BOOK III. — THE HOHENZOLLERNS IN BRANDENBURG. - 1412-1718
Chapter I. — KURFURST FRIEDRICH I.
Chapter II. — MATINEES DU ROI DE PRUSSE.
Chapter III. — KURFURST FRIEDRICH II.
Chapter IV. — KURFURST ALBERT ACHILLES, AND HIS SUCCESSOR.
Chapter V. — OF THE BAIREUTH-ANSPACH BRANCH.
TWO LINES IN CULMBACH OR BAIREUTH-ANSPACH: THE GERA BOND OF 1598.
THE ELDER LINE OF CULMBACH: FRIEDRICH AND HIS THREE NOTABLE SONS THERE.
FRIEDRICH'S SECOND SON, MARGRAF GEORGE OF ANSPACH.
Chapter VI. — HOCHMEISTER ALBERT, THIRD NOTABLE SON OF FRIEDRICH.
Chapter VII. — ALBERT ALCIBIADES.
Chapter VIII. — HISTORICAL MEANING OF THE REFORMATION.
Chapter IX. — KURFURST JOACHIM I.
Chapter X. — KURFURST JOACHIM II.
JOACHIM GETS CO-INVESTMENT IN PREUSSEN.Chapter XI. — SEVENTH KURFURST, JOHANN GEORGE.
JOACHIM MAKES "HERITAGE-BROTHERHOOD" WITH THE DUKE OF LIEGNITZ.
Chapter XII. — OF ALBERT FRIEDRICH, THE SECOND DUKE OF PREUSSEN.
OF DUKE ALBERT FRIEDRICH'S MARRIAGE: WHO HIS WIFE WAS, AND WHAT HER POSSIBLE DOWRY.
MARGRAF GEORGE FRIEDRICH COMES TO PREUSSEN TO ADMINISTER.
Chapter XIII. — NINTH KURFURST, JOHANN SIGISMUND.
HOW THE CLEVE HERITAGE DROPPED, AND MANY SPRANG TO PICK IT UP.
THE KAISER'S THOUGHTS ABOUT IT, AND THE WORLD'S.
Chapter XIV. — SYMPTOMS OF A GREAT WAR COMING.
FIRST SYMPTOM; DONAUWORTH, 1608.
SYMPTOM THIRD: A DINNER-SCENE AT DUSSELDORF, 1613: SPANIARDS AND DUTCH SHOULDER ARMS IN CLEVE.
SYMPTOM FOURTH, AND CATASTROPHE UPON THE HEELS OF IT.
WHAT BECAME OF THE CLEVE-JULICH HERITAGE, AND OF THE PREUSSEN ONE.
Chapter XV. — TENTH KURFURST, GEORGE WILHELM.
Chapter XVI. — THIRTY-YEARS WAR.
SECOND ACT, OR EPOCH, 1624-1629. A SECOND UNCLE PUT TO THE BAN, AND POMMERN SNATCHED AWAY.
THIRD ACT, AND WHAT THE KURFURST SUFFERED IN IT.
Chapter XVII. — DUCHY OF JAGERNDORF.
Chapter XVIII. — FRIEDRICH WILHELM, THE GREAT KURFURST, ELEVENTH OF THE SERIES.
WHAT BECAME OF POMMERN AT THE PEACE; FINAL GLANCE INTO CLEVE-JULICH.
THE GREAT KURFURST'S WARS: WHAT HE ACHIEVED IN WAR AND PEACE.
Chapter XIX. — KING FRIEDRICH I. AGAIN.
Chapter XX. — DEATH OF KING FRIEDRICH I.
Burggraf Friedrich, on his first coming to Brandenburg, found but a cool reception as Statthalter. ["Johannistage" (24 June) "1412," he first set foot in Brandenburg, with due escort, in due state; only Statthalter (Viceregent) as yet: Pauli, i. 594, ii. 58; Stenzel, Geschichte des Preussischen Staats (Hamburg, 1830, 1851), i. 167-169.] He came as the representative of law and rule; and there had been many helping themselves by a ruleless life, of late. Industry was at a low ebb, violence was rife; plunder, disorder everywhere; too much the habit for baronial gentlemen to "live by the saddle," as they termed it, that is by highway robbery in modern phrase.
The Towns, harried and plundered to skin and bone, were glad to see a Statthalter, and did homage to him with all their heart. But the Baronage or Squirearchy of the country were of another mind. These, in the late anarchies, had set up for a kind of kings in their own right: they had their feuds; made war, made peace, levied tolls, transit-dues; lived much at their own discretion in these solitary countries;—rushing out from their stone towers ("walls fourteen feet thick"), to seize any herd of "six hundred swine," any convoy of Lubeck or Hamburg merchant-goods, that had not contented them in passing. What were pedlers and mechanic fellows made for, if not to be plundered when needful? Arbitrary rule, on the part of these Noble Robber-Lords! And then much of the Crown-Domains had gone to the chief of them,—pawned (and the pawn-ticket lost, so to speak), or sold for what trifle of ready money was to be had, in Jobst and Company's time. To these gentlemen, a Statthalter coming to inquire into matters was no welcome phenomenon. Your EDLE HERR (Noble Lord) of Putlitz, Noble Lords of Quitzow, Rochow, Maltitz and others, supreme in their grassy solitudes this long while, and accustomed to nothing greater than themselves in Brandenburg, how should they obey a Statthalter?
Such was more or less the universal humor in the Squirearchy of Brandenburg; not of good omen to Burggraf Friedrich. But the chief seat of contumacy seemed to be among the Quitzows, Putlitzes, above spoken of; big Squires in the district they call the Priegnitz, in the Country of the sluggish Havel River, northwest from Berlin a fifty or forty miles. These refused homage, very many of them; said they were "incorporated with Bohmen;" said this and that;—much disinclined to homage; and would not do it. Stiff surly fellows, much deficient in discernment of what is above them and what is not:—a thick-skinned set; bodies clad in buff leather; minds also cased in ill habits of long continuance.
Friedrich was very patient with them; hoped to prevail by gentle methods. He "invited them to dinner;" "had them often at dinner for a year or more:" but could make no progress in that way. "Who is this we have got for a Governor?" said the noble lords privately to each other: "A NURNBERGER TAND (Nurnberg Plaything,—wooden image, such as they make at Nurnberg)," said they, grinning, in a thick-skinned way: "If it rained Burggraves all the year round, none of them would come to luck in this Country;"—and continued their feuds, toll-levyings, plunderings and other contumacies. Seeing matters come to this pass after waiting above a year, Burggraf Friedrich gathered his Frankish men-at-arms; quietly made league with the neighboring Potentates, Thuringen and others; got some munitions, some artillery together—especially one huge gun, the biggest ever seen, "a twenty-four pounder" no less; to which the peasants, dragging her with difficulty through the clayey roads, gave the name of FAULE GRETE (Lazy, or Heavy Peg); a remarkable piece of ordnance. Lazy Peg he had got from the Landgraf of Thuringen, on loan merely; but he turned her to excellent account of his own. I have often inquired after Lazy Peg's fate in subsequent times; but could never learn anything distinct:—the German Dryasdust is a dull dog, and seldom carries anything human in those big wallets of his!—
Equipped in this way, Burggraf Friedrich (he was not yet Kurfurst, only coming to be) marches for the Havel Country (early days of 1414); [Michaelis, i. 287; Stenzel, i. 168 (where, contrary to wont, is an insignificant error or two). Pauli (ii. 58) is, as usual, lost in water.] makes his appearance before Quitzow's strong-house of Friesack, walls fourteen feet thick: "You Dietrich von Quitzow, are you prepared to live as a peaceable subject henceforth: to do homage to the Laws and me?"—"Never!" answered Quitzow, and pulled up his drawbridge. Whereupon Heavy Peg opened upon him, Heavy Peg and other guns; and, in some eight-and-forty hours, shook Quitzow's impregnable Friesack about his ears. This was in the month of February, 1414, day not given: Friesack was the name of the impregnable Castle (still discoverable in our time); and it ought to be memorable and venerable to every Prussian man. Burggraf Friedrich VI., not yet quite become Kurfurst Friedrich I., but in a year's space to become so, he in person was the beneficent operator; Heavy Peg, and steady Human Insight, these were clearly the chief implements.
Quitzow being settled,—for the country is in military occupation of Friedrich and his allies, and except in some stone castle a man has no chance,—straightway Putlitz or another mutineer, with his drawbridge up, was battered to pieces, and his drawbridge brought slamming down. After this manner, in an incredibly short period, mutiny was quenched; and it became apparent to Noble Lords, and to all men, that here at length was a man come who would have the Laws obeyed again, and could and would keep mutiny down.
Friedrich showed no cruelty; far the contrary. Your mutiny once ended, and a little repented of, he is ready to be your gracious Prince again: Fair-play and the social wine-cup, or inexorable war and Lazy Peg, it is at your discretion which. Brandenburg submitted; hardly ever rebelled more. Brandenburg, under the wise Kurfurst it has got, begins in a small degree to be cosmic again, or of the domain of the gods; ceases to be chaotic and a mere cockpit of the devils. There is no doubt but this Friedrich also, like his ancestor Friedrich III., the First Hereditary Burggraf, was an excellent citizen of his country: a man conspicuously important in all German business in his time. A man setting up for no particular magnanimity, ability or heroism, but unconsciously exhibiting a good deal; which by degrees gained universal recognition. He did not shine much as Reichs-Generalissimo, under Kaiser Sigismund, in his expeditions against Zisca; on the contrary, he presided over huge defeat and rout, once and again, in that capacity; and indeed had represented in vain that, with such a species of militia, victory was impossible. He represented and again represented, to no purpose; whereupon he declined the office farther; in which others fared no better. [Hormayr, OEsterreichischer Plutarch vii. 109-158, ? Zisca.]
The offer to be Kaiser was made him in his old days; but he wisely declined that too. It was in Brandenburg, by what he silently founded there, that he did his chief benefit to Germany and mankind. He understood the noble art of governing men; had in him the justice, clearness, valor and patience needed for that. A man of sterling probity, for one thing. Which indeed is the first requisite in said art:—if you will have your laws obeyed without mutiny, see well that they be pieces of God Almighty's Law: otherwise all the artillery in the world will not keep down mutiny.
Friedrich "travelled much over Brandenburg;" looking into everything with his own eyes;—making, I can well fancy, innumerable crooked things straight. Reducing more and more that famishing dog-kennel of a Brandenburg into a fruitful arable field. His portraits represent a square headed, mild-looking solid gentleman, with a certain twinkle of mirth in the serious eyes of him. Except in those Hussite wars for Kaiser Sigismund and the Reich, in which no man could prosper, he may be defined as constantly prosperous. To Brandenburg he was, very literally, the blessing of blessings; redemption out of death into life. In the ruins of that old Friesack Castle, battered down by Heavy Peg, Antiquarian Science (if it had any eyes) might look for the tap-root of the Prussian Nation, and the beginning of all that Brandenburg has since grown to under the sun.
Friedrich, in one capacity or another, presided over Brandenburg near thirty years. He came thither first of all in 1412; was not completely Kurfurst in his own right till 1415; nor publicly installed, "with 100,000 looking on from the roofs and windows," in Constance yonder, till 1417,—age then some forty-five. His Brandenburg residence, when he happened to have time for residing or sitting still, was Tangermunde, the Castle built by Kaiser Karl IV. He died there, 21st September, 1440; laden tolerably with years, and still better with memories of hard work done. Rentsch guesses by good inference he was born about 1372. As I count, he is seventh in descent from that Conrad, Burggraf Conrad I., Cadet of Hohenzollern, who came down from the Rauhe Alp, seeking service with Kaiser Redbeard, above two centuries ago: Conrad's generation and six others had vanished successively from the world-theatre in that ever-mysterious manner, and left the stage clear, when Burggraf Friedrich the Sixth came to be First Elector. Let three centuries, let twelve generations farther come and pass, and there will be another still more notable Friedrich,—our little Fritz, destined to be Third King of Prussia, officially named Friedrich II., and popularly Frederick the Great. This First Elector is his lineal ancestor, twelve times removed. [Rentsch, pp. 349-372; Hubner, t. 176.]
Eleven successive Kurfursts followed Friedrich in Brandenburg. Of whom and their births, deaths, wars, marriages, negotiations and continual multitudinous stream of smaller or greater adventures, much has been written, of a dreary confused nature; next to nothing of which ought to be repeated here. Some list of their Names, with what rememberable human feature or event (if any) still speaks to us in them, we must try to give. Their Names, well dated, with any actions, incidents, or phases of life, which may in this way get to adhere to them in the reader's memory, the reader can insert, each at its right place, in the grand Tide of European Events, or in such Picture as the reader may have of that. Thereby with diligence he may produce for himself some faint twilight notion of the Flight of Time in remote Brandenburg,—convince himself that remote Brandenburg was present all along, alive after its sort, and assisting, dumbly or otherwise, in the great World-Drama as that went on.
We have to say in general, the history of Brandenburg under the Hohenzollerns has very little in it to excite a vulgar curiosity, though perhaps a great deal to interest an intelligent one. Had it found treatment duly intelligent;—which, however, how could it, lucky beyond its neighbors, hope to do! Commonplace Dryasdust, and voluminous Stupidity, not worse here than elsewhere, play their Part.
It is the history of a State, or Social Vitality, growing from small to great; steadily growing henceforth under guidance: and the contrast between guidance and no-guidance, or mis-guidance, in such matters, is again impressively illustrated there. This we see well to be the fact; and the details of this would be of moment, were they given us: but they are not;—how could voluminous Dryasdust give them? Then, on the other hand, the Phenomenon is, for a long while, on so small a scale, wholly without importance in European politics and affairs, the commonplace Historian, writing of it on a large scale, becomes unreadable and intolerable. Witness grandiloquent Pauli our fatal friend, with his Eight watery Quartos; which gods and men, unless driven by necessity, have learned to avoid! [Dr. Carl Friedrich Pauli, Allgemeine Preussische Staats-Geschichte, often enough cited here.] The Phenomenon of Brandenburg is small, remote; and the essential particulars, too delicate for the eye of Dryasdust, are mostly wanting, drowned deep in details of the unessential. So that we are well content, my readers and I, to keep remote from it on this occasion.
On one other point I must give the reader warning. A rock of offence on which if he heedlessly strike, I reckon he will split; at least no help of mine can benefit him till he be got off again. Alas, offences must come; and must stand, like rocks of offence, to the shipwreck of many! Modern Dryasdust, interpreting the mysterious ways of Divine Providence in this Universe, or what he calls writing History, has done uncountable havoc upon the best interests of mankind. Hapless godless dullard that he is; driven and driving on courses that lead only downward, for him as for us! But one could forgive him all things, compared with this doctrine of devils which he has contrived to get established, pretty generally, among his unfortunate fellow-creatures for the time!—I must insert the following quotation, readers guess from what author:—
"In an impudent Pamphlet, forged by I know not whom, and published in 1766, under the title of Matinees du Roi de Prusse, purporting to be 'Morning Conversations' of Frederick the Great with his Nephew the Heir-Apparent, every line of which betrays itself as false and spurious to a reader who has made any direct or effectual study of Frederick or his manners or affairs,—it is set forth, in the way of exordium to these pretended royal confessions, that 'notre maison,' our Family of Hohenzollern, ever since the first origin of it among the Swabian mountains, or its first descent therefrom into the Castle and Imperial Wardenship of Nurnberg, some six hundred years ago or more, has consistently travelled one road, and this a very notable one. 'We, as I myself the royal Frederick still do, have all along proceeded,' namely, 'in the way of adroit Machiavelism, as skilful gamblers in this world's business, ardent gatherers of this world's goods; and in brief as devout worshippers of Beelzebub, the grand regulator and rewarder of mortals here below. Which creed we, the Hohenzollerns, have found, and I still find, to be the true one; learn it you, my prudent Nephew, and let all men learn it. By holding steadily to that, and working late and early in such spirit, we are come to what you now see;—and shall advance still farther, if it please Beelzebub, who is generally kind to those that serve him well.' Such is the doctrine of this impudent Pamphlet; 'original Manuscripts' of which are still purchased by simple persons,—who have then nobly offered them to me, thrice over, gratis or nearly so, as a priceless curiosity. A new printed edition of which, probably the fifth, has appeared within few years. Simple persons, consider it a curious and interesting Document; rather ambiguous in origin perhaps, but probably authentic in substance, and throwing unexpected light on the character of Frederick whom men call the Great. In which new light they are willing a meritorious Editor should share.
"Who wrote that Pamphlet I know not, and am in no condition to guess. A certain snappish vivacity (very unlike the style of Frederick whom it personates); a wearisome grimacing, gesticulating malice and smartness, approaching or reaching the sad dignity of what is called 'wit' in modern times; in general the rottenness of matter, and the epigrammatic unquiet graciosity of manner in this thing, and its elaborately INhuman turn both of expression and of thought, are visible characteristics of it. Thought, we said,—if thought it can be called: thought all hamstrung, shrivelled by inveterate rheumatism, on the part of the poor ill-thriven thinker; nay tied (so to speak, for he is of epigrammatic turn withal), as by cross ropes, right shoulder to left foot; and forced to advance, hobbling and jerking along, in that sad guise: not in the way of walk, but of saltation and dance; and this towards a false not a true aim, rather no-whither than some-whither:—Here were features leading one to think of an illustrious Prince de Ligne as perhaps concerned in the affair. The Bibliographical Dictionaries, producing no evidence, name quite another person, or series of persons, [A certain 'N. de Bonneville' (afterwards a Revolutionary spiritual-mountebank, for some time) is now the favorite Name;—proves, on investigation, to be an impossible one. Barbier (Dictionnaire des Anonymes), in a helpless doubting manner, gives still others.] highly unmemorable otherwise. Whereupon you proceed to said other person's acknowledged WORKS (as they are called); and find there a style bearing no resemblance whatever; and are left in a dubious state, if it were of any moment. In the absence of proof, I am unwilling to charge his Highness de Ligne with such an action; and indeed am little careful to be acquainted with the individual who did it, who could and would do it. A Prince of Coxcombs I can discern him to have been; capable of shining in the eyes of insincere foolish persons, and of doing detriment to them, not benefit; a man without reverence for truth or human excellence; not knowing in fact what is true from what is false, what is excellent from what is sham-excellent and at the top of the mode; an apparently polite and knowing man, but intrinsically an impudent, dark and merely modish-insolent man;—who, if he fell in with Rhadamanthus on his travels, would not escape a horse-whipping, Him we will willingly leave to that beneficial chance, which indeed seems a certain one sooner or later; and address ourselves to consider the theory itself, and the facts it pretends to be grounded on.
"As to the theory, I must needs say, nothing can be falser, more heretical or more damnable. My own poor opinion, and deep conviction on that subject is well known, this long while. And, in fact, the summary of all I have believed, and have been trying as I could to teach mankind to believe again, is even that same opinion and conviction, applied to all provinces of things. Alas, in this his sad theory about the world, our poor impudent Pamphleteer is by no means singular at present; nay rather he has in a manner the whole practical part of mankind on his side just now; the more is the pity for us all!—
"It is very certain, if Beelzebub made this world, our Pamphleteer, and the huge portion of mankind that follow him, are right. But if God made the world; and only leads Beelzebub, as some ugly muzzled bear is led, a longer or shorter temporary DANCE in this divine world, and always draws him home again, and peels the unjust gains off him, and ducks him in a certain hot Lake, with sure intent to lodge him there to all eternity at last,—then our Pamphleteer, and the huge portion of mankind that follow him, are wrong.
"More I will not say; being indeed quite tired of SPEAKING on that subject. Not a subject which it concerns me to speak of; much as it concerns me, and all men, to know the truth of it, and silently in every hour and moment to do said truth. As indeed the sacred voice of their own soul, if they listen, will conclusively admonish all men; and truly if IT do not, there will be little use in my logic to them. For my own share, I want no trade with men who need to be convinced of that fact. If I am in their premises, and discover such a thing of them, I will quit their premises; if they are in mine, I will, as old Samuel advised, count my spoons. Ingenious gentlemen who believe that Beelzebub made this world, are not a class of gentlemen I can get profit from. Let them keep at a distance, lest mischief fall out between us. They are of the set deserving to be called—and this not in the way of profane swearing, but of solemn wrath and pity, I say of virtuous anger and inexorable reprobation—the damned set. For, in very deed, they are doomed and damned, by Nature's oldest Act of Parliament, they, and whatsoever thing they do or say or think; unless they can escape from that devil-element. Which I still hope they may!—
"But with regard to the facts themselves, 'DE NOTRE MAISON,' I take leave to say, they too are without basis of truth. They are not so false as the theory, because nothing can in falsity quite equal that. 'NOTRE MAISON,' this Pamphleteer may learn, if he please to make study and inquiry before speaking, did not rise by worship of Beelzebub at all in this world; but by a quite opposite line of conduct. It rose, in fact, by the course which all, except fools, stockjobber stags, cheating gamblers, forging Pamphleteers and other temporary creatures of the damned sort, have found from of old to be the one way of permanently rising: by steady service, namely, of the Opposite of Beelzebub. By conforming to the Laws of this Universe; instead of trying by pettifogging to evade and profitably contradict them. The Hohenzollerns too have a History still articulate to the human mind, if you search sufficiently; and this is what, even with some emphasis, it will teach us concerning their adventures, and achievements of success in the field of life. Resist the Devil, good reader, and he will flee from you!"—So ends our indignant friend.
How the Hohenzollerns got their big Territories, and came to what they are in the world, will be seen. Probably they were not, any of them, paragons of virtue. They did not walk in altogether speckless Sunday pumps, or much clear-starched into consciousness of the moral sublime; but in rugged practical boots, and by such roads as there were. Concerning their moralities, and conformities to the Laws of the Road and of the Universe, there will much remain to be argued by pamphleteers and others. Men will have their opinion, Men of more wisdom and of less; Apes by the Dead-Sea also will have theirs. But what man that believed in such a Universe as that of this Dead-Sea Pamphleteer could consent to live in it at all? Who that believed in such a Universe, and did not design to live like a Papin's-Digester, or PORCUS EPICURI, in an extremely ugly manner in it, could avoid one of two things: Going rapidly into Bedlam, or else blowing his brains out? "It will not do for me at any rate, this infinite Dog-house; not for me, ye Dryasdusts, and omnipotent Dog-monsters and Mud-gods, whoever you are. One honorable thing I can do: take leave of you and your Dog-establishment. Enough!"—
The First Friedrich's successor was a younger son, Friedrich II.; who lasted till 1471, above thirty years; and proved likewise a notable manager and governor. Very capable to assert himself, and his just rights, in this world. He was but Twenty-seven at his accession; but the Berlin Burghers, attempting to take some liberties with him, found he was old enough. He got the name IRONTEETH. Friedrich FERRATIS DENTIBUS, from his decisive ways then and afterwards. He had his share of brabbling with intricate litigant neighbors; quarrels now and then not to be settled without strokes. His worst war was with Pommern,—just claims disputed there, and much confused bickering, sieging and harassing in consequence: of which quarrel we must speak anon. It was he who first built the conspicuous Schloss or Palace at Berlin, having got the ground for it (same ground still covered by the actual fine Edifice, which is a second edition of Friedrich's) from the repentant Burghers; and took up his chief residence there. [1442-1431 (Nicolari, i. 81).]
But his principal achievement in Brandenburg History is his recovery of the Province called the Neumark to that Electorate. In the thriftless Sigismund times, the Neumark had been pledged, had been sold; Teutsch Ritterdom, to whose dominions it lay contiguous, had purchased it with money down. The Teutsch Ritters were fallen moneyless enough since then; they offered to pledge the Neumark to Friedrich, who accepted, and advanced the sum: after a while the Teutsch Ritters, for a small farther sum, agreed to sell Neumark. [Michaelis, i. 301.] Into which Transaction, with its dates and circumstances, let us cast one glance, for our behoof afterwards. The Teutsch Ritters were an opulent domineering Body in Sigismund's early time; but they are now come well down in Friedrich II.'s! And are coming ever lower. Sinking steadily, or with desperate attempts to rise, which only increase the speed downwards, ever since that fatal Tannenberg Business, 15th July, 1410. Here is the sad progress of their descent to the bottom; divided into three stages or periods:—
"PERIOD FIRST is of Thirty years: 1410-1440. A peace with Poland soon followed that Defeat of Tannenberg; humiliating peace, with mulct in money, and slightly in territory, attached to it. Which again was soon followed by war, and ever again; each new peace more humiliating than its foregoer. Teutsch Order is steadily sinking,—into debt, among other things; driven to severe finance-measures (ultimately even to 'debase its coin'), which produce irritation enough. Poland is gradually edging itself into the territories and the interior troubles of Preussen; prefatory to greater operations that lie ahead there.
"SECOND PERIOD, of Fourteen years. So it had gone on, from bad to worse, till 1440; when the general population, through its Heads, the Landed Gentry and the Towns, wearied out with fiscal and other oppressions from its domineering Ritterdom brought now to such a pinch, began everywhere to stir themselves into vocal complaint. Complaint emphatic enough: 'Where will you find a man that has not suffered injury in his rights, perhaps in his person? Our friends they have invited as guests, and under show of hospitality have murdered them. Men, for the sake of their beautiful wives, have been thrown into the river like dogs,'—and enough of the like sort. [Voigt, vii. 747; quoting evidently, not an express manifesto, but one manufactured by the old Chroniclers.] No want of complaint, nor of complainants: Town of Thorn, Town of Dantzig, Kulm, all manner of Towns and Baronages, proceeded now to form a BUND, or general Covenant for complaining; to repugn, in hotter and hotter form, against a domineering Ritterdom with back so broken; in fine, to colleague with Poland,—what was most ominous of all. Baronage, Burgherage, they were German mostly by blood, and by culture were wholly German; but preferred Poland to a Teutsch Ritterdom of that nature. Nothing but brabblings, scufflings, objurgations; a great outbreak ripening itself. Teutsch Ritterdom has to hire soldiers; no money to pay them. It was in these sad years that the Teutsch Ritterdom, fallen moneyless, offered to pledge the Neumark to our Kurfurst; 1444, that operation was consummated. [Pauli, ii. 187,—does not name the sum.] All this goes on, in hotter and hotter form, for ten years longer.
"PERIOD THIRD begins, early in 1454, with an important special catastrophe; and ends, in the Thirteenth year after, with a still more important universal one of the same nature. Prussian BUND, or Anti-Oppression Covenant of the Towns and Landed Gentry, rising in temperature for fourteen years at this rate, reached at last the igniting point, and burst into fire. February 4th, 1454, the Town of Thorn, darling first-child of Teutsch Ritterdom,—child 223 years old at this time, ['Founded 1231, as a wooden Burg, just across the river, on the Heathen side, mainly round the stem of an immense old Oak that grew handy there,—Seven Barges always on the river (Weichsel), to fly to our own side if quite overwhelmed' Oak and Seven Barges is still the Town's-Arms of Thorn. See Kohler, Munzbelustigungen,xxii. 107; quoting Dusburg (a Priest of the Order) and his old Chronica Terrae Prusciae, written in 1326.] and grown very big, and now very angry,—suddenly took its old parent by the throat, so to speak, and hurled him out to the dogs; to the extraneous Polacks first of all. Town of Thorn, namely, sent that day its 'Letter of Renunciation' to the Hochmeister over at Marienburg; seized in a day or two more the Hochmeister's Official Envoys, Dignitaries of the Order; led them through the streets, amid universal storm of execrations, hootings and unclean projectiles, straight, to jail; and besieged the Hochmeister's Burg (BASTILLE of Thorn, with a few Ritters in it), all the artillery and all the throats and hearts of the place raging deliriously upon it. So that the poor Bitters, who had no chance in resisting, were in few days obliged to surrender; [8th February, 1454, says Voigt (viii. 361); 16th, says Kohler (Munzbelustigungen, xxii. 110).] had to come out in bare jerkin; and Thorn ignominiously dismissed them into space forevermore,—with actual 'kicks,' I have read in some Books, though others veil that sad feature. Thorn threw out its old parent in this manner; swore fealty to the King of Poland; and invited other Towns and Knightages to follow the example. To which all were willing, wherever able.
"War hereupon, which blazed up over Preussen at large,—Prussian Covenant and King of Poland VERSUS Teutsch Ritterdom,—and lasted into the thirteenth year, before it could go out again; out by lack of fuel mainly. One of the fellest wars on record, especially for burning and ruining; above '300,000 fighting-men' are calculated to have perished in it; and of towns, villages, farmsteads, a cipher which makes the fancy, as it were, black and ashy altogether. Ritterdom showed no lack of fighting energy; but that could not save it, in the pass things were got to. Enormous lack of wisdom, of reality and human veracity, there had long been; and the hour was now come. Finance went out, to the last coin. Large mercenary armies all along; and in the end not the color of money to pay them with; mercenaries became desperate; 'besieged the Hochmeister and his Ritters in Marienburg;'—finally sold the Country they held; formally made it over to the King of Poland, to get their pay out of it. Hochmeister had to see such things, and say little. Peace, or extinction for want of fuel, came in the year 1466. Poland got to itself the whole of that fine German Country, henceforth called 'WEST Preussen' to distinguish it, which goes from the left bank of the Weichsel to the borders of Brandenburg and Neumark;—would have got Neumark too, had not Kurfurst Friedrich been there to save it. The Teutsch Order had to go across the Weichsel, ignominiously driven; to content itself with 'EAST Preussen,' the Konigsberg-Memel country, and even to do homage to Poland for that. Which latter was the bitterest clause of all: but it could not be helped, more than the others. In this manner did its revolted children fling out Teutsch Ritterdom ignominiously to the dogs, to the Polacks, first of all,—Thorn, the eldest child, leading off or setting the example."
And so the Teutsch Ritters are sunk beyond retrieval; and West Preussen, called subsequently "Royal Preussen," NOT having homage to pay as the "Ducal" or East Preussen had, is German no longer, but Polish, Sclavic; not prospering by the change. [What Thorn had sunk to, out of its palmy state, see in Nanke's Wanderungen durch Preussen (Hamburg & Altona, 1800), ii. 177-200:—a pleasant little Rook, treating mainly of Natural History; but drawing you, by its innocent simplicity and geniality, to read with thanks whatever is in it.] And all that fine German country, reduced to rebel against its unwise parent, was cut away by the Polish sword, and remained with Poland, which did not prove very wise either; till—till, in the Year 1773, it was cut back by the German sword! All readers have heard of the Partition of Poland: but of the Partition of Preussen, 307 years before, all have not heard.
It was in the second year of that final tribulation, marked above as Period Third, that the Teutsch Ritters, famishing for money, completed the Neumark transaction with Kurfurst Friedrich; Neumark, already pawned to him ten years before, they in 1455, for a small farther sum, agreed to sell; and he, long carefully steering towards such an issue, and dexterously keeping out of the main broil, failed not to buy. Friedrich could thenceforth, on his own score, protect the Neumark; keep up an invisible but impenetrable wall between it and the neighboring anarchic conflagrations of thirteen years; and the Neumark has ever since remained with Brandenburg, its original owner.
As to Friedrich's Pomeranian quarrel, this is the figure of it. Here is a scene from Rentsch, which falls out in Friedrich's time; and which brought much battling and broiling to him and his. Symbolical withal of much that befell in Brandenburg, from first to last. Under the Hohenzollerns as before, Brandenburg grew by aggregation, by assimilation; and we see here how difficult the process often was.
Pommern (POMERANIA), long Wendish, but peaceably so since the time of Albert the Bear, and growing ever more German, had, in good part, according to Friedrich's notion, if there were force in human Treaties and Imperial Laws, fallen fairly to Brandenburg,—that is to say, the half of it, Stettin-Pommern had fairly fallen,—in the year 1464, when Duke Otto of Stettin, the last Wendish Duke, died without heirs. In that case by many bargains, some with bloody crowns, it had been settled, If the Wendish Dukes died out, the country was to fall to Brandenburg;—and here they were dead. "At Duke Otto's burial, accordingly, in the High Church of Stettin, when the coffin was lowered into its place, the Stettin Burgermeister, Albrecht Glinde, took sword and helmet, and threw the same into the grave, in token that the Line was extinct. But Franz von Eichsted," apparently another Burgher instructed for the nonce, "jumped into the grave, and picked them out again; alleging, No, the Dukes of WOLGAST-Pommern were of kin; these tokens we must send to his Grace at Wolgast, with offer of our homage, said Franz von Eichsted." [Rentsch, p. 110 (whose printer has put his date awry); Stenzel (i. 233) calls the man "LORENZ Eikstetten, a resolute Gentleman."]—And sent they were, and accepted by his Grace. And perhaps half-a-score of bargains, with bloody crowns to some of them; and yet other chances, and centuries, with the extinction of new Lines,—had to supervene, before even Stettin-Pommern, and that in no complete state, could be got. [1648, by Treaty of Westphalia.] As to Pommern at large, Pommern not denied to be due, after such extinction and re-extinction of native Ducal Lines, did not fall home for centuries more; and what struggles and inextricable armed-litigations there were for it, readers of Brandenburg-History too wearisomely know. The process of assimilation not the least of an easy one!—
This Friedrich was second son: his Father's outlook for him had, at first, been towards a Polish Princess and the crown of Poland, which was not then so elective as afterwards: and with such view his early breeding had been chiefly in Poland; Johann, the eldest son and heir-apparent, helping his Father at home in the mean while. But these Polish outlooks went to nothing, the young Princess having died; so that Friedrich came home; possessed merely of the Polish language, and of what talents the gods had given him, which were considerable. And now, in the mean while, Johann, who at one time promised well in practical life, had taken to Alchemy; and was busy with crucibles and speculations, to a degree that seemed questionable. Father Friedrich, therefore, had to interfere, and deal with this "Johann the Alchemist" (JOHANNES ALCHEMISTA, so the Books still name him); who loyally renounced the Electorship, at his Father's bidding, in favor of Friedrich; accepted Baireuth (better half of the Culmbach Territory) for apanage; and there peacefully distilled and sublimated at discretion; the government there being an easier task, and fitter for a soft speculative Herr. A third Brother, Albert by name, got Anspach, on the Father's decease; very capable to do any fighting there might be occasion for, in Culmbach.
As to the Burggrafship, it was now done, all but the Title. The First Friedrich, once he was got to be Elector, wisely parted with it. The First Friedrich found his Electorship had dreadfully real duties for him, and that this of the Burggrafship had fallen mostly obsolete; so he sold it to the Nurnbergers for a round sum: only the Principalities and Territories are retained in that quarter. About which too, and their feudal duties, boundaries and tolls, with a jealous litigious Nurnberg for neighbor, there at length came quarrelling enough. But Albert the third Brother, over at Anspach, took charge of all that; and nothing of it fell in Johann's way.
The good Alchemist died,—performed his last sublimation, poor man,—six or seven years before his Brother Friedrich; age then sixty-three. [14th November, 1464.] Friedrich, with his Iron Teeth and faculties, only held out till fifty-eight,—10th February, 1471. The manner of his end was peculiar. In that War with Pommern, he sat besieging a Pomeranian town, Uckermunde the name of it: when at dinner one day, a cannon-ball plunged down upon the table, [Michaelis, i. 303.] with such a crash as we can fancy;—which greatly confused the nerves of Friedrich; much injured his hearing, and even his memory thenceforth. In a few months afterwards he resigned, in favor of his Successor; retired to Plassenburg, and there died in about a year more.
Neither Friedrich nor Johann left other than daughters: so that the united Heritage, Brandenburg and Culmbach both, came now to the third Brother, Albert; who has been in Culmbath these many years already. A tall, fiery, tough old gentleman, of formidable talent for fighting, who was called the "ACHILLES OF GERMANY" in his day; being then a very blazing far-seen character, dim as he has now grown. [Born 1414; Kurfurst, 1471-1486.] This Albert Achilles was the Third Elector; Ancestor he of all the Brandenburg and Culmbach Hohenzollern Princes that have since figured in the world. After him there is no break or shift in the succession, down to the little Friedrich now born;—Friedrich the old Grandfather, First KING, was the Twelfth KURFURST.
We have to say, they followed generally in their Ancestors' steps, and had success of the like kind, more or less; Hohenzollerns all of them, by character and behavior as well as by descent. No lack of quiet energy, of thrift, sound sense. There was likewise solid fair-play in general, no founding of yourself on ground that will not carry;—and there was instant, gentle but inexorable, crushing of mutiny, if it showed itself; which, after the Second Elector, or at most the Third, it had altogether ceased to do. Young Friedrich II., upon whom those Berlin Burghers had tried to close their gates, till he should sign some "Capitulation" to their mind, got from them, and not quite in ill-humor, that name IRONTEETH:—"Not the least a Nose-of-wax, this one! No use trying here, then!"—which, with the humor attached to it, is itself symbolical of Friedrich and these Hohenzollern Sovereigns. Albert, his Brother, had plenty of fighting in his time: but it was in the Nurnberg and other distant regions; no fighting, or hardly any, needed in Brandenburg henceforth.
With Nurnberg, and the Ex-Burggrafship there, now when a new generation began to tug at the loose clauses of that Bargain with Friedrich I., and all Free-Towns were going high upon their privileges, Albert had at one time much trouble, and at length actual furious War;—other Free-Towns countenancing and assisting Nurnberg in the affair; numerous petty Princes, feudal Lords of the vicinity, doing the like by Albert. Twenty years ago, all this; and it did not last, so furious was it. "Eight victories," they count on Albert's part,—furious successful skirmishes, call them;—in one of which, I remember, Albert plunged in alone, his Ritters being rather shy; and laid about him hugely, hanging by a standard he had taken, till his life was nearly beaten out. [1449 (Rentsch, p. 399).] Eight victories; and also one defeat, wherein Albert got captured, and had to ransom himself. The captor was one Kunz of Kauffungen, the Nurnberg hired General at the time: a man known to some readers for his Stealing of the Saxon Princes (PRINZENRAUB, they call it); a feat which cost Kunz his head. [Carlyle's Miscellanies (London, 1869), vi. ? PRINZENRAUB.] Albert, however, prevailed in the end, as he was apt to do; and got his Nurnbergers fixed to clauses satisfactory to him.
In his early days he had fought against Poles, Bohemians and others, as Imperial general. He was much concerned, all along, in those abstruse armed-litigations of the Austrian House with its dependencies; and diligently helped the Kaiser,—Friedrich III., rather a weakish, but an eager and greedy Kaiser,—through most of them. That inextricable Hungarian-Bohemian-Polish DONNYBROOK (so we may call it) which Austria had on hand, one of Sigismund's bequests to Austria; distressingly tumultuous Donnybrook, which goes from 1440 to 1471, fighting in a fierce confused manner;—the Anti-Turk Hunniades, the Anti-Austrian Corvinus, the royal Majesties George Podiebrad, Ladislaus POSTHUMUS, Ludwig OHNE HAUT (Ludwig NO-SKIN), and other Ludwigs, Ladislauses and Vladislauses, striking and getting struck at such a rate:—Albert was generally what we may call chief-constable in all that; giving a knock here and then one there, in the Kaiser's name. [Hormayr, ii. 138, 140 (? HUNYADY CORVIN); Rentsch, pp. 389-422; Michaelis, i. 304-313.] Almost from boyhood, he had learned soldiering, which he had never afterwards leisure to forget. Great store of fighting he had,—say half a century of it, off and on, during the seventy and odd years he lasted in this world. With the Donnybrook we spoke of; with the Nurnbergers; with the Dukes of Bavaria (endless bickerings with these Dukes, Ludwig BEARDY, Ludwig SUPERBUS, Ludwig GIBBOSUS or Hunchback, against them and about them, on his own and the Kaiser's score); also with the French, already clutching at Lorraine; also with Charles the Rash of Burgundy;—lastly with the Bishop of Bamberg, who got him excommunicated and would not bury the dead.
Kurfurst Albert's Letter on this last emergency, to his Viceregent in Culmbach, is a famed Piece still extant (date 1481); [Rentsch, p. 409.] and his plan in such emergency, is a simple and likely one: "Carry the dead bodies to the Parson's house; let him see whether he will not bury them by and by!—One must fence off the Devil by the Holy Cross," says Albert,—appeal to Heaven with what honest mother-wit Heaven has vouchsafed one, means Albert. "These fellows" (the Priests), continues he, "would fain have the temporal sword as well as the spiritual. Had God wished there should be only one sword, he could have contrived that as well as the two. He surely did not want for intellect (Er war gar ein weiser Mann),"—want of intellect it clearly was not!—In short, they had to bury the dead, and do reason; and Albert hustled himself well clear of this broil, as he had done of many.
Battle enough, poor man, with steel and other weapons:—and we see he did it with sharp insight, good forecast; now and then in a wildly leonine or AQUILINE manner. A tall hook-nosed man, of lean, sharp, rather taciturn aspect; nose and look are very aquiline; and there is a cloudy sorrow in those old eyes, which seems capable of sudden effulgence to a dangerous extent. He was a considerable, diplomatist too: very great with the Kaiser, Old Friedrich III. (Max's father, Charles V.'s Great-Grandfather); [How admirable Albert is, not to say "almost divine," to the Kaiser's then Secretary, oily-mouthed AEneas Sylvius, afterwards Pope, Rentsch can testify (pp. 401, 586); quoting AEneas's eulogies and gossipries (Historia Rerum Frederici Imperatoris, I conclude, though no book is named). Oily diligent AEneas, in his own young years and in Albert's prime, had of course seen much of this "miracle" of Arms and Art,—"miracle" and "almost divine," so to speak.] and managed many things for him. Managed to get the thrice-lovely Heiress of the Netherlands and Burgundy, Daughter of that Charles the Rash, with her Seventeen Provinces, for Max, (1477) who was thought thereupon by everybody to be the luckiest man alive; though the issue contradicted it before long.
Kurfurst Albert died in 1486, March 11, aged seventy-two. It was some months after Bosworth Fight, where our Crooked Richard got his quietus here in England and brought the Wars of the Roses to their finale:—a little chubby Boy, the son of poor parents at Eisleben in Saxony, Martin Luther the name of him, was looking into this abtruse Universe, with those strange eyes of his, in what rough woollen or linsey-woolsey short-clothes we do not know. [Born 10th November, 1483]
Albert's funeral was very grand; the Kaiser himself, and all the Magnates of the Diet and Reich attending him from Frankfurt to his last resting-place, many miles of road. For he died at the Diet, in Frankfurt-on-Mayn; having fallen ill there while busy,—perhaps too busy for that age, in the harsh spring weather,—electing Prince Maximilian ("lucky Max,") who will be Kaiser too before long, and is already deep in ILL-luck, tragical and other to be King of the Romans. The old Kaiser had "looked in on him at Onolzbach" (Anspach), and brought him along; such a man could not be wanting on such an occasion. A man who "perhaps did more for the German Empire than for the Electorate of Brandenburg," hint some. The Kaiser himself, Friedrich III., was now getting old; anxious to see Max secure, and to set his house in order. A somewhat anxious, creaky, close-fisted, ineffectual old Kaiser; [See Kohler (Munzbelustigungen, vi. 393-401; ii. 89-96, &c.) for a vivid account of him.] distinguished by his luck in getting Max so provided for, and bringing the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands to his House. He is the first of the Hapsburg Kaisers who had what has since been called the "Austrian lip"—protrusive under-jaw, with heavy lip disinclined to shut. He got it from his Mother, and bequeathed it in a marked manner; his posterity to this day bearing traces of it. Mother's name was Cimburgis, a Polish Princess, "Duke of Masovia's daughter;" a lady who had something of the MAULTASCHE in her, in character as well as mouth.—In old Albert, the poor old Kaiser has lost his right hand; and no doubt muses sadly as he rides in the funeral procession.
Albert is buried at Heilsbronn in Frankenland, among his Ancestors,—burial in Brandenburg not yet common for these new Kurfursts:—his skull, in an after-time, used to be shown there, laid on the lid of the tomb; skull marvellous for strength, and for "having no visible sutures," says Rentsch. Pious Brandenburg Officiality at length put an end to that profanation, and restored the skull to its place,—marvellous enough, with what had once dwelt in it, whether it had sutures or not.
Albert's eldest Son, the Fourth Kurfurst, was Johannes Cicero (1486-1499): Johannes was his natural name, to which the epithet "Cicero of Germany (CICERO GERMANIAE)" was added by an admiring public. He had commonly administered the Electorate during his Father's absences; and done it with credit to himself. He was an active man, nowise deficient as a Governor; creditably severe on highway robbers, for one thing,—destroys you "fifteen baronial robber-towers" at a stroke; was also concerned in the Hungarian-Bohemian DONNYBROOK, and did that also well. But nothing struck a discerning public like the talent he had for speaking. Spoke "four hours at a stretch in Kaiser Max's Diets, in elegantly flowing Latin;" with a fair share of meaning, too;—and had bursts of parliamentary eloquence in him that were astonishing to hear. A tall, square-headed man, of erect, cheerfully composed aspect, head flung rather back if anything: his bursts of parliamentary eloquence, once glorious as the day, procured him the name "Johannes CICERO;" and that is what remains of them: for they are sunk now, irretrievable he and they, into the belly of eternal Night; the final resting-place, I do perceive, of much Ciceronian ware in this world. Apparently he had, like some of his Descendants, what would now be called "distinguished literary talents,"—insignificant to mankind and us. I find he was likewise called DER GROSSE, "John the GREAT;" but on investigation it proves to be mere "John the BIG," a name coming from his tall stature and ultimate fatness of body.
For the rest, he left his family well off, connected with high Potentates all around; and had increased his store, to a fair degree, in his time. Besides his eldest Son who followed as Elector, by name Joachim I., a burly gentleman of whom much is written in Books, he left a second Son, Archbishop of Magdeburg, who in time became Archbishop of Mainz and Cardinal of Holy Church, [Ulrich van Hutten's grand "Panegyric" upon this Albert on his first Entrance into Mainz (9th October, 1514),—"entrance with a retinue of 2,000 horse, mainly furnished by the Brandenburg and Culmbach kindred," say the old Books,—is in Ulrichi ab Hutten Equitis Germani Opera (Munch's edition; Berlin, 1821), i. 276-310.]—and by accident got to be forever memorable in Church-History, as we shall see anon. Archbishop of Mainz means withal KUR-MAINZ, Elector of Mainz; who is Chief of the Seven Electors, and as it were their President or "Speaker." Albert was the name of this one; his elder Brother, the then Kur-Brandenburg, was called Joachim. Cardinal Albert Kur-Mainz, like his brother Joachim Kur-Brandenburg, figures much, and blazes widely abroad, in the busy reign of Karl V., and the inextricable Lutheran-Papal, Turk-Christian business it had.
But the notable point in this Albert of Mainz was that of Leo X. and the Indulgences. [Pauli, v. 496-499; Rentsch, p. 869.] Pope Leo had permitted Albert to retain his Archbishopric of Magdeburg and other dignities along with that of Mainz; which was an unusual favor. But the Pope expected to be paid for it,—to have 30,000 ducats (15,000 pounds), almost a King's ransom at that time, for the "Pallium" to Mainz; PALLIUM, or little Bit of woollen Cloth, on sale by the Pope, without which Mainz could not be held. Albert, with all his dignities, was dreadfully short of money at the time. Chapter of Mainz could or would do little or nothing, having been drained lately; Magdeburg, Halberstadt, the like. Albert tried various shifts; tried a little stroke of trade in relics,—gathered in the Mainz district "some hundreds of fractional sacred bones, and three whole bodies," which he sent to Halle for pious purchase;—but nothing came of this branch. The 15,000 pounds remained unpaid; and Pope Leo, building St. Peter's, "furnishing a sister's toilet," and doing worse things, was in extreme need of it. What is to be done? "I could borrow the money from the Fuggers of Augsburg," said the Archbishop hesitatingly; "but then—?"—"I could help you to repay it." said his Holiness: "Could repay the half of it,—if only we had (but they always make such clamor about these things) an Indulgence published in Germany!"—"Well; it must be!" answered Albert at last, agreeing to take the clamor on himself, and to do the feat; being at his wits'-end for money. He draws out his Full-Power, which, as first Spiritual Kurfurst, he has the privilege to do; nominates (1516) one Tetzel for Chief Salesman, a Priest whose hardness of face, and shiftiness of head and hand, were known to him; and—here is one Hohenzollern that has a place in History! Poor man, it was by accident, and from extreme tightness for money. He was by no means a violent Churchman; he had himself inclinations towards Luther, even of a practical sort, as the thing went on. But there was no help for it.
Cardinal Albert, Kur-Mainz, shows himself a copious dexterous public speaker at the Diets and elsewhere in those times; a man intent on avoiding violent methods;—uncomfortably fat in his later years, to judge by the Portraits. Kur-Brandenburg, Kur-Mainz (the younger now officially even greater than the elder), these names are perpetually turning up in the German Histories of that Reformation-Period; absent on no great occasion; and they at length, from amid the meaningless bead-roll of Names, wearisomely met with in such Books, emerge into Persons for us as above.
Albert Achilles the Third Elector had, before his accession, been Margraf of Anspach, and since his Brother the Alchemist's death, Margraf of Baireuth too, or of the whole Principality,—"Margraf of Culmbach" we will call it, for brevity's sake, though the bewildering old Books have not steadily any name for it. [A certain subaltern of this express title, "Margraf of Culmbach" (a Cadet, with some temporary appanage there, who was once in the service of him they call the Winter-King, and may again be transiently heard of by us here), is the altogether Mysterious Personage who prints himself "MARQUIS DE LULENBACH" in Bromley's Collection of Royal Letters (London, 1787), pp. 52, &c.:—one of the most curious Books on the Thirty-Years War; "edited" with a composed stupidity, and cheerful infinitude of ignorance, which still farther distinguish it. The BROMLEY Originals well worth a real editing, turn out, on inquiry, to have been "sold as Autographs, and dispersed beyond recovery, about fifty years ago."] After his accession, Albert Achilles naturally held both Electorate and Principality during the rest of his life. Which was an extremely rare predicament for the two Countries, the big and the little.
No other Elector held them both, for nearly a hundred years; nor then, except as it were for a moment. The two countries, Electorate and Principality, Hohenzollern both, and constituting what the Hohenzollerns had in this world, continued intimately connected; with affinity and clientship carefully kept, up, and the lesser standing always under the express protection and as it were COUSINSHIP of the greater. But they had their separate Princes, Lines of Princes; and they only twice, in the time of these Twelve Electors, came even temporarily under the same head. And as to ultimate union, Brandenburg-Baireuth and Brandenburg-Anspach were not incorporated with Brandenburg-Proper, and its new fortunes, till almost our own day, namely in 1791; nor then either to continue; having fallen to Bavaria, in the grand Congress of Vienna, within the next five-and-twenty years. All which, with the complexities and perplexities resulting from it here, we must, in some brief way, endeavor to elucidate for the reader.
Culmbach the Elector left, at his death, to his Second Son,—properly to two sons, but one of them soon died, and the other became sole possessor;—Friedrich by name; who, as founder of the Elder Line of Brandenburg-Culmbach Princes, must not be forgotten by us. Founder of the First or Elder Line, for there are two Lines; this of Friedrich's having gone out in about a hundred years; and the Anspach-Baireuth territories having fallen home again to Brandenburg;—where, however, they continued only during the then Kurfurst's life. Johann George (1525-1598), Seventh Kurfurst, was he to whom Brandenburg-Culmbach fell home,—nay, strictly speaking, it was but the sure prospect of it that fell home, the thing itself did not quite fall in his time, though the disposal of it did, ["Disposal," 1598; thing itself, 1603, in his Son's time.]—to be conjoined again with Brandenburg-Proper. Conjoined for the short potential remainder of his own life; and then to be disposed of as an apanage again;—which latter operation, as Johann George had three-and-twenty children, could be no difficult one.
Johann George, accordingly (Year 1598), split the Territory in two; Brandenburg-Baireuth was for his second son, Brandenburg-Anspach for his third: hereby again were two new progenitors of Culmbach Princes introduced, and a New Line, Second or "Younger Line" they call it (Line mostly split in two, as heretofore); which—after complex adventures in its split condition, Baireuth under one head, Anspach under another—continues active down to our little Fritz's time and farther. As will become but too apparent to us in the course of this History!—
From of old these Territories had been frequently divided: each has its own little capital, Town of Anspach, Town of Baireuth, [Populations about the same; 16,000 to 17,000 in our time.] suitable for such arrangement. Frequently divided; though always under the closest cousinship, and ready for reuniting, if possible. Generally under the Elder Line too, under Friedrich's posterity, which was rather numerous and often in need of apanages, they had been in separate hands. But the understood practice was not to divide farther; Baireuth by itself, Anspach by itself (or still luckier if one hand could get hold of both),—and especially Brandenburg by itself, uncut by any apanage: this, I observe, was the received practice. But Johann George, wise Kurfurst as he was, wished now to make it surer; and did so by a famed Deed, called the Gera Bond (GERAISCHE VERTRAG), dated 1598, [Michaelis, i. 345.] the last year of Johann George's life.
Hereby, in a Family Conclave held at that Gera, a little town in Thuringen, it was settled and indissolubly fixed, That their Electorate, unlike all others in Germany, shall continue indivisible; Law of Primogeniture, here if nowhere else, is to be in full force; and only the Culmbach Territory (if otherwise unoccupied) can be split off for younger sons. Culmbach can be split off; and this again withal can be split, if need be, into two (Baireuth and Anspach); but not in any case farther. Which Household-Law was strictly obeyed henceforth. Date of it 1598; principal author, Johann George, Seventh Elector. This "Gera Bond" the reader can note for himself as an excellent piece of Hohenzollern thrift, and important in the Brandenburg annals. On the whole, Brandenburg keeps continually growing under these Twelve Hohenzollerns, we perceive; slower or faster, just as the Burggrafdom had done, and by similar methods. A lucky outlay of money (as in the case of Friedrich Ironteeth in the Neumark) brings them one Province, lucky inheritance another:—good management is always there, which is the mother of good luck.
And so there goes on again, from Johann George downwards, a new stream of Culmbach Princes, called the Younger or New Line,—properly two contemporary Lines, of Baireuthers and Anspachers;—always in close affinity to Brandenburg, and with ultimate reversion to Brandenburg, should both Lines fail; but with mutual inheritance if only one. They had intricate fortunes, service in foreign armies, much wandering about, sometimes considerable scarcity of cash: but, for a hundred and fifty years to come, neither Line by any means failed,—rather the contrary, in fact.
Of this latter or New Culmbach Line, or split Line, especially of the Baireuth part of it, our little Wilhelmina, little Fritz's Sister, who became Margravine there, has given all the world notice. From the Anspach part of it (at that time in sore scarcity of cash) came Queen Caroline, famed in our George the Second's time. [See a Synoptic Diagram of these Genealogies, infra, p. 388a.] From it too came an unmomentous Margraf, who married a little Sister of Wilhelmina's and Fritz's; of whom we shall hear. There is lastly a still more unmomentous Margraf, only son of said Unmomentous and his said Spouse; who again combined the two Territories, Baireuth having failed of heirs; and who, himself without heirs, and with a frail Lady Craven as Margravine,—died at Hammersmith, close by us, in 1806; and so ended the troublesome affair. He had already, in 1791, sold off to Prussia all temporary claims of his; and let Prussia have the Heritage at once without waiting farther. Prussia, as we noticed, did not keep it long; and it is now part of the Bavarian Dominion;—for the sake of editors and readers, long may it so continue!
Of this Younger Line, intrinsically rather insignificant to mankind, we shall have enough to write in time and place; we must at present direct our attention to the Elder Line.
Kurfurst Albert Achilles's second son, Friedrich (1460-1536), [Rentsch, pp. 593-602.] the founder of the Elder Culmbach Line, ruled his country well for certain years, and was "a man famed for strength of body and mind;" but claims little notice from us, except for the sons he had. A quiet, commendable, honorable man,—with a certain pathetic dignity, visible even in the eclipsed state he sank into. Poor old gentleman, after grand enough feats in war and peace, he fell melancholy, fell imbecile, blind, soon after middle life; and continued so for twenty years, till he died. During which dark state, say the old Books, it was a pleasure to see with what attention his Sons treated him, and how reverently the eldest always led him out to dinner. [Ib. p. 612.] They live and dine at that high Castle of Plassenburg, where old Friedrich can behold the Red or White Mayn no more. Alas, alas, Plassenburg is now a Correction-House, where male and female scoundrels do beating of hemp; and pious Friedrich, like eloquent Johann, has become a forgotten object. He was of the German Reichs-Array, who marched to the Netherlands to deliver Max from durance; Max, the King of the Romans, whom, for all his luck, the mutinous Flemings had put under lock-and-key at one time. [1482 (Pauli, ii. 389): his beautiful young Wife, "thrown from her horse," had perished in a thrice-tragic way, short while before; and the Seventeen Provinces were unruly under the guardianship of Max.] That is his one feat memorable to me at present.
He was Johann Cicero's HALF-brother, child by a second wife. Like his Uncle Kurfurst Friedrich II., he had married a Polish Princess; the sharp Achilles having perhaps an eye to crowns in that direction, during that Hungarian-Bohemian-Polish Donnybrook. But if so, there again came nothing of a crown with it; though it was not without its good results for Friedrich's children by and by.
He had eight Sons that reached manhood; five or six of whom came to something considerable in the world, and Three are memorable down to this day. One of his daughters he married to the Duke of Liegnitz in Silesia; which is among the first links I notice of a connection that grew strong with that sovereign Duchy, and is worth remarking by my readers here. Of the Three notable Sons it is necessary that we say something. Casimir, George, Albert are the names of these Three.
Casimir, the eldest, [1481-1527.] whose share of heritage is Baireuth, was originally intended for the Church; but inclining rather to secular and military things, or his prospects of promotion altering, he early quitted that; and took vigorously to the career of arms and business. A truculent-looking Herr, with thoughtful eyes, and hanging under-lip:—HAT of enviable softness; loose disk of felt flung carelessly on, almost like a nightcap artificially extended, so admirably soft;—and the look of the man Casimir, between his cataract of black beard and this semi-nightcap, is carelessly truculent. He had much fighting with the Nurnbergers and others; laid it right terribly on, in the way of strokes, when needful. He was especially truculent upon the Revolt of Peasants in their BAUERNKRIEG (1525). Them in their wildest rage he fronted; he, that others might rally to him: "Unhappy mortals, will you shake the world to pieces, then, because you have much to complain of?" and hanged the ringleaders of them literally by the dozen, when quelled and captured. A severe, rather truculent Herr. His brother George, who had Anspach for heritage, and a right to half those prisoners, admonished and forgave his half; and pleaded hard with Casimir for mercy to the others, in a fine Letter still extant; [In Rentsch, p. 627.] which produced no effect on Casimir. For the dog's sake, and for all sakes, "let not the dog learn to eat LEATHER;" (of which his indispensable leashes and muzzles are made)! That was a proverb often heard on the occasion, in Luther's mouth among the rest.
Casimir died in 1527, age then towards fifty. For the last dozen years or so, when the Father's malady became hopeless, he had governed Culmbach, both parts of it; the Anspach part, which belonged to his next brother George, going naturally, in almost all things, along with Baireuth; and George, who was commonly absent, not interfering, except on important occasions. Casimir left one little Boy, age then only six, name Albert; to whom George, henceforth practical sovereign of Culmbach, as his Brother had been, was appointed Guardian. This youth, very full of fire, wildfire too much of it, exploded dreadfully on Germany by and by (Albert ALCIBIADES the name they gave him); nay, towards the end of his nonage, he had been rather sputtery upon his Uncle, the excellent Guardian who had charge of him.
Uncle George of Anspach, Casimir's next Brother, had always been of a peaceabler disposition than Casimir; not indeed without heat of temper, and sufficient vivacity of every kind. As a youth, he had aided Kaiser Max in two of his petty wars; but was always rather given "to reading Latin," to Learning, and ingenious pursuits. His Polish Mother, who, we perceive, had given "Casimir" his name, proved much more important to George. At an early age he went to his Uncle Vladislaus, King of Hungary and Bohemia: for—Alas, after all, we shall have to cast a glance into that unbeautiful Hungarian-Bohemian scramble, comparable to an "Irish Donnybrook," where Albert Achilles long walked as Chief-Constable. It behooves us, after all, to point out some of the tallest heads in it; and whitherward, bludgeon in hand, they seem to be swaying and struggling.—Courage, patient reader!
George, then, at an early age went to his Uncle Vladislaus, King of Hungary and Bohemia: for George's Mother, as we know, was of royal kin; daughter of the Polish King, Casimir IV. (late mauler of the Teutsch Ritters); which circumstance had results for George and us. Daughter of Casimir IV. the Lady was; and therefore of the Jagellon blood by her father, which amounts to little; but by her mother she was Granddaughter of that Kaiser Albert II. who "got Three Crowns in one year, and died the next;" whose posterity have ever since,—up to the lips in trouble with their confused competitive accompaniments, Hunniades, Corvinus, George Podiebrad and others, not to speak of dragon Turks coiling ever closer round you on the frontier,—been Kings of Hungary and Bohemia; TWO of the crowns (the HERITABLE two) which were got by Kaiser Albert in that memorable year. He got them, as the reader may remember, by having the daughter of Kaiser Sigismund to wife,—Sigismund SUPER-GRAMMATICAM, whom we left standing, red as a flamingo, in the market-place of Constance a hundred years ago. Thus Time rolls on in its many-colored manner, edacious and feracious.
It is in this way that George's Uncle, Vladislaus, Albert's daughter's son, is now King of Hungary and Bohemia: the last King Vladislaus they had; and the last King but one, of any kind, as we shall see anon. Vladislaus was heir of Poland too, could he have managed to get it; but he gave up that to his brother, to various younger brothers in succession; having his hands full with the Hungarian and Bohemian difficulty. He was very fond of Nephew George; well recognizing the ingenuous, wise and loyal nature of the young man. He appointed George tutor of his poor son Ludwig; whom he left at the early age of ten, in an evil world, and evil position there. "Born without Skin," they say, that is, born in the seventh month;—called Ludwig OHNE HAUT (Ludwig NO-Skin), on that account. Born certainly, I can perceive, rather thin of skin; and he would have needed one of a rhinoceros thickness!
George did his function honestly, and with success: Ludwig grew up a gallant, airy, brisk young King, in spite of difficulties, constitutional and other; got a Sister of the great Kaiser Karl V. to wife;—determined (A.D. 1526) to have a stroke at the Turk dragon; which, was coiling round his frontier, and spitting fire at an intolerable rate. Ludwig, a fine young man of twenty, marched away with much Hungarian chivalry, right for the Turk (Summer 1526); George meanwhile going busily to Bohemia, and there with all his strength levying troops for reinforcement. Ludwig fought and fenced, for some time, with the Turk outskirts; came at last to a furious general battle with the Turk (29th August, 1526), at a place called Mohacz, far east in the flats of the Lower Donau; and was there tragically beaten and ended. Seeing the Battle gone, and his chivalry all in flight, Ludwig too had to fly; galloping for life, he came upon bog which proved bottomless, as good as bottomless; and Ludwig, horse and man, vanished in it straightway from this world. Hapless young man, like a flash of lightning suddenly going down there—and the Hungarian Sovereignty along with him. For Hungary is part of Austria ever since; having, with Bohemia, fallen to Karl V.'s Brother Ferdinand, as now the nearest convenient heir of Albert with his Three Crowns. Up to the lips in difficulties to this day!—
George meanwhile, with finely appointed reinforcements, was in full march to join Ludwig; but the sad news of Mohacz met him: he withdrew, as soon as might be, to his own territory, and quitted Hungarian politics. This, I think, was George's third and last trial of war. He by no means delighted in that art, or had cultivated it like Casimir and some of his brothers.—
George by this time had considerable property; part of it important to the readers of this History. Anspach we already know; but the Duchy of Jagerndorf,—that and its pleasant valleys, fine hunting-grounds and larch-clad heights, among the Giant Mountains of Silesia,—that is to us the memorable territory. George got it in this manner:—
Some ten or fifteen years ago, the late King Vladislaus, our Uncle of blessed memory, loving George, and not having royal moneys at command, permitted him to redeem with his own cash certain Hungarian Domains, pledged at a ruinously cheap rate, but unredeemable by Vladislaus. George did so; years ago, guess ten or fifteen. George did not like the Hungarian Domains, with their Turk and other inconveniences; he proposed to exchange them with King Vladislaus for the Bohemian-Silesian Duchy of Jagerndorf; which had just then, by failure of heirs, lapsed to the King. This also Vladislaus, the beneficent cashless Uncle, liking George more and more, permitted to be done. And done it was; I see not in what year; only that the ultimate investiture (done, this part of the affair, by Ludwig OHNE HAUT, and duly sanctioned by the Kaiser) dates 1524, two years before the fatal Mohacz business.
From the time of this purchase, and especially till Brother Casimir's death, which happened in 1527, George resided oftener at Jagerndorf than at Anspach. Anspach, by the side of Baireuth, needed no management; and in Jagerndorf much probably required the hand of a good Governor to put it straight again. The Castle of Jagerndorf, which towers up there in a rather grand manner to this day, George built: "the old Castle of the Schellenbergs" (extinct predecessor Line) now gone to ruins, "stands on a Hill with larches on it, some miles off." Margraf George was much esteemed as Duke of Jagerndorf. What his actions in that region were, I know not; but it seems he was so well thought of in Silesia, two smaller neighboring Potentates, the Duke of Oppeln and the Duke of Ratibor, who had no heirs of their body, bequeathed, with the Kaiser's assent, these towns and territories to George: [Rentsch, pp. 623, 127-131. Kaiser is Ferdinand, Karl V.'s Brother,—as yet only KING of Bohemia and Hungary, but supreme in regard to such points. His assent is dated "17th June, 1531" in Rentsch.]—in mere love to their subjects (Rentsch intimates), that poor men might be governed by a wise good Duke, in the time coming. The Kaiser would have got the Duchies otherwise.
Nay the Kaiser, in spite of his preliminary assent, proved extortionate to George in this matter; and exacted heavy sums for the actual possession of Oppeln and Ratibor. George, going so zealously ahead in Protestant affairs, grew less and less a favorite with Kaisers. But so, at any rate, on peaceable unquestionable grounds, grounds valid as Imperial Law and ready money, George is at last Lord of these two little Countries, in the plain of South-Silesia, as of Jagerndorf among the Mountains hard by. George has and holds the Duchy of Jagerndorf, with these appendages (Jagerndorf since 1524, Ratibor and Oppeln since some years later); and lives constantly, or at the due intervals, in his own strong Mountain-Castle of Jagerndorf there,—we have no doubt, to the marked benefit of good men in those parts. Hereby has Jagerndorf joined itself to the Brandenburg Territories: and the reader can note the circumstance, for it will prove memorable one day.
In the business of the Reformation, Margraf George was very noble. A simple-hearted, truth-loving, modestly valiant man; rising unconsciously, in that great element, into the heroic figure. "George the Pious (DER FROMME)," "George the Confessor (BEKENNER)," were the names he got from his countrymen. Once this business had become practical, George interfered a little more in the Culmbach Government; his brother Casimir, who likewise had Reformation tendencies, rather hanging back in comparison to George.
In 1525 the Town-populations, in the Culmbach region, big Nurnberg in the van, had gone quite ahead in the new Doctrine; and were becoming irrepressibly impatient to clear out the old mendacities, and have the Gospel preached freely to them. This was a questionable step; feasible perhaps for a great Elector of Saxony;—but for a Margraf of Anspach? George had come home from Jagerndorf, some three hundred miles away, to look into it for himself; found it, what with darkness all round, what with precipices menacing on both hands, and zealous, inconsiderate Town-populations threatening to take the bit between their teeth, a frightfully intricate thing. George mounted his horse, one day this year, day not dated farther, and "with only six attendants" privately rode off, another two hundred miles, a good three days' ride, to Wittenberg; and alighted at Dr. Martinus Lutherus's door. [Rentsch, p. 625.] A notable passage; worth thinking of. But such visits of high Princes, to that poor house of the Doctor's, were not then uncommon. Luther cleared the doubts of George; George returned with a resolution taken; "Ahead then, ye poor Voigtland Gospel populations! I must lead you, we must on!"—And perils enough there proved to be, and precipices on each hand: BAUERNKRIEG, that is to say Peasants'-War, Anabaptistry and Red-Republic, on the one hand; REICHS-ACHT, Ban of Empire, on the other. But George, eagerly, solemnly attentive, with ever new light rising on him, dealt with the perils as they came; and went steadily on, in a simple, highly manful and courageous manner.
He did not live to see the actual Wars that followed on Luther's preaching:—he was of the same age with Luther, born few months later, and died two years before Luther; [4th March, 1484,—27th Dec., 1543, George; 10th November, 1483—18th February, 1546, Luther.]—but in all the intermediate principal transactions George is conspicuously present; "George of Brandenburg," as the Books call him, or simply "Margraf George."
At the Diet of Augsburg (1530), and the signing of the Augsburg Confession there, he was sure to be. He rode thither with his Anspach Knightage about him, "four hundred cavaliers,"—Seckendorfs, Huttens, Flanses and other known kindreds, recognizable among the lists; [Rentsch, p. 633.]—and spoke there, notbursts of parliamentary eloquence, but things that had meaning in them. One speech of his, not in the Diet, but in the Kaiser's Lodging (15th June, 1530; no doubt, in Anton Fugger's house, where the Kaiser "lodged for year and day" this time but WITHOUT the "fires of cinnamon" they talk of on other occasions [See Carlyle's Miscellanies (iii. 259 n.). The House is at present an Inn, "Gasthaus zu den drei Mohren;"where tourists lodge, and are still shown the room which the Kaiser occupied on such visits.]), is still very celebrated. It was the evening of the Kaiser Karl Fifth's arrival at the Diet; which was then already, some time since, assembled there. And great had been the Kaiser's reception that morning; the flower of Germany, all the Princes of the Empire, Protestant and Papal alike, riding out to meet him, in the open country, at the Bridge of the Lech. With high-flown speeches and benignities, on both sides;—only that the Kaiser willed all men, Protestant and other, should in the mean while do the Popish litanyings, waxlight processionings and idolatrous stage-performances with him on the morrow, which was CORPUS-CHRISTI Day; and the Protestants could not nor would. Imperial hints there had already been, from Innspruck; benign hopes, of the nature of commands, That loyal Protestant Princes would in the interim avoid open discrepancies,—perhaps be so loyal as keep their chaplains, peculiar divine-services, private in the interim? These were hints;—and now this of the CORPUS-CHRISTI, a still more pregnant hint! Loyal Protestants refused it, therefore; flatly declined, though bidden and again bidden. They attended in a body, old Johann of Saxony, young Philip of Hessen, and the rest; Margraf George, as spokesman, with eloquent simplicity stating their reasons,—to somewhat this effect:—
Invinciblest all-gracious Kaiser, loyal are we to your high Majesty, ready to do your bidding by night and by day. But it is your bidding under God, not against God. Ask us not, O gracious Kaiser! I cannot, and we cannot; and we must not, and dare not. And "before I would deny my God and his Evangel," these are George's own words, "I would rather kneel down here before your Majesty, and have my head struck off,"—hitting his hind-head, or neck, with the edge of his hand, by way of accompaniment; a strange radiance in the eyes of him, voice risen into musical alt: "Ehe Ich wolte meinen Gott und sein Evangelium verlaugnen, ehe wolte Ich hier vor Eurer Majestat niderknien, und mir den Kopf abhauen lassen."—"Nit Kop ab, lover Forst, nit Kop ab!" answered Charles in his Flemish-German; "Not head off, dear Furst, not head off!" said the Kaiser, a faint smile enlightening those weighty gray eyes of his, and imperceptibly animating the thick Austrian under-lip. [Rentsch, p. 637. Marheineke, Geschichte der Teutschen Reformation (Berlin, 1831), ii. 487.]
Speaker and company attended again on the morrow; Margraf George still more eloquent. Whose Speech flew over Germany, like fire over dry flax; and still exists,—both Speeches now oftenest rolled into one by inaccurate editors. [As by Rentsch, ubi supra.] And the CORPUS-CHRISTI idolatries were forborne the Margraf and his company this time;—the Kaiser himself, however, walking, nearly roasted in the sun, in heavy purple-velvet cloak, with a big wax-candle, very superfluous, guttering and blubbering in the right hand of him, along the streets of Augsburg. Kur-Brandenburg, Kur-Mainz, high cousins of George, were at this Diet of Augsburg; Kur-Brandenburg (Elector Joachim I., Cicero's son, of whom we have spoken, and shall speak again) being often very loud on the conservative side; and eloquent Kur-Mainz going on the conciliatory tack. Kur-Brandenburg, in his zeal, had ridden on to Innspruck, to meet the Kaiser there, and have a preliminary word with him. Both these high Cousins spoke, and bestirred themselves, a good deal, at this Diet. They had met the Kaiser on the plains of the Lech, this morning; and, no doubt, gloomed unutterable things on George and his Speech. George could not help it.
Till his death in 1543, George is to be found always in the front line of this high Movement, in the line where Kur-Sachsen, John the Steadfast (DER BESTANDIGE), and young Philip the Magnanimous of Hessen were, and where danger and difficulty were. Readers of this enlightened gold-nugget generation can form to themselves no conception of the spirit that then possessed the nobler kingly mind. "The command of God endures through Eternity, Verbum Dei Manet In AEternum," was the Epigraph and Life-motto which John the Steadfast had adopted for himself; "V. D. M. I. AE.," these initials he had engraved on all the furnitures of his existence, on his standards, pictures, plate, on the very sleeves of his lackeys,—and I can perceive, on his own deep heart first of all. V. D. M. I. E.:—or might it not be read withal, as Philip of Hessen sometimes said (Philip, still a young fellow, capable of sport in his magnanimous scorn), "Verbum Diaboli Manet In Episcopis, The Devil's Word sticks fast in the Bishops"?
We must now take leave of Margraf George and his fine procedures in that crisis of World-History. He had got Jugerndorf, which became important for his Family and others: but what was that to the Promethean conquests (such we may call them) which he had the honor to assist in making for his Family, and for his Country, and for all men;—very unconscious he of "bringing fire from Heaven," good modest simple man! So far as I can gather, there lived, in that day, few truer specimens of the Honest Man. A rugged, rough-hewn, rather blunt-nosed physiognomy: cheek-bones high, cheeks somewhat bagged and wrinkly; eyes with a due shade of anxiety and sadness in them; affectionate simplicity, faithfulness, intelligence, veracity looking out of every feature of him. Wears plentiful white beard short-cut, plentiful gold-chains, ruffs, ermines;—a hat not to be approved of, in comparison with brother Casimir's; miserable inverted-colander of a hat; hanging at an angle of forty-five degrees; with band of pearls round the top not the bottom of it; insecure upon the fine head of George, and by no means to its embellishment.
One of his Daughters he married to the Duke of Liegnitz, a new link in that connection. He left one Boy, George Friedrich; who came under ALCIBIADES, his Cousin of Baireuth's tutelage; and suffered much by that connection, or indeed chiefly by his own conspicuously Protestant turn, to punish which, the Alcibiades connection was taken as a pretext. In riper years, George Friedrich got his calamities brought well under; and lived to do good work, Protestant and other, in the world. To which we may perhaps allude again. The Line of Margraf George the Pious ends in this George Friedrich, who had no children; the Line of Margraf George, and the Elder Culmbach Line altogether (1603), Albert Alcibiades, Casimir's one son, having likewise died without posterity.
"Of the younger Brothers," says my Authority, "some four were in the Church; two of whom rose to be Prelates;—here are the four:—
"1. One, Wilhelm by name, was Bishop of Riga, in the remote Prussian outskirts, and became Protestant;—among the first great Prelates who took that heretical course; being favored by circumstances to cast out the 'V. D. (Verbum Diaboli),' as Philip read it. He is a wise-looking man, with magnificent beard, with something of contemptuous patience in the meditative eyes of him. He had great troubles with his Riga people,—as indeed was a perennial case between their Bishop and them, of whatever creed he might be.
"2. The other Prelate held fast by the Papal Orthodoxy: he had got upon the ladder of promotion towards Magdeburg; hoping to follow his Cousin KUR-MAINZ, the eloquent conciliatory Cardinal, in that part of his pluralities. As he did,—little to his comfort, poor man; having suffered a good deal in the sieges and religious troubles of his Magdeburgers; who ended by ordering him away, having openly declared themselves Protestant, at length. He had to go; and occupy himself complaining, soliciting Aulic-Councils and the like, for therest of his life.
"3. The PROBST of Wurzburg (PROVOST, kind of Head-Canon there); orthodox Papal he too; and often gave his Brother George trouble.
"4. A still more orthodox specimen, the youngest member of the family, who is likewise in orders: Gumbrecht ('Gumbertus, a Canonicus of' Something or other, say the Books); who went early to Rome, and became one of his Holiness Leo Tenth's Chamberlains;—stood the 'Sack of Rome' (Constable de Bourbon's), and was captured there and ransomed;—but died still young (1528). These three were Catholics, he of Wurzburg a rather virulent one."
Catholic also was JOHANNES, a fifth Brother, who followed the soldiering and diplomatic professions, oftenest in Spain; did Government-messages to Diets, and the like, for Karl V.; a high man and well seen of his Kaiser;—he had wedded the young Widow of old King Ferdinand in Spain; which proved, seemingly, a troublous scene for poor Johannes. What we know is, he was appointed Commandant of Valencia; and died there, still little turned of thirty,—by poison it is supposed,—and left his young Widow to marry a third time.
These are the Five minor Brothers, four of them Catholic, sons of old blind Friedrich of Plassenburg; who are not, for their own sake, memorable, but are mentionable for the sake of the three major Brothers. So many orthodox Catholics, while Brother George and others went into the heresies at such a rate! A family much split by religion:—and blind old Friedrich, dim of intellect, knew nothing of it; and the excellent Polish Mother said and thought, we know not what. A divided Time!—
Johannes of Valencia, and these Chief Priests, were all men of mark; conspicuous to the able editors of their day: but the only Brother now generally known to mankind is Albert, Hochmeister of the Teutsch Ritterdom; by whom Preussen came into the Family. Of him we must now speak a little.
Albert was born in 1490; George's junior by six years, Casimir's by nine. He too had been meant for the Church; but soon quitted that, other prospects and tendencies opening. He had always loved the ingenuous arts; but the activities too had charms for him. He early shone in his exercises spiritual and bodily; grew tall above his fellows, expert in arts, especially in arms;—rode with his Father to Kaiser Max's Court; was presented by him, as the light of his eyes, to Kaiser Max; who thought him a very likely young fellow; and bore him in mind, when the Mastership of the Teutsch Ritterdom fell vacant. [Rentsch, pp. 840-863.]
The Teutsch Ritterdom, ever since it got its back broken in that Battle of Tannenberg in 1410, and was driven out of West-Preussen with such ignominious kicks, has been lying bedrid, eating its remaining revenues, or sprawling about in helpless efforts to rise again, which require no notice from us. Hopeless of ever recovering West-Preussen, it had quietly paid its homage to Poland for the Eastern part of that Country; quietly for some couple of generations. But, in the third or fourth generation after Tannenberg, there began to rise murmurs,—in the Holy Roman Empire first of all. "Preussen is a piece of the Reich," said hot, inconsiderate people; "Preussen could not be alienated without consent of the Reich!" To which discourses the afflicted Ritters listened only too gladly; their dull eyes kindling into new false hopes at sound of them. The point was, To choose as Hochmeister some man of German influence, of power and connection in the Country, who might help them to their so-called right. With this view, they chose one and then another of such sort;—and did not find it very hopeful, as we shall see.
Albert was chosen Grand-Master of Preussen, in February, 1511; age then twenty-one. Made his entry into Konigsberg, November next year; in grand cavalcade, "dreadful storm of rain and wind at the time,"—poor Albert all in black, and full of sorrow, for the loss of his Mother, the good Polish Princess, who had died since he left home. Twenty months of preparation he had held since his Election, before doing anything: for indeed the case was intricate. He, like his predecessor in office, had undertaken to refuse that Homage to Poland; the Reich generally, and Kaiser Max himself, in a loose way of talk, encouraging him: "A piece of the Reich," said they all; "Teutsch Ritters had no power to give it away in that manner." Which is a thing more easily said, than made good in the way of doing.
Albert's predecessor, chosen on this principle, was a Saxon Prince, Friedrich of Meissen; cadet of Saxony; potently enough connected, he too; who, in like manner, had undertaken to refuse the Homage. And zealously did refuse it, though to his cost, poor man. From the Reich, for all its big talking, he got no manner of assistance; had to stave off a Polish War as he could, by fair-speaking, by diplomacies and contrivances; and died at middle age, worn down by the sorrows of that sad position.
An idea prevails, in ill-informed circles, that our new Grand-Master Albert was no better than a kind of cheat; that he took this Grand-Mastership of Preussen; and then, in gayety of heart, surreptitiously pocketed Preussen for his own behoof. Which is an idle idea; inconsistent with the least inquiry, or real knowledge how the matter stood. [Voigt, ix. 740-749; Pauli, iv. 404-407.] By no means in gayety of heart, did Albert pocket Preussen; nor till after as tough a struggle to do other with it as could have been expected of any man.
One thing not suspected by the Teutsch Ritters, and least of all by their young Hochmeister, was, That the Teutsch Ritters had well deserved that terrible down-come at Tannenberg, that ignominious dismissal out of West-Preussen with kicks. Their insolence, luxury, degeneracy had gone to great lengths. Nor did that humiliation mend them at all; the reverse rather. It was deeply hidden from the young Hochmeister as from them, That probably they were now at length got to the end of their capability: and ready to be withdrawn from the scene, as soon as any good way offered!—Of course, they Were reluctant enough to fulfil their bargain to Poland; very loath they to do Homage now for Preussen, and own themselves sunk to the second degree. For the Ritters had still their old haughtiness of humor, their deepseated pride of place, gone now into the unhappy CONSCIOUS state. That is usually the last thing that deserts a sinking House: pride of place, gone to the conscious state;—as if, in a reverse manner, the House felt that it deserved to sink.
For the rest, Albert's position among them was what Friedrich of Sachsen's had been; worse, not better; and the main ultimate difference was, he did not die of it, like Friedrich of Sachsen; but found an outlet, not open in Friedrich's time, and lived. To the Ritters, and vague Public which called itself the Reich, Albert had promised he would refuse the Homage to Poland; on which Ritters and Reich had clapt their hands: and that was pretty much all the assistance he got of them. The Reich, as a formal body, had never asserted its right to Preussen, nor indeed spoken definitely on the subject: it was only the vague Public that had spoken, in the name of the Reich. From the Reich, or from any individual of it, Kaiser or Prince, when actually applied to, Albert could get simply nothing. From what, Ritters were in Preussen, he might perhaps expect promptitude to fight, if it came to that; which was not much as things stood. But, from the great body of the Ritters, scattered over Germany, with their rich territories (BALLEYS, bailliwicks), safe resources, and comfortable "Teutschmeister" over them, he got flat refusal: [The titles HOCHMEISTER and TEUTSCHMEISTER are defined, in many Books and in all manner of Dictionaries, as meaning the same thing. But that is not quite the case. They were at first synonymous, so far as I can see; and after Albert's time, they again became so; but at the date where we now are, and for a long while back, they represent different entities, and indeed oftenest, since the Prussian DECLINE began, antagonistic ones. Teutschmeister, Sub-president over the GERMAN affairs and possessions of the Order, resides at Mergentheim in that Country: Hochmeister is Chief President of the whole, but resident at Marienburg in Preussen, and feels there acutely where the shoe pinches,—much too acutely, thinks the Teutschmeister in his soft list-slippers, at Mergentheim in the safe Wurzburg region.] "We will not be concerned in the adventure at all; we wish you well through it!" Never was a spirited young fellow placed in more impossible position. His Brother Casimir (George was then in Hungary), his Cousin Joachim Kur-Brandenburg, Friedrich Duke of Liegnitz, a Silesian connection of the Family, ["Duke Friedrich II.:" comes by mothers from Kurfurst Friedrich I.; marries Margraf George's Daughter even now, 1519 (Hubner, tt. 179, 100, 101).] consulted, advised, negotiated to all lengths, Albert's own effort was incessant. "Agree with King Sigismund," said they; "Uncle Sigismund, your good Mother's Brother; a King softly inclined to us all!"—"How agree?" answered Albert: "He insists on the Homage, which I have promised not to give!" Casimir went and came, to Konigsberg, to Berlin; went once himself to Cracow, to the King, on this errand: but it was a case of "Yes AND No;" not to be solved by Casimir.
As to King Sigismund, he was patient with it to a degree; made the friendliest paternal professions;—testifying withal, That the claim was undeniable; and could by him, Sigismund, never be foregone with the least shadow of honor, and of course never would: "My dear Nephew can consider whether his dissolute, vain-minded, half-heretical Ritterdom, nay whether this Prussian fraction of it, is in a condition to take Poland by the beard in an unjust quarrel; or can hope to do Tannenberg over again in the reverse way, by Beelzehub's help?"—
For seven years, Albert held out in this intermediate state, neither peace nor war; moving Heaven and Earth to raise supplies, that he might be able to defy Poland, and begin war. The Reich answers, "We have really nothing for you." Teutschmeister answers again and again, "I tell you we have nothing!" In the end, Sigismund grew impatient; made (December, 1519) some movements of a hostile nature. Albert did not yield; eager only to procrastinate till he were ready. By superhuman efforts, of borrowing, bargaining, soliciting, and galloping to and fro, Albert did, about the end of next year, get up some appearance of an Army: "14,000 German mercenaries horse and foot," so many in theory; who, to the extent of 8,000 in actual result, came marching towards him (October, 1520); to serve "for eight months." With these he will besiege Dantzig, besiege Thorn; will plunge, suddenly, like a fiery javelin, into the heart of Poland, and make Poland surrender its claim. Whereupon King Sigismund bestirred himself in earnest; came out with vast clouds of Polish chivalry; overset Albert's 8,000;—who took to eating the country, instead of fighting for it; being indeed in want of all things. One of the gladdest days Albert had yet seen, was when he got the 8,000 sent home again.
What then is to be done? "Armistice for four years," Sigismund was still kind enough to consent to that: "Truce for four years: try everywhere, my poor Nephew; after that, your mind will perhaps become pliant." Albert tried the Reich again: "Four years, O Princes, and then I must do it, or be eaten!" Reich, busy with Lutheran-Papal, Turk-Christian quarrels, merely shrugged its shoulders upon Albert. Teutschmeister did the like; everybody the like. In Heaven or Earth, then, is there no hope for me? thought Albert. And his stock of ready money—we will not speak of that!
Meanwhile Dr. Osiander of Anspach had come to him; and the pious young man was getting utterly shaken in his religion. Monkish vows, Pope, Holy Church itself, what is one to think, Herr Doctor? Albert, religious to an eminent degree, was getting deep into Protestantism. In his many journeyings, to Nurnberg, to Brandenburg, and up and down, he had been at Wittenberg too: he saw Luther in person more than once there; corresponded with Luther; in fine believed in the truth of Luther. The Culmbach Brothers were both, at least George ardently was, inclined to Protestantism, as we have seen; but Albert was foremost of the three in this course. Osiander and flights of zealous Culmbach Preachers made many converts in Preussen. In these circumstances the Four Years came to a close.
Albert, we may believe, is greatly at a loss; and deep deliberations, Culmbach, Berlin, Liegnitz, Poland all called in, are held:—a case beyond measure intricate. You have given your word; word must be kept,—and cannot, without plain hurt, or ruin even, to those that took it of you. Withdraw, therefore; fling it up!—Fling it up? A valuable article to fling up; fling it up is the last resource. Nay, in fact, to whom will you fling it up? The Prussian Ritters themselves are getting greatly divided on the point; and at last on all manner of points, Protestantism ever more spreading among them. As for the German Brethren, they and their comfortable Teutschmeister, who refused to partake in the dangerous adventure at all; are they entitled to have much to say in the settlement of it now?—
Among others, or as chief oracle of all, Luther was consulted. "What would you have me do towards reforming the Teutsch Order?" inquired Albert of his oracle. Luther's answer was, as may be guessed, emphatic. "Luther," says one reporter, "has in his Writings declared the Order to be 'a thing serviceable neither to God nor man,' and the constitution of it 'a monstrous, frightful, hermaphroditish, neither secular nor spiritual constitution.'" [C. J. Weber, Daa Ritterwessen (Stuttgard, 1837), iii. 208.] We do not know what Luther's answer to Albert was;—but can infer the purport of it: That such a Teutsch Ritterdom was not, at any rate, a thing long for this world; that white cloaks with black crosses on them would not, of themselves, profit any Ritterdom; that solemn vows and high supramundane professions, followed by such practice as was notorious, are an afflicting, not to say a damnable, spectacle on God's Earth;—that a young Herr had better marry; better have done with the wretched Babylonian Nightmare of Papistry altogether; better shake oneself awake, in God's name, and see if there are not still monitions in the eternal sky as to what it is wise to do, and wise not to do!—This I imagine to have been, in modern language, the purport of Dr. Luther's advice to Hochmeister Albrecht on the present interesting occasion.
It is certain, Albert, before long, took this course; Uncle Sigismund and the resident Officials of the Ritterdom having made agreement to it as the one practicable course. The manner as follows: 1. Instead of Elected Hochmeister, let us be Hereditary Duke of Preussen, and pay homage for it to Uncle Sigismund in that character. 2. Such of the resident Officials of the Ritterdom as are prepared to go along with us, we will in like manner constitute permanent Feudal Proprietors of what they now possess as Life-rent, and they shall be Sub-vassals under us as Hereditary Duke. 3. In all which Uncle Sigismund and the Republic of Poland engage to maintain us against the world.
That is, in sum, the Transaction entered into, by King Sigismund I. of Poland, on the one part, and Hochmeister Albert and his Ritter Officials, such as went along with him, (which of course none could do that were not Protestant), on the other part: done at Cracow, 8th April, 1525. [Rentsch, p. 850.—Here, certified by Rentsch, Voigt and others, is a worn-out patch of Paper, which is perhaps worth printing:—
1490, May 17, Albert is born. 1511, February 14, Hochmeister. 1519, December, King Sigismund's first hostile movements. 1520, October, German Mercenaries arrive. 1520, November, try Siege of Dantzig. 1520, November 17, give it up. 1521, April 10, Truce for Four Years. 1523, June, Albert consults Luther. 1524, November, sees Luther. 1525, April 8, Peace of Cracow, and Albert to be Duke of Prussia.] Whereby Teutsch Ritterdom, the Prussian part of it, vanished from the world; dissolving itself, and its "hermaphrodite constitution," like a kind of Male Nunnery, as so many female ones had done in those years. A Transaction giving rise to endless criticism, then and afterwards. Transaction plainly not reconcilable with the letter of the law; and liable to have logic chopped upon it to any amount, and to all lengths of time. The Teutschmeister and his German Brethren shrieked murder; the whole world, then, and for long afterwards, had much to say and argue.
To us, now that the logic-chaff is all laid long since, the question is substantial, not formal. If the Teutsch Ritterdom was actually at this time DEAD, actually stumbling about as a mere galvanized Lie beginning to be putrid,—then, sure enough, it behooved that somebody should bury it, to avoid pestilential effects in the neighborhood. Somebody or other;—first flaying the skin off, as was natural, and taking that for his trouble. All turns, in substance, on this latter question! If, again, the Ritterdom was not dead—?
And truly it struggled as hard as Partridge the Almanac-maker to rebut that fatal accusation; complained (Teutschmeister and German-Papist part of it) loudly at the Diets; got Albert and his consorts put to the Ban (GEACHTET), fiercely menaced by the Kaiser Karl V. But nothing came of all that; nothing but noise. Albert maintained his point; Kaiser Karl always found his hands full otherwise, and had nothing but stamped parchments and menaces to fire off at Albert. Teutsch Ritterdom, the Popish part of it, did enjoy its valuable bailliwicks, and very considerable rents in various quarters of Germany and Europe, having lost only Preussen; and walked about, for three centuries more, with money in its pocket, and a solemn white gown with black cross on its back,—the most opulent Social Club in existence, and an excellent place for bestowing younger sons of sixteen quarters. But it was, and continued through so many centuries, in every essential respect, a solemn Hypocrisy; a functionless merely eating Phantasm, of the nature of goblin, hungry ghost or ghoul (of which kind there are many);—till Napoleon finally ordered it to vanish; its time, even as Phantasm, being come.
Albert, I can conjecture, had his own difficulties as Regent in Preussen. [1525-1568.] Protestant Theology, to make matters worse for him, had split itself furiously into 'DOXIES; and there was an OSIANDERISM (Osiander being the Duke's chaplain), much flamed upon by the more orthodox ISM. "Foreigners," too, German-Anspach and other, were ill seen by the native gentlemen; yet sometimes got encouragement. One Funccius, a shining Nurnberg immigrant there, son-in-law of Osiander, who from Theology got into Politics, had at last (1564) to be beheaded,—old Duke Albert himself "bitterly weeping" about him; for it was none of Albert's doing. Probably his new allodial Ritter gentlemen were not the most submiss, when made hereditary? We can only hope the Duke was a Hohenzollern, and not quite unequal to his task in this respect. A man with high bald brow; magnificent spade-beard; air much-pondering, almost gaunt,—gaunt kind of eyes especially, and a slight cast in them, which adds to his severity of aspect. He kept his possession well, every inch of it; and left all safe at his decease in 1568. His age was then near eighty. It was the tenth year of our Elizabeth as Queen; invincible Armada not yet built; but Alba very busy, cutting off high heads in Brabant; and stirring up the Dutch to such fury as was needful for exploding Spain and him.
This Duke Albert was a profoundly religious man, as all thoughtful men then were. Much given to Theology, to Doctors of Divinity; being eager to know God's Laws in this Universe, and wholesomely certain of damnation if he should not follow them. Fond of the profane Sciences too, especially of Astronomy: Erasmus Reinhold and his Tabulae Prutenicae were once very celebrated; Erasmus Reinhold proclaims gratefully how these his elaborate Tables (done according to the latest discoveries, 1551 and onwards) were executed upon Duke Albert's high bounty; for which reason they are dedicated to Duke Albert, and called "PRUTENICAE," meaning PRUSSIAN. [Rentsch, p. 855.] The University of Konigsberg was already founded several years before, in 1544.
Albert had not failed to marry, as Luther counselled: by his first Wife he had only daughters; by his second, one son, Albert Friedrich, who, without opposition or difficulty, succeeded his Father. Thus was Preussen acquired to the Hohenzollern Family; for, before long, the Electoral branch managed to get MITBELEHNUNG (Co-infeftment), that is to say, Eventual Succession; and Preussen became a Family Heritage, as Anspach and Baireuth were.
One word must be spent on poor Albert, Casimir's son, [1522-1557] already mentioned. This poor Albert, whom they call ALCIBIADES, made a great noise in that epoch; being what some define as the "Failure of a Fritz;" who has really features of him we are to call "Friedrich the Great," but who burnt away his splendid qualities as a mere temporary shine for the able editors, and never came to anything.
A high and gallant young fellow, left fatherless in childhood; perhaps he came too early into power:—he came, at any rate, in very volcanic times, when Germany was all in convulsion; the Old Religion and the New having at length broken out into open battle, with huge results to be hoped and feared; and the largest game going on, in sight of an adventurous youth. How Albert staked in it; how he played to immense heights of sudden gain, and finally to utter bankruptcy, I cannot explain here: some German delineator of human destinies, "Artist" worth the name, if there were any, might find in him a fine subject.
He was ward of his Uncle George; and the probable fact is, no guardian could have been more faithful. Nevertheless, on approaching the years of majority, of majority but not discretion, he saw good to quarrel with his Uncle; claimed this and that, which was not granted: quarrel lasting for years. Nay matters ran so high at last, it was like to come to war between them, had not George been wiser. The young fellow actually sent a cartel to his Uncle; challenged him to mortal combat,—at which George only wagged his old beard, we suppose, and said nothing. Neighbors interposed, the Diet itself interposed; and the matter was got quenched again. Leaving Albert, let us hope, a repentant young man. We said he was full of fire, too much of it wildfire.
His profession was Arms; he shone much in war; went slashing and fighting through those Schmalkaldic broils, and others of his time; a distinguished captain; cutting his way towards something high, he saw not well what. He had great comradeship with Moritz of Saxony in the wars: two sworn brothers they, and comrades in arms:—it is the same dexterous Moritz, who, himself a Protestant, managed to get his too Protestant Cousin's Electorate of Saxony into his hand, by luck of the game; the Moritz, too, from whom Albert by and by got his last defeat, giving Moritz his death in return. That was the finale of their comradeship. All things end, and nothing ceases changing till it end.
He was by position originally on the Kaiser's side; had attained great eminence, and done high feats of arms and generalship in his service. But being a Protestant by creed, he changed after that Schmalkaldic downfall (rout of Muhlberg, 24th April, 1547), which brought Moritz an Electorate, and nearly cost Moritz's too Protestant Cousin his life as well as lands. [Account of it in De Wette, Lebensgeschichte der Herzoge zu Sachsen(Weimar, 1770), pp. 32-35.] The victorious Kaiser growing now very high in his ways, there arose complaints against him from all sides, very loud from the Protestant side; and Moritz and Albert took to arms, with loud manifestos and the other phenomena.
This was early in 1552, five years after Muhlberg Rout or Battle. The there victorious Kaiser was now suddenly almost ruined; chased like a partridge into the Innspruck Mountains,—could have been caught, only Moritz would not; "had no cage to hold so big a bird," he said. So the Treaty of Passau was made, and the Kaiser came much down from his lofty ways. Famed TREATY OF PASSAU (22d August, 1552), which was the finale of these broils, and hushed them up for a Fourscore years to come. That was a memorable year in German Reformation History.
Albert, meanwhile, had been busy in the interior of the country; blazing aloft in Frankenland, his native quarter, with a success that astonished all men. For seven months he was virtually King of Germany; ransomed Bamberg, ransomed Wurzburg, Nurnberg (places he had a grudge at); ransomed all manner of towns and places,—especially rich Bishops and their towns, with VERBUM DIABOLI sticking in them,—at enormous sums. King of the world for a brief season;—must have had some strange thoughts to himself, had they been recorded for us. A pious man, too; not in the least like "Alcibiades," except in the sudden changes of fortune he underwent. His Motto, or old rhymed Prayer, which he would repeat on getting into the saddle for military work,—a rough rhyme of his own composing,—is still preserved. Let us give it, with an English fac-simile, or roughest mechanical pencil-tracing,—by way of glimpse into the heart of a vanished Time and its Man-at-arms: [Rentsch, p. 644.]
Das Walt der Herr Jesus Christ, Mit dem Vater, der uber uns ist: Wer starker ist als dieser Mann, Der komm und thu' ein Leid mir an. Guide it the Lord Jesus Christ, [Read "Chris" or "Chriz," for the rhyme's sake.] And the Father, who over us is: He that is stronger than that Man, [Sic.] Let him do me a hurt when he can.
He was at the Siege of Metz (end of that same 1552), and a principal figure there. Readers have heard of the Siege of Metz: How Henry II. of France fished up those "Three Bishoprics" (Metz, Toul, Verdun, constituent part of Lorraine, a covetable fraction of Teutschland) from the troubled sea of German things, by aid of Moritz now KUR-SACHSEN, and of Albert; and would not throw them in again, according to bargain, when Peace, the PEACE OF PASSAU came. How Kaiser Karl determined to have them back before the year ended, cost what it might; and Henry II. to keep them, cost what it might. How Guise defended, with all the Chivalry of France; and Kaiser Karl besieged, [19th October, 1552, and onwards.] with an Army of 100,000 men, under Duke Alba for chief captain. Siege protracted into midwinter; and the "sound of his cannon heard at Strasburg," which is eighty miles off, "in the winter nights." [Kohler, Reichs-Historie, p. 453;—and more especially Munzbelustigungen (Nurnberg, 1729-1750), ix. 121-129. The Year of this Volume, and of the Number in question, is 1737; the MUNZE or Medal "recreated upon" in of Henri II.]
It had depended upon Albert, who hung in the distance with an army of his own, whether the Siege could even begin; but he joined the Kaiser, being reconciled again; and the trenches opened. By the valor of Guise and his Chivalry,—still more perhaps by the iron frosts and by the sleety rains of Winter, and the hungers and the hardships of a hundred thousand men, digging vainly at the ice-bound earth, or trampling it when sleety into seas of mud, and themselves sinking in it, of dysentery, famine, toil and despair, as they cannonaded day and night,—Metz could not be taken. "Impossible!" said the Generals with one voice, after trying it for a couple of months. "Try it one other ten days," said the Kaiser with a gloomy fixity; "let us all die, or else do it!" They tried, with double desperation, another ten days; cannon booming through the winter midnight far and wide, four score miles round: "Cannot be done, your Majesty! Cannot,—the winter and the mud, and Guise and the walls; man's strength cannot do it in this season. We must march away!" Karl listened in silence; but the tears were seen to run down his proud face, now not so young as it once was: "Let us march, then!" he said, in a low voice, after some pause.
Alcibiades covered the retreat to Diedenhof (THIONVILLE they now call it): outmanoeuvred the French, retreated with success; he had already captured a grand Due d'Aumale, a Prince of the Guises,—valuable ransom to be looked for there. It was thought he should have made his bargain better with the Kaiser, before starting; but he had neglected that. Albert's course was downward thenceforth; Kaiser Karl's too. The French keep these "Three Bishoprics (TROIS EVECHES)," and Teutschland laments the loss of them, to this hour. Kaiser Karl, as some write, never smiled again;—abdicated, not long after; retired into the Monastery of St. Just, and there soon died. That is the siege of Metz, where Alcibiades was helpful. His own bargain with the Kaiser should have been better made beforehand.
Dissatisfied with any bargain he could now get; dissatisfied with the Treaty of Passau, with such a finale and hushing-up of the Religious Controversy, and in general with himself and with the world, Albert again drew sword; went loose at a high rate upon his Bamberg-Wurzburg enemies, and, having raised supplies there, upon Moritz and those Passau-Treatiers. He was beaten at last by Moritz, "Sunday, 9th July, 1553," at a place called Sievershausen in the Hanover Country, where Moritz himself perished in the action.—Albert fled thereupon to France. No hope in France. No luck in other small and desperate stakings of his: the game is done. Albert returns to a Sister he had, to her Husband's Court in Baden; a broken, bare and bankrupt man;—soon dies there, childless, leaving the shadow of a name. [Here, chiefly from Kohler (Munzbelustigungen, iii. 414-416), is the chronology of Albert's operations:—Seizure of Nurnberg &c., 11th May to 22d June, 1552; Innspruck (with Treaty of Passau) follows. Then Siege of Metz, October to December, 1552; Bamberg, Wurzburg and Nurnberg ransomed again, April, 1553; Battle of Sievershausen, 9th July, 1553. Wurzburg &c. explode against him; Ban of the Empire, 4th May, 1554. To France thereupon; returns, hoping to negotiate, end of 1556; dies at Pforzheim, at his Sister's, 8th January, 1557.—See Pauli, iii. 120-138. See also Dr. Kapp, Erinnerungen an diejenigen Markgrafen &c. (a reprint from the Archiv fur Geschichte und Alterthumskunde in Ober-Franken, Year 1841).]
His death brought huge troubles upon Baireuth and the Family Possessions. So many neighbors, Bamberg, Wurzburg and the rest, were eager for retaliation; a new Kaiser greedy for confiscating. Plassenburg Castle was besieged, bombarded, taken by famine and burnt; much was burnt and torn to waste. Nay, had it not been for help from Berlin, the Family had gone to utter ruin in those parts. For this Alcibiades had, in his turn, been Guardian to Uncle George's Son, the George Friedrich we once spoke of, still a minor, but well known afterwards; and it was attempted, by an eager Kaiser Ferdinand, to involve this poor youth in his Cousin's illegalities, as if Ward and Guardian had been one person. Baireuth which had been Alcibiades's, Anspach which was the young man's own, nay Jagerndorf with its Appendages, were at one time all in the clutches of the hawk,—had not help from Berlin been there. But in the end, the Law had to be allowed its course; George Friedrich got his own Territories back (all but some surreptitious nibblings in the Jagerndorf quarter, to be noticed elsewhere), and also got Baireuth, his poor Cousin's Inheritance;—sole heir, he now, in Culmbath, the Line of Casimir being out.
One owns to a kind of love for poor Albert Alcibiades. In certain sordid times, even a "Failure of a Fritz" is better than some Successes that are going. A man of some real nobleness, this Albert; though not with wisdom enough, not with good fortune enough. Could he have continued to "rule the situation" (as our French friends phrase it); to march the fanatical Papistries, and Kaiser Karl, clear out of it, home to Spain and San Justo a little earlier; to wave the coming Jesuitries away, as with a flaming sword; to forbid beforehand the doleful Thirty-Years War, and the still dolefuler spiritual atrophy (the flaccid Pedantry, ever rummaging and rearranging among learned marine-stores, which thinks itself Wisdom and Insight; the vague maunderings, flutings; indolent, impotent daydreaming and tobacco-smoking, of poor Modern Germany) which has followed therefrom,—ACH GOTT, he might have been a "SUCCESS of a Fritz" three times over! He might have been a German Cromwell; beckoning his People to fly, eagle-like, straight towards the Sun; instead of screwing about it in that sad, uncertain, and far too spiral manner!—But it lay not in him; not in his capabilities or opportunities, after all: and we but waste time in such speculations.
The Culmbach Brothers, we observe, play a more important part in that era than their seniors and chiefs of Brandenburg. These Culmbachers, Margraf George aud Albert of Preussen at the head of them, march valiantly forward in the Reformation business; while KUR-BRANDENBURG, Joachim I., their senior Cousin, is talking loud at Diets, galloping to Innspruck and the like, zealous on the Conservative side; and Cardinal Albert, KUR-MAINZ, his eloquent brother, is eager to make matters smooth and avoid violent methods.
The Reformation was the great Event of that Sixteenth Century; according as a man did something in that, or did nothing and obstructed doing, has he much claim to memory, or no claim, in this age of ours. The more it becomes apparent that the Reformation was the Event then transacting itself, was the thing that Germany and Europe either did or refused to do, the more does the historical significance of men attach itself to the phases of that transaction. Accordingly we notice henceforth that the memorable points of Brandenburg History, what of it sticks naturally to the memory of a reader or student, connect themselves of their own accord, almost all, with the History of the Reformation. That has proved to be the Law of Nature in regard to them, softly establishing itself; and it is ours to follow that law.
Brandenburg, not at first unanimously, by no means too inconsiderately, but with overwhelming unanimity when the matter became clear, was lucky enough to adopt the Reformation;—and stands by it ever since in its ever-widening scope, amid such difficulties as there might be. Brandenburg had felt somehow, that it could do no other. And ever onwards through the times even of our little Fritz and farther, if we will understand the word "Reformation," Brandenburg so feels; being, at this day, to an honorable degree, incapable of believing incredibilities, of adopting solemn shams, or pretending to live on spiritual moonshine. Which has been of uncountable advantage to Brandenburg:—how could it fail? This was what we must call obeying the audible voice of Heaven. To which same "voice," at that time, all that did not give ear,—what has become of them since; have they not signally had the penalties to pay!
"Penalties:" quarrel not with the old phraseology, good reader; attend rather to the thing it means. The word was heard of old, with a right solemn meaning attached to it, from theological pulpits and such places; and may still be heard there with a half-meaning, or with no meaning, though it has rather become obsolete to modern ears. But the THING should not have fallen obsolete; the thing is a grand and solemn truth, expressive of a silent Law of Heaven, which continues forever valid. The most untheological of men may still assert the thing; and invite all men to notice it, as a silent monition and prophecy in this Universe; to take it, with more of awe than they are wont, as a correct reading of the Will of the Eternal in respect of such matters; and, in their modern sphere, to bear the same well in mind. For it is perfectly certain, and may be seen with eyes in any quarter of Europe at this day.
Protestant or not Protestant? The question meant everywhere: "Is there anything of nobleness in you, O Nation, or is there nothing? Are there, in this Nation, enough of heroic men to venture forward, and to battle for God's Truth VERSUS the Devil's Falsehood, at the peril of life and more? Men who prefer death, and all else, to living under Falsehood,—who, once for all, will not live under Falsehood; but having drawn the sword against it (the time being come for that rare and important step), throw away the scabbard, and can say, in pious clearness, with their whole soul: 'Come on, then! Life under Falsehood is not good for me; and we will try it out now. Let it be to the death between us, then!'"
Once risen into this divine white-heat of temper, were it only for a season and not again, the Nation is thenceforth considerable through all its remaining history. What immensities of DROSS and crypto-poisonous matter will it not burn out of itself in that high temperature, in the course of a few years! Witness Cromwell and his Puritans,—making England habitable even under the Charles-Second terms for a couple of centuries more. Nations are benefited, I believe, for ages, by being thrown once into divine white-heat in this manner. And no Nation that has not had such divine paroxysms at any time is apt to come to much.
That was now, in this epoch, the English of "adopting Protestantism;" and we need not wonder at the results which it has had, and which the want of it has had. For the want of it is literally the want of loyalty to the Maker of this Universe. He who wants that, what else has he, or can he have? If you do not, you Man or you Nation, love the Truth enough, but try to make a Chapman-bargain with Truth, instead of giving yourself wholly soul and body and life to her, Truth will not live with you, Truth will depart from you; and only Logic, "Wit" (for example, "London Wit"), Sophistry, Virtu, the AEsthetic Arts, and perhaps (for a short while) Bookkeeping by Double Entry, will abide with you. You will follow falsity, and think it truth, you unfortunate man or nation. You will right surely, you for one, stumble to the Devil; and are every day and hour, little as you imagine it, making progress thither.
Austria, Spain, Italy, France, Poland,—the offer of the Reformation was made everywhere; and it is curious to see what has become of the nations that would not hear it. In all countries were some that accepted; but in many there were not enough, and the rest, slowly or swiftly, with fatal difficult industry, contrived to burn them out. Austria was once full of Protestants; but the hide-bound Flemish-Spanish Kaiser-element presiding over it, obstinately, for two centuries, kept saying, "No; we, with our dull obstinate Cimburgis under-lip and lazy eyes, with our ponderous Austrian depth of Habituality and indolence of Intellect, we prefer steady Darkness to uncertain new Light!"—and all men may see where Austria now is. Spain still more; poor Spain, going about, at this time, making its "PRONUNCIAMIENTOS;" all the factious attorneys in its little towns assembling to PRONOUNCE virtually this, "The Old IS a lie, then;—good Heavens, after we so long tried hard, harder than any nation, to think it a truth!—and if it be not Rights of Man, Red Republic and Progress of the Species, we know not what now to believe or to do; and are as a people stumbling on steep places, in the darkness of midnight!"—They refused Truth when she came; and now Truth knows nothing of them. All stars, and heavenly lights, have become veiled to such men; they must now follow terrestrial IGNES FATUI, and think them stars. That is the doom passed upon them.
Italy too had its Protestants; but Italy killed them; managed to extinguish Protestantism. Italy put up silently with Practical Lies of all kinds; and, shrugging its shoulders, preferred going into Dilettantism and the Fine Arts. The Italians, instead of the sacred service of Fact and Performance, did Music, Painting, and the like:—till even that has become impossible for them; and no noble Nation, sunk from virtue to VIRTU, ever offered such a spectacle before. He that will prefer Dilettantism in this world for his outfit, shall have it; but all the gods will depart from him; and manful veracity, earnestness of purpose, devout depth of soul, shall no more be his. He can if he like make himself a soprano, and sing for hire;—and probably that is the real goal for him.
But the sharpest-cut example is France; to which we constantly return for illustration. France, with its keen intellect, saw the truth and saw the falsity, in those Protestant times; and, with its ardor of generous impulse, was prone enough to adopt the former. France was within a hair's-breadth of becoming actually Protestant. But France saw good to massacre Protestantism, and end it in the night of St. Bartholomew, 1572. The celestial Apparitor of Heaven's Chancery, so we may speak, the Genius of Fact and Veracity, had left his Writ of Summons; Writ was read;—and replied to in this manner. The Genius of Fact and Veracity accordingly withdrew;—was staved off, got kept away, for two hundred years. But the writ of Summons had been served; Heaven's Messenger could not stay away forever. No; he returned duly; with accounts run up, on compound interest, to the actual hour, in 1792;—and then, at last, there had to be a "Protestantism;" and we know of what kind that was!—
Nations did not so understand it, nor did Brandenburg more than the others; but the question of questions for them at that time, decisive of their history for half a thousand years to come, was, Will you obey the heavenly voice, or will you not?
Brandenburg, in the matter of the Reformation, was at first—with Albert of Mainz, Tetzel's friend, on the one side, and Pious George of Anspach, "NIT KOP AB," on the other—certainly a divided house. But, after the first act, it conspicuously ceased to be divided; nay Kur-Brandenburg and Kur-Mainz themselves had known tendencies to the Reformation, and were well aware that the Church could not stand as it was. Nor did the cause want partisans in Berlin, in Brandenburg,—hardly to be repressed from breaking into flame, while Kurfurst Joachim was so prudent and conservative. Of this loud Kurfurst Joachim I., here and there mentioned already, let us now say a more express word. [1484, 1499, 1535: birth, accession, death of Joachim.]
Joachim I., Big John's son, hesitated hither and thither for some time, trying if it would not do to follow the Kaiser Karl V.'s lead; and at length, crossed in his temper perhaps by the speed his friends were going at, declared formally against any farther Reformation; and in his own family and country was strict upon the point. He is a man, as I judge, by no means without a temper of his own; very loud occasionally in the Diets and elsewhere;—reminds me a little of a certain King Friedrich Wilhelm, whom my readers shall know by and by. A big, surly, rather bottle-nosed man, with thick lips, abstruse wearied eyes, and no eyebrows to speak of: not a beautiful man, when you cross him overmuch.
OF JOACHIM'S WIFE AND BROTHER-IN-LAW.
His wife was a Danish Princess, Sister of poor Christian II., King of that Country: dissolute Christian, who took up with a huckster-woman's daughter,—"mother sold gingerbread," it would appear, "at Bergen in Norway," where Christian was Viceroy; Christian made acceptable love to the daughter, "DIVIKE (Dovekin, COLUMBINA)," as he called her. Nay he made the gingerbread mother a kind of prime-minister, said the angry public, justly scandalized at this of the "Dovekin." He was married, meanwhile, to Karl V.'s own Sister; but continued that other connection. [Here are the dates of this poor Christian, in a lump. Born, 1481; King, 1513 (Dovekin before); married, 1515; turned off, 1523; invades, taken prisoner, 1532; dies, 1559. Cousin, and then Cousin's Son, succeeded.] He had rash notions, now for the Reformation, now against it, when he got to be King; a very rash, unwise, explosive man. He made a "Stockholm BLUTBAD" still famed in History (kind of open, ordered or permitted, Massacre of eighty or a hundred of his chief enemies there), "Bloodbath," so they name it; in Stockholm, where indeed he was lawful King, and not without unlawful enemies, had a bloodbath been the way to deal with them. Gustavus Vasa was a young fellow there, who dexterously escaped this Bloodbath, and afterwards came to something.
In Denmark and Sweden, rash Christian made ever more enemies; at length he was forced to run, and they chose another King or successive pair of Kings. Christian fled to Kaiser Karl at Brussels; complained to Kaiser Karl, his Brother-in-law,—whose Sister he had not used well. Kaiser Karl listened to his complaints, with hanging under-lip, with heavy, deep, undecipherable eyes; evidently no help from Karl.
Christian, after that, wandered about with inexecutable speculations, and projects to recover his crown or crowns; sheltering often with Kurfurst Joachim, who took a great deal of trouble about him, first and last; or with the Elector of Saxony, Friedrich the Wise, or after him, with Johann the Steadfast ("V. D. M. I. AE." whom we saw at Augsburg), who were his Mother's Brothers, and beneficent men. He was in Saxony, on such terms, coming and going, when a certain other Flight thither took place, soon to be spoken of, which is the cause of our mentioning him here.—In the end (A.D. 1532) he did get some force together, and made sail to Norway; but could do no execution whatever there;—on the contrary, was frozen in on the coast during winter; seized, carried to Copenhagen, and packed into the "Castle of Sonderburg," a grim sea-lodging on the shore of Schleswig,—prisoner for the rest of his life, which lasted long enough. Six-and-twenty years of prison; the first seventeen years of it strict and hard, almost of the dungeon sort; the remainder, on his fairly abdicating, was in another Castle, that of Callundborg in the Island of Zealand, "with fine apartments and conveniences," and even "a good house of liquor now and then," at discretion of the old soul. That was the end of headlong Christian II.; he lasted in this manner to the age of seventy-eight. [Kohler, Munzbelustigungen,xi. 47, 48; Holberg, Danemarckische Staats-und Reichs-Historie (Copenhagen, 1731, NOT the big Book by Holberg), p. 241; Buddaus, Allgemeines Historisches Lexicon (Leipzig, 1709),? Christianus II.]
His Sister Elizabeth at Brandenburg is perhaps, in regard to natural character, recognizably of the same kin as Christian; but her behavior is far different from his. She too is zealous for the Reformation; but she has a right to be so, and her notions that way are steady; and she has hitherto, though in a difficult position, done honor to her creed. Surly Joachim is difficult to deal with; is very positive now that he has declared himself: "In my house at least shall be nothing farther of that unblessed stuff." Poor Lady, I see domestic difficulties very thick upon her; nothing but division, the very children ranging themselves in parties. She can pray to Heaven; she must do her wisest.
She partook once, by some secret opportunity, of the "communion under both kinds;" one of her Daughters noticed and knew; told Father of it. Father knits up his thick lips; rolls his abstruse dissatisfied eyes, in an ominous manner: the poor Lady, probably possessed of an excitable imagination too, trembles for herself. "It is thought, His DURCHLAUCHT will wall you up for life, my Serene Lady; dark prison for life, which probably may not be long!" These surmises were of no credibility: but there and then the poor Lady, in a shiver of terror, decides that she must run; goes off actually, one night ("Monday after the LAETARE," which we find is 24th March) in the year 1528, (Pauli (ii. 584); who cites Seckendorf, and this fraction of a Letter of Luther's, to one "LINCKUS" or Lincke, written on the Friday following (28th March, 1528):—
"The Electress [MARGRAVINE he calls her] has fled from Berlin, by help of her Brother the King of Denmark [poor Christian II.] to our Prince [Johann the Steadfast], because her Elector had determined to wall her up, as is reported, on account of the Eucharist under both species. Pray for our Prince; the pious man and affectionate soul gets a great deal of trouble with his kindred." Or thus in the Original:—
"Marchionissa aufugit a Berlin, auxilio fratris, Regis Daniae, ad nostrum Principem, quod Marchio statuerat eam immurare (ut dicitur) propter Eucharistiam utriusque speciei. Ora pro nostro Principe; der fromme Mann und herzliche Mensch ist doch ja wohl geplaget" (Seckendorf, Historia Lutheranismi, ii.? 62, No. 8, p. 122).) in a mean vehicle under cloud of darkness, with only one maid and groom,—driving for life. That is very certain: she too is on flight towards Saxony, to shelter with her uncle Kurfurst Johann,—unless for reasons of state he scruple? On the dark road her vehicle broke down; a spoke given way,—"Not a bit of rope to splice it," said the improvident groom. "Take my lace-veil here," said the poor Princess; and in this guise she got to Torgau (I could guess, her poor Brother's lodging),—and thence, in short time, to the fine Schloss of Lichtenberg hard by; Uncle Johann, to whom she had zealously left an option of refusal, having as zealously permitted and invited her to continue there. Which she did for many years.
Nor did she get the least molestation from Husband Joachim;—who I conjecture had intended, though a man of a certain temper, and strict in his own house, something short of walling up for life:—poor Joachim withal! "However, since you are gone, Madam, go!" Nor did he concern himself with Christian II. farther, but let him lie in prison at his leisure. As for the Lady, he even let his children visit her at Lichtenberg; Crypto-Protestants all; and, among them, the repentant Daughter who had peached upon her.
Poor Joachim, he makes a pious speech on his death-bed, solemnly warning his Son against these new-fangled heresies; the Son being already possessed of them in his heart. [Speech given in Rentsch, pp. 484-439.] What could Father do more? Both Father and Son, I suppose, were weeping. This was in 1535, this last scene; things looking now more ominous than ever. Of Kurfurst Joachim I will remember nothing farther, except that once, twenty-three years before, he "held a Tourney in Neu-Ruppin," year 1612; Tourney on the most magnificent scale, and in New-Ruppin, [Pauli, ii. 466.] a place we shall know by and by.
As to the Lady, she lived eighteen years in that fine Schloss of Lichtenberg; saw her children as we said; and, silently or otherwise, rejoiced in the creed they were getting. She saw Luther's self sometimes; "had him several times to dinner;" he would call at her Mansion, when his journeys lay that way. She corresponded with him diligently; nay once, for a three months, she herself went across and lodged with Dr. Luther and his Kate; as a royal Lady might with a heroic Sage,—though the Sage's income was only Twenty-four pounds sterling annually. There is no doubt about that visit of three months; one thinks of it, as of something human, something homely, ingenuous and pretty. Nothing in surly Joachim's history is half so memorable to me, or indeed memorable at all in the stage we are now come to.
The Lady survived Joachim twenty years; of these she spent eleven still at Lichtenberg, in no over-haste to return. However, her Son, the new Elector, declaring for Protestantism, she at length yielded to his invitations: came back (1546), and ended her days at Berlin in a peaceable and venerable manner. Luckless Brother Christian is lying under lock-and-key all this while; smuggling out messages, and so on; like a voice from the land of Dreams or of Nightmares, painful, impracticable, coming now and then.
Joachim II., Sixth Elector, no doubt after painful study, and intricate silent consideration ever since his twelfth year when Luther was first heard of over the world, came gradually, and before his Father's death had already come, to the conclusion of adopting the Confession of Augsburg, as the true Interpretation of this Universe, so far as we had yet got; and did so, publicly, in the year 1539. [Rentsch, p. 452.] To the great joy of Berlin and the Brandenburg populations generally, who had been of a Protestant humor, hardly restrainable by Law, for some years past. By this decision Joachim held fast, with a stout, weighty grasp; nothing spasmodic in his way of handling the matter, and yet a heartiness which is agreeable to see. He could not join in the Schmalkaldic War; seeing, it is probable, small chance for such a War, of many chiefs and little counsel; nor was he willing yet to part from the Kaiser Karl V., who was otherwise very good to him.
He had fought personally for this Kaiser, twice over, against the Turks; first as Brandenburg Captain, learning his art; and afterwards as Kaiser's Generalissimo, in 1542. He did no good upon the Turks, on that latter occasion; as indeed what good was to be done, in such a quagmire of futilities as Joachim's element there was? "Too sumptuous in his dinners, too much wine withal!" hint some calumniously. [Paulus Jovius, &c. See Pauli, iii. 70-73.] "Hector of Germany!" say others. He tried some small prefatory Siege or scalade of Pesth; could not do it; and came his ways home again, as the best course. Pedant Chroniclers give him the name HECTOR, "Joachim Hector,"—to match that of CICERO and that of ACHILLES. A man of solid structure, this our Hector, in body and mind: extensive cheeks, very large heavy-laden face; capable of terrible bursts of anger, as his kind generally were.
The Schmalkaldic War went to water, as the Germans phrase it: Kur-Sachsen,—that is, Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, Son of Johann "V. D. M. I. AE.," and Nephew of Friedrich the Wise,—had his sorrowfully valid reasons for the War; large force too, plenty of zealous copartners, Philip of Hessen and others; but no generalship, or not enough, for such a business. Big Army, as is apt enough to happen, fell short of food; Kaiser Karl hung on the outskirts, waiting confidently till it came to famine. Johann Friedrich would attempt nothing decisive while provender lasted;—and having in the end, strangely enough, and somewhat deaf to advice, divided his big Army into three separate parts;—Johann Friedrich was himself, with one of those parts, surprised at Muhlberg, on a Sunday when at church (24th April, 1547); and was there beaten to sudden ruin, and even taken captive, like to have his head cut off, by the triumphant angry Kaiser. Philip of Hessen, somewhat wiser, was home to Marburg, safe with HIS part, in the interim.—Elector Joachim II. of Brandenburg had good reason to rejoice in his own cautious reluctances on this occasion. However, he did now come valiantly up, hearing what severities were in the wind.
He pleaded earnestly, passionately, he and Cousin or already "Elector" Moritz, [Pauli, iii. 102.]—who was just getting Johann Friedrich's Electorship fished away from him out of these troubles, [Kurfurst, 4th June, 1547.]—for Johann Friedrich of Saxony's life, first of all. For Johann's life FIRST; this is a thing not to be dispensed with, your Majesty, on any terms whatever; a sine qua non, this life to Protestant Germany at large. To which the Kaiser indicated, "He would see; not immediate death at any rate; we will see." A life that could not and must not be taken in this manner: this was the FIRST point. Then, SECONDLY, that Philip of Hessen, now home again at Marburg,—not a bad or disloyal man, though headlong, and with two wives,—might not be forfeited; but that peace and pardon might be granted him, on his entire submission. To which second point the Kaiser answered, "Yes, then, on his submission." These were the two points. These pleadings went on at Halle, where the Kaiser now lies, in triumphantly victorious humor, in the early days of June, Year 1547. Johann Friedrich of Saxony had been, by some Imperial Court-Council or other,—Spanish merely, I suppose,—doomed to die. Sentence was signified to him while he sat at chess: "Can wait till we end the game," thought Johann;—"PERGAMUS," said he to his comrade, "Let us go on, then!" Sentence not to be executed till one see.
With Philip of Hessen things had a more conclusive aspect. Philip had accepted the terms procured for him; which had been laboriously negotiated, brought to paper, and now wanted only the sign-manual to them: "Ohne einigen Gefangniss(without any imprisonment)," one of the chief clauses. And so Philip now came over to Halle; was met and welcomed by his two friends, Joachim and Moritz, at Naumburg, a stage before Halle;—clear now to make his submission, and beg pardon of the Kaiser, according to bargain. On the morrow, 19th June, 1547, the Papers were got signed. And next day, 20th June, Philip did, according to bargain, openly beg pardon of the Kaiser, in his Majesty's Hall of Audience (Town House of Halle, I suppose); "knelt at the Kaiser's feet publicly on both knees, while his Kanzler read the submission and entreaty, as agreed upon;" and, alas, then the Kaiser said nothing at all to him! Kaiser looked haughtily, with impenetrable eyes and shelf-lip, over the head of him; gave him no hand to kiss; and left poor Philip kneeling there. An awkward position indeed;—which any German Painter that there were, might make a Picture of, I have sometimes thought. Picture of some real meaning, more or less,—if for symbolic. Towers of Babel, medieval mythologies, and extensive smearings of that kind, he could find leisure!—Philip having knelt a reasonable time, and finding there was no help for it, rose in the dread silence (some say, with too sturdy an expression of countenance); and retired from the affair, having at least done his part of it.
The next practical thing was now supper, or as we of this age should call it, dinner. Uncommonly select and high supper: host the Duke of Alba; where Joachim, Elector Moritz, and another high Official, the Bishop of Arras, were to welcome poor Philip after his troubles. How the grand supper went, I do not hear: possibly a little constrained; the Kaiser's strange silence sitting on all men's thoughts; not to be spoken of in the present company. At length the guests rose to go away. Philip's lodging is with Moritz (who is his son-in-law, as learned readers know): "You Philip, your lodging is mine; my lodging is yours,—I should say! Cannot we ride together?"—"Philip is not permitted to go," said Imperial Officiality; "Philip is to continue here, and we fear go to prison."—"Prison?" cried they all: "OHNE EINIGEN GEFANGNISS (without ANY imprisonment)!"—"As we read the words, it is 'OHNE EWIGEN GEFANGNISS (without ETERNAL imprisonment),'" answer the others. And so, according to popular tradition, which has little or no credibility, though printed in many Books, their false Secretary had actually modified it.
"No intention of imprisoning his DURCHLAUCHT of Hessen FOREVER; not forever!" answered they. And Kurfurst Joachim, in astonished indignation, after some remonstrating and arguing, louder and louder, which profited nothing, blazed out into a very whirlwind of rage; drew his sword, it is whispered with a shudder,—drew his sword, or was for drawing it, upon the Duke of Alba; and would have done, God knows what, had not friends flung themselves between, and got the Duke away, or him away. [Pauli, iii. 103.] Other accounts bear, that it was upon the Bishop of Arras he drew his sword; which is a somewhat different matter. Perhaps he drew it on both; or on men and things in general;—for his indignation knew no bounds. The heavy solid man; yet with a human heart in him after all, and a Hohenzollern abhorrence of chicanery, capable of rising to the transcendent pitch! His wars against the Turks, and his other Hectorships, I will forget; but this, of a face so extensive kindled all into divine fire for poor Philip's sake, shall be memorable to me.
Philip got out by and by, though with difficulty; the Kaiser proving very stiff in the matter; and only yielding to obstinate pressures, and the force of time and events. Philip got away; and then how Johann Friedrich of Sachsen, after being led about for five years, in the Kaiser's train, a condemned man, liable to be executed any day, did likewise at last get away, with his head safe and Electorate gone: these are known Historical events, which we glanced at already, on another score.
For, by and by, the Kaiser found tougher solicitation than this of Joachim's. The Kaiser, by his high carriage in this and other such matters, had at length kindled a new War round him; and he then soon found himself reduced to extremities again; chased to the Tyrol Mountains, and obliged to comply with many things. New War, of quite other emphasis and management than the Schmalkaldic one; managed by Elector Moritz and our poor friend Albert Alcibiades as principals. A Kaiser chased into the mountains, capable of being seized by a little spurring;—"Capture him?" said Albert. "I have no cage big enough for such a bird!" answered Moritz; and the Kaiser was let run. How he ran then towards Treaty of Passau (1552), towards Siege of Metz and other sad conclusions, "Abdication" the finale of them: these also are known phases in the Reformation History, as hinted at above.
Here at Halle, in the year 1547, the great Kaiser, with Protestantism manacled at his feet, and many things going prosperous, was at his culminating point. He published his INTERIM (1548, What you troublesome Protestants are to do, in the mean time, while the Council of Trent is sitting, and till it and I decide for you); and in short, drove and reined-in the Reich with a high hand and a sharp whip, for the time being. Troublesome Protestants mostly rejected the Interim; Moritz and Alcibiades, with France in the rear of them, took to arms in that way; took to ransoming fat Bishoprics ("Verbum Diaboli Manet," we know where!);—took to chasing Kaisers into the mountains;—and times came soon round again. In all these latter broils Kurfurst Joachim II., deeply interested, as we may fancy, strove to keep quiet; and to prevail, by weight of influence and wise counsel, rather than by fighting with his Kaiser.
One sad little anecdote I recollect of Joachim: an Accident, which happened in those Passau-Interim days, a year or two after that drawing of the sword on Alba. Kurfurst Joachim unfortunately once fell through a staircase, in that time; being, as I guess, a heavy man. It was in the Castle of Grimnitz, one of his many Castles, a spacious enough old Hunting-seat, the repairs of which had not been well attended to. The good Herr, weighty of foot, was leading down his Electress to dinner one day in this Schloss of Grimnitz; broad stair climbs round a grand Hall, hung with stag-trophies, groups of weapons, and the like hall-furniture. An unlucky timber yielded; yawning chasm in the staircase; Joachim and his good Princess sank by gravitation; Joachim to the floor with little hurt; his poor Princess (horrible to think of), being next the wall, came upon the stag-horns and boar-spears down below! [Pauli, iii. 112.] The poor Lady's hurt was indescribable: she walked lame all the rest of her clays; and Joachim, I hope (hope, but not with confidence), [Ib. iii. 194.] loved her all the better for it. This unfortunate old Schloss of Grimnitz, some thirty miles northward of Berlin, was—by the Eighth Kurfurst, Joachim Friedrich, Grandson of this one, with great renown to himself and to it—converted into an Endowed High School: the famed Joachimsthal Gymnasium, still famed, though now under some change of circumstances, and removed to Berlin itself. [Nicolai, p. 725.]
Joachim's first Wife, from whom descend the following Kurfursts, was a daughter of that Duke George of Saxony, Luther's celebrated friend, "If it rained Duke-Georges nine days running."
This second Wife, she of the accident at Grimnitz, was Hedwig, King Sigismund of Poland's daughter; which connection, it is thought, helped Joachim well in getting what they call the MITBELEHNUNG of Preussen (for it was he that achieved this point) from King Sigismund.
MITBELEHNUNG (Co-infeftment) in Preussen;—whereby is solemnly acknowledged the right of Joachim and his Posterity to the reversion of Preussen, should the Culmbach Line of Duke Albert happen to fail. It was a thing Joachim long strove for; till at length his Father-in-law did, some twenty years hence, concede it him. [Date, Lublin, 19th July, 1568: Pauli, iii. 177-179, 193; Rentsch, p. 457; Stenzel, i. 341, 342.] Should Albert's Line fail, then, the other Culmbachers get Preussen; should the Culmbachers all fail, the Berlin Brandenburgers get it. The Culmbachers are at this time rather scarce of heirs: poor Alcibiades died childless, as we know, and Casimir's Line is extinct; Duke Albert himself has left only one Son, who now succeeds in Preussen; still young, and not of the best omens. Margraf George the Pious, he left only George Friedrich; an excellent man, who is now prosperous in the world, and wedded long since, but has no children. So that, between Joachim's Line and Preussen there are only two intermediate heirs;—and it was a thing eminently worth looking after. Nor has it wanted that. And so Kurfurst Joachim, almost at the end of his course, has now made sure of it.
Another feat of like nature Joachim II. had long ago achieved; which likewise in the long-run proved important in his Family, and in the History of the world: an "ERBVERBRUDERUNG," so they term it, with the Duke of Liegnitz,—date 1537. ERBVERBRUDERUNG ("Heritage-brotherhood," meaning Covenant to succeed reciprocally on Failure of Heirs to either) had in all times been a common paction among German Princes well affected to each other. Friedrich II., the then Duke of Liegnitz, we have transiently seen, was related to the Family; he had been extremely helpful in bringing his young friend Albert of Preussen's affairs to a good issue,—whose Niece, withal, he had wedded:—in fact, he was a close friend of this our Joachim's; and there had long been a growing connection between the two Houses, by intermarriages and good offices.
The Dukes of Liegnitz were Sovereign-Princes, come of the old Piasts of Poland; and had perfect right to enter into this transaction of an ERBVERBRUDERUNG with whom they liked. True, they had, above two hundred years before, in the days of King Johann ICH-DIEN (A.D. 1329), voluntarily constituted themselves Vassals of the Crown of Bohemia: [Pauli, iii. 22.] but the right to dispose of their Lands as they pleased had, all along, been carefully acknowledged, and saved entire. And, so late as 1521, just sixteen years ago, the Bohemian King Vladislaus the Last, our good Margraf George's friend, had expressly, in a Deed still extant, confirmed to them, with all the emphasis and amplitude that Law-Phraseology could bring to bear upon it, the right to dispose of said Lands in any manner of way: "by written testament, or by verbal on their death-bed, they can, as they see wisest, give away, sell, pawn, dispose of, and exchange (vergeben, verkaufen, versetzen, verschaffen, verwechseln) these said lands," to all lengths, and with all manner of freedom. Which privilege had likewise been confirmed, twice over (1522, 1524), by Ludwig the next King, Ludwig OHNE-HAUT, who perished in the bogs of Mohacz, and ended the native Line of Bohemian-Hungarian Kings. Nay, Ferdinand, King of the Romans, Karl V.'s Brother, afterwards Kaiser, who absorbed that Bohemian Crown among the others, had himself, by implication, sanctioned or admitted the privilege, in 1529, only eight years ago. [Stenzel, i. 323.] The right to make the ERBVERBRUDERUNG could not seem doubtful to anybody.
And made accordingly it was: signed, sealed, drawn out on the proper parchments, 18th October, 1537; to the following clear effect: "That if Duke Friedrich's Line should die out, all his Liegnitz countries, Liegnitz, Brieg, Wohlau, should fall to the Hohenzollern Brandenburgers: and that, if the Line of Hohenzollern Brandenburg should first fail, then all and singular the Bohemian Fiefs of Brandenburg (as Crossen, Zullichau and seven others there enumerated) should fall to the House of Liegnitz." [Stenzel, i. 320.] It seemed a clear Paction, questionable by no mortal. Double-marriage between the two Houses (eldest Son, on each side, to suitable Princess on the other) was to follow: and did follow, after some delays, 17th February, 1545. So that the matter seemed now complete: secure on all points, and a matter of quiet satisfaction to both the Houses and to their friends.
But Ferdinand, King of the Romans, King of Bohemia and Hungary, and coming to be Emperor one day, was not of that sentiment. Ferdinand had once implicitly recognized the privilege, but Ferdinand, now when he saw the privilege turned to use, and such a territory as Liegnitz exposed to the possibility of falling into inconvenient hands, explicitly took other thoughts: and gradually determined to prohibit this ERBVERBRUDERUNG. The States of Bohemia, accordingly, in 1544 (it is not doubtful, by Ferdinand's suggestion), were moved to make inquiries as to this Heritage-Fraternity of Liegnitz. [Ib. i. 322.] On which hint King Ferdinand straightway informed the Duke of Liegnitz that the act was not justifiable, and must be revoked. The Duke of Liegnitz, grieved to the heart, had no means of resisting. Ferdinand, King of the Romans, backed by Kaiser Karl, with the States of Bohemia barking at his wink, were too strong for poor Duke Friedrich of Liegnitz. Great corresponding between Berlin, Liegnitz, Prag ensued on this matter: but the end was a summons to Duke Friedrich,—summons from King Ferdinand in March, 1546, "To appear in the Imperial Hall (KAISERHOF) at Breslau," and to submit that Deed of EBVERBRUDERUNG to the examination of the States there. The States, already up to the affair, soon finished their examination of it (8th May, 1546). The deed was annihilated: and Friedrich was ordered, furthermore, to produce proofs within six months that his subjects too were absolved of all oaths or the like regarding it, and that in fact the Transaction was entirely abolished and reduced to zero. Friedrich complied, had to comply: very much chagrined, he returned home: and died next year,—it is supposed, of heartbreak from this business. He had yielded outwardly: but to force only. In a Codicil appended to his last Will, some months afterwards (which Will, written years ago, had treated the ERBVERBRUDERUNG as a Fact settled), he indicates, as with his last breath, that he considered the thing still valid, though overruled by the hand of power. Let the reader mark this matter; for it will assuredly become memorable, one day.
The hand of power, namely, Ferdinand, King of the Romans, had applied in like manner to Joachim of Brandenburg to surrender his portion of the Deed, and annihilate on his side too this ERBVERBRUDERUNG. But Joachim refused steadily, and all his successors steadily, to give up this Bit of Written Parchment: kept the same, among their precious documents, against some day that might come (and I suppose it lies in the Archives of Berlin even now): silently, or in words, asserting that the Deed of Heritage-Brothership was good, and that though some hands might have the power, no hand could have the right to abolish it on those terms.
How King Ferdinand permitted himself such a procedure? Ferdinand, says one of his latest apologists in this matter, "considered the privileges granted by his Predecessors, in respect to rights of Sovereignty, as fallen extinct on their death." [Stenzel, i. 323.] Which—if Reality and Fact would but likewise be so kind as "consider" it so—was no doubt convenient for Ferdinand!
Joachim was not so great with Ferdinand as he had been with Charles the Imperial Brother. Joachim and Ferdinand had many debates of this kind, some of them rather stiff. Jagerndorf, for instance, and the Baireuth-Anspach confiscations, in George Friedrich's minority. Ferdinand, now Kaiser, had snatched Jagerndorf from poor young George Friedrich, son of excellent Margraf George whom we knew: "Part of the spoils of Albert Alcibiades," thought Ferdinand, "and a good windfall,"—though young George Friedrich had merely been the Ward of Cousin Alcibiades, and totally without concern in those political explosions. "Excellent windfall," thought Ferdinand: and held his grip. But Joachim, in his weighty steady way, intervened: Joachim, emphatic in the Diets and elsewhere, made Ferdinand quit grip, and produce Jagerndorf again. Jagerndorf and the rest had all to be restored: and, except some filchings in the Jagerndorf Appendages (Ratibor and Oppeln, "restored" only in semblance, and at length juggled away altogether), [Rentsch, pp. 129, 130.] everything came to its right owner again. Nor would Joachim rest till Alcibiades's Territories too were all punctually given back, to this same George Friedrich: to whom, by law and justice, they belonged, In these points Joachim prevailed against a strong-handed Kaiser, apt to "consider one's rights fallen extinct" now and then. In this of Liegnitz all he could do was to keep the Deed, in steady protest silent or vocal.
But enough now of Joachim Hector, Sixth Kurfurst, and of his workings and his strugglings. He walked through this world, treading as softly as might be, yet with a strong weighty step: rending the jungle steadily asunder; well seeing whither he was bound. Rather an expensive Herr: built a good deal, completion of the Schloss at Berlin one example: [Nicolai, p. 82.] and was not otherwise afraid of outlay, in the Reich's Politics, or in what seemed needful: If there is a harvest ahead, even a distant one, it is poor thrift to be stingy of your seed-corn!
Joachim was always a conspicuous Public Man, a busy Politician in the Reich: stanch to his kindred, and by no means blind to himself or his own interests. Stanch also, we must grant, and ever active, though generally in a cautious, weighty, never in a rash swift way, to the great Cause of Protestantism, and to all good causes. He was himself a solemnly devout man; deep awe-stricken reverence dwelling in his view of this Universe. Most serious, though with a jocose dialect commonly, having a cheerful wit in speaking to men. Luther's Books he called his SEELENSCHATZ (Soul's-treasure): Luther and the Bible were his chief reading. Fond of profane learning too, and of the useful or ornamental Arts; given to music, and "would himself sing aloud" when he had a melodious leisure-hour. Excellent old gentleman: he died, rather suddenly, but with much nobleness, 3d January, 1571; age sixty-six. Old Rentsch's account of this event is still worth reading: [Rentsch, p. 458.] Joachim's death-scene has a mild pious beauty which does not depend on creed.
He had a Brother too, not a little occupied with Politics, and always on the good side: a wise pious man, whose fame was in all the churches: "Johann of Custrin," called also "Johann THE WISE," who busied himself zealously in Protestant matters, second only in piety and zeal to his Cousin, Margraf George the Pious; and was not so held back by official considerations as his Brother the Elector now and then. Johann of Custrin is a very famous man in the old Books: Johann was the first that fortified Custrin: built himself an illustrious Schloss, and "roofed it with copper," in Custrin (which is a place we shall be well acquainted with by and by); and lived there, with the Neumark for apanage, a true man's life;—mostly with a good deal of business, warlike and other, on his hands; with good Books, good Deeds, and occasionally good Men, coming to enliven it,—according to the terms then given.
Kaiser Karl, we said, was very good to Joachim; who always strove, sometimes with a stretch upon his very conscience, to keep well with the Kaiser. The Kaiser took Joachim's young Prince along with him to those Schmalkaldic Wars (not the comfortable side for Joachim's conscience, but the safe side for an anxious Father); Kaiser made a Knight of this young Prince, on one occasion of distinction; he wrote often to Papa about him, what a promising young hero he was,—seems really to have liked the young man. It was Johann George, Elector afterwards, Seventh Elector.—This little incident is known to me on evidence. [Rentsch, p. 465.] A small thing that certainly befell, at the siege of Wittenberg (A.D. 1547), during those Philip-of-Hessen Negotiations, three hundred and odd years ago.
The Schmalkaldic War having come all to nothing, the Saxon Elector sitting captive with sword overhead in the way we saw, Saxon Wittenberg was besieged, and the Kaiser was in great hurry to get it. Kaiser in person, and young Johann George for sole attendant, rode round the place one day, to take a view of the works, and judge how soon, or whether ever, it could be compelled to give in. Gunners noticed them from the battlements; gunners Saxon-Protestant most likely, and in just gloom at the perils and indignities now lying on their pious Kurfurst Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous. "Lo, you! Kaiser's self riding yonder, and one of his silk JUNKERS. Suppose we gave the Kaiser's self a shot, then?" said the gunner, or thought: "It might help a better man from his life-perils, if such shot did—!" In fact the gun flashed off, with due outburst, and almost with due effect. The ball struck the ground among the very horses' feet of the two riders; so that they were thrown, or nearly so, and covered from sight with a cloud of earth and sand;—and the gunners thought, for some instants, an unjust, obstinate Kaiser's life was gone; and a pious Elector's saved. But it proved not so. Kaiser Karl and Johann George both emerged, in a minute or two, little the worse;—Kaiser Karl perhaps blushing somewhat, and flurried this time, I think, in the impenetrable eyes; and his Cimburgis lip closed for the moment;—and galloped out of shot-range. "I never forget this little incident," exclaims Smelfungus: "It is one of the few times I can get, after all my reading about that surprising Karl V., I do not say the least understanding or practical conception of him and his character and his affairs, but the least ocular view or imagination of him, as a fact among facts!" Which is unlucky for Smelfungus.—Johann George, still more emphatically, never to the end of HIS life forgot this incident. And indeed it must be owned, had the shot taken effect as intended, the whole course of human things would have been surprisingly altered;—and for one thing, neither FREDERICH THE GREAT, nor the present HISTORY OF FRIEDRICH, had ever risen above ground, or troubled an enlightened public or me!
Of Johann George, this Seventh Elector, [1525; 1571-1598.] who proved a good Governor, and carried on the Family Affairs in the old style of slow steady success, I will remember nothing more, except that he had the surprising number of Three-and-Twenty children; one of them posthumous, though he died at the age of seventy-three.—
He is Founder of the New Culmbach line: two sons of these twenty-three children he settled, one in Baireuth, the other in Anspach; from whom come all the subsequent Heads of that Principality, till the last of them died in Hammersmith in 1806, as above said. [Rentsch, p. 475 (CHRISTIAN to Baireuth; JOACHIM ERNST to Anspach);—See Genealogical Diagram, inra, p. 309a.] He was a prudent, thrifty Herr; no mistresses, no luxuries allowed; at the sight of a new-fashioned coat, he would fly out on an unhappy youth, and pack him from his presence. Very strict in point of justice: a peasant once appealing to him, in one of his inspection-journeys through the country, "Grant me justice, DURCHLAUCHT, against So-and-so; I am your highness's born subject!"—"Thou shouldst have it, man, wert thou a born Turk!" answered Johann George.—There is something anxious, grave and, as it were, surprised in the look of this good Herr. He made the GERA BOND above spoken of;—founded the Younger Culmbach Line, with that important Law of Primogeniture strictly superadded. A conspicuous thrift, veracity, modest solidity, looks through the conduct of this Herr;—a determined Protestant he too, as indeed all the following were and are. [Rentsch, pp. 470, 471.]
Of Joachim Friedrich, his eldest Son, who at one time was Archbishop of Magdeburg,—called home from the wars to fill that valuable Heirloom, which had suddenly fallen vacant by an Uncle's death, and keep it warm;—and who afterwards, in due course, carried on a LOBLICHE REGIERUNG of the old style and physiognomy, as Eighth Kurfurst, from his fiftieth to his sixtieth year (1598-1608): [Born, 1547; Magdehurg, 1566-1598 (when his Third Son got it,—very unlucky in the Thirty-Years War afterwards).] of him we already noticed the fine "JOACHIMS-thal Gymnasium," or Foundation for learned purposes, in the old Schloss of Grimnitz, where his serene Grandmother got lamed; and will notice nothing farther, in this place, except his very great anxiety to profit by the Prussian MITBELEHNUNG,—that Co-infeftment in Preussen, achieved by his Grandfather Joachim II., which was now about coming to its full maturity. Joachim Friedrich had already married his eldest Prince to the daughter of Albert Friedrich, Second Duke of Preussen, who it was by this time evident would be the last Duke there of his Line. Joachim Friedrich, having himself fallen a widower, did next year, though now counting fifty-six—But it will be better if we explain first, a little, how matters now stood with Preussen.
Duke Albert died in 1568, laden with years, and in his latter time greatly broken down by other troubles. His Prussian RATHS (Councillors) were disobedient, his Osianders and Lutheran-Calvinist Theologians were all in fire and flame against each other: the poor old man, with the best dispositions, but without power to realize them, had much to do and to suffer. Pious, just and honorable, intending the best; but losing his memory, and incapable of business, as he now complained. In his sixtieth year he had married a second time, a young Brunswick Princess, with whose foolish Brother, Eric, he had much trouble; and who at last herself took so ill with the insolence and violence of these intrusive Councillors and Theologians, that the household-life she led beside her old Husband and them became intolerable to her; and she withdrew to another residence,—a little Hunting-seat at Neuhausen, half a dozen miles from Konigsberg;—and there, or at Labiau still farther off, lived mostly, in a separate condition, for the rest of her life. Separate for life:—nevertheless they happened to die on the same day; 20th March, 1568, they were simultaneously delivered from their troubles in this world. [Hubner, t. 181; Stenzel, i. 342.]
Albert left one Son; the second child of this last Wife: his one child by the former Wife, a daughter now of good years, was married to the Duke of Mecklenburg. Son's name was Albert Friedrich; age, at his Father's death, fifteen. A promising young Prince, but of sensitive abstruse temper;—held under heavy tutelage by his Raths and Theologians; and spurting up against them, in explosive rebellion, from time to time. He now (1568) was to be sovereign Duke of Preussen, and the one representative of the Culmbach Line in that fine Territory; Margraf George Friedrich of Anspach, the only other Culmbacher, being childless, though wedded.
We need not doubt, the Brandenburg House—old Kurfurst Joachim II. still alive, and thrifty Johann George the Heir-Apparent—kept a watchful eye on those emergencies. But it was difficult to interfere directly; the native Prussian Raths were very jealous, and Poland itself was a ticklish Sovereignty to deal with. Albert Friedrich being still a Minor, the Polish King, Sigismund, proposed to undertake the guardianship of him, as became a superior lord to a subject vassal on such an occasion. But the Prussian Raths assured his Majesty, "Their young Prince was of such a lively intellect, he was perfectly fit to conduct the affairs of the Government," especially with such a Body of expert Councillors to help him, "and might be at once declared of age." Which was accordingly the course followed; Poland caring little for it; Brandenburg digesting the arrangement as it could. And thus it continued for some years, even under new difficulties that arose; the official Clique of Raths being the real Government of the Country; and poor young Albert Friedrich bursting out occasionally into tears against them, occasionally into futile humors of a fiery nature. Osiander-Theology, and the battle of the 'DOXIES, ran very high; nor was Prussian Officiality a beautiful thing.
These Prussian Raths, and the Prussian RITTERSCHAFT generally (Knightage, Land-Aristocracy), which had its STANDE (States: or meetings of Parliament after a sort), were all along of a mutinous, contumacious humor. The idea had got into their minds, That they were by birth what the ancient Ritters by election had been; entitled, fit or not fit, to share the Government promotions among them: "The Duke is hereditary in his office; why not we? All Offices, are they not, by nature, ours to share among us?" The Duke's notion, again, was to have the work of his Offices effectually done; small matter by whom: the Ritters looked less to that side of the question;—regarded any "Foreigner" (German-Anspacher, or other Non-Prussian), whatever his merit, as an intruder, usurper, or kind of thief, when seen in office. Their contentions, contumacies and pretensions were accordingly manifold. They had dreams of an "Aristocratic Republic, with the Sovereign reduced to zero," like what their Polish neighbors grew to. They had various dreams; and individuals among them broke out, from time to time, into high acts of insolence and mutiny. It took a hundred and fifty years of Brandenburg horse-breaking, sometimes with sharp manipulation and a potent curb-bit, to dispossess them of that notion, and make them go steadily in harness. Which also, however, was at last got done by the Hohenzollerns.
In a year or two, there came to be question of the marrying of young Duke Albert Friedrich. After due consultation, the Princess fixed upon was Maria Eleonora, eldest Daughter of the then Duke of Cleve: to him a proper Embassy was sent with that object; and came back with Yes for answer. Duke of Cleve, at that time, was Wilhelm, called "the Rich" in History-Books; a Sovereign of some extent in those lower Rhine countries. Whom I can connect with the English reader's memory in no readier way than by the fact, That he was younger brother, one year younger, of a certain "Anne of Cleves;"—a large fat Lady, who was rather scurvily used in this country; being called, by Henry VIII. and us, a "great Flanders mare," unsuitable for espousal with a King of delicate feelings! This Anne of Cleves, who took matters quietly and lived on her pension, when rejected by King Henry, was Aunt of the young Lady now in question for Preussen. She was still alive here in England, pleasantly quiet, "at Burley on the Hill," till Maria Eleonora was seven years old;—who possibly enough still reads in her memory some fading vestige of new black frocks or trimmings, and brief court-mourning, on the death of poor Aunt Anne over seas.—Another Aunt is more honorably distinguished; Sibylla, Wife of our noble Saxon Elector, Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, who lost his Electorate and almost his Life for religion's sake, as we have seen; by whom, in his perils and distresses, Sibylla stood always, like a very true and noble Wife.
Duke Wilhelm himself was a man of considerable mark in his day. His Duchy of Cleve included not only Cleve-Proper, but Julich (JULIERS), Berg, which latter pair of Duchies were a better thing than Cleve-Proper:—Julich, Berg and various other small Principalities, which, gradually agglomerating by marriage, heritage and the chance of events in successive centuries, had at length come all into Wilhelm's hands; so that he got the name of Wilhelm the Rich among his contemporaries. He seems to have been of a headlong, blustery, uncertain disposition; much tossed about in the controversies of his day. At one time he was a Protestant declared; not without reasons of various kinds. The Duchy of Geldern (what we call GUELDERS) had fallen to him, by express bequest of the last Owner, whose Line was out; and Wilhelm took possession. But the Kaiser Karl V. quite refused to let him keep possession. Whereupon Wilhelm had joined with the French (it was in the Moritz-Alcibiades time); had declared war, and taken other high measures: but it came to nothing, or to less. The end was, Wilhelm had to "come upon his knees" before the Kaiser, and beg forgiveness; quite renouncing Geldern, which accordingly has gone its own different road ever since. Wilhelm was zealously Protestant in those days; as his people are, and as he still is, at the period we treat of. But he went into Papistry, not long after; and made other sudden turns and misventures: to all appearance, rather an abrupt, blustery, uncertain Herr. It is to him that Albert Friedrich, the young Duke of Preussen, guided by his Council, now (Year 1572) sends an Embassy, demanding his eldest Daughter, Maria Eleonora, to wife.
Duke Wilhelm answered Yea; "sent a Counter-Embassy," with whatever else was necessary; and in due time the young Bride, with her Father, set out towards Preussen, such being the arrangement, there to complete the matter. They had got as far as Berlin, warmly welcomed by the Kurfurst Johann George; when, from Konigsberg, a sad message reached them: namely, that the young Duke had suddenly been seized with an invincible depression and overclouding of mind, not quite to be characterized by the name of madness, but still less by that of perfect sanity. His eagerness to see his Bride was the same as formerly; but his spiritual health was in the questionable state described. The young Lady paused for a little, in such mood as we may fancy. She had already lost two offers, Bridegrooms snatched away by death, says Pauli; [Pauli, iv. 512.] and thought it might be ominous to refuse the third. So she decided to go on; dashed aside her father's doubts; sent her unhealthy Bridegroom "a flower-garland as love-token," who duly responded; and Father Wilhelm and she proceeded, as if nothing were wrong. The spiritual state of the Prince, she found, had not been exaggerated to her. His humors and ways were strange, questionable; other than one could have wished. Such as he was, however, she wedded him on the appointed terms;—hoping probably for a recovery, which never came.
The case of Albert's malady is to this day dim; and strange tales are current as to the origin of it, which the curious in Physiology may consult; they are not fit for reporting here. [Ib. iv. 476.] It seems to have consisted in an overclouding, rather than a total ruin of the mind. Incurable depression there was; gloomy torpor alternating with fits of vehement activity or suffering; great discontinuity at all times:—evident unfitness for business. It was long hoped he might recover. And Doctors in Divinity and in Medicine undertook him: Theologians, Exorcists, Physicians, Quacks; but no cure came of it, nothing but mutual condemnations, violences and even execrations, from the said Doctors and their respective Official patrons, lay and clerical. Must have been such a scene for a young Wife as has seldom occurred, in romance or reality! Children continued to be born; daughter after daughter; but no son that lived.
After five years' space, in 1578, [Pauli, iv. 476, 481, 482.] cure being now hopeless, and the very Council admitting that the Duke was incapable of business,—George Friedrich of Anspach-Baireuth came into the country to take charge of him; having already, he and the other Brandenburgers, negotiated the matter with the King of Poland, in whose power it mostly lay.
George Friedrich was by no means welcome to the Prussian Council, nor to the Wife, nor to the Landed Aristocracy;—other than welcome, for reasons we can guess. But he proved, in the judgment of all fair witnesses, an excellent Governor; and, for six-and-twenty years, administered the country with great and lasting advantage to it. His Portraits represent to us a large ponderous figure of a man, very fat in his latter years; with an air of honest sense, dignity, composed solidity;—very fit for the task now on hand.
He resolutely, though in mild form, smoothed down the flaming fires of his Clergy; commanding now this controversy and then that other controversy ("de concreto et de inconcreto," or whatever they were) to fall strictly silent; to carry themselves on by thought and meditation merely, and without words. He tamed the mutinous Aristocracy, the mutinous Burgermeisters, Town-Council of Konigsberg, whatever mutiny there was. He drained bogs, says old Rentsch; he felled woods, made roads, established inns. Prussia was well governed till George's death; which happened in the year 1603. [Rentsch, pp. 666-688.] Anspach, in the mean while, Anspach, Baireuth and Jagerndorf, which were latterly all his, he had governed by deputy; no need of visiting those quiet countries, except for purposes of kindly recreation, or for a swift general supervision, now and then. By all accounts, an excellent, steadfast, wise and just man, this fat George Friedrich; worthy of the Father that produced him ("Nit Kop ab, lover Forst, nit Kop ab!"),—- and that is saying much.
By his death without children much territory fell home to the Elder House; to be disposed of as was settled in the GERA BOND five years before. Anspach and Baireuth went to two Brothers of the now Elector, Kurfurst Joachim Friedrich, sons of Johann George of blessed memory: founders, they, of the "New Line," of whom we know. Jagerndorf the Elector himself got; and he, not long after, settled it on one of his own sons, a new Johann George, who at that time was fallen rather landless and out of a career: "Johann George of Jagerndorf," so called thenceforth: whose history will concern us by and by. Preussen was to be incorporated with the Electorate,—were possession of it once had. But that is a ticklish point; still ticklish in spite of rights, and liable to perverse accidents that may arise.
Joachim Friedrich, as we intimated once, was not wanting to himself on this occasion. But the affair was full of intricacies; a very wasps'-nest of angry humors; and required to be handled with delicacy, though with force and decision. Joachim Friedrich's eldest Son, Johann Sigismund, Electoral Prince of Brandenburg, had already, in 1594, married one of Albert Friedrich the hypochondriac Duke of Preussen's daughters; and there was a promising family of children; no lack of children. Nevertheless prudent Joachim Friedrich himself, now a widower, age towards sixty, did farther, in the present emergency, marry another of these Princesses, a younger Sister of his Son's Wife,—seven months after George Friedrich's death,—to make assurance doubly sure, A man not to be balked, if he can help it. By virtue of excellent management,—Duchess, Prussian STANDE (States), and Polish Crown, needing all to be contented,—Joachim Friedrich, with gentle strong pressure, did furthermore squeeze his way into the actual Guardianship of Preussen and the imbecile Duke, which was his by right. This latter feat he achieved in the course of another year (11th March, 1605); [Stenzel, i. 358.] and thereby fairly got hold of Preussen; which he grasped, "knuckles-white," as we may say; and which his descendants have never quitted since.
Good management was very necessary. The thing was difficult;—and also was of more importance than we yet altogether see. Not Preussen only, but a still better country, the Duchy of Cleve, Cleve-Julich, Duke Wilhelm's Heritage down in the Rhineland,—Heritage turning out now to be of right his eldest Daughter's here, and likely now to drop soon,—is involved in the thing. This first crisis, of getting into the Prussian Administratorship, fallen vacant, our vigilant Kurfurst Joachim Friedrich has successfully managed; and he holds his grip, knuckles-white. Before long, a second crisis comes; where also he will have to grasp decisively in,—he, or those that stand for him, and whose knuckles can still hold, But that may go to a new Chapter.
In the summer of 1608 (23d May, 1608) Johann Sigismund's (and his Father's) Mother-in-law, the poor Wife of the poor imbecile Duke of Preussen, died. [Maria Eleonora, Duke Wilhelm of Cleve's eldest Daughter: 1550, 1573, 1608 (Hubner, t. 286).] Upon which Johann Sigismund, Heir-Apparent of Brandenburg and its expectancies, was instantly despatched from Berlin, to gather up the threads cut loose by that event, and see that the matter took no damage. On the road thither news reached him that his own Father, old Joachim Friedrich, was dead (18th July, 1608); that he himself was now Kurfurst; [1572, 1608-1619.] and that numerous threads were loose at both ends of his affairs.
The "young man"—not now so young, being full thirty-five and of fair experience—was in difficulty, under these overwhelming tidings; and puzzled, for a little, whether to advance or to return. He decided to advance, and settle Prussian matters, where the peril and the risk were; Brandenburg business he could do by rescripts.
His difficulties in Preussen, and at the Polish Court, were in fact immense. But after a space of eight or nine months, he did, by excellent management, not sparing money judiciously laid out on individuals, arrive at some adjustment, better or worse, and got Preussen in hand; [29th April, 1609. Stenzel, i. 370.] legal Administrator of the imbecile Duke, as his Father had been. After which he had to run for Brandenburg, without loss of time: great matters being there in the wind. Nothing wrong in Brandenburg, indeed; but the great Cleve Heritage is dropping, has dropped; over in Cleve, an immense expectancy is now come to the point of deciding itself.
Wilhelm of Cleve, the explosive Duke, whom we saw at Berlin and Konigsberg at the wedding of this poor Lady now deceased, had in the marriage-contract, as he did in all subsequent contracts and deeds of like nature, announced a Settlement of his Estates, which was now become of the highest moment for Johann Sigismund. The Country at that time called Duchy of Cleve, consisted, as we said above, not only of Cleve-Proper, but of two other still better Duchies, Julich and Berg; then of the GRAFSCHAFT (County) of Ravensburg, County of Mark, Lordship of—-In fact it was a multifarious agglomerate of many little countries, gathered by marriage, heritage and luck, in the course of centuries, and now united in the hand of this Duke Wilhelm. It amounted perhaps to two Yorkshires in extent. [See Busching, Erdbeschreibung, v. 642-734.] A naturally opulent Country, of fertile meadows, shipping capabilities, metalliferous hills; and, at this time, in consequence of the Dutch-Spanish War, and the multitude of Protestant refugees, it was getting filled with ingenious industries; and rising to be, what it still is, the busiest quarter of Germany. A Country lowing with kine; the hum of the flax-spindle heard in its cottages, in those old days,—"much of the linen called Hollands is made in Julich, and only bleached, stamped and sold, by the Dutch," says Busching. A Country, in our days, which is shrouded at short intervals with the due canopy of coal-smoke, and loud with sounds of the anvil and the loom.
This Duchy of Cleve, all this fine agglomerate of Duchies, Duke Wilhelm settled, were to be inherited in a piece, by his eldest (or indeed, as it soon proved, his only) Son and the heirs of that Son, if there were any. Failing heirs of that only Son, then the entire Duchy of Cleve was to go to Maria Eleonora as eldest Daughter, now marrying to Friedrich Albert, Duke of Prussia, and to their heirs lawfully begotten: heirs female, if there happened to be no male. The other Sisters, of whom there were three, were none of them to have the least pretence to inherit Cleve or any part of it. On the contrary, they were, in such event, of the eldest Daughter or her heirs coming to inherit Cleve, to have each of them a sum of ready money paid ["200,000 GOLDGULDEN," about 100,000 pounds; Pauli, vi. 542; iii. 504.] by the said inheritrix of Cleve or her heirs; and on receiving that, were to consider their claims entirely fulfilled, and to cease thinking of Cleve for the future.
This Settlement, by express privilege of Kaiser Karl V., nay of Kaiser Maximilian before him, and the Laws of the Reich, Duke Wilhelm doubted not he was entitled to make; and this Settlement he made; his Lawyers writing down the terms, in their wearisome way, perhaps six times over; and struggling by all methods to guard against the least misunderstanding. Cleve with all its appurtenances, Julich, Berg and the rest, goes to the eldest Sister and her heirs, male or female: If she have no heirs, male or female, then, but not till then, the next Sister steps into her shoes in that matter: but if she have, then, we repeat for the sixth and last time, no Sister or Sister's Representative has the least word to say to it, but takes her 100,000 pounds, and ceases thinking of Cleve.
The other three Sisters were all gradually married;—one of them to Pfalz-Neuburg, an eminent Prince, in the Bavarian region called the OBER-PFALZ (Upper Palatinate), who, or at least whose eldest Son, is much worth mentioning and remembering by us here;—and, in all these marriage-contracts, Wilhelm and his Lawyers expressed themselves to the like effect, and in the like elaborate sixfold manner: so that Wilhelm and they thought there could nowhere in the world be any doubt about it.
Shortly after signing the last of these marriage-contracts, or perhaps it was in the course of signing them, Duke Wilhelm had a stroke of palsy. He had, before that, gone into Papistry again, poor man. The truth is, he had repeated strokes; and being an abrupt, explosive Herr, he at last quite yielded to palsy; and sank slowly out of the world, in a cloud of semi-insanity, which lasted almost twenty years. [Died 25th January, 1592, age 76.] Duke Wilhelm did leave a Son, Johann Wilhelm, who succeeded him as Duke. But this Son also proved explosive; went half and at length wholly insane. Jesuit Priests, and their intrigues to bring back a Protestant country to the bosom of the Church, wrapped the poor man, all his days, as in a burning Nessus'-Shirt; and he did little but mischief in the world. He married, had no children; he accused his innocent Wife, the Jesuits and he, of infidelity. Got her judged, not properly sentenced; and then strangled her, he and they, in her bed:—"Jacobea of Baden (1597);" a thrice-tragic history. Then he married again; Jesuits being extremely anxious for an Orthodox heir: but again there came no heir; there came only new blazings of the Nessus'-Shirt. In fine, the poor man died (Spring, 1609), and made the world rid of him. Died 25th March, 1609; that is the precise date;—about a month before our new Elector, Johann Sigismund, got his affairs winded up at the Polish Court, and came galloping home in such haste. There was pressing need of him in the Cleve regions.
For the painful exactitude of Duke Wilhelm and his Lawyers has profited little; and there are claimants on claimants rising for that valuable Cleve Country. As indeed Johann Sigismund had anticipated, and been warned from all quarters, to expect. For months past, he has had his faculties bent, with lynx-eyed attention, on that scene of things; doubly and trebly impatient to get Preussen soldered up, ever since this other matter came to the bursting-point. What could be done by the utmost vigilance of his Deputies, he had done. It was the 25th of March when the mad Duke died: on the 4th of April, Johann Sigismund's Deputy, attended by a Notary to record the act, "fixed up the Brandenburg Arms on the Government-House of Cleve;" [Pauli, vi. 566.] on the 5th, they did the same at Dusseldorf; on the following days, at Julich and the other Towns. But already on the 5th, they had hardly got done at Dusseldorf, when there appeared—young Wolfgang Wilhelm, Heir-Apparent of that eminent Pfalz-Neuburg, he in person, to put up the Pfalz-Neuburg Arms! Pfalz-Neuburg, who married the Second Daughter, he is actually claiming, then;—the whole, or part? Both are sensible that possession is nine points in law.
Pfalz-Neuburg's claim was for the whole Duchy. "All my serene Mother's!" cried the young Heir of Pfalz-Neuburg: "Properly all mine!" cried he. "Is not she NEAREST of kin? Second Daughter, true; but the Daughter; not Daughter OF a Daughter, as you are (as your Serene Electress is), O DURCHLAUCHT of Brandenburg:—consider, besides, you are female, I am male!" That was Pfalz-Neuburg's logic: none of the best, I think, in forensic genealogy. His tenth point was perhaps rather weak; but he had possession, co-possession, and the nine points good. The other Two Sisters, by their Sons or Husbands, claimed likewise; but not the whole: "Divide it," said they: "that surely is the real meaning of Karl V.'s Deed of Privilege to make such a Testament. Divide it among the Four Daughters or their representatives, and let us all have shares!"
Nor were these four claimants by any means all. The Saxon Princes next claimed; two sets of Saxon Princes. First the minor set, Gotha-Weimar and the rest, the Ernestine Line so called; representatives of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, who lost the Electorate for religion's sake at Muhlberg in the past century, and from MAJOR became MINOR in Saxon Genealogy. "Magnanimous Johann Friedrich," said they, "had to wife an Aunt of the now deceased Duke of Cleve; Wife Sibylla (sister of the Flanders Mare), of famous memory, our lineal Ancestress. In favor of whom HER Father, the then reigning Duke of Cleve, made a marriage-contract of precisely similar import to this your Prussian one: he, and barred all his descendants, if contracts are to be valid." This is the claim of the Ernestine Line of Saxon Princes; not like to go for much, in their present disintegrated condition.
But the Albertine Line, the present Elector of Saxony, also claims: "Here is a Deed," said he, "executed by Kaiser Friedrich III. in the year 1483, [Pauli, ubi supra; Hubner, t. 286.] generations before your Kaiser Karl; Deed solemnly granting to Albert, junior of Sachsen, and to his heirs, the reversion of those same Duchies, should the Male Line happen to fail, as it was then likely to do. How could Kaiser Max revoke his Father's deed, or Kaiser Karl his Great-grandfather's? Little Albert, the Albert of the PRINZENRAUB, he who grew big, and fought lion-like for his Kaiser in the Netherlands and Western Countries; he and his have clearly the heirship of Cleve by right; and we, now grown Electors, and Seniors of Saxony, demand it of a grateful House of Hapsburg,—and will study to make ourselves convenient in return."—
"Nay, if that is your rule, that old Laws and Deeds are to come in bar of new, we," cry a multitude of persons,—French Dukes of Nevers, and all manner of remote, exotic figures among them,—"we are the real heirs! Ravensburg, Mark, Berg, Ravenstein, this patch and the other of that large Duchy of yours, were they not from primeval time expressly limited to heirs-male? Heirs-male; and we now are the nearest heirs-male of said patches and portions; and will prove it!"—In short, there never was such a Lawsuit,—so fat an affair for the attorney species, if that had been the way of managing it,—as this of Cleve was likely to prove.
What greatly complicated the affair, too, was the interest the Kaiser took in it. The Kaiser could not well brook a powerful Protestant in that country; still less could his Cousin the Spaniard. Spaniards, worn to the ground, coercing that world-famous Dutch Revolt, and astonished to find that they could not coerce it at all, had resolved at this time to take breath before trying farther. Spaniards and Dutch, after Fifty years of such fighting as we know, have made a Twelve-years' Truce (1609): but the battled Spaniard, panting, pale in his futile rage and sweat, has not given up the matter; he is only taking breath, and will try it again. Now Cleve is his road into Holland, in such adventure; no success possible if Cleve be not in good hands. Brandenburg is Protestant, powerful; Brandenburg will not do for a neighbor there.
Nor will Pfalz-Neuburg. A Protestant of Protestants, this Palatine Neuburg too,—junior branch, possible heir in time coming, of KUR-PFALZ (Elector Palatine) himself, in the Rhine Countries; of Kur-Pfalz, who is acknowledged Chief Protestant: official "President" of the "Evangelical Union" they have lately made among them in these menacing times;—Pfalz-Neuburg too, this young Wolfgang Wilhelm, if he do not break off kind, might be very awkward to the Kaiser in Cleve-Julich. Nay Saxony itself; for they are all Protestants:—unless perhaps Saxony might become pliant, and try to make itself useful to a munificent Imperial House?
Evidently what would best suit the Kaiser and Spaniards, were this, That no strong Power whatever got footing in Cleve, to grow stronger by the possession of such a country:—BETTER than best it would suit, if he, the Kaiser, could himself get it smuggled into his hands, and there hold it fast! Which privately was the course resolved upon at headquarters.—In this way the "Succession Controversy of the Cleve Duchies" is coming to be a very high matter; mixing itself, up with the grand Protestant-Papal Controversy, the general armed-lawsuit of mankind in that generation. Kaiser, Spaniard, Dutch, English, French Henri IV. and all mortals, are getting concerned in the decision of it.
Meanwhile Brandenburg and Neuburg both hold grip of Cleve in that manner, with a mutually menacing inquiring expression of countenance; each grasps it (so to speak) convulsively with the one hand, and has with the other hand his sword by the hilt, ready to fly out. But to understand this Brandenburg-Neuburg phenomenon and the then significance of the Cleve-Julich Controversy, we must take the following bits of Chronology along with us. For the German Empire, with Protestant complaints, and Papist usurpations and severities, was at this time all a continent of sour thick smoke, already breaking out into dull-red flashes here and there,—symptoms of the universal conflagration of a Thirty-Years War, which followed. SYMPTON FIRST is that of Donauworth, and dates above a year back.
Donauworth, a Protestant Imperial Free-town, in the Bavarian regions, had been, for some fault on the part of the populace against a flaring Mass-procession which had no business to be there, put under Ban of the Empire; had been seized accordingly (December, 1607), and much cuffed, and shaken about, by Duke Maximilian of Bavaria, as executor of the said Ban; [Michaeelis, ii. 216; Buddaei LEXICON, i. 853.]—who, what was still worse, would by no means give up the Town when he had done with it; Town being handy to him, and the man being stout and violently Papist. Hence the "Evangelical Union" which we saw,—which has not taken Donauworth yet. Nor ever will! Donauworth never was retaken; but is Bavarian at this hour, A Town namable in History ever since. Not to say withal, that it is where Marlborough, did "the Lines of Schellenberg" long after: Schellenberg ("Jingle-Hill," so to render it) looks down across the Danube or Donau River, upon Donauworth,—its "Lines," and other histories, now much abolished, and quiet under grass.
But now all Protestantism sounding everywhere, in angry mournful tone, "Donauwarth! Give up Donauworth!"—and an "Evangelical Union," with moneys, with theoretic contingents of force, being on foot for that and the like objects;—we can fancy what a scramble this of Cleve-Julich was like to be; and especially what effect this duelling attitude of Brandenburg and Neuburg had on the Protestant mind. Protestant neighbors, Landgraf Moritz of Hessen-Cassel at their head, intervene in tremulous haste, in the Cleve-Julich affair: "Peace, O friends! Some bargain; peaceable joint-possession; any temporary bargain, till we see! Can two Protestants fall to slashing one another, in such an aspect of the Reich and its Jesuitries?"—And they did agree (Dortmund, 10th May, 1609) the first of their innumerable "agreements," to some temporary joint-possession;—the thrice-thankful Country doing homage to both, "with oath to the one that SHALL be found genuine." And they did endeavor to govern jointly, and to keep the peace on those terms, though it was not easy.
For the Kaiser had already said (or his Aulic Council and Spanish Cousin, poor Kaiser Rodolf caring too little about these things, [Rodolf II. (Kepler's too insolvent "Patron"), 1576-1612; then Matthias, Rodolf's Brother, 1612-1619, rather tolerant to Protestants;—then Ferdinand II. his Uncle's Son, 1619-1637, much the reverse of tolerant, by whom mainly came the Thirty-Years War,—were the Kaisers of this Period. Ferdinand III., Son of II: (1637-1657), who finished out the Thirty-Years War, partly by fighting of his own in young days (Battle of Nordlingen his grandest feat), was Father of Kaiser Leopold (1658- 1705),—whose Two Sons were Kaiser Joseph (1705-1711) and Kaiser Karl VI. (1711-1740), Maria Theresa's Father.] had already said), Cleve must absolutely not go into wrong hands. For which what safe method is there, but that the Kaiser himself become proprietor? A Letter is yet extant, from the Aulic Council to their Vice-Chancellor, who had been sent to negotiate this matter with the parties; Letter to the effect, That such result was the only good one; that it must be achieved; "that he must devise all manner of quirks (alle Spitzfindigkeiten auffordern sollte)," and achieve it. [Pauli, iii. 5055.] This curious Letter of a sublime Aulic Council, or Imperial HOF-RATH, to its VICE-KANZLER, still exists.
And accordingly quirks did not prove undevisable on behalf of the Kaiser. "Since you cannot agree," said the Kaiser, "and there are so many of you who claim (we having privately stirred up several of you to the feat), there will be nothing for it, but the Kaiser must put the Country under sequestration, and take possession of it with his own troops, till a decision be arrived at,—which probably will not be soon!"
SECOND SYMPTOM; SEIZURE OF JULICH BY THE KAISER, AND SIEGE AND RECAPTURE OF IT BY THE PROTESTANT PARTIES, 1610. WHEREUPON WHEREUPON "CATHOLIC LEAGUE," TO BALANCEE "EVANGELICAL UNION."
And the Kaiser forthwith did as he had said; sent Archduke Leopold with troops, who forcibly took the Castle of Julich; commanding all other castles and places to surrender and sequestrate themselves, in like fashion; threatening Brandenburg and Neuburg, in a dreadful manner, with REICHS-ACHT (Ban of the Empire), if they presumed to show contumacy. Upon which Brandenburg and Neuburg, ranking themselves together, showed decided contumacy; "tore down the Kaiser's Proclamation," [Ib. iii. 524. Emperor's Proclamation, in Dusseldorf, 23d July, 1609,—taken down solemnly, 1st August, 1609,] having good help at their back.
And accordingly, "on the 4th of September, 1610," after a two-months' siege, they, or the Dutch, French, and Evangelical Union Troops bombarding along with them, and "many English volunteers" to help, retook Julich, and packed Leopold away again. [Ib. iii. 527.] The Dutch and the French were especially anxious about this Cleve business,—poor Henri IV. was just putting those French troops in motion towards Julich, when Ravaillac, the distracted Devil's-Jesuit, did his stroke upon him; so that another than Henri had to lead in that expedition. The actual Captain at the Siege was Prince Christian of Anhalt, by repute the first soldier of Germany at that period: he had a horse shot under him, the business being very hot and furious;—he had still worse fortune in the course of years. There were "many English volunteers" at this Siege; English nation hugely interested in it, though their King would not act except diplomatically. It was the talk of all the then world,—the evening song and the morning prayer of Protestants especially,—till it was got ended in this manner. It deserves to rank as SYMPTON SECOND in this business; far bigger flare of dull red in the universal smoke-continent, than that of Donauworth had been. Are there no memorials left of those "English volunteers," then? [In Carlyle's Miscellanies (vi.? "Two Hundred and Fifty Years ago: a Fragment about Duels") is one small scene belonging to them.] Alas, they might get edited as Bromley's Royal Letters are;—and had better lie quiet!
"Evangelical Union," formed some two years before, with what cause we saw, has Kur-Pfalz [Winter-King's Father; died 9th September, 1610, few days after this recapture of Julich.] at the head of it: but its troops or operations were never of a very forcible character. Kur-Brandenburg now joined it formally, as did many more; Kur-Sachsen, anxious to make himself convenient in other quarters, never would. Add to these phenomena, the now decisive appearance of a "Catholic LIGA" (League of Catholic Princes), which, by way of counterpoise to the "Union," had been got up by Duke Maximilian of Bavaria several months ago; and which now, under the same guidance, in these bad circumstances, took a great expansion of figure. Duke Maximilian, "DONAUWORTH Max," finding the Evangelical Union go so very high, and his own Kaiser like to be good for little in such business (poor hypochondriac Kaiser Rodolf II., more taken up with turning-looms and blow-pipes than with matters political, who accordingly is swept out of Julich in such summary way),—Donauworth Max has seen this a necessary institution in the present aspect.—Both "Union" and "League" rapidly waxed under the sound of the Julich cannon, as was natural.
Kur-Sachsen, for standing so well aloof from the Union, got from the thankful Kaiser written Titles for these Duchies of Cleve and Julich; Imperial parchments and infestments of due extent; but never any Territory in those parts. He never offered fight for his pretensions; and Brandenburg and Neuburg—Neuburg especially—always answered him, "No!" with sword half-drawn. So Kur-Sachsen faded out again, and took only parchments by the adventure. Practically there was no private Competitor of moment to Brandenburg, except this Wolfgang Wilhelm of Pfalz-Neuburg; he alone having clutched hold.—But we hasten to SYMPTOM THIRD, which particularly concerns us, and will be intelligible now at last.
Brandenburg and Neuburg stood together against third parties; but their joint-government was apt to fall in two, when left to itself, and the pressure of danger withdrawn. "They governed by the RATHS and STANDE of the Country;" old methods and old official men: each of the two had his own Vice-Regent (STATTHALTER) present on the ground, who jointly presided as they could. Jarrings were unavoidable; but how mend it? Settle the litigated Territory itself, and end their big lawsuit, they could not; often as they tried it, with the whole world encouraging and urging them. [Old Sir Henry Wotton, Provost of Eton in his old days, remembers how he went Ambassador on this errand,—as on many others equally bootless;—and writes himself "Legatus," not only "thrice to Venice, twice to" &c. &c., but also "once to Holland in the Juliers matter (semel in Juliacensi negotio):" see Reliquiae Wottonianae (London, 1672), Preface. It was "in 1614," say the Biographies vaguely. His Despatches, are they in the Paper-Office still? His good old Book deserves new editing, his good old genially pious life a proper elucidation, by some faithful man.] The meetings they had, and the treaties and temporary bargains they made, and kept, and could not keep, in these and in the following years and generations, pass our power of recording.
In 1613 the Brandenburg STATTHALTER was Ernst, the Elector's younger Brother, Wolfgang Wilhelm in person, for his Father, or rather for himself as heir of his Mother, represented Pfalz-Neuburg. Ernst of Brandenburg had adopted Calvinism as his creed; a thing hateful and horrible to the Lutheran mind (of which sort was Wolfgang Wilhelm), to a degree now altogether inconceivable. Discord arose in consequence between the STATTHALTERS, as to official appointments, sacred and secular: "You are for promoting Calvinists!"—"And you, I see, are for promoting Lutherans!"—Johann Sigismund himself had to intervene: Wolfgang Wilhelm and he had their meetings, friendly colloquies:—the final celloquy of which is still memorable; and issues in SYMPTOM THIRD.
We said, a strong flame of choler burnt in all these Hohenzollerns, though they held it well down. Johann Sigismund, an excellent man of business, knew how essential a mild tone is: nevertheless he found, as this colloquy went on, that human patience might at length get too much. The scene, after some examination, is conceivable in this wise: Place Dusseldorf, Elector's apartment in the Schloss there; time late in the Year 1613, Day not discoverable by me. The two sat at dinner, after much colloquy all morning: Johann Sigismund, a middle-aged, big-headed, stern-faced, honest-looking man; hair cropped, I observe; and eyelids slightly contracted, as if for sharper vision into matters: Wolfgang Wilhelm, of features fallen dim to me; an airy gentleman, well out of his teens, but, I doubt, not of wisdom sufficient; evidently very high and stiff in his ways.
His proposal, by way of final settlement, and end to all these brabbles, was this, and he insisted on it: "Give me your eldest Princess to wife; let her dowry be your whole claim on Cleve-Julich; I will marry her on that condition, and we shall be friends!" Here evidently is a gentleman that does not want for conceit in himself:—consider too, in Johann Sigismund's opinion, he had no right to a square inch of these Territories, though for peace' sake a joint share had been allowed him for the time! "On that condition, jackanapes?" thought Johann Sigismund: "My girl is not a monster; nor at a loss for husbands fully better than you, I should hope!" This he thought, and could not help thinking; but endeavored to say nothing of it. The young jackanapes went on, insisting. Nature at last prevailed; Johann Sigismund lifted his hand (princely etiquettes melting all into smoke on the sudden), and gave the young jackanapes a slap over the face. Veritable slap; which opened in a dreadful manner the eyes of young Pfalz-Neuburg to his real situation; and sent him off high-flaming, vowing never-imagined vengeance. A remarkable slap; well testified to,—though the old Histories, struck blank with terror, reverence and astonishment, can for most part only symbol it in dumb-show; [Pufendorf (Rer. Brandenb. lib. iv.? 16, p. 213), and many others, are in this case. Tobias Pfanner (Historia Pacis Westphalicae, lib. i.? 9, p. 26) is explicit: "Neque, ut infida regnandi societas est, Brandenburgio et Neoburgio diu conveniebat; eorumque jurgia, cum matrimonii faedere pacari posse propinqui ipsorum credidissent, acrius ezarsere; inter epulas, quibus futurum generum Septemvir (the "Sevensman," or Elector, "One of The Seven") excipiebat, hujus enim filia Wolfgango sperabatur, ob nescio quos sermones eo inter utrumque altercalione provecta, ut Elector irae impotestior, nulla dignitatis, hospitii, cognationis, affinitatisve verecundia cohibitus, intenderit Neoburgio manus, et contra tendentis os verberaverit. Ita, quae apud concordes vincula caritatis, incitamenta irarum apud infensos erant." (Cited in Kohler, Munzbelustiqungen, xxi. 341; who refers also to Levassor, Histoire de Louis XII.)—Pauli (iii. 542) bedomes qnite vaporous.] a slap that had important consequences in this world.
For now Wolfgang Wilhelm, flaming off in never-imagined vengeance, posted straight to Munchen, to Max of Bavaria there; declared himself convinced, or nearly so, of the Roman-Catholic Religion; wooed, and in a few weeks (10th November, 1613) wedded Max's younger Sister; and soon after, at Dusseldorf, pompously professed such his blessed change of Belief,—with immense flourish of trumpeting, and jubilant pamphleteering, from Holy Church. [Kohler, ubi supra.] His poor old Father, the devoutest of Protestants, wailed aloud his "Ichabod! the glory is departed!"—holding "weekly fast and humiliation" ever after,—and died in few months of a broken heart. The Catholic League has now a new Member on those terms.
And on the other hand, Johann Sigismund, nearly with the like haste (25th December, 1613), declared himself convinced of Calvinism, his younger Brother's creed; [Pauli, iii. 546.]—which continues ever since the Brandenburg Court-creed, that of the People being mostly Lutheran. Men said, it was to please the Dutch, to please the Julichers, most of whom are Calvinist. Apologetic Pauli is elaborate, but inconclusive. It was very ill taken at Berlin, where even popular riot arose on the matter. In Prussia too it had its drawbacks. [Ib. iii. 544; Michaelis, i. 349.]
And now, all being full of mutation, rearrangement and infinite rumor, there marched next year (1614), on slight pretext, resting on great suspicions, Spanish troops into the Julich-Cleve country, and, countenanced by Neuburg, began seizing garrisons there. Whereupon Dutch troops likewise marched, countenanced by Brandenburg, and occupied other fortresses and garrisons: and so, in every strong-place, these were either Papist-Spaniards or Calvinist-Dutch; who stood there, fronting one another, and could not by treatying be got out again;—like clouds positively electric VERSUS clouds negatively. As indeed was getting to be the case of Germany in general; case fatally visible in every Province, Principality and Parish there: till a thunder-storm, and succession of thunder-storms, of Thirty Years' continuance, broke out. Of which these huge rumors and mutations, and menacings of war, springing out of that final colloquy and slap in the face, are to be taken as the THIRD premonitory Symptom. Spaniards and Dutch stand electrically fronting one another in Cleve for seven years, till their Truce is out, before they clash together; Germany does not wait so long by a couple of years.
Five years more (1618), and there will have come a FOURTH Symptom, biggest of all, rapidly consummating the process;—Symptom still famed, of the following external figure: Three Official Gentlemen descending from a window in the Castle of Prag: hurled out by impatient Bohemian Protestantism, a depth of seventy feet,—happily only into dung, and without loss of life. From which follows a "King of Bohemia" elected there, King not unknown to us;—"thunder-clouds" all in one huge clash, and the "continent of sour smoke" blazing all into a continent of thunderous fire: THIRTY-YEARS WAR, as they now call it! Such a conflagration as poor Germany never saw before or since.
These were the FOUR preliminary SYMPTOMS of that dismal business. "As to the primary CAUSES of it," says one of my Authorities, "these lie deep, deep almost as those of Original Sin. But the proximate causes seem to me to have been these two: FIRST, That the Jesuit-Priests and Principalities had vowed and resolved to have, by God's help and by the Devil's (this was the peculiarity of it), Europe made Orthodox again: and then SECONDLY, The fact that a Max of Bavaria existed at that time, whose fiery character, cunning but rash head, and fanatically Papist heart disposed him to attempt that enterprise, him with such resources and capacities, under their bad guidance."
Johann Sigismund did many swift decisive strokes of business in his time, businesses of extensive and important nature; but this of the slap to Neuburg has stuck best in the idle memory of mankind. Dusseldorf, Year 1613: it was precisely in the time when that same Friedrioh, not yet by any means "King of Bohemia," but already Kur-Pfalz (Cousin of this Neuburg, and head man of the Protestants), was over here in England, on a fine errand;—namely, had married the fair Elizabeth (14th February, 1613), James the First's Princess; "Goody Palsgrave," as her Mother floutingly called her, not liking the connection. What kind of a "King of Bohemia" this Friedrich made, five or six years after, and what sea of troubles he and his entered into, we know; the "WINTER-KONIG" (Winter-King, fallen in times of FROST, or built of mere frost, a SNOW-king altogether soluble again) is the name he gets in German Histories. But here is another hook to hang Chronology upon.
This brief Bohemian Kingship had not yet exploded on the Weissenberg of Prag, [Battle there, Sunday 8th November, 1620.] when old Sir Henry Wotton being sent as Ambassador "to LIE abroad" (as he wittily called it, to his cost) in that Business, saw, in the City of Lintz in the picturesque green country by the shores of the Donau there, an ingenious person, who is now recognizable as one of the remarkablest of mankind, Mr. John Kepler, namely: Keplar as Wotton writes him; addressing the great Lord Bacon (unhappily without strict date of any kind) on that among other subjects. Mr. John's now ever-memorable watching of those Motions of the Star Mars, [De Motibus Stellae Martis; Prag, 1609.] with "calculations repeated seventy times," and also with Discovery of the Planetary Laws of this Universe, some, ten years ago, appears to be unknown to Wotton and Bacon; but there is something else of Mr. John's devising [It seems, Baptista Porta (of Naples, dead some years before) must have given him the essential hint,—of whom, or whose hint, Mr. John does not happen to inform his Excellency at present.] which deserves attention from an Instaurator of Philosophy:—
"He hath a little black Tent (of what stuff is not much importing)," says the Ambassador, "which he can suddenly set up where he will in a Field; and it is convertible (like a windmill) to all quarters at pleasure; capable of not much more than one man, as I conceive, and perhaps at no great ease; exactly close and dark,—save at one hole, about an inch and a half in the diameter, to which he applies a long perspective Trunk, with the convex glass fitted to the said hole, and the concave taken out at the other end, which extendeth to about the middle of this erected Tent: through which the visible radiations of all the Objects without are intromitted, falling upon a Paper, which is accommodated to receive them; and so he traceth them with his pen in their natural appearance; turning his little Tent round by degrees, till he hath designed the whole Aspect of the Field." [Reliqui Wottonianae, (london 1672), p. 300.]—In fact he hath a CAMERA OBSCURA, and is exhibiting the same for the delectation of Imperial gentlemen lounging that way. Mr. John invents such toys, writes almanacs, practises medicine, for good reasons; his encouragement from the Holy Roman Empire and mankind being only a pension of 18 pounds a year, and that hardly ever paid. An ingenious person, truly, if there ever was one among Adam's Posterity. Just turned of fifty and ill off for cash. This glimpse of him, in his little black tent with perspective glasses, while the Thirty-Years War blazes out, is welcome as a date.
In the Cleve Duchies joint government had now become more difficult than ever: but it had to be persisted in,—under mutual offences, suspicions and outbreaks hardly repressed;—no final Bargain of Settlement proving by any method possible. Treaties enough, and conferences and pleadings, manifestoings:—Could not some painful German collector of Statistics try to give us the approximate quantity of impracticable treaties, futile conferences, manifestoes correspondences; in brief, some authentical cipher (say in round millions) of idle Words spoken by official human creatures and approximately (in square miles) the extent of Law Stationery and other Paper written, first and last, about this Controversy of the Cleve Duchies? In that form it might have a momentary interest.
When the Winter-King's explosion took place, [Crowned at Prag, 4th November N.S. 1619; beaten to ruin there, and obliged to gallop (almost before dinner done), Sunday, 8th November, 1620.] and his own unfortunate Pfalz (Palatinate) became the theatre of war (Tilly, Spinola, VERSUS Pfalzers, English, Dutch), involving all the neighboring regions, Cleve-Julich did not escape its fate. The Spaniards and the Dutch, who had long sat in gloomy armed-truce, occupying with obstinate precaution the main Fortresses of these Julich-Cleve countries, did now straightway, their Twelve-Years' truce being out (1621), [Pauli, vi. 578-580.] fall to fighting and besieging one another there; the huge War, which proved of Thirty Years, being now all ablaze. What the country suffered in the interim may be imagined.
In 1624, in pity to all parties, some attempt at practical Division of the Territory was again made: Neuburg to have Berg and Julich, Brandenburg to have Cleve, Mark, Ravensburg and the minor appurtenances: and Treaty to that effect was got signed (11th May, 1624). But it was not well kept, nor could be; and the statistic cipher of new treaties, manifestoes, conferences, and approximate written area of Law-Paper goes on increasing.
It was not till forty-two years after, in 1666, as will be more minutely noticeable by and by, that an effective partition could be practically brought about. Nor in this state was the Lawsuit by any means ended,—as we shall wearisomely see, in times long following that. In fact there never was, in the German Chanceries or out of them, such a Lawsuit, Armed or Wigged, as this of the Cleve Duchies first and last. And the sentence was not practically given, till the Congress of Vienna (1815) in our own day gave it; and the thing Johann Sigismund had claimed legally in 1609 was actually handed over to Johann Sigismund's Descendant in the seventh generation, after two hundred and six years. Handed over to him then,—and a liberal rate of interest allowed. These litigated Duchies are now the Prussian Province Julich-Berg-Cleve, and the nucleus of Prussia's possessions in the Rhine country.
A year before Johann Sigismund's death, Albert Friedrich, the poor eclipsed Duke of Prussia, died (8th August, 1618): upon which our swift Kurfurst, not without need of his dexterities there too, got peaceable possession of Prussia;—nor has his Family lost hold of that, up to the present time. Next year (23d December, 1619), he himself closed a swift busy life (labor enough in it for him perhaps, though only an age of forty-nine); and sank to his long rest, his works following him,—unalterable thenceforth, not unfruitful some of them.
By far the unluckiest of these Electors, whether the most unworthy of them or not, was George Wilhelm, Tenth Elector, who now succeeded Johann Sigismund his Father. The Father's eyes had closed when this great flame was breaking out; and the Son's days were all spent amid the hot ashes and fierce blazings of it.
The position of Brandenburg during this sad Thirty-Years War was passive rather than active; distinguished only in the former way, and as far as possible from being glorious or victorious. Never since the Hohenzollerns came to that Country had Brandenburg such a time. Difficult to have mended it; impossible to have quite avoided it;—and Kurfurst George Wilhelm was not a man so superior to all his neighbors, that he could clearly see his way in such an element. The perfect or ideal course was clear: To have frankly drawn sword for his Religion and his Rights, so soon as the battle fairly opened; and to have fought for these same, till he got either them or died. Alas, that is easily said and written; but it is, for a George Wilhelm especially, difficult to do! His capability in all kinds was limited; his connections, with this side and that, were very intricate. Gustavus and the Winter-King were his Brothers-in-law; Gustavus wedded to his Sister, he to Winter-King's. His relations to Poland, feudal superior of Preussen, were delicate; and Gustavus was in deadly quarrel with Poland. And then Gustavus's sudden laying-hold of Pommern, which had just escaped from Wallenstein and the Kaiser? It must be granted, poor George Wilhelm's case demanded circumspectness.
One can forgive him for declining the Bohemian-King speculation, though his Uncle of Jagerndorf and his Cousins of Liegnitz were so hearty and forward in it. Pardonable in him to decline the Bohemian speculation;—though surely it is very sad that he found himself so short of "butter and firewood" when the poor Ex-King, and his young Wife, then in a specially interesting state, came to take shelter with him! [Solltl (Geschichte des Dreissigjahrigen Krieges,—a trivial modern Book) gives a notable memorial from the Brandenburg RATHS, concerning these their difficulties of housekeeping. Their real object, we perceive, was to get rid of a Guest so dangerous as the Ex-King, under Ban of the Empire, had now become.] But when Gustavus landed, and flung out upon the winds such a banner as that of his,—truly it was required of a Protestant Governor of men to be able to read said banner in a certain degree. A Governor, not too IMperfect, would have recognized this Gustavus, what his purposes and likelihoods were; the feeling would have been, checked by due circumspectness: "Up, my men, let us follow this man; let us live and die in the Cause this man goes for! Live otherwise with honor, or die otherwise with honor, we cannot, in the pass things have come to!"—And thus, at the very worst, Brandenburg would have had only one class of enemies to ravage it; and might have escaped with, arithmetically speaking, HALF the harrying it got in that long Business.
But Protestant Germany—sad shame to it, which proved lasting sorrow as well—was all alike torpid; Brandenburg not an exceptional case. No Prince stood up as beseemed: or only one, and he not a great one; Landgraf Wilhelm of Hessen, who, and his brave Widow after him, seemed always to know what hour it was. Wilhelm of Hessen all along;—and a few wild hands, Christian of Brunswick, Christian of Anhalt, Johann George of Jagerndorf, who stormed out tumultuously at first, but were soon blown away by the Tilly-Wallenstein TRADE-WINDS and regulated armaments:—the rest sat still, and tried all they could to keep out of harm's way. The "Evangelical Union" did a great deal of manifestoing, pathetic, indignant and other; held solemn Meetings at Heilbronn, old Sir Henry Wotton going as Ambassador to them; but never got any redress. Had the Evangelical Union shut up its inkhorns sooner; girt on its fighting-tools when the time came, and done some little execution with them then, instead of none at all,—we may fancy the Evangelical Union would have better discharged its function. It might have saved immense wretchedness to Germany. But its course went not that way.
In fact, had there been no better Protestantism than that of Germany, all was over with Protestantism; and Max of Bavaria, with fanatical Ferdinand II. as Kaiser over him, and Father Lammerlein at his right hand and Father Hyacinth at his left, had got their own sweet way in this world. But Protestant Germany was not Protestant Europe, after all. Over seas there dwelt and reigned a certain King in Sweden; there farmed, and walked musing by the shores of the Ouse in Huntingdonshire, a certain man;—there was a Gustav Adolf over seas, an Oliver Cromwell over seas; and "a company of poor men" were found capable of taking Lucifer by the beard,—who accordingly, with his Lammerleins, Hyacinths, Habernfeldts and others, was forced to withdraw, after a tough struggle!—
The enormous Thirty-Years War, most intricate of modern Occurrences in the domain of Dryasdust, divides itself, after some unravelling, into Three principal Acts or Epochs; in all of which, one after the other, our Kurfurst had an interest mounting progressively, but continuing to be a passive interest.
Act FIRST goes from 1620 to 1624; and might be entitled "The Bohemian King Made and Demolished." Personally the Bohemian King was soon demolished. His Kingship may be said to have gone off by explosion; by one Fight, namely, done on the Weissenberg near Prag (Sunday, 8th November, 1620), while he sat at dinner in the City, the boom of the cannon coming in with interest upon his high guests and him. He had to run, in hot haste, that night, leaving many of his important papers,—and becomes a Winter-King. Winter-King's account was soon settled. But the extirpating of his Adherents, and capturing of his Hereditary Lands, Palatinate and Upper-Palatinate, took three years more. Hard fighting for the Palatinate; Tilly and Company against the "Evangelical-Union Troops, and the English under Sir Horace Vere." Evangelical-Union Troops, though marching about there, under an Uncle of our Kurfurst (Margraf Joachim Ernst, that lucky Anspach Uncle, founder of "the Line"), who professed some skill in soldiering, were a mere Picture of an Army; would only "observe," and would not fight at all. So that the whole fighting fell to Sir Horace and his poor handful of English; of whose grim posture "in Frankendale" [Frankenthal, a little Town in the Palatinate, N.W. from Mannheim a short way.] and other Strongholds, for months long, there is talk enough in the old English History-Books.
Then there were certain stern War-Captains, who rallied from the Weissenberg Defeat:—Christian of Brunswick, the chief of them, titular Bishop of Halberstadt, a high-flown, fiery young fellow, of terrible fighting gifts; he flamed up considerably, with "the Queen of Bohemia's glove stuck in his Hat:" "Bright Lady, it shall stick there, till I get you your own again, or die!" [1621-1623, age not yet twenty-five; died (by poison), 1626, having again become supremely important just then. "Gottes Freund, der Pfaffen Feind (God's Friend, Priests' Foe);" "Alles fur Ruhm und Ihr (All for Glory and Her,"—the bright Elizabeth, become Ex-Queen), were mottoes of his.—Buddaus IN VOCE (i. 649); Michaelis, i. 110.] Christian of Brunswick, George of Jagerndorf (our Kurfurst's Uncle), Count Mansfeldt and others, made stormy fight once and again, hanging upon this central "Frankendale" Business, till they and it became hopeless. For the Kaiser and his Jesuits were not in doubt; a Kaiser very proud, unscrupulous; now clearly superior in force,—and all along of great superiority in fraud.
Christian of Brunswick, Johann George and Mansfeldt were got rid of: Christian by poison; Johann George and Mansfeldt by other methods,—chiefly by playing upon poor King James of England, and leading him by the long nose he was found to have. The Palatinate became the Kaiser's for the time being; Upper Palatinate (OBER-PFALZ) Duke Max of Bavaria, lying contiguous to it, had easily taken. "Incorporate the Ober-Pfalz with your Bavaria," said the Kaiser, "you, illustrious, thrice-serviceable Max! And let Lammerlein and Hyacinth, with their Gospel of Ignatius, loose upon it. Nay, as a still richer reward, be yours the forfeited KUR (Electorship) of this mad Kur-Pfalz, or Winter-King. I will hold his Rhine-Lands, his UNTER-PFALZ: his Electorship and OBER-PFALZ, I say, are yours, Duke, henceforth KURFURST Maximilian!" [Kohler, Reichs-Historie, p. 520.] Which was a hard saying in the ears of Brandenburg, Saxony and the other Five, and of the Reich in general; but they had all to comply, after wincing. For the Kaiser proceeded with a high hand. He had put the Ex-King under Ban of the Empire (never asking "the Empire" about it); put his Three principal Adherents, Johann George of Jagerndorf one of them, Prince Christian of Anhalt (once captain at the Siege of Juliers) another, likewise under Ban of the Empire; [22d Jan. 1621 (ibid. p. 518).] and in short had flung about, and was flinging, his thunder-bolts in a very Olympian manner. Under all which, what could Brandenburg and the others do; but whimper some trembling protest, "Clear against Law!"—and sit obedient? The Evangelical Union did not now any more than formerly draw out its fighting-tools. In fact, the Evangelical Union now fairly dissolved itself; melted into a deliquium of terror under these thunder-bolts that were flying, and was no more heard of in the world.—
Except in the "NETHER-SAXON CIRCLE" (distant Northwest region, with its Hanover, Mecklenburg, with its rich Hamburgs, Lubecks, Magdeburgs, all Protestant, and abutting on the Protestant North), trembling Germany lay ridden over as the Kaiser willed. Foreign League got up by France, King James, Christian IV. of Denmark (James's Brother-in-law, with whom he had such "drinking" in Somerset House, long ago, on Christian's visit hither [Old Histories of James I. (Wilson, &c.)]), went to water, or worse. Only the "Nether-Saxon Circle" showed some life; was levying an army; and had appointed Christian of Brunswick its Captain, till he was got poisoned;—upon which the drinking King of Denmark took the command.
Act SECOND goes from 1624 to 1627 or even 1629; and contains drunken Christian's Exploits. Which were unfortunate, almost to the ruin of Denmark itself, as well as of the Nether-Saxon Circle;—till in the latter of these years he slightly rallied, and got a supportable Peace granted him (Peace of Lubeck, 1629); after which he sits quiet, contemplative, with an evil eye upon Sweden now and then. The beatings he got, in quite regular succession, from Tilly and Consorts, are not worth mentioning: the only thing one now remembers of him is his alarming accident on the ramparts of Hameln, just at the opening of these Campaigns. At Hameln, which was to be a strong post, drunken Christian rode out once, on a summer afternoon (1624), to see that the ramparts were all right, or getting all right;—and tumbled, horse and self (self in liquor, it is thought), in an ominous alarming manner. Taken up for dead;—nay some of the vague Histories seem to think he was really dead:—but he lived to be often beaten after that, and had many moist years more.
Our Kurfurst had another Uncle put to the Ban in this Second Act,—Christian Wilhelm Archbishop of Magdeburg, "for assisting the Danish King;" nor was Ban all the ruin that fell on this poor Archbishop. What could an unfortunate Kurfurst do, but tremble and obey? There was still a worse smart got by our poor Kurfurst out of Act Second; the glaring injustice done him in Pommern.
Does the reader remember that scene in the High Church of Stettin a hundred and fifty years ago? How the Burgermeister threw sword and helmet into the grave of the last Duke of Pommern-Stettin there; and a forward Citizen picked them out again in favor of a Collateral Branch? Never since, any more than then, could Brandenburg get Pommern according to claim. Collateral Branch, in spite of Friedrich Ironteeth, in spite even of Albert Achilles and some fighting of his; contrived, by pleading at the Diets and stirring up noise, to maintain its pretensions: and Treaties without end ensued, as usual; Treaties refreshed and new-signed by every Successor of Albert, to a wearisome degree. The sum of which always was: "Pommern does actual homage to Brandenburg; vassal of Brandenburg;—and falls home to it, if the now Extant Line go extinct." Nay there is an ERBVERBRUDERUNG (Heritage-Fraternity) over and above, established this long time, and wearisomely renewed at every new Accession. Hundreds of Treaties, oppressive to think of:—and now the last Duke, old Bogislaus, is here, without hope of children; and the fruit of all that haggling, actual Pommern to wit, will at last fall home? Alas, no; far otherwise.
For the Kaiser having so triumphantly swept off the Winter-King, and Christian IV. in the rear of him, and got Germany ready for converting to Orthodoxy,—wished now to have some hold of the Seaboard, thereby to punish Denmark; nay thereby, as is hoped, to extend the blessings of Orthodoxy into England, Sweden, Holland, and the other Heretic States, in due time. For our plans go far! This is the Kaiser's fixed wish, rising to the rank of hope now and then: all Europe shall become Papist again by the help of God and the Devil. So the Kaiser, on hardly any pretext, seized Mecklenburg from the Proprietors,—"Traitors, how durst you join Danish Christian?"—and made Wallenstein Duke of it. Duke of Mecklenburg, "Admiral of the EAST SEA (Baltic);" and set to "building ships of war in Rostock,"—his plans going far. [Kohler, Reichs-Historie, pp, 524, 525.] This done, he seized Pommern, which also is a fine Sea-country,—stirring up Max of Bavaria to make some idle pretence to Pommern, that so the Kaiser might seize it "in sequestration till decided on." Under which hard treatment, George Wilhelm had to sit sad and silent,—though the Stralsunders would not. Hence the world-famous Siege of Stralsund (1628); fierce Wallenstein declaring, "I will have the Town, if it hung by a chain from Heaven;" but finding he could not get it; owing to the Swedish succor, to the stubborn temper prevalent among the Townsfolk, and also greatly to the rains and peat-bogs.
A second Uncle of George Wilhelm's, that unlucky Archbishop of Magdeburg above mentioned, the Kaiser, once more by his own arbitrary will, put under Ban of the Empire, in this Second Act: "Traitor, how durst you join with the Danes?" The result of which was Tilly's Sack of Magdeburg (10-12th May, 1631), a transaction never forgettable by mankind.—As for Pommern, Gustav Adolf, on his intervening in these matters, landed there: Pommern was now seized by Gustav Adolf, as a landing-place and place-of-arms, indispensable for Sweden in the present emergency; and was so held thenceforth. Pommern will not fall to George Wilhelm at this time.
And now we are at Act THIRD:—Landing of Gustav Adolf "in the Isle of Usedom, 24th June, 1630," and onward for Eighteen Years till the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648;—on which, as probably better known to the reader, we will not here go into details. In this Third Act too, George Wilhelm followed his old scheme, peace at any price;—as shy of Gustav as he had been of other Champions of the Cause; and except complaining, petitioning and manifestoing, studiously did nothing.
Poor man, it was his fate to stand in the range of these huge collisions,—Bridge of Dessau, Siege of Stralsund, Sack of Magdeburg, Battle of Leipzig,—where the Titans were bowling rocks at one another; and he hoped, by dexterous skipping, to escape share of the game. To keep well with his Kaiser,—and such a Kaiser to Germany and to him,—this, for George Wilhelm, was always the first commandment. If the Kaiser confiscate your Uncles, against law; seize your Pommern; rob you on the public highways,—George Wilhelm, even in such case, is full of dubitations. Nay his Prime-Minister, one Schwartzenberg, a Catholic, an Austrian Official at one time,—Progenitor of the Austrian Schwartzenbergs that now are,—was secretly in the Kaiser's interest, and is even thought to have been in the Kaiser's pay, all along.
Gustav, at his first landing, had seized Pommern, and swept it clear of Austrians, for himself and for his own wants; not too regardful of George Wilhelm's claims on it. He cleared out Frankfurt-on-Oder, Custrin and other Brandenburg Towns, in a similar manner,—by cannon and storm, when needful;—drove the Imperialists and Tilly forth of these countries. Advancing, next year, to save Magdeburg, now shrieking under Tilly's bombardment, Gustav insisted on having, if not some bond of union from his Brother-in-law of Brandenburg, at least the temporary cession of two Places of War for himself, Spandau and Custrin, indispensable in any farther operation. Which cession Kurfurst George Wilhelm, though giving all his prayers to the Good Cause, could by no means grant. Gustav had to insist, with more and more emphasis; advancing at last, with military menace, upon Berlin itself. He was met by George Wilhelm and his Council, "in the woods of Copenick," short way to the east of that City: there George Wilhelm and his Council wandered about, sending messages, hopelessly consulting; saying among each other, "Que faire; ils ont des canons, what can one do; they have got cannon?" [OEvres de Frederic le Grand (Berlin, 1846-1856 et seqq.: Memoires de Brandebourg), i. 38. For the rest, Friedrich's Account of the Transaction is very loose and scanty: see Pauli (iv. 568) and his minute details.] For many hours so; round the inflexible Gustav,—who was there like a fixed milestone, and to all questions and comers had only one answer!—"Que faire; ils ont des canons?" This was the 3d May, 1631. This probably is about the nadir-point of the Brandenburg-Hohenzollern History. The little Friedrich, who became Frederick the Great, in writing of it, has a certain grim banter in his tone; and looks rather with mockery on the perplexities of his poor Ancestor, so fatally ignorant of the time of day it had now become.
On the whole, George Wilhelm did what is to be called nothing, in the Thirty-Years War; his function was only that of suffering. He followed always the bad lead of Johann George, Elector of Saxony; a man of no strength, devoutness or adequate human worth; who proved, on these negative grounds, and without flagrancy of positive badness, an unspeakable curse to Germany. Not till the Kaiser fulminated forth his Restitution-Edict, and showed he was in earnest about it (1629-1631), "Restore to our Holy Church what you have taken from her since the Peace of Passau!"—could this Johann George prevail upon himself to join Sweden, or even to do other than hate it for reasons he saw. Seized by the throat in this manner, and ordered to DELIVER, Kur-Sachsen did, and Brandenburg along with him, make Treaty with the Swede. [8th February, 1631 (Kohler, Reichs-Historie, pp. 526-531.) in consequence of which they two, some months after, by way of co-operating with Gustav on his great march Vienna-ward, sent an invading force into Bohemia, Brandenburg contributing some poor 3,000 to it; who took Prag, and some other open Towns; but "did almost nothing there," say the Histories, "except dine and drink." It is clear enough they were instantly scattered home [October, 1633 (Stenzel, i. 503).) at the first glimpse of Wallenstein dawning on the horizon again in those parts.
Gustav having vanished (Field of Lutzen, 6th November, 1632 [Pauli, iv. 576.]), Oxenstiern, with his high attitude, and "Presidency" of the "Union of Heilbronn," was rather an offence to Kur-Sachsen, who used to be foremost man on such occasions. Kur-Sachsen broke away again; made his Peace of Prag, [1635, 20th May (Stenzel, i. 513).] whom Brandenburg again followed; Brandenburg and gradually all the others, except the noble Wilhelm of Hessen-Cassel alone. Miserable Peace; bit of Chaos clouted up, and done over with Official varnish;—which proved to be the signal for continuing the War beyond visible limits, and rendering peace impossible.
After this, George Wilhelm retires from the scene; lives in Custrin mainly; mere miserable days, which shall be invisible to us. He died in 1640; and, except producing an active brave Son very unlike himself, did nothing considerable in the world. "Que faire; ils ont des canons!"
Among the innumerable sanguinary tusslings of this War are counted Three great Battles, Leipzig, Lutzen, Nordlingen. Under one great Captain, Swedish Gustav, and the two or three other considerable Captains, who appeared in it, high passages of furious valor, of fine strategy and tactic, are on record. But on the whole, the grand weapon in it, and towards the latter times the exclusive one, was Hunger. The opposing Armies tried to starve one another; at lowest, tried each not to starve. Each trying to eat the country, or at any rate to leave nothing eatable in it: what that will mean for the country, we may consider. As the Armies too frequently, and the Kaiser's Armies habitually, lived without commissariat, often enough without pay, all horrors of war and of being a seat of war, that have been since heard of, are poor to those then practised. The detail of which is still horrible to read. Germany, in all eatable quarters of it, had to undergo the process;—tortured, torn to pieces, wrecked, and brayed as in a mortar under the iron mace of war. [Curious incidental details of the state it was reduced to, in the Rhine and Danube Countries, turn up in the Earl of Arundel and Surrey's TRAVELS ("Arundel of the Marbles") as Ambassador Extraordinary to the Emperor Ferdinando II. in 1636 (a small Volume, or Pamphlet, London, 1637).] Brandenburg saw its towns sieged and sacked, its country populations driven to despair, by the one party and the other. Three times,—first in the Wallenstein Mecklenburg period, while fire and sword were the weapons, and again, twice over, in the ultimate stages of the struggle, when starvation had become the method—Brandenburg fell to be the principal theatre of conflict, where all forms of the dismal were at their height. In 1638, three years after that precious "Peace of Prag," the Swedes (Banier VERSUS Gallas) starving out the Imperialists in those Northwestern parts, the ravages of the starving Gallas and his Imperialists excelled all precedent; and the "famine about Tangermunde had risen so high that men ate human flesh, nay human creatures ate their own children." [1638: Pauli, iv. 604.] "Que faire; ils ont des canons!"
This unfortunate George Wilhelm failed in getting Pommern when due; Pommern, firmly held by the Swedes, was far from him. But that was not the only loss of territory he had. Jagerndorf,—we have heard of Johann George of Jagerndorf, Uncle of this George Wilhelm, how old Joachim Friedrich put him into Jagerndorf, long since, when it fell home to the Electoral House. Jagerndorf is now lost; Johann George is under REICHS-ACHT (Ban of Empire), ever since the Winter-King's explosion, and the thunder-bolts that followed; and wanders landless;—nay he is long since dead, and has six feet of earth for a territory, far away in Transylvania, or the RIESEN-GEBIRGE (Giant Mountains) somewhere. Concerning whom a word now.
Johann George, a frank-hearted valiant man, concerning whom only good actions, and no bad one, are on record, had notable troubles in the world; bad troubles to begin with, and worse to end in. He was second Son of Kurfurst Joachim Friedrich, who had meant him for the Church. [1577-1624: Rentsch, p. 486.] The young fellow was Coadjutor of Strasburg, almost from the time of getting into short-clothes. He was then, still very young, elected Bishop there (1592); Bishop of Strasburg,—but only by the Protestant part of the Canons; the Catholic part, unable to submit longer, and thinking it a good time for revolt against a Protestant population and obstinately heterodox majority, elected another Bishop,—one "Karl of the House of Lorraine;" and there came to be dispute, and came even to be fighting needed. Fighting; which prudent Papa would not enter into, except faintly at second-hand, through the Anspach Cousins, or others that were in the humor. Troublesome times for the young man; which lasted a dozen years or more. At last a Bargain was made (1604); Protestant and Catholic Canons splitting the difference in some way; and the House of Lorraine paying Johann George a great deal of money to go home again. [OEuvres completes de Voltaire, 97 vols. (Paris, 1825-1832), xxxiii. 284.—Kohler (Reichs-Historie, p. 487) gives the authentic particulars.] Poor Johann George came out of it in that way; not second-best, think several.
He was then (1606) put into Jagerndorf, which had just fallen vacant; our excellent fat friend, George Friedrich of Anspach, Administrator of Preussen, having lately died, and left it vacant, as we saw. George Friedrich's death yielded fine apanages, three of them in all: FIRST Anspach, SECOND, Baireuth, and this THIRD of Jagerndorf for a still younger Brother. There was still a fourth younger Brother, Uncle of George Wilhelm; Archbishop of Magdeburg this one; who also, as we have seen, got into REICHS-ACHT, into deep trouble in the Thirty-Years War. He was in Tilly's thrice-murderous Storm of Magdeburg (10th May, 1631); was captured, tumbled about by the wild soldiery, and nearly killed there. Poor man, with his mitre and rochets left in such a state! In the end he even became CATHOLIC,—from conviction, as was evident, and bewilderment of mind;—and lived in Austria on a pension; occasionally publishing polemical pamphlets. [1587; 1628; 1665 (Rentsch, pp. 905-910).]—
As to Johann George, he much repaired and beautified the Castle of Jagerndorf, says Rentsch: but he unfortunately went ahead into the Winter-King's adventure; which, in that sad battle of the Weissenberg, made total shipwreck of itself, drawing Johann George and much else along with it. Johann George was straightway tyrannously put to the Ban, forfeited of life and lands: [22d January, 1621 (Kohler, Reichs-Historie, p. 518: and rectify Hubner, t. 178).] Johann George disowned the said Ban; stood out fiercely for self and Winter-King; and did good fighting in the Silesian strongholds and mountain-passes: but was forced to seek temporary shelter in SIEBENBURGEN (Transylvania); and died far away, in a year or two (1624), while returning to try it again. Sleeps, I think, in the "Jablunka Pass;" the dumb Giant-Mountains (RIESEN-GEBIRGE) shrouding up his sad shipwreck and him.
Jagerndorf was thus seized by Ferdinand II. of the House of Hapsburg; and though it was contrary to all law that the Kaiser should keep it,—poor Johann George having left Sons very innocent of treason, and Brothers, and an Electoral. Nephew, very innocent,—to whom, by old compacts and new, the Heritage in defect of him was to fall,—neither Kaiser Ferdinand II. nor Kaiser Ferdinand III. nor any Kaiser would let go the hold; but kept Jagerndorf fast clenched, deaf to all pleadings, and monitions of gods or men. Till at length, in the fourth generation afterwards, one "Friedrich the Second," not unknown to us,—a sharp little man, little in stature, but large in faculty and renown, who is now called "Frederick the Great,"—clutched hold of the Imperial fist (so to speak), seizing his opportunity in 1740; and so wrenched and twisted said close fist, that not only Jagerndorf dropped out of it, but the whole of Silesia along with Jagerndorf, there being other claims withal. And the account was at last settled, with compound interest,—as in fact such accounts are sure to be, one way or other. And so we leave Johann George among the dumb Giant-Mountains again.
Brandenburg had again sunk very low under the Tenth Elector, in the unutterable troubles of the times. But it was gloriously raised up again by his Son Friedrich Wilhelm, who succeeded in 1640. This is he whom they call the "Great Elector (GROSSE KURFURST);" of whom there is much writing and celebrating in Prussian Books. As for the epithet, it is not uncommon among petty German populations, and many times does not mean too much: thus Max of Bavaria, with his Jesuit Lambkins and Hyacinths, is, by Bavarians, called "Maximilian the Great." Friedrich Wilhelm, both by his intrinsic qualities and the success he met with, deserves it better than most. His success, if we look where he started and where he ended, was beyond that of any other man in his day. He found Brandenburg annihilated, and he left Brandenburg sound and flourishing; a great country, or already on the way towards greatness. Undoubtedly a most rapid, clear-eyed, active man. There was a stroke in him swift as lightning, well-aimed mostly, and of a respectable weight, withal; which shattered asunder a whole world of impediments for him, by assiduous repetition of it for fifty years. [1620; 1640; 1688.]
There hardly ever came to sovereign power a young man of twenty under more distressing, hopeless-looking circumstances. Political significance Brandenburg had none; a mere Protestant appendage dragged about by a Papist Kaiser. His Father's Prime-Minister, as we have seen, was in the interest of his enemies; not Brandenburg's servant, but Austria's. The very Commandants of his Fortresses, Commandant of Spandau more especially, refused to obey Friedrich Wilhelm, on his accession; "were bound to obey the Kaiser in the first place." He had to proceed softly as well as swiftly; with the most delicate hand to get him of Spandau by the collar, and put him under lock-and-key, him as a warning to others.
For twenty years past, Brandenburg had been scoured by hostile armies, which, especially the Kaiser's part of which, committed outrages new in human history. In a year or two hence, Brandenburg became again the theatre of business; Austrian Gallas advancing thither again (1644), with intent "to shut up Torstenson and his Swedes in Jutland," where they had been chastising old Christian IV., now meddlesome again, for the last time, and never a good neighbor to Sweden. Gallas could by no means do what he intended: on the contrary, he had to run from Torstenson, what feet could do; was hunted, he and his MERODE-BRUDER (beautiful inventors of the "Marauding" Art), "till they pretty much all died (CREPERTIN)," says Kohler. [Reichs-Historie, p. 556; Pauli, v. 24.] No great loss to society, the death of these Artists: but we can fancy what their life, and especially what the process of their dying, may have cost poor Brandenburg again!—
Friedrich Wilhelm's aim, in this as in other emergencies, was sun-clear to himself, but for most part dim to everybody else. He had to walk very warily, Sweden on one hand of him, suspicious Kaiser on the other; he had to wear semblances, to be ready with evasive words; and advance noiselessly by many circuits. More delicate operation could not be imagined. But advance he did: advance and arrive. With extraordinary talent, diligence and felicity the young man wound himself out of this first fatal position: got those foreign Armies pushed out of his Country, and kept them out. His first concern had been to find some vestige of revenue, to put that upon a clear footing; and by loans or otherwise to scrape a little ready money together. On the strength of which a small body of soldiers could be collected about him, and drilled into real ability to fight and obey. This as a basis: on this followed all manner of things: freedom from Swedish-Austrian invasions, as the first thing.
He was himself, as appeared by and by, a fighter of the first quality, when it came to that: but never was willing to fight if he could help it. Preferred rather to shift, manoeuvre and negotiate; which he did in a most vigilant, adroit and masterly manner. But by degrees he had grown to have, and could maintain it, an Army of 24,000 men: among the best troops then in being. With or without his will, he was in all the great Wars of his time,—the time of Louis XIV., who kindled Europe four times over, thrice in our Kurfurst's day. The Kurfurst's Dominions, a long straggling country, reaching from Memel to Wesel, could hardly keep out of the way of any war that might rise. He made himself available, never against the good cause of Protestantism and German Freedom, yet always in the place and way where his own best advantage was to be had. Louis XIV. had often much need of him: still oftener, and more pressingly, had Kaiser Leopold, the little Gentleman "in scarlet stockings, with a red feather in his hat," whom Mr. Savage used to see majestically walking about, with Austrian lip that said nothing at all. [A Compleat History of Germany, by Mr. Savage (8vo, London, 1702), p. 553. Who this Mr. Savage was, we have no trace. Prefixed to the volume is the Portrait of a solid Gentleman of forty: gloomily polite, with ample wig and cravat,—in all likelihood some studious subaltern Diplomatist in the Succession War. His little Book is very lean and barren: but faithfully compiled,—and might have some illumination in it, where utter darkness is so prevalent. Most likely, Addison picked his story of the Siege of Weinsberg ("Women carrying out their Husbands on their back,"—one of his best SPECTATORS) out of this poor Book.] His 24,000 excellent fighting-men, thrown in at the right time, were often a thing that could turn the balance in great questions. They required to be allowed for at a high rate,—which he well knew how to adjust himself for exacting and securing always.
When the Peace of Westphalia (1648) concluded that Thirty-Years Conflagration, and swept the ashes of it into order again, Friedrich Wilhelm's right to Pommern was admitted by everybody: and well insisted on by himself: but right had to yield to reason of state, and he could not get it. The Swedes insisted on their expenses: the Swedes held Pommern, had all along held it,—in pawn, they said, for their expenses. Nothing for it but to give the Swedes the better half of Pommern. FORE-Pommern (so they call it, "Swedish Pomerania" thenceforth), which lies next the Sea: this, with some Towns and cuttings over and above, was Sweden's share: Friedrich Wilhelm had to put up with HINDER-Pommern, docked furthermore of the Town of Stettin, and of other valuable cuttings, in favor of Sweden. Much to Friedrich Wilhelm's grief and just anger, could he have helped it.
They gave him Three secularized Bishoprics, Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Minden, with other small remnants, for compensation; and he had to be content with these for the present. But he never gave up the idea of Pommern: much of the effort of his life was spent upon recovering Fore-Pommern: thrice-eager upon that, whenever lawful opportunity offered. To no purpose then: he never could recover Swedish Pommern; only his late descendants, and that by slowish degrees, could recover it all. Readers remember that Burgermeister of Stettin, with the helmet and sword flung into the grave and picked out again:—and can judge whether Brandenburg got its good luck quite by lying in bed!—
Once, and once only, he had a voluntary purpose towards War, and it remained a purpose only. Soon after the Peace of Westphalia, old Pfalz-Neuburg, the same who got the slap on the face, went into tyrannous proceedings against the Protestant part of his subjects in Julich-Cleve: who called to Friedrich Wilhelm for help. Friedrich Wilhelm, a zealous Protestant, made remonstrances, retaliations: ere long the thought struck him, "Suppose, backed by the Dutch, we threw out this fantastic old gentleman, his Papistries, and pretended claims and self, clear out of it?" This was Friedrich Wilhelm's thought; and he suddenly marched troops into the Territory, with that view. But Europe was in alarm, the Dutch grew faint: Friedrich Wilhelm saw it would not do. He had a conference with old Pfalz-Neuburg: "Young gentleman, we remember how your Grandfather made free with us and our august countenance! Nevertheless we—" In fine, the "statistic of Treaties" was increased by One: and there the matter rested till calmer times.
In 1666, as already said, an effective Partition of these litigated Territories was accomplished: Prussia to have the Duchy of Cleve-Proper, the Counties of Mark and Ravensburg, with other Patches and Pertinents: Neuburg, what was the better share, to have Julich Duchy and Berg Duchy. Furthermore, if either of the Lines failed, in no sort was a collateral to be admitted: but Brandenburg was to inherit Neuburg, or Neuburg Brandenburg, as the case might be. [Pauli, v. 120-129.] A clear Bargain this at last: and in the times that had come, it proved executable so far. But if the reader fancies the Lawsuit was at last out in this way, he will be a simple reader! In the days of our little Fritz, the Line of Pfalz-Neuburg was evidently ending: but that Brandenburg and not a collateral should succeed it, there lay the quarrel,—open still, as if it had never been shut: and we shall hear enough about it!—
Friedrich Wilhelm's first actual appearance in War, Polish-Swedish War (1655-1660), was involuntary in the highest degree: forced upon him for the sake of his Preussen, which bade fair to be lost or ruined, without blame of his or its. Nevertheless, here too he made his benefit of the affair. The big King of Sweden had a standing quarrel with his big Cousin of Poland, which broke out into hot War; little Preussen lay between them, and was like to be crushed in the collision. Swedish King was Karl Gustav, Christina's Cousin, Charles Twelfth's Grandfather; a great and mighty man, lion of the North in his time: Polish King was one John Casimir; chivalrous enough, and with clouds of forward Polish chivalry about him, glittering with barbaric gold. Frederick III., Danish King for the time being, he also was much involved in the thing. Fain would Friedrich Wilhelm have kept out of it, but he could not. Karl Gustav as good as forced him to join: he joined; fought along with Karl Gustav an illustrious Battle; "Battle of Warsaw," three days long (28-30th July, 1656), on the skirts of Warsaw,—crowds "looking from the upper windows" there; Polish chivalry, broken at last, going like chaff upon the winds, and John Casimir nearly ruined.
Shortly after which, Friedrich Wilhelm, who had shone much in the Battle, changed sides. An inconsistent, treacherous man? Perhaps not, O reader; perhaps a man advancing "in circuits," the only way he has; spirally, face now to east, now to west, with his own reasonable private aim sun-clear to him all the while?
John Casimir agreed to give up the "Homage of Preussen" for this service; a grand prize for Friedrich Wilhelm. [Treaty of Labiau, 10th November, 1656 (Pauli, v. 73-75); 20th November (Stenzel, iv. 128,—who always uses NEW STYLE).] What the Teutsch Ritters strove for in vain, and lost their existence in striving for, the shifty Kurfurst has now got: Ducal Prussia, which is also called East Prussia, is now a free sovereignty,—and will become as "Royal" as the other Polish part. Or perhaps even more so, in the course of time!—Karl Gustav, in a high frame of mind, informs the Kurfurst, that he has him on his books, and will pay the debt one day!
A dangerous debtor in such matters, this Karl Gustav. In these same months, busy with the Danish part of the Controversy, he was doing a feat of war, which set all Europe in astonishment. In January, 1658, Karl Gustav marches his Army, horse, foot and artillery, to the extent of twenty thousand, across the Baltic ice, and takes an Island without shipping,—Island of Funen, across the Little Belt; three miles of ice; and a part of the sea open, which has to be crossed on planks. Nay, forward from Funen, when once there, he achieves ten whole miles more of ice; and takes Zealand itself, [Holberg's Danemarkische Reichs-Historie, pp. 406-409.]—to the wonder of all mankind. An imperious, stern-browed, swift-striking man; who had dreamed of a new Goth Empire: The mean Hypocrites and Fribbles of the South to be coerced again by noble Norse valor, and taught a new lesson. Has been known to lay his hand on his sword while apprising an Ambassador (Dutch High-Mightiness) what his royal intentions were: "Not the sale or purchase of groceries, observe you, Sir! My aims go higher!"—Charles Twelfth's Grandfather, and somewhat the same type of man.
But Karl Gustav died, short while after; [13th February, 1660, age 38.] left his big wide-raging Northern Controversy to collapse in what way it could. Sweden and the fighting-parties made their "Peace of Oliva" (Abbey of Oliva, near Dantzig, 1st May, 1660); and this of Preussen was ratified, in all form, among the other points. No homage more; nothing now above Ducal Prussia but the Heavens; and great times coming for it. This was one of the successfulest strokes of business ever done by Friedrich Wilhelm; who had been forced, by sheer compulsion, to embark in that big game.—"Royal Prussia," the Western or POLISH Prussia: this too, as all Newspapers know, has, in our times, gone the same road as the other. Which probably, after all, it may have had, in Nature, some tendency to do? Cut away, for reasons, by the Polish sword, in that Battle of Tannenberg, long since; and then, also for reasons, cut back again! That is the fact;—not unexampled in human History.
Old Johann Casimir, not long after that Peace of Oliva, getting tired of his unruly Polish chivalry and their ways, abdicated;—retired to Paris; and "lived much with Ninon de l'Enclos and her circle," for the rest of his life. He used to complain of his Polish chivalry, that there was no solidity in them; nothing but outside glitter, with tumult and anarchic noise; fatal want of one essential talent, the talent of Obeying; and has been heard to prophesy that a glorious Republic, persisting in such courses, would arrive at results which would surprise it.
Onward from this time, Friedrich Wilhelm figures in the world; public men watching his procedure; Kings anxious to secure him,—Dutch printsellers sticking up his Portraits for a hero-worshipping Public. Fighting hero, had the Public known it, was not his essential character, though he had to fight a great deal. He was essentially an Industrial man; great in organizing, regulating, in constraining chaotic heaps to become cosmic for him. He drains bogs, settles colonies in the waste-places of his Dominions, cuts canals; unweariedly encourages trade and work. The FRIEDRICH-WILHELM'S CANAL, which still carries tonnage from the Oder to the Spree, [Executed, 1662-1668; fifteen English miles long (Busching, ERDBESCHREIBUNG, vi, 2193).] is a monument of his zeal in this way; creditable, with the means he had. To the poor French Protestants, in the Edict-of-Nantes Affair, he was like an express Benefit of Heaven: one Helper appointed, to whom the help itself was profitable. He munificently welcomed them to Brandenburg; showed really a noble piety and human pity, as well as judgment; nor did Brandenburg and he want their reward. Some 20,000 nimble French souls, evidently of the best French quality, found a home there;—made "waste sands about Berlin into potherb gardens;" and in the spiritual Brandenburg, too, did something of horticulture, which is still noticeable. [Erman (weak Biographer of Queen Sophie-Charlotte, already cited), Memoires pour sevir a l'Histoire den Refugies Francais dans les Etats du Roi de Prusse (Berlin, 1782-1794), 8 tt. 8vo.]
Certainly this Elector was one of the shiftiest of men. Not an unjust man either. A pious, God-fearing man rather, stanch to his Protestantism and his Bible; not unjust by any means,—nor, on the other hand, by any means thick-skinned in his interpretings of justice: Fair-play to myself always; or occasionally even the Height of Fair-play! On the whole, by constant energy, vigilance, adroit activity, by an ever-ready insight and audacity to seize the passing fact by its right handle, he fought his way well in the world; left Brandenburg a flourishing and greatly increased Country, and his own name famous enough.
A thick-set stalwart figure; with brisk eyes, and high strong irregularly Roman nose. Good bronze Statue of him, by Schluter, once a famed man, still rides on the LANGE-BRUCKE (Long-Bridge) at Berlin; and his Portrait, in huge frizzled Louis-Quatorze wig, is frequently met with in German Galleries. Collectors of Dutch Prints, too, know him: here a gallant, eagle-featured little gentleman, brisk in the smiles of youth, with plumes, with truncheon, caprioling on his war-charger, view of tents in the distance;—there a sedate, ponderous, wrinkly old man, eyes slightly puckered (eyes BUSIER than mouth); a face well-ploughed by Time, and not found unfruitful; one of the largest, most laborious, potent faces (in an ocean of circumambient periwig) to be met with in that Century. [Both Prints are Dutch; the Younger, my copy of the Younger, has lost the Engraver's Name (Kurfurst's age is twenty-seven); the Elder is by MASSON, 1633, when Friedrich Wilhelm was sixty-three.] There are many Histories about him, too; but they are not comfortable to read. [G. D. Geyler, Leben und Thaten Friedrich Wihelms des Grossen (Frankfort and Leipzig, 1703), folio. Franz Horn, Das Leben Friedrich Wilhelms des Grossen (Berlin, 1814). Pauli, Staats-Geschichte, Band v. (Halle, 1764). Pufendorf, De rebus gestis Friderici Wilhelmi Magni Electoris Brandenburgensis Commentaria (Lips. et Berol. 1733, fol.)] He also has wanted a sacred Poet; and found only a bewildering Dryasdust.
His Two grand Feats that dwell in the Prussian memory are perhaps none of his greatest, but were of a kind to strike the imagination. They both relate to what was the central problem of his life,—the recovery of Pommern from the Swedes. Exploit First is the famed "Battle of FEHRBELLIN (Ferry of BellEEN)," fought on the 18th June, 1675. Fehrbellin is an inconsiderable Town still standing in those peaty regions, some five-and-thirty miles northwest of Berlin; and had for ages plied its poor Ferry over the oily-looking, brown, sluggish stream called Rhin, or Rhein in those parts, without the least notice from mankind, till this fell out. It is a place of pilgrimage to patriotic Prussians, ever since Friedrich Wilhelm's exploit there. The matter went thus:—
Friedrich Wilhelm was fighting, far south in Alsace, on Kaiser Leopold's side, in the Louis-Fourteenth War; that second one, which ended in the treaty of Nimwegen. Doing his best there,—when the Swedes, egged on by Louis XIV., made war upon him; crossed the Pomeranian marches, troop after troop, and invaded his Brandenburg Territory with a force which at length amounted to some 16,000 men. No help for the moment: Friedrich Wilhelm could not be spared from his post. The Swedes, who had at first professed well, gradually went into plunder, roving, harrying, at their own will; and a melancholy time they made of it for Friedrich Wilhelm and his People. Lucky if temporary harm were all the ill they were likely to do; lucky if—! He stood steady, however; in his solid manner, finishing the thing in hand first, since that was feasible. He then even retired into winter-quarters, to rest his men; and seemed to have left the Swedish 16,000 autocrats of the situation; who accordingly went storming about at a great rate.
Not so, however; very far indeed from so. Having rested his men for certain months, Friedrich Wilhelm silently in the first days of June (1675) gets them under march again; marches, his Cavalry and he as first instalment, with best speed from Schweinfurt, [Stenzel, ii. 347.] which is on the river Main, to Magdeburg; a distance of two hundred miles. At Magdeburg, where he rests three days, waiting for the first handful of foot and a field-piece or two, he learns that the Swedes are in three parties wide asunder; the middle party of them within forty miles of him. Probably stronger, even this middle one, than his small body (of "six thousand Horse, twelve hundred Foot and three guns");—stronger, but capable perhaps of being surprised, of being cut in pieces, before the others can come up? Rathenau is the nearest skirt of this middle party: thither goes the Kurfurst, softly, swiftly, in the June night (16-17th June, 1675); gets into Rathenau, by brisk stratagem; tumbles out the Swedish Horse-regiment there, drives it back towards Fehrbellin.
He himself follows hard;—swift riding enough, in the summer night, through those damp Havel lands, in the old Hohenzollern fashion: and indeed old Freisack Castle, as it chances,—Freisack, scene of Dietrich von Quitzow and LAZY PEG long since,—is close by! Follows hard, we say: strikes in upon this midmost party (nearly twice his number, but Infantry for the most part); and after fierce fight, done with good talent on both sides, cuts it into utter ruin, as proposed. Thereby he has left the Swedish Army as a mere head and tail WITHOUT body; has entirely demolished the Swedish Army. [Stenzel, ii. 350-357.] Same feat intrinsically as that done by Cromwell, on Hamilton and the Scots, in 1648. It was, so to speak, the last visit Sweden paid to Brandenburg, or the last of any consequence; and ended the domination of the Swedes in those quarters. A thing justly to be forever remembered by Brandenburg;—on a smallish modern scale, the Bannockburn, Sempach, Marathon, of Brandenburg. [See Pauli, v. 161-169; Stenzel, ii. 335, 340-347, 354; Kausler, Atlas des plus memorables Batailles, Combats et Sieges, or Atlas der merkwurdigsten Schlachten, Treffen und Belagerungen (German and French, Carlsruhe and Freiburg, 1831), p. 417, Blatt 62.]
Exploit Second was four years later; in some sort a corollary to this; and a winding-up of the Swedish business. The Swedes, in farther prosecution of their Louis-Fourteenth speculation, had invaded Preussen this time, and were doing sad havoc there. It was in the dead of winter, Christmas, 1678, more than four hundred miles off; and the Swedes, to say nothing of their other havoc, were in a case to take Konigsberg, and ruin Prussia altogether, if not prevented. Friedrich Wilhelm starts from Berlin, with the opening Year, on his long march; the Horse-troops first, Foot to follow at their swiftest; he himself (his Wife, his ever-true "Louisa," accompanying, as her wont was) travels, towards the end, at the rate of "sixty miles a day." He gets in still in time, finds Konigsberg unscathed. Nay it is even said, the Swedes are extensively falling sick; having, after a long famine, found infinite "pigs, near Insterburg," in those remote regions, and indulged in the fresh pork overmuch.
I will not describe the subsequent manoeuvres, which would interest nobody: enough if I say that on the 16th of January, 1679, it had become of the highest moment for Friedrich Wilhelm to get from Carwe (Village near Elbing) on the shore of the FRISCHE HAF, where he was, through Konigsberg, to Gilge on the CURISCHE HAF, where the Swedes are,—in a minimum of time. Distance, as the crow flies, is about a hundred miles; road, which skirts the two HAFS [Pauli, v. 215-222; Stenzel, ii. 392-397.] (wide shallow WASHES, as we should name them), is of rough quality, and naturally circuitous. It is ringing frost to-day, and for days back:—Friedrich Wilhelm hastily gathers all the sledges, all the horses of the district; mounts some four thousand men in sledges; starts, with the speed of light, in that fashion. Scours along all day, and after the intervening bit of land, again along; awakening the ice-bound silences. Gloomy Frische Haf, wrapt in its Winter cloud-coverlids, with its wastes of tumbled sand, its poor frost-bound fishing-hamlets, pine-hillocks,—desolate-looking, stern as Greenland or more so, says Busching, who travelled there in winter-time, [Busching's Beitrage (Halle, 1789), vi. 160.]—hears unexpected human noises, and huge grinding and trampling; the four thousand, in long fleet of sledges, scouring across it, in that manner. All day they rush along,—out of the rimy hazes of morning into the olive-colored clouds of evening again,—with huge loud-grinding rumble;—and do arrive in time at Gilge. A notable streak of things, shooting across those frozen solitudes, in the New-Year, 1679;—little short of Karl Gustav's feat, which we heard of, in the other or Danish end of the Baltic, twenty years ago, when he took Islands without ships.
This Second Exploit—suggested or not by that prior one of Karl Gustav on the ice—is still a thing to be remembered by Hohenzollerns and Prussians. The Swedes were beaten here, on Friedrich Wilhelm's rapid arrival; were driven into disastrous rapid retreat Northward; which they executed, in hunger and cold; fighting continually, like Northern bears, under the grim sky; Friedrich Wilhelm sticking to their skirts,—holding by their tail, like an angry bear-ward with steel whip in his hand. A thing which, on the small scale, reminds one of Napoleon's experiences. Not till Napoleon's huge fighting-flight, a hundred and thirty-four years after, did I read of such a transaction in those parts. The Swedish invasion of Preussen has gone utterly to ruin.
And this, then, is the end of Sweden, and its bad neighborhood on these shores, where it has tyrannously sat on our skirts so long? Swedish Pommern the Elector already had: last year, coming towards it ever since the Exploit of Fehrbellin, he had invaded Swedish Pommern; had besieged and taken Stettin, nay Stralsund too, where Wallenstein had failed;—cleared Pommern altogether of its Swedish guests. Who had tried next in Preussen, with what luck we see. Of Swedish Pommern the Elector might now say: "Surely it is mine; again mine, as it long was; well won a second time, since the first would not do!" But no:—Louis XIV. proved a gentleman to his Swedes. Louis, now that the Peace of Nimwegen had come, and only the Elector of Brandenburg was still in harness, said steadily, though anxious enough to keep well with the Elector: "They are my allies, these Swedes; it was on my bidding they invaded you: can I leave them in such a pass? It must not be!" So Pommern had to be given back. A miss which was infinitely grievous to Friedrich Wilhelm. The most victorious Elector cannot hit always, were his right never so good.
Another miss which he had to put up with, in spite of his rights, and his good services, was that of the Silesian Duchies. The Heritage-Fraternity with Liegnitz had at length, in 1675, come to fruit. The last Duke of Liegnitz was dead: Duchies of Liegnitz, of Brieg, Wohlau, are Brandenburg's, if there were right done! But Kaiser Leopold in the scarlet stockings will not hear of Heritage-Fraternity. "Nonsense!" answers Kaiser Leopold: "A thing suppressed at once, ages ago; by Imperial power: flat ZERO of a thing at this time;—and you, I again bid you, return me your Papers upon it!" This latter act of duty Friedrich Wilhelm would not do; but continued insisting. [Pauli, v. 321.] "Jagerndorf at least, O Kaiser of the world," said he; "Jagerndorf, there is no color for your keeping that!" To which the Kaiser again answers, "Nonsense!"—and even falls upon astonishing schemes about it, as we shall see;—but gives nothing. Ducal Preussen is sovereign, Cleve is at Peace, Hinter-Pommern ours;—this Elector has conquered much: but the Silesian Heritages and Vor-Pommern, and some other things, he will have to do without. Louis XIV., it is thought, once offered to get him made King; [Ib. vii. 215.] but that he declined for the present.
His married and domestic life is very fine and human; especially with that Oranien-Nassau Princess, who was his first Wife (1646-1667); Princess Louisa of Nassau-Orange; Aunt to our own Dutch William, King William III., in time coming. An excellent wise Princess; from whom came the Orange Heritages, which afterwards proved difficult to settle:—Orange was at last exchanged for the small Principality of Neufchatel in Switzerland, which is Prussia's ever since. "Oranienburg (ORANGE-BURG)," a Royal Country-house, still standing, some twenty miles northwards from Berlin, was this Louisa's place: she had trimmed it up into a little jewel, of the Dutch type,—potherb gardens, training-schools for young girls, and the like;—a favorite abode of hers, when she was at liberty for recreation. But her life was busy and earnest: she was helpmate, not in name only, to an ever-busy man. They were married young; a marriage of love withal. Young Friedrich Wilhelm's courtship, wedding in Holland; the honest trustful walk and conversation of the two Sovereign Spouses, their journeyings together, their mutual hopes, fears and manifold vicissitudes; till Death, with stern beauty, shut it in:—all is human, true and wholesome in it; interesting to look upon, and rare among sovereign persons.
Not but that he had his troubles with his womankind. Even with this his first Wife, whom he loved truly, and who truly loved him, there were scenes; the Lady having a judgment of her own about everything that passed, and the Man being choleric withal. Sometimes, I have heard, "he would dash his hat at her feet," saying symbolically, "Govern you, then, Madam! Not the Kurfurst-Hat; a Coif is my wear, it seems!" [Forster, Friedrich Wilhelm I. Konig von Preussen (Potsdam, 1834), i. 177.] Yet her judgment was good; and he liked to have it on the weightiest things, though her powers of silence might halt now and then. He has been known, on occasion, to run from his Privy-Council to her apartment, while a complex matter was debating, to ask her opinion, hers too, before it was decided. Excellent Louisa; Princess full of beautiful piety, good-sense and affection; a touch of the Nassau-Heroic in her. At the moment of her death, it is said, when speech had fled, he felt, from her hand which lay in his, three slight, slight pressures: "Farewell!" thrice mutely spoken in that manner,—not easy to forget in this world. [Wegfuhrer, Leben der Kurfurstin Luise (Leipzig, 1838), p. 175.]
His second Wife, Dorothea,—who planted the Lindens in Berlin, and did other husbandries, of whom we have heard, fell far short of Louisa in many things; but not in tendency to advise, to remonstrate, and plaintively reflect on the finished and unalterable. Dreadfully thrifty lady, moreover; did much in dairy produce, farming of town-rates, provision-taxes: not to speak again of that Tavern she was thought to have in Berlin, and to draw custom to in an oblique manner! What scenes she had with Friedrich her stepson, we have seen. "Ah, I have not my Louisa now; to whom now shall I run for advice or help!" would the poor Kurfurst at times exclaim.
He had some trouble, considerable trouble now and then, with mutinous spirits in Preussen; men standing on antique Prussian franchises and parchments; refusing to see that the same were now antiquated, incompatible, not to say impossible, as the new Sovereign alleged; and carrying themselves very stiffly at times. But the Hohenzollerns had been used to such things; a Hohenzollern like this one would evidently take his measures, soft but strong, and ever stronger to the needful pitch, with mutinous spirits. One Burgermeister of Konigsberg, after much stroking on the back, was at length seized in open Hall, by Electoral writ,—soldiers having first gently barricaded the principal streets, and brought cannon to bear upon them. This Burgermeister, seized in such brief way, lay prisoner for life; refusing to ask his liberty, though it was thought he might have had it on asking. [Horn, Das Leben Friedrich Wilhelms des Grossen (Berlin, 1814), p. 68.]
Another gentleman, a Baron von Kalkstein, of old Teutsch-Bitter kin, of very high ways, in the Provincial Estates (STANDE) and elsewhere, got into lofty almost solitary opposition, and at length into mutiny proper, against the new "Non-Polish SOVEREIGN," and flatly refused to do homage at his accession in that new capacity. [Supra, pp. 383, et seqq.] Refused, Kalkstein did, for his share; fled to Warsaw; and very fiercely, in a loud manner, carried on his mutinies in the Diets and Court-Conclaves there; his plea being, or plea for the time, "Poland is our liege lord [which it was not always], and we cannot be transferred to you, except by our consent asked and given," which too had been a little neglected on the former occasion of transfer. So that the Great Elector knew not what to do with Kalkstein; and at length (as the case was pressing) had him kidnapped by his Ambassador at Warsaw; had him "rolled into a carpet" there, and carried swiftly in the Ambassador's coach, in the form of luggage, over the frontier, into his native Province, there to be judged, and, in the end (since nothing else would serve him), to have the sentence executed, and his head cut off. For the case was pressing! [Horn, pp. 80-82.]—These things, especially this of Kalkstein, with a boisterous Polish Diet and parliamentary eloquence in the rear of him, gave rise to criticism; and required management on the part of the Great Elector.
Of all his Ancestors, our little Fritz, when he grew big, admired this one. A man made like himself in many points. He seems really to have loved and honored this one. In the year 1750 there had been a new Cathedral got finished at Berlin; the ancestral bones had to be shifted over from the vaults of the old one,—the burying-place ever since Joachim II., that Joachim who drew his sword on Alba. "King Friedrich, with some attendants, witnessed the operation, January, 1750. When the Great Kurfurst's coffin came, he made them open it; gazed in silence on the features for some time, which were perfectly recognizable; laid his hand on the hand long dead, and said, 'Messieurs, celui-ci a fait de grandes choses (This one did a great work)!'" [See Preuss, i. 270.]
He died 29th April, 1688;—looking with intense interest upon Dutch William's preparations to produce a Glorious Revolution in this Island; being always of an ardent Protestant feeling, and a sincerely religious man. Friedrich, Crown-Prince, age then thirty-one, and already married a second time, was of course left Chief Heir;—who, as we see, has not declined the Kingship, when a chance for it offered. There were four Half-brothers of Friedrich, too, who got apanages, appointments. They had at one time confidently looked for much more, their Mother being busy; but were obliged to be content, and conform to the GERA BOND and fundamental Laws of the Country. They are entitled Margraves; two of whom left children, Margraves of Brandenburg-Schwedt, HEERMEISTERS (Head of the Malta-Knighthood) at Sonnenburg, Statthalters in Magdeburg, or I know not what; whose names turn up confusedly in the Prussian Books; and, except as temporary genealogical puzzles, are not of much moment to the Foreign reader. Happily there is nothing else in the way of Princes of the Blood, in our little Friedrich's time; and happily what concern he had with these, or how he was related to them, will not be abstruse to us, if occasion rise.
We said the Great Elector never could work his Silesian Duchies out of Kaiser Leopold's grip: to all his urgencies the little Kaiser in red stockings answered only in evasions, refusals; and would quit nothing. We noticed also what quarrels the young Electoral Prince, Friedrich, afterwards King, had got into with his Stepmother; suddenly feeling poisoned after dinner, running to his Aunt at Cassel, coming back on treaty, and the like. These are two facts which the reader knows: and out of these two grew a third, which it is fit he should know.
In his last years, the Great Elector, worn out with labor, and harassed with such domestic troubles over and above, had evidently fallen much under his Wife's management; cutting out large apanages (clear against the GERA BOND) for her children;—longing probably for quiet in his family at any price. As to the poor young Prince, negotiated back from Cassel, he lived remote, and had fallen into open disfavor,—with a very ill effect upon his funds, for one thing. His father kept him somewhat tight on the money-side, it is alleged; and he had rather a turn for spending money handsomely. He was also in some alarm about the proposed apanages to his Half-brothers, the Margraves above mentioned, of which there were rumors going.
Now in these circumstances the Austrian Court, who at this time (1685) greatly needed the Elector's help against Turks and others, and found him very urgent about these Silesian Duchies of his, fell upon what I must call a very extraordinary shift for getting rid of the Silesian question. "Serene Highness," said they, by their Ambassador at Berlin, "to end these troublesome talks, and to liquidate all claims, admissible and inadmissible, about Silesia, the Imperial Majesty will give you an actual bit of Territory, valuable, though not so large as you expected!" The Elector listens with both ears: What Territory, then? The "Circle of Schwiebus," hanging on the northwestern edge of Silesia, contiguous to the Elector's own Dominions in these Frankfurt-on-Oder regions: this the generous Imperial Majesty proposes to give in fee-simple to Friedrich Wilhelm, and so to end the matter. Truly a most small patch of Territory in comparison; not bigger than an English Rutlandshire, to say nothing of soil and climate! But then again it was an actual patch of territory; not a mere parchment shadow of one: this last was a tempting point to the old harassed Elector. Such friendly offer they made him, I think, in 1685, at the time they were getting 8,000 of his troops to march against the Turks for them; a very needful service at the moment. "By the bye, do not march through Silesia, you!—Or march faster!" said the cautious Austrians on this occasion: "Other roads will answer better than Silesia!" said they. [Pauli, v. 327, 332.] Baron Freytag, their Ambassador at Berlin, had negotiated the affair so far: "Circle of Schwiebus," said Freytag, "and let us have done with these thorny talks!"
But Baron Freytag had been busy, in the mean while, with the young Prince; secretly offering Sympathy, counsel, help; of all which the poor Prince stood in need enough. "We will help you in that dangerous matter of the Apanages," said Freytag; "Help you in all things,"—I suppose he would say,—"necessary pocket-money is not a thing your Highness need want!" And thus Baron Freytag, what is very curious, had managed to bargain beforehand with the young Prince, That directly on coming to power, he would give up Schwiebus again, SHOULD the offer of Schwiebus be accepted by Papa. To which effect Baron Freytag held a signed Bond, duly executed by the young man, before Papa had concluded at all. Which is very curious indeed!—
Poor old Papa, worn out with troubles, accepted Schwiebus in liquidation of all claims (8th April, 1686), and a few days after set his men on march against the Turks:—and, exactly two months beforehand, on the 8th of February last, the Prince had signed HIS secret engagement, That Schwiebus should be a mere phantasm to Papa; that he, the Prince, would restore it on his accession. Both these singular Parchments, signed, sealed and done in the due legal form, lay simultaneously in Freytag's hand; and probably enough they exist yet, in some dusty corner, among the solemn sheepskins of the world. This is literally the plan hit upon by an Imperial Court, to assist a young Prince in his pecuniary and other difficulties, and get rid of Silesian claims. Plan actually not unlike that of swindling money-lenders to a young gentleman in difficulties, and of manageable turn, who has got into their hands.
The Great Elector died two years after; Schwiebus then in his hand. The new Elector, once instructed as to the nature of the affair, refused to give up Schwiebus; [19th September, 1689 Pauli, vii. 74.] declared the transaction a swindle:—and in fact, for seven years more, retained possession of Schwiebus. But the Austrian Court insisted, with emphasis, at length with threats (no insuperable pressure from Louis, or the Turks, at this time); the poor cheated Elector had, at last, to give up Schwiebus, in terms of his promise. [31st December, 1694.] He took act that it had been a surreptitious transaction, palmed upon him while ignorant, and while without the least authority or power to make such a promise; that he was not bound by it, nor would be, except on compulsion thus far: and as to binding Brandenburg by it, how could he, at that period of his history, bind Brandenburg? Brandenburg was not then his to bind, any more than China was.
His Raths had advised Friedrich against giving up Schwiebus in that manner. But his answer is on record: "I must, I will and shall keep my own word. But my rights on Silesia, which I could not, and do not in these unjust circumstances, compromise, I leave intact for my posterity to prosecute. If God and the course of events order it no otherwise than now, we must be content. But if God shall one day send the opportunity, those that come after me will know what they have to do in such case." [Pauli, vii. 150.] And so Schwiebus was given up, the Austrians paying back what Brandenburg had laid out in improving it, "250,000 GULDEN (25,000 pounds);"—and the Hand of Power had in this way, finally as it hoped, settled an old troublesome account of Brandenburg's. Settled the Silesian-Duchies Claim, by the temporary Phantasm of a Gift of Schwiebus. That is literally the Liegnitz-Jagerndorf case; and the reader is to note it and remember it. For it will turn up again in History. The Hand of Power is very strong: but a stronger may perhaps get hold of its knuckles one day, at an advantageous time, and do a feat upon it.
The "eventual succession to East Friesland," which had been promised by the Reich, some ten years ago, to the Great Elector, "for what he had done against the Turks, and what he had suffered from those Swedish Invasions, in the Common Cause:" this shadow of Succession, the Kaiser now said, should not be haggled with any more; but be actually realized, and the Imperial sanction to it now given,—effect to follow IF the Friesland Line died out. Let this be some consolation for the loss of Schwiebus and your Silesian Duchies. Here in Friesland is the ghost of a coming possession; there in Schwiebus was the ghost of a going one: phantasms you shall not want for; but the Hand of Power parts not with its realities, however come by.
Poor Friedrich led a conspicuous life as Elector and King; but no public feat he did now concerns us like this private one of Schwiebus. Historically important, this, and requiring to be remembered, while so much else demands mere oblivion from us. He was a spirited man; did soldierings, fine Siege of Bonn (July-October, 1689), sieges and campaignings, in person,—valiant in action, royal especially in patience there,—during that Third War of Louis-Fourteenth's, the Treaty-of-Ryswick one. All through the Fourth, or Spanish Succession-War, his Prussian Ten-Thousand, led by fit generals, showed eminently what stuff they were made of. Witness Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau (still a YOUNG Dessauer) on the field of Blenheim;—Leopold had the right wing there, and saved Prince Eugene who was otherwise blown to pieces, while Marlborough stormed and conquered on the left. Witness the same Dessauer on the field of Hochstadt the year before, [Varnhagen von Ense, Biographische Denkmale (Berlin, 1845), ii, 155.] how he managed the retreat there. Or see him at the Bridge of Cassano (1705); in the Lines of Turin (1706); [ Des weltheruhnden Furstens Leopoldi von Anhult-Dessau Leben und Thaten (Leipzig, 1742, anonymous, by one MICHAEL RANFFT), pp. 53, 61.] wherever hot service was on hand. At Malplaquet, in those murderous inexpugnable French Lines, bloodiest of obstinate Fights (upwards of thirty thousand left on the ground), the Prussians brag that it was they who picked their way through a certain peat-bog, reckoned impassable; and got fairly in upon the French wing,—to the huge comfort of Marlborough, and little Eugene his brisk comrade on that occasion. Marlborough knew well the worth of these Prussian troops, and also how to stroke his Majesty into continuing them in the field.
He was an expensive King, surrounded by cabals, by Wartenbergs male and female, by whirlpools of intrigues, which, now that the game is over, become very forgettable. But one finds he was a strictly honorable man; with a certain height and generosity of mind, capable of other nobleness than the upholstery kind. He had what we may call a hard life of it; did and suffered a good deal in his day and generation, not at all in a dishonest or unmanful manner. In fact, he is quite recognizably a Hohenzollern,—with his back half broken. Readers recollect that sad accident: how the Nurse, in one of those headlong journeys which his Father and Mother were always making, let the poor child fall or jerk backward; and spoiled him much, and indeed was thought to have killed him, by that piece of inattention. He was not yet Hereditary Prince, he was only second son: but the elder died; and he became Elector, King; and had to go with his spine distorted,—distortion not glaringly conspicuous, though undeniable;—and to act the Hohenzollern SO. Nay who knows but it was this very jerk, and the half-ruin of his nervous system,—this doubled wish to be beautiful, and this crooked back capable of being hid or decorated into straightness,—that first set the poor man on thinking of expensive ornamentalities, and Kingships in particular? History will forgive the Nurse in that case.
Perhaps History has dwelt too much on the blind side of this expensive King. Toland, on entering his country, was struck rather with the signs of good administration everywhere. No sooner have you crossed the Prussian Border, out of Westphalia, says Toland, than smooth highways, well-tilled fields, and a general air of industry and regularity, are evident: solid milestones, brass-bound, and with brass inscription, tell the traveller where he is; who finds due guidance of finger-posts, too, and the blessing of habitable inns. The people seem all to be busy, diligently occupied; villages reasonably swept and whitewashed;—never was a better set of Parish Churches; whether new-built or old, they are all in brand-new repair. The contrast with Westphalia is immediate and great; but indeed that was a sad country, to anybody but a patient Toland, who knows the causes of phenomena. No inns there, except of the naturally savage sort. "A man is very happy if he finds clean straw to sleep on, without expecting sheets or coverings; let him readily dispense with plates, forks and napkins, if he can get anything to eat.... He must be content to have the cows, swine and poultry for his fellow-lodgers, and to go in at the same passage that the smoke comes out at, for there's no other vent for it but the door; which makes foreigners commonly say that the people of Westphalia enter their houses by the chimney." And observe withal: "This is the reason why their beef and hams are so finely prepared and ripened; for the fireplace being backwards, the smoke must spread over all the house before it gets to the door; which makes everything within of a russet or sable color, not excepting the hands and faces of the meaner sort." [An Account of the Courts of Prussia and Hanover, by Mr. Toland (cited already), p. 4.] If Prussia yield to Westphalia in ham, in all else she is strikingly superior.
He founded Universities, this poor King; University of Halle; Royal Academy of Berlin, Leibnitz presiding: he fought for Protestantism;—did what he could for the cause of Cosmos VERSUS Chaos, after his fashion. The magnificences of his Charlottenburgs, Oranienburgs and numerous Country-houses make Toland almost poetic. An affable kindly man withal, though quick of temper; his word sacred to him. A man of many troubles, and acquainted with "the infinitely little (L'INFINIMENT PETIT)," as his Queen termed it.
Old King Friedrich I. had not much more to do in the world, after witnessing the christening of his Grandson of like name. His leading forth or sending forth of troops, his multiplex negotiations, solemn ceremonials, sad changes of ministry, sometimes transacted "with tears," are mostly ended; the ever-whirling dust-vortex of intrigues, of which he has been the centre for a five-and-twenty years, is settling down finally towards everlasting rest. No more will Marlborough come and dexterously talk him over,—proud to "serve as cupbearer," on occasion, to so high a King—for new bodies of men to help in the next campaign: we have ceased to be a King worthy of such a cupbearer, and Marlborough's campaigns too are all ended.
Much is ended. They are doing the sorrowful Treaty of Utrecht; Louis XIV. himself is ending; mournfully shrunk into the corner, with his Missal and his Maintenon; looking back with just horror on Europe four times set ablaze for the sake of one poor mortal in big periwig, to no purpose. Lucky if perhaps Missal-work, orthodox litanies, and even Protestant Dragonnades, can have virtue to wipe out such a score against a man! Unhappy Louis: the sun-bright gold has become dim as copper; we rose in storms, and we are setting in watery clouds. The Kaiser himself (Karl VI., Leopold's Son, Joseph I.'s younger Brother) will have to conform to this Treaty of Utrecht: what other possibility for him?
The English, always a wonderful Nation, fought and subsidied from side to side of Europe for this Spanish-Succession business; fought ten years, such fighting as they never did before or since, under "John Duke of Marlborough," who, as is well known, "beat the French thorough and thorough." French entirely beaten at last, not without heroic difficulty and as noble talent as was ever shown in diplomacy and war, are ready to do your will in all things; in this of giving up Spain, among others:—whereupon the English turn round, with a sudden new thought, "No, we will not have our WILL done; it shall be the other way, the way it WAS,—now that we bethink ourselves, after all this fighting for our will!" And make Peace on those terms, as if no war had been; and accuse the great Marlborough of many things, of theft for one. A wonderful People; and in their Continental Politics (which indeed consist chiefly of Subsidies) thrice wonderful. So the Treaty of Utrecht is transacting itself; which that of Rastadt, on the part of Kaiser and Empire, unable to get on without Subsidies, will have to follow: and after such quantities of powder burnt, and courageous lives wasted, general AS-YOU-WERE is the result arrived at.
Old Friedrich's Ambassadors are present at Utrecht, jangling and pleading among the rest; at Berlin too the despatch of business goes lumbering on; but what thing, in the shape of business, at Utrecht or at Berlin, is of much importance to the old man? Seems as if Europe itself were waxing dim, and sinking to stupid sleep,—as we, in our poor royal person, full surely are. A Crown has been achieved, and diamond buttons worth 1,500 pounds apiece; but what is a Crown, and what are buttons, after all?—I suppose the tattle and SINGERIES of little Wilhelmina, whom he would spend whole days with; this and occasional visits to a young Fritzchen's cradle, who is thriving moderately, and will speak and do aperies one day,—are his main solacements in the days that are passing. Much of this Friedrich's life has gone off like the smoke of fire-works, has faded sorrowfully, and proved phantasmal. Here is an old Autograph Note, written by him at the side of that Cradle, and touching on a slight event there; which, as it connects two venerable Correspondents and their Seventeenth Century with a grand Phenomenon of the Eighteenth, we will insert here. The old King addresses his older Mother-in-law, famed Electress Sophie of Hanover, in these terms (spelling corrected):—
"CHARLOTTENBURG, den 30 August, 1712.
"Ew. Churf. Durchlaucht werden sich zweifelsohne mit uns erfreuen, dass der kleine Printz (PRINZ) Fritz nuhnmero (NUNMEHR) 6 Zehne (ZAHNE) hat und ohne die geringste incommoditet (-TAT). Daraus kann man auch die PREDESTINATION sehen, dass alle seine Bruder haben daran sterben mussen, dieser aber bekommt sie ohne Muhe wie seine Schwester. Gott erhalte ihn uns noch lange zum trohst (TROST), in dessen Schutz ich dieselbe ergebe und lebenslang verbleibe, "Ew. Churf. Durchl. gehorsamster Diener und treuer Sohn,
[Preuss, Friedrich der Grosse (Historische Skizze, Berlin, 1838), p. 380.]
Of which this is the literal English:—"Your Electoral Serenity will doubtless rejoice with us that the little Prince Fritz has now got his sixth tooth without the least INCOMMODITE. And therein we may trace a pre-destination, inasmuch as his Brothers died of teething [Not of cannon-sound and weight of head-gear, then, your Majesty thinks? That were a painful thought?]; and this one, as his Sister [WILHELMINA] did, gets them [THE TEETH] without trouble. God preserve him long for a comfort to us:—to whose protection I commit DIESELBE [Your Electoral Highness, in the third person], and remain lifelong,
"Your Electoral Highness's most obedient Servant and true Son,
One of Friedrich Rex's worst adventures was his latest; commenced some five or six years ago (1708), and now not far from terminating. He was a Widower, of weakly constitution, towards fifty: his beautiful ingenious "Serena," with all her Theologies, pinch-of-snuff Coronations and other earthly troubles, was dead; and the task of continuing the Hohenzollern progeny, given over to Friedrich Wilhelm the Prince Royal, was thought to be in good hands. Majesty Friedrich with the weak back had retired, in 1708, to Karlsbad, to rest from his cares; to take the salutary waters, and recruit his weak nerves a little. Here, in the course of confidential promenadings, it was hinted, it was represented to him by some pickthank of a courtier, That the task of continuing the Hohenzollern progeny did not seem to prosper in the present good hands; that Sophie Dorothee, Princess Royal, had already borne two royal infants which had speedily died: that in fact it was to be gathered from the medical men, if not from their words, then from their looks and cautious innuendoes, that Sophie Dorothee, Princess Royal, would never produce a Prince or even Princess that would live; which task, therefore, did now again seem to devolve upon his Majesty, if his Majesty had not insuperable objections? Majesty had no insuperable objections; old Majesty listened to the flattering tale; and, sure enough, he smarted for it in a signal manner.
By due industry, a Princess was fixed upon for Bride, Princess Sophie Louisa of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, age now twenty-four: she was got as Wife, and came home to Berlin in all pomp;—but good came not with her to anybody there. Not only did she bring the poor old man no children, which was a fault to be overlooked, considering Sophie Dorothee's success; but she brought a querulous, weak and self-sufficient female humor; found his religion heterodox,—he being Calvinist, and perhaps even lax-Calvinist, she Lutheran as the Prussian Nation is, and strict to the bone:—heterodox wholly, to the length of no salvation possible; and times rose on the Berlin Court such as had never been seen before! "No salvation possible, says my Dearest? Hah! And an innocent Court-Mask or Dancing Soiree is criminal in the sight of God and of the Queen? And we are children of wrath wholly, and a frivolous generation; and the Queen will see us all—!"
The end was, his Majesty, through sad solitary days and nights, repented bitterly that he had wedded such a She-Dominic; grew quite estranged from her; the poor She-Dominic giving him due return in her way,—namely, living altogether in her own apartments, upon orthodoxy, jealousy and other bad nourishment. Till at length she went quite mad; and, except the due medical and other attendants, nobody saw her, or spoke of her, at Berlin. Was this a cheering issue of such an adventure to the poor old expensive Gentleman? He endeavored to digest in silence the bitter morsel he had cooked for himself; but reflected often, as an old King might, What dirt have I eaten!
In this way stands that matter in the Schloss of Berlin, when little Friedrich, who will one day be called the Great, is born. Habits of the expensive King, hours of rising, modes of dressing, and so forth, are to be found in Pollnitz; [Pollnitz, Memoiren zur Lebens-und Regierungs-Geschichte der Vier letzten Regenten des Preussischen Staats (Berlin, 1791). A vague, inexact, but not quite uninstructive or uninteresting Book: Printed also in FRENCH, which was the Original, same place and time.] but we charitably omit them all. Even from foolish Pollnitz a good eye will gather, what was above intimated, that this feeble-backed, heavy-laden old King was of humane and just disposition; had dignity in his demeanor; had reticence, patience; and, though hot-tempered like all the Hohenzollerns, that he bore himself like a perfect gentleman for one thing; and tottered along his high-lying lonesome road not in an unmanful manner at all. Had not his nerves been damaged by that fall in infancy, who knows but we might have had something else to read of him than that he was regardless of expense in this world!
His last scene, of date February, 1713, is the tragical ultimatum of that fine Karlsbad adventure of the Second marriage,—Third marriage, in fact, though the First, anterior to "Serena," is apt to be forgotten, having lasted short while, and produced only a Daughter, not memorable except by accident. This Third marriage, which had brought so many sorrows to him, proved at length the death of the old man. For he sat one morning, in the chill February days of the Year 1713, in his Apartment, as usual; weak of nerves, but thinking no special evil; when, suddenly with huge jingle, the glass door of his room went to sherds; and there rushed in—bleeding and dishevelled, the fatal "White Lady" (WEISSE FRAU), who is understood to walk that Schloss at Berlin, and announce Death to the Royal inhabitants. Majesty had fainted, or was fainting. "Weisse Frau? Oh no, your Majesty!"—not that; but indeed something almost worse.—Mad Queen, in her Apartments, had been seized, that day, when half or quarter dressed; with unusual orthodoxy or unusual jealousy. Watching her opportunity, she had whisked into the corridor, in extreme deshabille; and gone, like the wild roe, towards Majesty's Suite of Rooms; through Majesty's glass door, like a catapult; and emerged as we saw,—in petticoat and shift, with hair streaming, eyes glittering, arms cut, and the other sad trimmings. O Heaven, who could laugh? There are tears due to Kings and to all men. It was deep misery; deep enough "SIN and misery," as Calvin well says, on the one side and the other! The poor old King was carried to bed; and never rose again, but died in a few days. The date of the WEISSE FRAU'S death, one might have hoped, was not distant either; but she lasted, in her sad state, for above twenty years coming.
Old King Friedrich's death-day was 25th February, 1713; the unconscious little Grandson being then in his Fourteenth month. To whom, after this long, voyage round the world, we now gladly return.
By way of reinforcement to any recollection the reader may have of these Twelve Hohenzollern Kurfursts, I will append a continuous list of them, with here and there an indication.
1. FRIEDRICH I. (as Burggraf, was Friedrich VI.): born, it is inferred, 1372 (Rentsch, p. 350); accession, 18th April, 1417; died 21st September, 1440. Had come to Brandenburg, 1412, as Statthalter. The Quitzows and HEAVY PEG.
2. FRIEDRICH II.: 19th November, 1413; 21st September, 1440; 10th February, 1472. Friedrich IRONTEETH; tames the Berlin Burghers. Spoke Polish, was to have been Polish King. Cannon-shot upon his dinner-table shatters his nerves so, that he abdicates, and soon dies. JOHANNES ALCHYMISTA his elder Brother; ALBERT ACHILLES his younger.
3. ALBERT (Achilles): 24th November, 1414; 10th February, 1471; 11th March, 1486. Third son of Friedrich I.; is lineal Progenitor of all the rest. Eldest Son, JOHANN CICERO, follows as Kurfurst; a Younger Son, FRIEDRICH (by a different Mother), got Culmbach, and produced the Elder Line there. (See Genealogical Diagram.)
4. JOHANN (Cicero): 2d August, 1455; 11th March, 1486; 9th January, 1499. Big John. Friedrich of Culmbach's elder (Half-) Brother.
5. JOACHIM I.: 21st February, 1484; 9th January, 1499; 11th July, 1535. Loud in the Reformation times; finally declares peremptorily for the Conservative side. Wife (Sister of Christian II. of Denmark) runs away.
Younger Brother Albert Kur-Mainz, whom Hutten celebrated; born 1490; Archbishop of Magdeburg and Halberstadt 1513, of Maim 1514; died 1545: set Tetzel, and the Indulgence, on foot.
6. JOACHIM II. (Hector): 9th January, 1505; 11th July, 1535; 3d January, 1571. Sword drawn on Alba once. ERBVERBRUDERUNG with Liegnitz. Staircase at Grimnitz. A weighty industrious Kurfurst.
Declared himself Protestant, 1539. First Wife (mother of his Successor) was Daughter to Duke George of Saxony, Luther's "If it rained Duke Georges."—Johann of Custrin was a younger Brother of his: died ten days after Joachim; left no Son.
7. JOHANN GEORGE: 11th September, 1525; 3d January, 1571; 8th January, 1598. Cannon-shot, at Siege of Wittenberg, upon Kaiser Karl and him. Gera Bond.
Married a Silesian Duke of Liegnitz's Daughter (result of the ERBVERBRUDERUNG there,—Antea, p. 231). Had twenty-three children. It was to him that Baireuth and Anspach fell home: he settled them on his second and his third sons, Christian and Joachim Ernst; founders of the New Line of Baireuth and Anspach. (See Genealogical Diagram.)
8. JOACHIM FRIEDRICH: 27th January, 1546; 8th January, 1598; 18th July, 1608. Archbishop of Magdeburg first of all,—to keep the place filled. Joachimsthal School at old Castle of Grimnitz. Very vigilant for Preussen; which was near falling due.
Two of his Younger Sons, Johann George (1577-1624) to whom he gave JAGERNDORF, and that Archbishop of Magdeburg, who was present in Tilly's storm, got both wrecked in the Thirty-Years War;—not without results, in the Jagerndorf case.
9. JOHANN SIGISMUND: 8th November, 1572; 18th July, 1608; 23d December, 1619. Preussen: Cleve; Slap on the face to Neuburg.
10. GEORGE WILHELM: 3d November, 1595; 22d November, 1619; 21st November, 1640. The unfortunate of the Thirty-Years War. "Que faire; ils ont des canons!"
11. FRIEDRICH WILHELM: 6th February, 1620; 21st November, 1640; 29th April, 1688. The Great Elector.
12. FRIEDRICH III.: 1st July, 1657; 29th April, 1688; 25th February, 1713. First King (18th January, 1701).
FRIEDRICH, second son of Kurfurst Albert Achilles, younger Brother of Johannes Cicero, got CULMBACH: Anspach first, then Baireuth on the death of a younger Brother. Born 1460; got Anspach 1486; Baireuth 1495; followed Max in his VENETIAN CAMPAIGN, 1508; fell IMBECILE 1515; died 1536. Had a Polish Wife; from whom came interests in Hungary as well as Poland to his children. Friedrich had Three notable Sons,
1. CASIMIR, who got BAIREUTH (1515): born 1481; died 1527. Very truculent in the Peasants' War. ALBERT ALEIBIADES: a man of great mark in his day (1522-1557); never married. Two Sisters, with one of whom he took shelter at last; no Brother.
2. GEORGE THE PIOUS, who got ANSPACH (1515): born 1484; died 1543; got Jagerndorf, by purchase, from his Mother's Hungarian connection, 1524. Protestant declared, 1528; and makes honorable figure in the Histories thenceforth. The George of Kaiser Karl's "Nit-Kop-ab." One Son, GEORGE FRIEDRICH; born 1539; went to administer Preussen when Cousin became incompetent; died 1603. Heir to his Father in ANSPACH and JAGERNDORF; also to his Cousin Alcibiades in BAIREUTH. Had been left a minor (boy of 4, as the reader sees); Alcibiades his Guardian for a little while: from which came great difficulties, and unjust ruin would have come, had not Kurfurst Joachim I. been helpful and vigorous in his behalf. George Friedrich got at length most of his Territories into hand: Anspach and Baireuth unimpaired, Jagerndorf too, except that Ratibor and Oppeln were much eaten into by the Imperial chicaneries in that quarter. Died 1603, without children;—upon which his Territories all reverted to the main Brandenburg line, namely, to Johann George Seventh Kurfurst, or his representatives, according to the GERA BOND; and the "Elder Culmbach Line" had ended in this manner.
3. ALBERT; born 1490; Hochmeister of the Teutsch Ritters, 1511; declares himself Protestant, and Duke of Prussia, 1525; died 1568. One Son, ALB declared MELANCHOLIC 1573; died 1618. His Cousin George Friedrich administered for him till 1603; after which Joachim Friedrich; and then, lastly, Joachim Friedrich's Son, Johann Sigismund the Ninth Kurfurst. Had married the Heiress of Cleve (whence came a celebrated Cleve Controversy in after-times). No son; a good many daughters; eldest of whom was married to Kurfurst Johann Sigismund; from her came the controverted Cleve Property.
7th KURFURST (1571-1598), JOHANN GEORGE. YOUNGER CULMBACH LINE.
Kurfurst Johann George settled Baireuth and Anspach on Two of his Younger Sons, who are Founders of the "Younger Culmbach Line" (SPLIT Line or Pair of LINES). Jagerndorf the new Kurfurst, Joachim Friedrich, kept; settled it on one of his younger sons. Here are the two new Founders in Baireuth and Anspach, and some indication of their "Lines," so far as important to us at present:
(1.) CHRISTIAN, second son of Kurfurst Johann George: born 1581; got Baireuth 1603; died 1655. A distinguished Governor in his sphere. Had two sons; the elder died before him, but left a son, Christian Ernst; who (2.) succeeded, and (3.) whose son, George Wilhelm: 1644, 1655, 1712; 1678, 1712, 1726 (are BIRTH, ACCESSION, END of these two); the latter of whom had no son that lived. Upon which the posterity of Christian's second son succeeded. Second son of Christian notable to us in two little ways: FIRST, That HE, George Albert, Margraf of CULMbach, is the inscrutable "Marquis de LULENbach" of Bromley's Letters (antea p. 184, let the Commentators take comfort!); SECOND and better, That from him came our little Wilhelmina's Husband,—as will be afterwards explained. It was his grandson (4.) that succeeded in Baireuth, George Friedrich Karl (1688, 1726, 1735); Father of Wilhelmina's Husband. After whom (5.) his Son Friedrich (1711, 1735, 1763), Wilhelmina's Husband; who leaving (1763) nothing hut a daughter, Baireuth fell to Anspach, 1769, after an old Uncle (6.), childless, had also died. SIX Baireuth Margraves of this Line; FIVE generations; and then to Anspach, in 1769.
(1.) JOACHIM ERNST, third son of Kurfurst Johann George: born 1583; got Anspach 1603; died 1625. Had military tendencies, experiences; did not thrive as Captain of the EVANGELICAL UNION (1619-1620) when WINTER-KING came up and THIRTY-YEARS WAR along with him. Left two sons; elder of whom, (2.) Friedrich, nominally Sovereign, age still only eighteen, fell in the Battle of Nordlingen (worst battle of the Thirty-Years War, 1634); and the younger of whom, (3.) Albert, succeeded (1620, 1634, 1667), and his son, (4.) Johann Friedrich (1654, 1667, 1686); and (5, 6, 7.) no fewer than three grandsons,—children mostly, though entitled "sovereign"—in a PARALLEL way (Christian Albert, 1675, 1686, 1692; George Friedrich, 1678, 1692, 1703; Wilhelm Friedrich, 1685, 1703, 1723). Two little points notable here also, and no third:
FIRST, That one of the grand-DAUGHTERS, full-sister of the last of these three parallel figures, half-sister of the two former, was—Queen Caroline, George II.'s wife, who has still some fame with us.
SECOND, That the youngest of said three grandsons, Queen Caroline's full-brother, left a son then minor, who became major, (8.) and wedded a Sister of our dear little Wilhelmina's, of whom we shall hear (Karl Wilhelm Friedrich, 1712, 1723, 1757); unmomentous Margraf otherwise. His and her one son it was, (9.) Christian Friedrich Karl Alexander (1736, 1757, 1806), who inherited Baireuth, inherited Actress Clairon, Lady Craven, and at Hammersmith (House once Bubb Doddington's, if that has any charm) ended the affair.
NINE Anspach Margraves; in FIVE generations: end, 1806.
END OF BOOK III