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CONTENTS OF VOLUME XIV.
'T is proposed in the present sheet to offer a brief history of what is more frequently heard of than understood—"the famous thirty i/ears' war"—a war which, in the seventeenth century, devastated central Europe, and has left, to the present day, melancholy traces of its frightful progress. In this mortal struggle England was fortunately not concerned, although deeply interested in the contest. At that period the British islands were under the sovereignty of James I. and his son Charles I.; the one too peaceful, and the other having too many troubles of his own to allow of his interference in the great German war. The juggle was therefore strictly continental, but it involved principles of universal concern. To give the war its proper character No. 120. r l
in the fewest words, it should be described as a great, if not the only regular, stand-up fight between the two leading forms of Christianity—Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. That the adherents of these forms of belief should have gone the monstrous length of slaughtering each other during a space of thirty years, in order to determine which should be uppermost, and which faith should be considered the true one, may well fill every one now with horror and astonishment. At that period, however, all questions were settled by the sword. Whilst the inhabitants of Germany were butchering each other, sacking towns, and laying countries waste, on the broad dispute of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, the English and Scotch were lashing themselves into a frenzy on the similar but more narrow questions of Episcopalianism, Presbyterianism, Independentism, Muggletonianism, and other departments of opinion. The seventeenth was essentially the century of religious fighting. Differences which began to operate in the sixteenth, came now to a head. Mutual concession and toleration were generally denounced by each party as sinful. While, however, from various circumstances, religious discord was protracted for a century and upwards in England and Scotland, "the thirty years' war" brought matters speedily to a crisis in central Europe, and may be said to have quashed, as if by a single blow, all disposition to quarrel seriously on the score of religion.
Such was the general character of this remarkable war, in which were engaged the most distinguished generals of the age -—men whose names are frequently seen scattered about in literature— Gustavus Adolphus, Tilly, Wallenstein, Pappenheim, Turenne, besides others of lesser note. The greatest of these personages was Gustavus Adolphus, more familiarly known as the "Lion of the North, and Bulwark of the Protestant Faith." We shall first introduce this extraordinary man to our readers.
Gustavus Adolphus was the son of Charles IX., king of Sweden, and grandson of Gustavus Vasa. He was born at Stockholm in 1594. From his earliest years, Gustavus gave promise of his future greatness, and much care was bestowed on his education. Under competent masters he acquired the French, Italian, and German languages, in addition to Latin, which he spoke with fluency; he was an eager student of mathematics, fortification, and other branches of the military art. By being accustomed to take an interest in public affairs, he soon became acquainted with the state of Europe, and attained a wonderful degree of political experience; and lastly, his hardy manner of living, and his daily practice of all the most laborious duties of a common soldier, gave him that familiarity with military affairs which it was easy to foresee he would require, in order to support with credit his part as the sovereign of a European state in times of convulsion