Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything


Books Menu

Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog


- The Lion of the North - 3/57 -

barons in the city were in the act of insisting upon Ferdinand signing these when the head of the relieving army entered the city. Thurn retired hastily. The Catholic princes and representatives met at Frankfort and elected Ferdinand Emperor of Germany. He at once entered into a strict agreement with Maximilian of Bavaria to crush Protestantism throughout Germany. The Bohemians, however, in concert with Bethlem Gabor, king of Hungary, again besieged Vienna; but as the winter set in they were obliged to retire. From that moment the Protestant cause was lost; Saxony and Hesse-Darmstadt left the Union and joined Ferdinand. Denmark, which had promised its assistance to the Protestants, was persuaded to remain quiet. Sweden was engaged in a war with the Poles.

"The Protestant army was assembled at Ulm; the army of the League, under the order of Maximilian of Bavaria, was at Donauworth. Maximilian worked upon the fears of the Protestant princes, who, frightened at the contest they had undertaken, agreed to a peace, by which they bound themselves to offer no aid to Frederick V.

"The Imperial forces then marched to Bohemia and attacked Frederick's army outside Prague, and in less than an hour completely defeated it. Frederick escaped with his family to Holland. Ferdinand then took steps to carry out his oath. The religious freedom granted by Mathias was abolished. In Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and Austria proper. Many of the promoters of the rebellion were punished in life and property. The year following all members of the Calvinistic sect were forced to leave their country, a few months afterwards the Lutherans were also expelled, and in 1627 the exercise of all religious forms except those of the Catholic Church was forbidden; 200 of the noble, and 30,000 of the wealthier and industrial classes, were driven into exile; and lands and property to the amount of 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 pounds were confiscated.

"The hereditary dominions of Frederick V were invaded, the Protestants were defeated, the Palatinate entirely subdued, and the electorate was conferred upon Maximilian of Bavaria; and the rigid laws against the Protestants were carried into effect in the Palatinate also. It had now become evident to all Europe that the Emperor of Austria was determined to stamp out Protestantism throughout Germany; and the Protestant princes, now thoroughly alarmed, besought aid from the Protestant countries, England, Holland, and Denmark. King James, who had seen unmoved the misfortunes which had befallen his daughter and her husband, and who had been dead to the general feeling of the country, could no longer resist, and England agreed to supply an annual subsidy; Holland consented to supply troops; and the King of Denmark joined the League, and was to take command of the army.

"In Germany the Protestants of lower Saxony and Brunswick, and the partisan leader Mansfeldt, were still in arms. The army under the king of Denmark advanced into Brunswick, and was there confronted by that of the league under Tilly, while an Austrian army, raised by Wallenstein, also marched against it. Mansfeldt endeavoured to prevent Wallenstein from joining Tilly, but was met and defeated by the former general. Mansfeldt was, however, an enterprising leader, and falling back into Brandenburg, recruited his army, joined the force under the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and started by forced marches to Silesia and Moravia, to join Bethlem Gabor in Hungary. Wallenstein was therefore obliged to abandon his campaign against the Danes and to follow him. Mansfeldt joined the Hungarian army, but so rapid were his marches that his force had dwindled away to a mere skeleton, and the assistance which it would be to the Hungarians was so small that Bethlem Gabor refused to cooperate with it against Austria.

"Mansfeldt disbanded his remaining soldiers, and two months afterwards died. Wallenstein then marched north. In the meantime Tilly had attacked King Christian at Lutter, and completely defeated him. I will tell you about that battle some other time. When Wallenstein came north it was decided that Tilly should carry the war into Holland, and that Wallenstein should deal with the King of Denmark and the Protestant princes. In the course of two years he drove the Danes from Silesia, subdued Brandenburg and Mecklenburg, and, advancing into Pomerania, besieged Stralsund.

"What a siege that was to be sure! Wallenstein had sworn to capture the place, but he didn't reckon upon the Scots. After the siege had begun Lieutenant General Sir Alexander Leslie, with 5000 Scots and Swedes, fought his way into the town; and though Wallenstein raised fire upon it, though we were half starved and ravaged by plague, we held out for three months, repulsing every assault, till at last the Imperialists were obliged to draw off; having lost 12,200 men.

"This, however, was the solitary success on our side, and a few months since, Christian signed a peace, binding himself to interfere no more in the affairs of Germany. When Ferdinand considered himself free to carry out his plans, he issued an edict by which the Protestants throughout Germany were required to restore to the Catholics all the monasteries and land which had formerly belonged to the Catholic Church. The Catholic service was alone to be performed, and the Catholic princes of the empire were ordered to constrain their subjects, by force if necessary, to conform to the Catholic faith; and it was intimated to the Protestant princes that they would be equally forced to carry the edict into effect. But this was too much. Even France disapproved, not from any feeling of pity on the part of Richelieu for the Protestants, but because it did not suit the interests of France that Ferdinand should become the absolute monarch of all Germany.

"In these circumstances Gustavus of Sweden at once resolved to assist the Protestants in arms, and ere long will take the field. That is what has brought us here. Already in the Swedish army there are 10,000 Scotchmen, and in Denmark they also form the backbone of the force; and both in the Swedish and Danish armies the greater part of the native troops are officered and commanded by Scotchmen.

"Hitherto I myself have been in the Danish service, but my regiment is about to take service with the Swedes. It has been quietly intimated to us that there will be no objection to our doing so, although Christian intends to remain neutral, at any rate for a time. We suffered very heavily at Lutter, and I need 500 men to fill up my ranks to the full strength.

"Now, Graheme, I quite rely upon you. You were at college with Hepburn, Hume, and myself, and it will be a pleasure for us all to fight side by side; and if I know anything of your disposition I am sure you cannot be contented to be remaining here at the age of nine-and-twenty, rusting out your life as a Scotch laird, while Hepburn has already won a name which is known through Europe."


Upon the following morning Nigel Graheme told his visitors that he had determined to accept their offer, and would at once set to work to raise a company.

"I have," he said, "as you know, a small patrimony of my own, and as for the last eight years I have been living here looking after Malcolm I have been laying by any rents, and can now furnish the arms and accoutrements for a hundred men without difficulty. When Malcolm comes of age he must act for himself, and can raise two or three hundred men if he chooses; but at present he will march in my company. I understand that I have the appointment of my own officers."

"Yes, until you join the regiment," Munro said. "You have the first appointments. Afterwards the colonel will fill up vacancies. You must decide how you will arm your men, for you must know that Gustavus' regiments have their right and left wings composed of musketeers, while the centre is formed of pikemen, so you must decide to which branch your company shall belong."

"I would choose the pike," Nigel said, "for after all it must be by the pike that the battle is decided."

"Quite right, Nigel. I have here with me a drawing of the armour in use with us. You see they have helmets of an acorn shape, with a rim turning up in front; gauntlets, buff coats well padded in front, and large breast plates. The pikes vary from fourteen to eighteen feet long according to the taste of the commander. We generally use about sixteen. If your company is a hundred strong you will have two lieutenants and three ensigns. Be careful in choosing your officers. I will fill in the king's commission to you as captain of the company, authorizing you to enlist men for his service and to appoint officers thereto."

An hour or two later Colonel Munro and Captain Hume proceeded on their way. The news speedily spread through Nithsdale that Nigel Graheme had received a commission from the King of Sweden to raise a company in his service, and very speedily men began to pour in. The disbandment of the Scottish army had left but few careers open at home to the youth of that country, and very large numbers had consequently flocked to the Continent and taken service in one or other of the armies there, any opening of the sort, therefore, had only to be known to be freely embraced. Consequently, in eight-and-forty hours Nigel Graheme had applications from a far larger number than he could accept, and he was enabled to pick and choose among the applicants. Many young men of good family were among them, for in those days service in the ranks was regarded as honourable, and great numbers of young men of good family and education trailed a pike in the Scotch regiments in the service of the various powers of Europe. Two young men whose property adjoined his own, Herries and Farquhar, each of whom brought twenty of his own tenants with him, were appointed lieutenants, while two others, Leslie and Jamieson, were with Malcolm named as ensigns. The noncommissioned officers were appointed from men who had served before. Many of the men already possessed armour which was suitable, for in those day's there was no strict uniformity of military attire, and the armies of the various nationalities differed very slightly from each other. Colonel Munro returned in the course of a fortnight, Nigel Graheme's company completing the number of men required to fill up the ranks of his regiment.

Captain Hume had proceeded further north. Colonel Munro stopped for a week in Nithsdale, giving instructions to the officers and noncommissioned officers as to the drill in use in the Swedish army. Military manoeuvres were in these days very different to what they have now become. The movements were few and simple, and easily acquired. Gustavus had, however, introduced an entirely new formation into his army. Hitherto troops had fought in solid masses, twenty or more deep. Gustavus taught his men to fight six deep, maintaining that if troops were steady this depth of formation should be able to sustain any assault upon it, and that with a greater depth the men behind were useless in the fight. His cavalry fought only three deep. The recruits acquired the new tactics with little difficulty. In Scotland for generations every man and boy had received a certain military training, and all were instructed in the use of the pike; consequently, at the end of a week Colonel Munro pronounced Nigel

The Lion of the North - 3/57

Previous Page     Next Page

  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8   10   20   30   40   50   57 

Schulers Books Home

 Games Menu

Dice Poker
Tic Tac Toe


Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything