Walstein, Albert

, duke of Fridland, a celebrated German commander, was born in 1584, and descended of a noble and ancient Bohemian family. His education appears to have been irregular. At first he had no inclination for study, but later in life he applied himself to astronomy and politics, at Padua. After his return to his own country, he married, but being soon left a widower, he went to the siege of Gradisca, in Friuli, and offered his services to the archduke Ferdinand, against the Venetians. When the troubles broke out in Bohemia, he offered himself to the emperor, with an army of thirty thousand men, on condition of being their general. The emperor having | consented, Walstein marched at the head of this army, and reduced the diocese of Halberstadt and the bishopric of Halle he ravaged also the territories of Magdeburgh and Anhalt; defeated Mansfeldt in two battles retook all Silesia; vanquished the marquis d‘Urlach conquered the archbishopric of Bremen and Holsace, and made himself master of all the country between the ocean, the Baltic sea, and the Elbe; leaving only Gluckatadt to the king of Denmark, whom he also drove from Pomerania, where he had made a descent. After the treaty of Lubec, the emperor gave him the titles and spoils of the duke of Mecklenburgh, who had rebelled; but Walstein published an edict about that time, ordering the restitution of ecclesiastical property in the territories just given him; and the’ protest* tants, being alarmed, called in Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, to their assistance. This step so intimidated the emperor, that he permitted Walstein to be removed, and sent only Tilly against Gustavus. Tilly having been defeated at Leipsic by the Swedes, the conqueror rushed into Germany like a torrent, which obliged the emperor to recall Walstein, whom he appointed generalissimo. Walstein accordingly entered the lists with the Swedish monarch; defeated him, and was defeated in his turn; took from him almost the whole of Bohemia, by the capture of Prague, and fought with various success till the bloody battle of Lutzen, November 16, 1632, which Walstein lost, though Gustavus Adolphus was killed at the commencement of the action. Walstein, notwithstanding this defeat, finding himself delivered from so formidable a prince, was suspected of aiming at independence; and these suspicions being increased by his refusing to submit to the court of Vienna in any of his enterprises, the emperor degraded him, and gave the command to Galas. Walstein, alarmed at this, made the officers of his army take an oath of fidelity to him at Pilsen, January 12, 1634, and retired to Egra, a strong city on the frontiers of Bohemia and Saxony; but Gordon, a Scotchman, lieutenant-colonel and governor of Egra, nattered by the hopes of great preferment, conspired against him with Butler, an Irishman, to whom Walstein had given a regiment of dragoons, and Lasci, a Scotchroan, captain of his guards. These three, who are said to have been instigated to this crime by the court of Vienna, murdered him in his chamber, February 15, 1634. He was, at that time, fifty years old. The family of Walstein | is distinguished in Germany, and has produced several other great men. 1