege of Arras, and seized all their baggage, artillery, and ammunition (a. D. 1656). He was himself soon after compelled to raise the siege of Valenciennes, but he made a masterly retreat as honorable as a victory, and even took the town of Capelle in the presence of his enemies. Still the fortune of the war was doubtful, when Mazarine, by flattering the passions of the usurper Cromwell, engaged England to take a share in the contest. Dunkirk, the strongest town in Flanders, first engaged the attention of the allies; the English blockaded it by sea ; Turenne, with an auxiliary British force united the French army, besieged it by land (A. D. 1656) The Spaniards sent an army to its relief; Turenne did not decline an engagement; the obstinate valor of the English, combined with the impetuosity of the French troops, procured him a decided victory ; Dunkirk surrendered in a few days, and was given to the English according to treaty, while France obtained possession of the strongest towns in Flanders.

Peace was now necessary to Spain, and it was also essential to the success of Mazarine's favorite policy; the procuring for the house of Bourbon the eventual succession to the Spanish monarchy, by uniting King Louis to the infanta, Maria Theresa. The preliminaries were adjusted by Mazarine and Louis de Haro, in person, at a conference in the Pyrenees, and France obtained an exten of territory and the prospect of an inheritance, which soon made it formidable to the rest of Europe. About a year after the conclusion of this treaty, Mazarine died (A. D. 1661); and Louis, who had borne the ministerial yoke with secret impatience, took the reins of government into his own hands.

Germany, exhausted by tedious wars, remained undisturbed after the peace of Westphalia until the death of Ferdinand III. (A. D. 1657), when the diet was agitated by fierce debates respecting the choice of

uccessor.

Recent events had shown how dangerous was the ambie tion of the house of Austria to the independence of the minor states, and several of the electors wished to have as their head some monarch whose hereditary dominions would not be of sufficient importance to raise him above the control of the Diet. But these considerations were forced to yield to more pressing circumstances; the presence of the Turks in Buda, of the French in Alsace, and of the Swedes in Pomerania, required a powerful sovereign to prevent further encroachments; and Leopold, the son of the late emperor, was unanimously chosen. His first measure was to form an alliance with Poland and Denmark against Sweden, a power which, ever since the victorious career of Gustavus Adolphus, menaced the independence of the neighboring

states.

cessor.

We have already mentioned that the renowned Gustavus was succeeded by his daughter Christina. She was fondly attached to study, and assembled in her court the most distinguished professors of science, literature, and the fine arts. Her favorite pursuits were, however, too antiquated and abstruse for practical life ; she was pedantic rather than wise, and her great learning was never applied to a useful end. She consented to the peace of Westphalia, not from any regard for the tranquillity of Europe or her own kingdom, but simply to indulge her passion for study, with which the cares of state interfered. The Swedish senate felt little sympathy in the learned pursuits of their sovereign ; they pressed her to marry her cousin, Charles Gustavus, for whom she had been designed in her infancy, but Christina dreaded to give herself a master, and she only nominated this prince her suc

The states renewed their importunity, and Christina offered to resign the crown to her cousin ; after some delay, occasioned by reasonable suspicions of her sincerity, she carried her design into execution, and abdicated in favor of Charles Gustavus, who ascended the throne under the title of Charles X. (1. D. 1654). The remainder of Christina's life was disgraceful to her character. Designing to fix her residence at Rome, she renounced Lutheranism, and embraced the catholic faith at Innspruck, not because she deemed it the preferable religion, but because she thought it convenient to conform to the tenets of the people with whom she intended to reside. Her profligate life, her want of any valuable information, and her loss of power, soon rendered her contemptible in Italy; she made two journeys into France, where she was received with much respect, until her infamous conduct excited general abhorrence. In a fit of jealousy, she commanded one of her paramours to be assassinated in the great gallery of Fontainebleau, and almost in her very presence (4. D. 1657). This atrocious violation of the laws of nature and of nations, perpetrated in the midst of a civilized kingdom, and a court that piqued itself on refinement, was allowed to pass without judicial inquiry, but it excited such universal detestation, that Christina was forced to quit France and seek refuge in Italy There the remainder of her life was spent in sensual indulgence and literary conversation, if such a term can be applied to the language of a capricious woman, admiring many things for which she had no taste, and talking about others which she did not understand.

While Christina was thus disgracing her sex and country, Charles

« ElőzőTovább »