treasury, and brought such discredit on her arms as she had never before suffered. Still, she and Austria combined dominate Europe, and it is on her account that we have taken the place of the Swedes and continued this war that has raged for so many years."
CHAPTER II: CHOOSING A LACKEY
The policy of the great cardinal had for its objects the aggrandizement of France, as well as the weakening of the power of Austria. So long as the struggle between the Protestant princes and the Swedes against the Imperialists had been maintained with equal successes on both sides, he had been well content to see Germany watering its soil with the blood of its people. Nearly a third of the population had been swept away during the terrible war. Many hundreds of towns and villages had already disappeared, while large tracts of country lay uncultivated, and whichever party won a victory France gained by it. Her interest, however, lay with the Protestant confederation. So long as Germany was cut up into a number of small principalities, divided by religion and political animosity, she could count for little against a foreign enemy.
France had for centuries suffered from the same cause. The families of Lorraine, Bouillon, Enghien, Burgundy, the Guises, Longueville, the Counts of Armagnac, and other powerful vassals of France, paid but a nominal allegiance to the crown, and were really independent princes. Louis XI had done much to break their power. Richelieu continued the work, and under him France for the first time became consolidated into a whole. Had he lived, the work would doubtless have been completed, but his death and that of the king postponed the work for years. The long regency, controlled by a minister possessing none of the courage and firmness of Richelieu, and personally obnoxious alike to the nobles and to the population of Paris, again threw the power into the hands of the great nobles, plunged France into civil strife, and the wars of the Fronde, like those of the Roses in England, so weakened the nobles that the crown under Louis XIV became absolutely dominant.
Had Austria succeeded in crushing the Protestant princes, that empire, with all Germany under her control, would have become a power greatly superior in strength and population to France. It was principally to prevent this result that Richelieu after the battle of Nordlingen threw himself into the struggle, but his aim was also to carry the frontier of France up to the Rhine. Here the territories of the Dukes of Lorraine, and Bouillon Prince of Sedan, not only cut France off from the Rhine and the Moselle, but opened a door by which she could at any time be invaded from Germany. The Dukes of Lorraine had always borne themselves as independent princes, giving, indeed, a nominal allegiance to France, but as often allying themselves with German princes as with her. The Duc de Bouillon, on the north of Lorraine, and the Duke of Savoy, farther to the south, also regarded themselves as independent. The former, as Huguenots, had a strong leaning towards the Protestant Hollanders, and both were ready to furnish asylums to French nobles who had incurred the wrath of their kings or ministers.
The Duc de Bouillon, father of Turenne, had fought bravely on the side of Henry of Navarre through the wars of the League. He died when the viscount was but ten years of age, and, his elder brother being but six years older, his mother became regent of the little state. After having greatly weakened the strength of the Huguenot nobles by the siege and capture of La Rochelle, which had long been the stronghold and bulwark of that religion, Richelieu obtained from the duchess a treaty by which she engaged to remain always attached to the interests of France, while the king undertook to protect the house of Bouillon. The Duke of Savoy was next compelled to hand over to France the town and province of Pignerol, and Richelieu then turned his attention to Lorraine. The reigning duke had entered into an alliance with Austria, and the invasion of his territory was therefore the first step by which France entered into the terrible struggle known as the Thirty Years' War.
The duke had given Richelieu an excuse for hostilities. He had married his cousin, the nearest heir to the dukedom, but he treated her so badly that she fled to France and begged the protection of Louis XIII. This he gave her, a French army was at once set in motion against Lorraine, and it was in this struggle that Turenne had first fought under the French flag. He had always evinced the strongest predilection for the life of a soldier, and when he reached the age of fourteen, Richelieu being at the time engaged in breaking the power of the Huguenots and in the siege of La Rochelle, the boy's mother sent him to his uncle Maurice of Nassau, who at the death of his father had become the leader of the Dutch people. He was treated by his uncle in exactly the same way as other gentlemen volunteers, carried a musket, and performed all the duties of a private soldier.
Six months later Prince Maurice died, and his brother, Henry Frederick, succeeded him in the government of the United Provinces. He at once promoted his nephew, and the latter speedily rose to the rank of captain of infantry. Here he was indefatigable in his duties, and unlike most young men of good family, who left the internal economy and discipline of their companies to subordinate officers, Turenne saw to everything himself. He drilled and instructed his soldiers, insisted not only upon strict military discipline, but on good manners and conduct in every particular. He won their respect and affection by his personal kindness, and denied himself almost the necessities of life in order to be able to add to their comforts. In the wars in the Netherlands there were few pitched battles, and the operations consisted almost entirely of the sieges of fortified towns or of measures for their relief.
In all these Turenne took much more than his full share, paying attention not only to his own duties but to all that was being done, spending his whole time in the batteries and the trenches, and in learning all that was possible of war carried on under such conditions. In the winter, operations were always suspended, and Turenne spent his time in Paris, where his manner and conduct won for him the favour of all with who he came in contact. He had been severely brought up under a Calvinist tutor; his habits were simple, his tastes quiet and almost ascetic, and he cared little for the amusements of the brilliant and corrupt court. When the war with Lorraine broke out, Turenne at once sought for employment with the French army.
He recognized that there was comparatively little to be done in the war of sieges in Holland, and longed to enter a wider field. His request was gladly granted, for the presence of the Duc de Bouillon's brother in the French army was in itself some guarantee of the duke's fidelity to his engagements with France, and Turenne was at once appointed to the colonelcy of a regiment. He devoted himself as assiduously to his work as he had done in Holland, and it was not long before his regiment gained the reputation of being the best disciplined in the king's service. He took part in a short expedition in 1630, but there was on that occasion no fighting, and he first saw real service under Marshal de la Force in 1634. After the siege of La Motte, the success of which was due to the storming of the breach by Turenne and his regiment, and for which exploit he was promoted to the rank of Marechal de Camp, a rank equivalent to that of major general, he took part in several sieges, until Lorraine was completely conquered and its duke driven to abdicate and retire to Austria.
The battle of Nordlingen showed Richelieu that if France did not resolutely enter into the conflict the Austrians would become absolute masters of all Germany. He at once signed a treaty with the Swedes, agreeing to grant them