« PreviousContinue »
pure invention. Besides, it must be added that menaces were employed to induce those officers who still hesitated, to attach their signature to it. In the examination afterwards made into the matter, Duke Julius of Saxony denied, it is true, that persons had been forced to sign by threats of strangulation, or of being hurled out of the window, or that swords were drawn; but still he allowed that Losi had called all the other colonels present, cowards. Now, as Losi was one of Wallenstein's most unscrupulous partisans, he was necessarily angered because others raised serious objections about signing the memorial. Although all this does not positively go to prove anything, still it furnishes “indicia” which acquire importance when taken in conjunction with the many other immediate proofs--such, for instance, as the treaty with France.
Wallenstein's defenders do not attempt to deny his formal desertion to the enemy, in his march to Eger; but in his excuse they allege that the Duke of Friedland was driven to this step, when he received the information that he was deposed from his command, and placed under the ban of the empire. We will be more reasonable than others, and would not deny in toto the validity of this excuse, if it admitted of proof; but, in truth, there is none, and every circumstance leads us to quite the opposite conclusion. We will attempt to explain this.
According to the narrative of Quartermaster-General von der Grün, Duke Bernhard of Saxe Weimar, in consideration of Wallenstein's repeated and pressing entreaties, assembled his troops about the commencement of February, 1634, in order to march through Wieden to Eger. For the sake of impartiality, we must certainly remark here, that some doubts have been raised as to the time at which Grün states that Bernhard commenced his march. If the duke heard of Wallenstein's death, which took place on the 25th of February, while still at Wieden, it is very improbable that he set out to join him at the commencement of that month. But we fortunately possessed a letter written by Duke Francis Albert of Saxe Lauenbürg, addressed to Illo, and dated February 24th, 1634, from Ratisbon, in which he announces that Bernhard of Saxe Weimar was concentrating his whole force on the frontier, and that all his arrangements would be completed in a very few days. This clearly shows that Bernhard commenced his march at a later date. It appears, too, from Grün's narrative, that Wallenstein had laid his prayer for assistance before Duke Bernhard long prior to the 19th of February, the day on which he received news of his deposition. Grün assures us, too, that Bernhard had at first declined, and only consented when he received a very detailed account of all Wallenstein's designs. This evidently has reference to many and longer negotiations—at least to such as must have been commenced long before the 19th of February. Other considerations must lead us to precisely the same result. If it was true, as Förster so confidently asserts, that both Sweden and France only saw in Wallenstein's proposals a design to entrap them ; if, further, Friedland had not, till three days antecedent to his murder, done anything to do away with that opinion, it is quite inconceivable they would hurry to help him in the extremity of his danger. Instead, then, of marching to Eger, and there awaiting the arrival of the Swedes, Friedland would necessarily have sought to save himself in quite a different direction. The march to Eger was the open rupture with the emperor, and Wallenstein, through the illsuccess of his attempts on the army, irrecoverably lost, could he not cal
culate on the help of the Swedes. Friedland was quite aware that he must soon be attacked in Eger; he was, further, much too conversant with state business not to see, that without preliminary negotiations the time was much too short to complete a treaty with the Swedes ; under such circumstances it would have been more than a mere error of judgment to shut himself up in Eger, and actions of this character do not resemble Wallenstein's usually cautious and reflecting policy.
In consideration, then, that a number of concurrent circumstances revealed Prince Friedland's settled design of deserting the emperor, and gaining the crown of Bohemia by a coalition with France and Sweden ;
That such a design was primarily, though obscurely, visible in Wallenstein's remarks to Field-Marshal Arnim during the first Silesian armistice, and openly expressed during the second;
In consideration, also, that negotiations were commenced with France for the purpose of carrying out the scheme, to which Wallenstein silently assented;
And fourthly, that the desertion was openly displayed in the march to Eger, and the attempt made to form a junction with the Swedes';
Albert of Wallenstein, Duke of Friedland, was guilty of treason to'wards his emperor, Ferdinand II.
On the other hand, it has been laid to the emperor's charge that, without conceding Wallenstein a judicial hearing, he ordered him to be not merely executed, but basely assassinated. Such a deed, if committed in Germany, would appear in the sight of history a grievous crime, even if done by an emperor. It is therefore fitting to make an impartial inquiry into the subject. The accusation against Ferdinand II. is mainly grounded on a justification of Wallenstein's death, which appeared in print by authority of the imperial court. In it was stated, among other matters, that, concurrently with the decree of deposition, dated 24th of January, 1634, an order was sent to Gallas to possess himself of Wallenstein's person, either alive or dead. Count Kevenhüller affirmed this as well, and wrote that Wallenstein, before his death, had been placed under the ban, and declared “vogelfrei.” This served to propagate the idea of the emperor's complicity. On a nearer examination of the true state of the case, we shall be led to form quite the opposite opinion. The reasons are as simple as they are numerous and decisive.
Both Ferdinand II. and his confidential Camarilla entertained serious apprehensions as to Wallenstein's power and influence with the army. When Friedland's negotiations with France became the subject of public conversation, in December, 1633, and his deposition had been already decided on, Ferdinand was in great difficulty about what he should do with his rebellious general, as simple imprisonment appeared hazardous. Even after Wallenstein's deposition, he did not dare to make it publicly known, but only imparted it to his stanchest adherents. The various precautionary measures taken by the emperor prove how much he feared, even at that hour, Wallenstein's power. Besides, these circumstances, it is highly improbable that orders had been issued for Wallenstein's murder, even in secret. In the imperial manifesto, it is true that Friedland and two of the chief conspirators were excluded from the general amnesty ; but this could not well be otherwise, when we consider its comprehensiveness. Again, too, it was added, in regard of Illo and Terzka, that they were shut out because they were reported to be organisers of the conspiracy; and this seems to indicate the reservation of the power of further examination. We possess no document in the German archives by which Wallenstein was placed under the imperial ban, or his assassination authorised.
After the decree of deposition of the 24th of January, 1634, a second manifesto was issued by the emperor, conceived in much sharper terms, and in which Wallenstein is openly accused of treason. It bore date 18th of February, 1634; but it is highly probable it was only drawn up after Wallenstein's death, and purposely post dated. Even in this document there is no mention of Wallenstein being placed under the ban, or any order to capture him dead or alive. This raises serious doubts as to the moral complicity of Ferdinand II. in Wallenstein's murder; and, besides, various facts furnish conclusive evidence that Colonel Butler designed and executed the deed without any settled plan or previous authority, and specially without any proposal from the emperor. This we will proceed to prove.
After the assassination of Wallenstein had been irrevocably determined, still, at the moment of action, the conspirators felt great repugnance. This was very natural, for up to that time the Duke of Friedland had ever been to them an object of the greatest reverence; the severe commander, whom none dared to approach with the slightest mien of insubordination, least of all, of insult. Though his majesty was at an end, still a holy awe of his will and person, through long association, remained on the mind of his inferiors. This prestige had a powerful effect even on Butler, Leslie, and Gordon. After Wallenstein's confidants had been murdered, these three consulted together whether there was no method left open to spare the general's life, and render him harmless by imprisonment. Then, however, one reminded the other of the dangerous speeches they had heard at table. Illo, namely, was not satisfied with merely expressing his joy at the speedy approach of the Swedes, but . even asserted, that within three days the duke would be at the head of a greater army than ever. Rittmeister Neumann also said, that as the emperor had so shamefully oppressed German liberty, he would, for his part, take such vengeance that he would shortly wash his hands in the blood of the lords of Austria. The conspirators, therefore, considered the danger so pressing, that it could only be averted by Wallenstein's immediate death. Thus, then, they were driven to adhere to their previous decision. All this is selected from various narratives ; and Butler's letters prove most clearly that he determined on the deed without persuasion from other parties, and solely through consultation with Leslie and Gordon. His letter to Gallas explains, quite calmly, why he determined on murdering the Duke of Friedland. It does not contain the slightest reference to any commission he had received, and Butler appears in it the sole and independent suggestor of the deed. Had he received any authority from the emperor, he would have most certainly made some allusion to it in this letter. At that day men were only prone to act from the hope of reward, and had he been authorised by the emperor, he would certainly have laid claim to payment for the speedy completion of the deed. Butler promised himself great gain from the murder, as his letter to Gallas testifies : had he had the slightest encouragement from higher quarters, he would have pictured in glowing
colours his zeal in the emperor's cause. His letter to Ferdinand II. does not contain the slightest allusion to such a subject; but, on the contrary, shows that Butler hoped to surprise the emperor with some perfectly unexpected news.
Count Piccolomini, it is true, had intended to command Butler to possess himself of the person of the Duke of Friedland, either dead or alive ; but while remarking that this does not furnish any proof of the emperor being implicated, it is seen from Publicius Taafe's statement, that Piccolomini's orders never reached Butler. The suspicion that the emperor was an accessary before the fact in Wallenstein's murder, arises mainly from the fact, that after the deed was done, the imperial court not only expressed its approbation, but sought to justify it in the sight of the world. The inference naturally seemed to be, the man who can approve of such a deed after it has been done, might easily be capable of authorising it, or even of being particeps criminis. But Ferdinand, as it appears, knew nothing of it beforehand. After it had been accomplished, he doubtlessly approved of it, and certainly burdened it on his own shoulders. In that lawless age, the supreme authority usurped the right of passing a sentence of death on a culprit, even though he might no longer be among the living; and this was called sententia post mortem. The emperor's eldest son, Ferdinand, who had already been crowned King of Bohemia, gave it as his opinion that the murder of Wallenstein should be converted into a legal act by such a reflective sentence. This took place through the public justification of the deed, and through this arose the belief in the emperor's intellectual complicity. . Ferdinand II. was, therefore, guiltless of the murder of the Duke of Friedland; the severest reproach must, however, be cast on him for the simulated friendliness which he displayed in his letters to Wallenstein, from the period of his deposition up to February 3, 1634. We cannot consider it a crime, that from precautionary motives, he delayed to publish his manifesto ; but to maintain a confidential correspondence with the duke, was a piece of hypocrisy altogether unworthy an emperor. .
The Italian generals in the imperial army behaved also in a very reprehensible manner. Förster is perfectly in the right when he ascribes to them mainly the downfal of Wallenstein: we allude especially to Aldringer, Maradas, Piccolomini, Suys, Colloredo, and Marzini. They were not actuated by zeal for the public good, but instigated by implacable personal hatred. Piccolomini's passion, indeed, carried him so far that he wished to eke his revenge on the corpses of Friedland and his companions in crime, by publicly exposing them in the most ignominious quarters of Prague. Ferdinand II., however, would not suffer this barbarity to be executed on any of the main actors, with the exception of Rittmeister Neumann,“ on account of his foul tongue;" another proof of the authenticity of the preceding narrative.
THE ROVINGS OF THE RIPPLE;
OR, SCENES AND ADVENTURES DURING MY SUMMER CRUISE.
CHAPTER I. The Description of a Yacht, and a Sketch of some Yachting Gentlemen—How to
Kill Time—The O’Wiggins. “WELL, old fellow, what shall we do next?” exclaimed my friend Ashmore, as he and I, with two other compagnons de voyage, sat at table after dinner in the cabin of his yacht, the Ripple. Now, whether to describe our four selves or the yacht first? Our “ Home on the Ocean Wave” shall have the preference. She was a very fine vessel, of about eighty tons-a cutter-and as her owner was not fond of racing, she was well fitted for sea. She was beautiful to look at; and as her old master, Isaac Griffith, always remarked when her qualities were spoken of, “a good ’un to go.” In fact, she possessed all the usual qualifications of a yacht, and was a first-rate sea-boat. Her interior fittings, though not gaudy, were thoroughly comfortable; for as Ashmore usually spent five months out of the twelve on board, he had made her as habitable as space would allow. She was his hobby, and, as he had no wife to share his affections, he loved her well. She had a large main and after-cabin, besides three good sleeping cabins, and a small one to be used on a pinch. Then there was the master's berth, the steward's pantry, and the galley, with a good kitchen-range and a fine fore-peak for the crew; indeed, by careful arrangement, in the space of a few feet there were as many people comfortably housed as would require a large mansion on shore. All the arrangements for the table were equally substantial and good ; indeed, in every respect, below and aloft, the Ripple was what a yacht should be, and I can say no more in her favour.
And now for the freights she bore—the four jovial bachelors who tenanted her at the time I speak of. Of our worthy host, her owner, to say that he was a very nice gentlemanly fellow, a good companion, and a firm friend, would be less praise than he deserved, for I can affirm that he had many other excellent qualifications, which I need not now sum up. Our fat friend, Porpoise, must come next. He was a lieutenant in the navy, of some years' standing; he had seen a great deal of service, and was considered a good officer. He sang a good song, told a good story, and was always in good spirits and good humour. He had been in the Syrian war, in China, on the coast of Africa, and in South America indeed; wherever there had been any fighting, or work of any sort to be done, there has dashing Jack Porpoise been found. He had a good appetite, and, as old Griffith used to say, his victuals did him good. Porpoise was fat; there was no denying the fact, nor was he ashamed of it. His height was suited to the dimensions of a small craft, and then, having stated that his face was red, not from intemperance, but from sun and spray, I think that I shall have sufficiently described our most excellent chum.
The third person in the cabin worthy of note was yclept Gregory