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1634: The Bavarian Crisis: Chapter Fifty One

       Last updated: Friday, November 18, 2005 20:30 EST




Late September, 1634


    “Duke Maximilian’s reaction to the news of Archduchess Maria Anna’s arrival at the USE embassy in Basel was not at all favorable,” Bartholomaeus Richel admitted to Father Lorenz Forer. “In addition to threatening to dismiss in disgrace all of the prominent officers who were commanding his forces at the time Ingolstadt fell, he now is including in his disfavor everyone in the diplomatic service who has ever negotiated with either Baden or Basel. He counts them as being among the individuals whom he suspects of having participated in an Austrian-Bohemian conspiracy against him.”

    “One could wish,” Forer commented, “that General Pappenheim were not a native-born Bavarian. That fact by itself is causing the duke, the more he considers the matter, to doubt the loyalty of Bavaria’s native families. There were enough difficulties right after the general threw in with Wallenstein and became duke of Moravia. Now that Wallenstein has granted sanctuary to Duke Albrecht since Duchess Mechthilde’s unfortunate accident....”

    “There is no way to present it as an accident,” Richel said. “Duchess Mechthilde was killed during a fight. We admit that. We merely avoid all reference to the agent through whom her death came about.”

    “If you say so,” Forer said dubiously. “It would be better for Duke Maximilian’s spiritual and mental rest if her death were an accident.”

    “His reaction to the news was not at all favorable.” Richel resumed his theme. “Duke Maximilian has ordered several arrests and has summoned the judges to issue indictments and hold another round of hearings under strict questioning. Beginning tomorrow.”

    “What is the reaction among the members of the Estates?”

    “Unfavorable,” Richel admitted reluctantly. “They did not care so much when his anger was falling on the army. Its commanders are, of course, mainly either foreigners like Mercy or both foreigners and commoners, like Werth. Even the execution of Hörwarth did not offend most of them, since his father was, after all from Augsburg, not a Bavarian. This, however, affects many of Bavaria’s own nobility directly, so their response is likely to become more unfavorable. Many of the leading families have members included in the current round of accusations. Several leading noblemen have submitted requests that the duke summon a meeting of the Estates.”

    “The duke’s response?”

    “He refuses, of course.”




    The news had arrived from Amberg, of all ridiculous places, by way of a Jesuit mailbag, Father William Lamormaini wrote. The rider had galloped all the way. Archduchess Maria Anna was in Basel, residing in the embassy of the United States of Europe. Voluntarily, which made it worse, from his own perspective. Almost, he had considered withholding the information from the dying emperor. It would have been, he felt, an act of mercy.

    Unfortunately, someone else had sent the same news, from the same city, directly to the imperial family. That someone being the Swede’s regent, Duke Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, at the request of Dona Mencia de Mendoza, who had requested this favor, granted by Duke Ernst, through means of the radio. Dona Mencia was in Amsterdam. The courier sent by Duke Ernst handed it over to the Empress Eleonora. That much, Lamormaini, wrote, he knew. He also knew that the empress had taken it directly to the king of Hungary.

    Who was here, in Vienna. Lamormaini’s hand shook, making a blot on the paper. The king of Hungary’s Spanish wife had been so impudent as to recall him, without so much as asking, much less getting, permission from the privy council. Bishop Leopold Wilhelm, the youngest son, had arrived from Passau, as well. They never left the dying emperor alone. Whenever Father Lamormaini went to his room, one of them was there-the empress herself, the Spanish Mariana, or one of the three children. Always, at any hour of the day or night. Not even his physicians were permitted to see him alone, much less his confessor.

    The empress had the impudence to tell him that the emperor wanted them there. The woman took too much upon herself. But when Lamormaini had ordered her to leave, the emperor had taken her hand, refusing to let go of it.



    Father Lamormaini was not the only person who insisted on speaking to Ferdinand II.

    “He is too ill,” Empress Eleonora said. “Can’t you let him die in peace?”

    “I don’t want to pressure him, Mama,” Ferdinand III said, “but there are some things that I simply have to try to persuade him to do before he dies. Things that only the Holy Roman Emperor can do. He will understand that. He has never flinched from doing what he saw as his duty. He will not expect me to flinch from doing what I see as mine.”

    “Can’t these things wait until you succeed him?”

    “I will be able to take whatever steps are needed-well, whatever needed steps are politically feasible-within the hereditary lands. With the cooperation of Leopold Wilhelm, which I have. We don’t have to bother Papa about Austria or Hungary. However, Papa signed the Edict of Restitution. I will probably never be elected emperor; the electors have not even consented to designate me as king of the Romans. I can’t revoke it. Only Papa can revoke it.”

    “At least,” the empress said, “take it to the privy council first.”



    His own impassioned opposition, Lamormaini reported, was futile. The privy council consented to having Ferdinand III take the matter to the emperor. He himself was still not permitted to speak with the emperor privately. He hoped that the Father General would not interpret the tone of his report as an embittered complaint. He had been excluded from the meeting at which the heir presented his wishes to the emperor and the emperor had signed. Reluctantly, he heard, very reluctantly, but he had signed. He had consented to the loss of the church lands taken by the Protestants since the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, after all the effort that Lamormaini had made to get him to issue the Edict of Restitution in the first place. The heretics would shortly be dancing with glee.

    But, Lamormaini protested, the next was almost worse. Ferdinand had requested that his father also revoke the 1628 grant of the Palatine electoral vote to Duke Maximilian of Bavaria. In part, at least, on the grounds that Duke Maximilian was now clearly insane. His informants told him that Ferdinand had been so ill-advised as to tell his father that, perhaps, Archduchess Maria Anna’s flight from Munich might have been the result of her realizing that she was about to marry a madman. But that had been only in passing. Mainly, Ferdinand had argued that the other electors had opposed the grant in the first place, that the grant had caused the emperor considerable political difficulty when it occurred, and that this was an opportune time to redeem a mistake.

    At least, Lamormaini continued as he moved to the thirty-seventh page of his relation, although Ferdinand II had agreed to revoke the grant to Duke Maximilian, he had at least refused to restore the vote to the young Count Palatine Karl Ludwig. That would have given the Protestants an additional vote. Rather, he had placed it in abeyance until the young elector came to his majority, to be restored to him on condition that at that time he freely and voluntarily embraced the Catholic faith. And, at the same time, the emperor had placed the Bohemian electoral vote in abeyance, thus depriving the current so-called king of Bohemia of the right to vote in any future election, however unlikely, to choose a successor as Holy Roman Emperor. “So,” Lamormaini wrote, “he has reduced the theoretical number of electors to five, the three Catholic ecclesiastical principalities and two Protestant secular principalities.”

    “Additionally,” Father Lamormaini closed the relation with his most bitter grievance of the day, “the empress and the other children persuaded the emperor to dictate and sign a letter to his ungrateful and insubordinate daughter Archduchess Maria Anna saying that he still loved her. I have that information directly from the emperor’s private secretary, whom they called in to prepare the letter.”

    Only after all that was done had they permitted him to confess the emperor and administer the last rites. He had been inclined to refuse absolution, on grounds that the emperor had not expressed penitence for his most recent actions and had refused to invalidate them. However, the king of Hungary had threatened that if he did not absolve the emperor, then Queen Mariana’s confessor, the Spaniard Quiroga, would do so.

    Rather than permit a Capuchin to have the honor of administering the emperor’s last rites, Lamormaini stated, he had granted the absolution.



    “That completes the arrangements for the state funeral,” the Hofmeister said. “The emperor himself particularly requested the performance of the Te Deum as set to the music of Franz Josef Haydn’s Austria.”

    Empress Eleonora inclined her head graciously. “Everyone has been most kind and helpful,” she replied. “Let our thanks be conveyed to Cardinal Carafa for all of his assistance.”

    “Yes,” Ferdinand III said, “let our most sincere thanks be conveyed to you, and to all of the members of the Hofstaat as well. Let the plans that you have prepared be carried out.” The Hofmeister bowed.

    Ferdinand III continued. “Also, let a supper be prepared for the members of the family in the empress’ private apartments tonight. Let the guards know that those whom I have summoned, who will appear separately, each carrying a note written in my own hand, are to be admitted after we have eaten. The Hofmeister has permission to leave our presence.”



    “In the midst of death,” Archduke and Prince-Bishop Leopold Wilhelm said, “we are in life.”

    “Isn’t that backwards?” his sister Cecelia Renata asked him.

    “Not if I understand this evening’s agenda properly,” he answered. “Ferdinand and Mariana have had their heads together ever since he got back from the Hungarian border. Who is finishing the inspection for him, anyway?”

    “The younger landgrave of Leuchtenberg. Philipp Rudolf, his name is. Papa was lucky to get him onto our staff and Ferdinand has really enjoyed working with him. Everyone says that he’s a lot brighter than his older brother, the one in Bavarian service.”

    She blinked. “Papa,” Cecelia Renata faltered.

    Her little brother, now taller than she was, put his arm around her shoulder. “Hold up a bit longer, Sissy,” he said. “You can cry for Papa after we get through the funeral.”



    First things first. The men whom he had invited were all those who long been of his own party, the “peace party,” in the Austrian privy council. They would now become his most important advisers. Outside, of course, of the family. That was why they were here.

    “I intend,” he said, “to take the style of Ferdinand III, even if I am never elected as Holy Roman Emperor. I am already king of Hungary, and am the third Habsburg named Ferdinand to be king of Hungary. It will cause far less confusion than if I choose some other style. It will do.”

    They agreed.

    “I intend to publish, at once, the draft peace proposal that we have discussed for so long. Although I am not emperor and there is no Reichstag in session to which I can present it, and I certainly will not present it to the Swedish upstart’s Parliament, if we simply circulate it, under our signatures, it will function as a counterpoise to any sweeping proposal that Gustavus Adolphus may make for the Germanies. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

    “Open to all of the Germanies?” Leopold Wilhelm asked.


    “Including the Calvinists?”


    “Including the, ah, up-timers?”



    “Wallenstein,” Ferdinand III said, “is not in the Germanies. The proposed treaty will not be open to the ursurper who is now calling himself the king of Bohemia. Let us first try to obtain a settlement in the Germanies. If we achieve that basic goal, then we can worry about handling the empire’s peripheral territories.”


    “The Swiss, of course,” Leopold Wilhelm said. “That is one running sore that finally needs to be cauterized.”

    “And,” Empress Eleonora added, “the Spanish Netherlands as well as Bohemia.”



    With Ferdinand III’s advisers gone, only the family was left. A servant brought in several dishes of sugared almonds, then withdrew. Leopold Wilhelm spoke quietly to the guards and pulled the door to Empress Eleonora’s private sitting room shut.

    “What else do we have to talk about?” Archduchess Cecelia Renata asked.

    “Maria Anna,” her sister-in-law answered. “Which means, according to what Cardinal Carafa has told us about the petition to Rome for multiple dispensations, my honored brother Fernando. Which leads us to my most honored brother Philip in Spain, which leads us back to Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, who has perched himself across the Spanish road to the Netherlands.”

    “Not to mention,” Leopold Wilhelm grimaced, “that he has seized half of the Habsburg holdings in Swabia, as well.”

    “That’s more Duchess Claudia’s immediate problem, since they have been allotted to our cousins in Tirol for a long time.”

    “Habsburg problems,” Ferdinand III said, “are Habsburg problems. Family is family. There is something that we may be able to do to assist Claudia in regard to Duke Bernhard, depending on whether we are willing to use Soetern, the prince-bishop of Speyer, as a pawn in negotiations. Given that his own subjects are revolting against him because of his pro-French policy, we should keep it under consideration, since Speyer is certainly in Duke Bernhard’s area of interest. An imperial garrison in Speyer would be very useful.”

    “If Don Fernando succeeds in persuading the dukes of Luxemburg to join his new ‘kingdom in the Netherlands,’ Empress Eleonora said slowly, “then he will be in the position of a natural protector of the prince-bishop of Trier, as well.”

    “And that is Soetern, too,” Leopold Wilhelm interrupted. “He holds Trier as well as Speyer. He is in no position to resist pressure brought to bear on either of his dioceses. An imperial garrison in Trier would be a good thing. According to the up-time encyclopedias that I have studied, we took Soetern prisoner in 1635 and locked him up for more than a decade. Perhaps we could bring that to his attention.”

    “Why stop at Trier,” Empress Eleonora asked. “Later in this century, encyclopedias say, the French took the dioceses of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, as well. It seems to me far more appropriate, when I look at the map, that they should be regarded as Habsburg protectorates. If Don Fernando can manage it, of course.”

    “Those are properly Lorraine. Should we ally with Lorraine?” Cecelia Renata asked. Should we try to take advantage of the fact that the Swede is overrunning France to restore Duke Charles, since it was the French who forced him out?”

    “If we ally with Lorraine,” Ferdinand III paused. “Duke Maximilian borrowed his general, the one he is now punishing so harshly for the fall of Ingolstadt, Lorraine. Duke Charles is not happy with the way that Maximilian has treated him. There are possibilities there.”

    “I don’t suppose there’s anything to be done about Cologne right now,” Leopold Wilhelm said.

    Empress Eleonora shook her head. “The encyclopedias say that Archbishop Ferdinand did not die, will not die, until 1650, so there does not appear to be any immediate hope of reducing the Bavarian foothold there. However, if Maximilian’s power and influence continue to be greatly reduced, then at the next election there may not be a Bavarian successor.”

    “So one Catholic elector is definitely pro-Bavarian,” Cecelia Renata said. “But Archbishop Anselm Casimir of Mainz is not, and he has thus far managed to elude falling into the Swede’s hands as well. If we and Don Fernando can influence Trier, then the two Protestant electors, Saxony and Brandenburg, have no love of Gustavus Adolphus. Four votes of five, the way Papa set it up. Four votes of seven, even if Bohemia and the Palatinate cast ballots and insist that they are valid.” She looked at Ferdinand. “Brother, dear, it may still be possible for us to get you elected as the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III. It certainly couldn’t hurt to try.”

    Ferdinand looked back at his second sister. “Sissy, have you read about your marriage in the other universe?” he asked abruptly.

    She nodded. “I married the king of Poland. A practical match, of course. The encyclopedias say that it was a disastrously unhappy marriage. They do not say why, but apparently it was so unhappy that people remembered it for three hundred fifty years.”

    Her eyes filled briefly with tears. “I won’t complain. I know my duty. But Papa was always so nice to our mother, and to Mama.” She jumped up and gave the empress a kiss. “And you and Mariana like each other.”

    “Actually,” Mariana said, “I love him quite dearly.”

    “I think,” Ferdinand III said, “that we can rule the king of Poland out, Sissy. I’ll think of some other way to handle him. That doesn’t mean, of course, that any other marriage we find for you would necessarily be happier. But as I think about it, there is a place where you could be very helpful.”

    Cecilia Renata raised her eyebrows.

    “Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar is now sitting directly on top of the Spanish Road. If he manages to hold that territory, then some time in the next two or three years, a marriage alliance might appear to be prudent. Not to mention helpful to the Duchess Claudia in regard to the Swabian possessions.”

    “If you were prepared to deal with being married to a heretic,” Leopold Wilhelm said. Being a bishop, however unwillingly, he did feel obliged to bring the matter up.

    “Of course,” Ferdinand III said to his younger sister, “Bernhard is not a king. He is only a duke, and a younger son, if that matters to you.”

    Cecelia Renata rested her left elbow on the polished table; then rested her chin on the palm of her hand. “The Bavarian was a duke and Papa betrothed Maria Anna to him,” she said placidly. Then she gave him a wicked grin. “Nor, for that matter, was our honored cousin Fernando a king. Not until last month, that is.”

    Ferdinand III opened his mouth; then closed it again. “It’s a fascinating possibility,” he said. “If, of course, Hungary and the Turks do not demand all of our resources. The Ottomans can never be far from Austria’s mind. If Austria falls, then Europe falls.”





    “King in the Low Countries,” Philip IV of Spain said, his voice tight with anger. “Just what does he mean by “king in the Low Countries.”

    “I believe, Your Majesty,” Count Duke Olivares said, “if I read the communication from Cardinal Bedmar correctly, that by being king ‘in’ the Netherlands, he claims that precedence only when he is within his own territories, and when foreign monarchs call upon him there. If, however, it should happen that he had some reason to make a state visit to Spain, he would come as an Infante of Spain and Your Majesty’s younger brother. It is a fine distinction, perhaps.”

    “Fine or not, it is a declaration of independence.”

    “De facto, yes. But not quite de jure, considering that, officially, the Spanish Netherlands are still your great-aunt’s appanage. The situation may well change upon the death of Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, when the lands legally revert to Spain.”

    “Why,” Philip IV demanded, “did Urban VIII grant the dispensations?”

    “Because our envoys were not able to prevent it,” Olivares said frankly. “Nor did we have military forces close enough to Rome to send them there promptly enough to persuade the pope that his decision was not at all wise.”

    “We will remember his action.”

    “Yes, Your Majesty. That is a given.”

    “Ecclesiastically, you say, the dispensations are impeccable?”

    “I am quite persuaded that Urban set the very best of his canon lawyers to studying the matter,” Olivares answered.

    “Fernando’s children by Maria Anna, then, will be unquestionably legitimate, from a dynastic point of view?”

    “It would be almost impossible to get any other interpretation of the situation accepted. Barring, of course, denying the legitimacy of Urban VIII’s election as pope.” Olivares paused. “Nor am I sure that, in the long run, it would be to the interest of the House of Habsburg to make the attempt.”

    The king looked at him.

    “I have provided you with the information, Your Majesty. Your wife died. Don Balthasar Carlos died, two years after her death. You remarried. The son born to your second marriage was incompetent to rule, incapable of begetting children. And Spain fell to the Bourbons.”

    “France.” Philip IV looked at his chief minister. “Anything but France. And Balthasar Carlos, according to the information you have brought me, died of smallpox. Introduce these up-time measures against smallpox into Spain. Now. We have a dozen years to ensure that, by the mercy of the holy mother, her son, and all of the saints, Balthasar Carlos does not die.”

    “Yes, Your Majesty.”

    “In the interval, it is too late for us to enforce my father’s will. If Fernando will not become a priest to say masses for the soul of our father, then at least let him breed Spain heirs that are Habsburg rather than French. But we will deal with Urban VIII, who permitted this while he had broken off diplomatic relations with us, supposedly over the problems in Naples. Had intentionally broken them off, I am sure, to enable him to permit this. If, in fact, he did not instigate it.”


    “I am not sure,” Urban VIII said, “that I care for radio as a means of communication. Every morning, every evening. These messages are like having a drummer constantly beating a rhythm in one’s bedchamber. The worst is that the operators acknowledge to one another that they have received the messages as well as sent them. Which means, of course, that one cannot pretend, when convenient, that a letter must have been delayed in the mail.”

    “What is the decision of the canon lawyers?” Cardinal Francesco Barberini asked. “Are these messages valid dispensations, or must Don Fernando and Archduchess Maria Anna wait for paper copies.”

    “I sign the dispensations,” the pope answered wryly, “before the radio operators send their versions bounding and bouncing through the air. The question, therefore, does not come up. Naturally, we will forward the signed paper copies, but the signature becomes valid when I place it on the document-not when the document arrives at its destination.”

    “Naturally,” Cardinal Francesco admitted.

    Father General Vitelleschi said. “Cardinal Mazzare tells me that up-time it was literally possible to have this radio beating a rhythm all the time. Father Kircher has confirmed this. A town did not just have one receiver, as the up-timers do here. Every carriage, every home, had these receivers. The ‘broadcasters,’ if they had nothing significant to say, played music. Bad music often, and very loudly.”

    “Whether you wanted it or not?” Cardinal Antonio Barberini the younger asked.

    “It was possible to ‘turn it off’,” Vitelleschi answered. “I am sure that I shall shortly understand it all better, when we open our own broadcasting station. Almost, I am tempted to travel to Germany, just to listen to it. Or, perhaps, if we are successful with Loyola University of the North and its radio, we could build one here in Rome.”

    Urban VIII blanched.

    “Or possibly, just outside the borders of Venice. It might be quite useful in explaining to the republic’s citizens that their rulers do not tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

    “Surely,” Father Vitelleschi persisted, “we will want more than one.”

    “Speaking of the mail,” Cardinal Antonio Barberini the elder interposed, “I have received a very outraged letter from Dekan Golla in Munich. He informs us that Archduchess Maria Anna definitely did not leave the golden rose behind in her oratory when she left the Munich Residenz. He demands that the holy father write her and insist upon its return.”

    “On the theory that marriage to Don Fernando is likely to be considerably more of a pleasure and less of a penance for her than marriage to Duke Maximilian?” Cardinal Antonio the younger asked. “Fernando is actually not bad looking. Certainly less prune-like.”

    Vitelleschi looked at him.

    He looked down.

    “The rose was bestowed,” Urban VIII said, “for extraordinary services to the church. Perhaps we should bide our time in the matter. If, of course, it has not simply been lost. Or stolen and melted down.”

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