Mountain, near Prague, in 1620, decided the destiny
of Bohemia. Twenty-seven of the leaders of the
insurrection were publicly executed; sixteen were
exiled or condemned to prison for life; their property,
as also the possessions of seven hundred and twenty-eight
noblemen and knights, who had voluntarily acknowledged
themselves to have taken part in the insurrection,
and of twenty-nine others who had fled, was wholly
confiscated; and thus the amount of fifty-three millions
of rix dollars transferred from Protestant to Romish
hands. The Literce Imperatorice
the Protestant religion in Bohemia abolished; and
that kingdom declared a purely catholic hereditary
monarchy. All non-catholic preachers were banished;
thirty thousand families, who preferred exile to a
change of their religion, emigrated. Among them
185 were noble families; the others artists, mechanics,
merchants, and labourers. Yet in the villages,
among the woods and mountains, where neither soldier
nor Jesuit had penetrated, and there alone, many Protestants
remained, buried in a fortunate obscurity. From
the time of this catastrophe, the Bohemian language
has never again been used in public business.
The thirty years’ war completed the devastation
of this unfortunate country. In 1617, Bohemia
had 732 cities and 34,700 villages; when Ferdinand
II died in 1637, there remained 130 cities and 6000
villages; and its three millions of inhabitants were
reduced to 780,000.
From the battle at the White Mountain, A.D.
1620, to the Revival of Literature in A.D.
Of this melancholy period we have but little to say.
A dull pressure lay upon the nation; it was as if
the heavy strokes inflicted on them had paralyzed
their very limbs. Innumerable monks came to Bohemia
from Italy, Spain, and the south of Germany, who condemned
and sacrificed to the flames every Bohemian book as
necessarily heretical. There were individuals
who boasted having burned with their own hands 60,000
literary works. They broke into private houses,
and took away whatever Bohemian books they could find.
Those which they did not burn, were deposited in separate
chambers in the convents, provided with iron grates,
bolts, and chains, drawn before the door, on which
was written. The Hell. They distributed
pamphlets respecting hell and purgatory, the reading
of which produced derangement of mind in many weak
persons; until, at last, the government was wise enough
to lay a severe prohibition upon these measures.
The Bohemian emigrants indeed continued to have their
religious books printed in their foreign homes; but
they wrote comparatively few new works. These
however they contrived to introduce into Bohemia,
where they were answered by the Jesuits and Capuchins
in thick folio volumes, written in a language hardly
intelligible. There were however some honourable
exceptions among these fathers; some persons, who,