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BOOK VIII. army in 1515, and occupied himself in the reA.D. 1515.
gulation of his own private affairs. Returns to Germany: The bishoprick of Hildesheim was governed
at that period, by a prince of the House of Lawenburg, who, ambitious of distinction, was anxious to add to his government some of the neighbouring provinces, belonging to the
House of Brunswick. He began by exciting a His war with Hilde- spirit of rivalry among the princes of that
house, while he secretly organized a force within his own bishoprick. As long as Maximilian lived, he was cautious in his proceedings, as he knew that the strict friendship which existed between that monarch and Duke Erick would bring upon him the ban of the empire ; but no sooner was the emperor's death announced, than he took the field, and made an irruption into the bishoprick of Minden, which was held by Francis, one of Erick's nephews. By the suddenness of his advance, he surprised the cities of Minden and Petershagen, and flushed with that success, boldly entered the principality of Calemberg.
Erick, and his nephew Henry, who had sucLuneburg:
ceeded to Wolfenbuttel, made reprisals upon Hildesheim; they attacked the fortress of
And the Duke of
Peine, which being strong by nature, and well garrisoned, offered considerable resistance. The bishop, however, became alarmed for his capital, which was less capable of defence, and offered such terms, as induced Erick to withdraw his troops ; but finding that the treaty was not adhered to by the ambitious prelate, who had succeeded in procuring the assistance of Henry of Luneburg, the duke and his nephew entered the territory of their kinsman, and carried the war into the bosom of their own family.
The bishop pursued them into Luneburg, and having united with his ally, their two armies met on a heath, near the village of Soltau, where a sanguinary battle was fought. The Duke of Luneburg and the Bishop of Hildesheim gained the victory, and it is reported that upwards of three thousand of the vassals of Brunswick were slain, and that Erick and his nephew William were taken prisoners, with a great part is taken prisoner. of their
army. In this action, the troops of Luneburg and Hildesheim greatly outnumbered those of Brunswick; but besides this inferiority, a disagreement had arisen
the Brunswickers and their allies of Hesse, respecting the nature
of the animal borne on the standard * of the latter, which however ridiculous it may appear, prevented their cordially supporting each other, and contributed not a little to their mutual defeat. After the battle, the electors of Mentz, Saxony, and Brandenburg thought proper to interfere, and a truce was commanded, until the dispute could be heard and decided by the new emperor.
On the same day that the battle of Soltau Charles V. elected was fought, Charles V. was elected to the imemperor :
perial throne, and in the first diet that he held at Worms, Duke Erick and the Bishop of Hildesheim appeared to plead their cause before him. Charles was offended with the bishop, more on account of his having created a disturbance in the empire, which might have retarded his election, than from any consideration of the irregularity or injustice in his proceedings, and he pronounced sentence against him. He was commanded to forbear from hos. tilities in future, and to release the Princes of Wolfenbuttel without ransom, and was threat
* The Brunswick soldiers ridiculed the emblazoning of the Lion on the standard of Hesse, and maintained it was a dog, and not a true lion,
cause of the war:
ened with the ban of the empire, if he refused obedience to these orders. The prelate was too proud of his own talents as a general, to take And decides in the this intimation in good part; he set the imperial edict at defiance, and prevailed upon the Duke of Luneburg to do the same; the consequence was, that Charles took the matter up as a personal insult, and believing that they were secretly supported by Francis I., who had been his rival for the crown, he, without hesitation, proscribed, both the bishop and the Duke of Luneburg, and commanded the Duke Erick commanded to
put the ban in force. of Brunswick to see the ban executed.
Erick and his nephew took the field under the imperial mandate; they preferred making war upon the bishoprick, rather than destroying their kinsman's states, but though they laid waste the country, and made themselves masters of the open towns, they were foiled in their attempts to take Hildesheim and Peine. This war had lasted for four years, when the emperor again interfered, and directed the electors of Mentz, Saxony, and Brandenburg to settle matters without the further effusion of human blood. They accordingly decided that each party should lay down their arms, and re
Duke of Luneburg.
main in possession of what they had conquered, while the prisoners on both sides should be set at liberty.
Erick afterwards employed himself in building a castle, which was named Ericksburg, and the remainder of his days were spent in retirement. He died in 1540, leaving one son by the Princess Elizabeth of Brandenburg, who succeeded him as Erick II.
We have already anticipated a great part of History of Henry, the private history of Henry of Luneburg, the
fourth and last prince in the list of the present generation. His alliance with the Bishop of Hildesheim subjected him to all the penalties of the imperial ban, and though his relations spared the duchy, in their execution of the emperor's orders, they could not prevent the bad effects of his proscription from taking effect. Henry therefore resigned the government of the states of Luneburg to his three sons, and fled from Germany. He resided in France till 1527, when he returned to Luneburg, at the request of the catholic priesthood ; the ban, however, was not repealed till 1530, but as he lived in retirement, his person was not molested. He died at Weinhausen in 1532, and left by his