THE PEACE OF WESTPHALIA.
THE Peace which, whatever its shortcomings, achieved its purpose of putting an end to the Thirty Years' War was not made at once; and such had been the multitude and the complexity of the interests involved, the frequency of the changes in the political situation brought about by the shifting fortunes of the War, and the growth of mutual mistrust on all sides, that the efforts of the peace-makers had seemed foredoomed to an endless succession of failures. The evil, however, wrought its own remedy; and advantage was taken of one among many variations in the course of a seemingly interminable struggle to re-establish the European political fabric on bases which in the main endured for nearly a century and a half. Change itself--the transition from war to a peace which the nations could no longer see deferred--"reigned over change."
It has been seen in previous chapters how the project of securing to the distracted Empire the blessings of peace had fared since Wallenstein had in vain striven to be its arbiter, as his detested opponent Gustavus Adolphus had been the arbiter of war. In May, 1635, the Elector John George of Saxony, whose Imperialist sympathies had survived the Edict of Restitution and the sack of Magdeburg, as well as the battles of Breitenfeld and Lützen, succeeded at last in bringing to pass the compact known as the Peace of Prague. Though it provided for the restoration of no Protestant Prince dispossessed since 1650, and for the retention in Protestant hands of no ecclesiastical property acquired since November, 1627; though it secured neither the exercise of the Protestant religion in the dominions of any Catholic Government, nor any rights whatever to the Calvinists--yet its acceptance by the Saxon Elector, and the belief that the Swedish Power would prove unable to maintain itself permanently in Germany, gradually drew over nearly the whole of the Protestant Governments in the Empire to an acceptance of its terms. But it could not liberate even John George's own dominions from hostile occupation; and the War was destined almost to double its length before it came to an end.
Thus, the endeavours made in the last two years of Ferdinand II's