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to resist the barons, which saved industry and commerce to allow any intervention in their own affairs. Frederick from extinction at a time of unbridled lawlessness, when subdued the resistance of Berlin, among other towns, and the central power could do nothing for their aid. In the by a somewhat unwarrantable stretch of his prerogative pecuniary embarrassments of the margraves also originated erected a royal castle within its walls. He also regained the power of the Stände, or estates, consisting of the possession of the Neumark, which had been given in noblesse, the clergy, and the towns. The first recorded pledge to the Teutonic Order in 1402, and would have instance of a diet co-operating with the ruler occurs in added Lusatia and Pomerania to his domains if the emperor 1170, and in 1280 we find the margraves solemnly binding had not placed obstacles in his way. A long-standing themselves not to raise a "bede" or special voluntary con- feud with the archbishop of Magdeburg was also finally tribution (like the English “benevolence”) without the settled in this reign. Ūnder his brother and successor consent of their estates. By 1355 the estates had secured | Albert (1470-1486), surnamed “Achilles” from his chival- Albert the appointment of a permanent councillor, without whose rous valour and military talent, the Franconian lands were (Achilles). concurrence the decrees of the margraves were invalid. again united with Brandenburg. Albert allowed his devoIn the century that followed the extinction of the Ascanians tion to the emperor to interfere to some extent with his liberty degenerated into licence, and the land was given own interests, but he carried on successful wars with over to an almost total anarchy. Only the most powerful Mecklenburg and Pomerania, and effectually resisted the towns were able to maintain their independence, and many attempts of the Teutonic knights to repossess themselves of them and of the clergy paid regular black-mail to the of the Neumark. His name is best remembered by the nearest nobles. Thus rotten within, it is no wonder that Dispositio Achillea, a family ordinance providing for the the electorate completely lost its independent political future separation of Brandenburg and Ansbach-Baireuth, importance.
and establishing the custom of primogeniture in each. The Hohenzollerns.—The new ruler who had to face this According to Hallam, this was the first instance of the Hohen- state of affairs was a member of an old Swabian family, legal establishment of primogeniture, and, when we conzollerns.
which took its name of Hohenzollern from the ancestral sider the effect it had in keeping the Brandenburg possescastle in the Swabian Alb. Recent investigation has sions together, while those of Saxony (for instance) were traced back the line to Hunfrid, duke of Rhætia and Istria frittered away among younger sons and their descendants, at the beginning of the 9th century, a member of the we shall not fail to discern its importance in determining widely-spread family of the Burkardingians, while it finds Prussia's future. With the accession of John (1486-1499), John the actual progenitors of the Swabian branch of the family surnamed “Cicero” on account of his eloquence or of his (Cicero). in two Alemannian dukes of the 10th century. At a later knowledge of Latin, begins a short period in which the period the Hohenzollerns were conspicuous for their loyal rulers of Brandenburg take little share in imperial politics. services to the Hohenstauffen emperors, under whom they At home John found his hands full in repressing the disacquired extensive possessions in Franconia and Moravia, orders that had arisen through Albert's long absence from and also the office of burgrave of Nuremberg (1191). They the electorate, and he acted with such vigour and address were ultimately recognized as among the most powerful that he succeeded in obtaining from the towns an importprinces of the empire, and, though they never attained to ant excise on beer, frequently refused to his father. The the electoral dignity, they frequently exercised considerable old claim to feudal supremacy over Pomerania, dating influence in the transference of the imperial crown. Rudolf from the days of the Ascanians, was compromised in 1493 of Hapsburg owed his succession in 1273 to the exertions for an assurance of eventual succession on the extinction of one Hohenzollern burgrave, and Louis the Bavarian of the Pomeranian dukes. The next elector, Joachim I. Joachim owed the victory of Mühldorf (1322) to another. The two (1499-1535), acquired the surname of "Nestor” from his I. (Nes
tor). sons of the first burgrave, Conrad and Frederick, divided encouragement of learning, which he showed inter alia by their inheritance between them, the former retaining the the foundation of a university at Frankfort-on-the-Oder. Franconian estates and the dignity of burgrave, the latter He also effected an important internal reform by the introthe ancestral possessions in Swabia. From the first of duction of Roman law, looking upon this as an easier way these descended the rulers of Prussia, while the other line of securing uniformity of procedure than by a codification also still exists in the person of the mediatized prince of of the heterogeneous common law of his dominions. The Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
inconvenience arising from the fact that the supreme court Elector Frederick (1415-1440), who as elector of Brandenburg followed the sovereign from place to place was now reFreder- assumed the style of Frederick I., showed himself equal to moved in Brandenburg, as a short time before in England, ick I.
the troublesome task before him, and would have been still | by the establishment of a fixed and central court of final more successful had his interests been limited to the elec- jurisdiction (Kammergericht). This court had its seat at torate. By a prudent mixture of lenity and firmness, which Berlin, which had recently become the capital and residid not shrink from actual fighting, he controlled the law- dence of the electors. In curbing the lawlessness of the lessness of the Quitzows and other robber barons, restored nobles, who were yet far from being perfectly disciplined, a fair degree of internal order, and made his subjects feel Joachim showed as strong a hand as his predecessors. He that the central power was a fact that could not be ignored. adhered strenuously to his Roman Catholic belief in spite While thus regulating the affairs of Brandenburg, Frederick of the fact that Protestantism had been embraced by his was also a conspicuous figure in imperial politics, especially own family and by most of his subjects, and he regarded in the Hussite wars. His candidature for the imperial with abhorrence the attitude of the Protestant princes throne in 1438 may be regarded as the first occasion on
towards the emperor.
In violation of the family law, which the houses of Hohenzollern and Hapsburg came into Joachim I. bequeathed the Neumark to his younger son Freder- competition. Frederick was succeeded in Brandenburg by John, and thus Joachim II. (1535-1571) succeeded to only Joachim
his son Frederick II. (1440-1470), and in his Franconian a part of the paternal possessions. John seems to have II. possessions by his son Albert. The former followed in his been the more vigorous and decided of the two brothers, father's footsteps by taking energetic measures to consoli- and led the way in announcing his transition to the Prodate his power and restore the electorate to its former testant faith, followed by Joachim in 1539. John also extent. His chief struggle was with the large towns, joined the Schmalkald League, but was induced to retire which had cordially welcomed the Hohenzollerns as cham- from it by his brother, who succeeded in conjoining an pions against the freebooting barons, but were unwilling I adoption of the Reformation in his own dominions with
first century of the Christian era we find authentic accounts | without and weakened by dissension within, the Order was of the importation by the Romans of amber from the at length compelled to succumb; and a war begun in 1454 Baltic coast, but the first mention of the Pruzi by name ended thirteen years later with the cession of West Prussia occurs in a document of the 9th century. Their first to Poland and an acknowledgment of the latter's feudal appearance in German history is connected with the attempt superiority over the remaining territories of the Order. made in 997 by Adalbert, bishop of Prague, to convert The knights turned to Germany for help, and endeavoured them to Christianity. But his efforts, as well as those of to persuade powerful German princes to undertake the office his successor Bruno, met with little success, and each of of grand master. In 1511 their choice fell on Albert, a these pious missionaries found a martyr's grave on the shore member of the Franconian branch of the Hohenzollerns, of the Baltic. The obstinate adherence of the natives to who undertook the task of reorganization with vigour and their paganism was strengthened by their natural suspicion attempted to dispense with the oath of fealty to Poland. of a political aim under cover of missionary enterprise, and But, failing to receive any adequate support from the they felt that they were fighting for their land as well as for emperor, he at length, acting on the advice of Luther, their religion. The next serious attempt at their conversion determined to embrace Protestantism and convert the was made two hundred years later by a Cistercian monk Ordensland into a secular and hereditary duchy. This named Christian, who at the outset had some success and momentous transformation was carried out in 1525 withwas appointed first bishop of Prussia.
The Prussians, out interference from either the empire or Poland, and however, soon expelled Christian and his supporters, and Albert continued to be a vassal of the latter state as duke even invaded Polish territory, plundering and exacting of Prussia. The people of Prussia, many of whom had
tribute. In this extremity Christian and Conrad, duke of already gone over to the new faith, hailed the reform with Teutonic Masovia, applied for aid to the knights of the TEUTONIC great satisfaction, and most of the knights contentedly Order.
ORDER (2.v.), who gladly embarked on this new crusade. changed their life-rents for feudal holdings, married, and The Prussians made a desperate resistance; but the military became hereditary nobles. When it passed into the hands discipline and strength of the Teutonic knights were not in of the elector of Brandenburg, Prussia thus consisted of a the long run to be withstood, reinforced, as they were, by compact secular duchy, owing fealty to Poland, and poscrowds of crusaders and adventurers anxious to share in sessing the two well-defined estates of nobles and burghers, the pious work, and assisted on two occasions by the troops the first of which held the reins of power. of Ottocar of Bohemia. The knights entered Prussia in John Sigismund died in 1619, a year after his acquisi- George 1230, and after half a century of hard fighting found them- tion of Prussia, and left his territories to his son George William. selves masters of the entire country. They had previously William (1619-1640). This unfortunate prince may pertaken care to procure from the emperor and the pope a haps be described as the first utterly incompetent ruler grant of all the lands they should conquer, as well as of of his line, though due allowance must be made for the those offered to them by Conrad of Masovia. At first the extreme difficulty of his position. Succeeding to power government of the Order, though arbitrary, was not un- at the outbreak of the great struggle between Catholicism favourable to the welfare of the land. The few native and Protestantism, he neglected the opportunity of joining nobles who adopted Christianity were allowed to retain with Saxony in the formation of a strong league of German their privileged position, and the ranks of the noblesse Protestant princes, and by his temporizing policy converted were recruited by grants to German knights. Numerous his electorate into the common battle-ground. In the towns and villages were built; the place of the greatly language of Carlyle, “where the Titans were bowling thinned Prussians was taken by industrious German rocks at each other, George William hoped by dexterous colonists; agriculture and commerce were carried on with skipping to escape share of the game." His own irresoluenergy and success; and all aggression from without was tion was aided by the fact that his chancellor and chief vigorously repelled. The general plan of colonization was adviser, Schwarzenberg, was a Roman Catholic and of similar to that in Brandenburg, except that the place of strong imperialist sympathies, while the great bulk of his , the margrave was taken by a class of privileged nobles, subjects dreaded an increase of the power of Calvinism who divided the power of government among
them. In almost more than that of Roman Catholicism. Branden1309 Pomerelia, to the west of the Vistula, was subdued, burg was overrun in turn by Mansfeld, Tilly, and Wallenand the headquarters of the Order were removed from stein, and suffered as much as if it had taken an active Venice to the fortress of Marienburg on the Vistula ; and part in the war. The Restitution Edict of 1628, however, before the end of the century the “Ordensland” of Prussia save the elector serious cause of alarm, and the appearance is said to have contained about fifty walled towns, still of Gustavus Adolphus before Berlin in 1631 confirmed more numerous castles, and several hundred villages his faltering decision and made him for a time throw in and hamlets, while it extended from Pomerania to the his lot with the Protestant cause. After the death of western frontier of Lithuania. The active trade which Gustavus, Brandenburg followed the example of Saxony now flourished was carried on mainly with England and in negotiating a separate peace with the emperor (1635). the Hanseatic towns. As time went on, however, the But this apostasy brought little relief, as the emperor gave knights allowed their vows of temperance and chastity to no aid in expelling the Swedes from Brandenburg and sink into abeyance and became enervated by luxury and Pomerania, which they continued to occupy for several
Their old military skill declined, and they had years. In 1639 the elector removed his court to Königssunk to such a state of weakness that the single battle berg in Prussia, the only part of his realms in which he of Tannenberg (1410), in which they were defeated by was sure of comparative tranquillity, and there he died in the Poles, shook their power to its foundations. Their 1640, leaving a land devastated in great part by fire and arbitrary and exclusive rule now began to reap its reward : sword and at the lowest ebb of dignity and power. the Prussians took advantage of the weakness of the Order Frederick William (1640-1688), whom both his con- Great to claim a larger share in the government, and, as their temporaries and after ages have agreed to dignify with Elector. burdens continued to grow more oppressive, finally formed the title of the “Great Elector," was only twenty years an alliance with its arch-enemy Poland. Attacked from old when he succeeded to the throne, but he at once began Russia seems unfounded, and the form Borussia or Porussia, which
to manifest a decided and vigorous character very different has been adopted as the Latin appellation of the country, is used for
from that of his father. He emancipated himself without the first time by a chronicler of the fifteenth century.
delay from the guidance of Schwarzenberg, and, in spite of
master in his own house, it was that he might at the same territories in which he had no suzerain to acknowledge. time be the first servant of the state. In his eyes an Superficial as this incident may at first sight appear, it absolute government was the best guarantee of the common added considerably to the moral and political momentwelfare, and was not sought merely for the sake of personal um of the country, and its advantages were reaped by aggrandizement. It is not without significance in con- Frederick's two vigorous successors.
About the same nexion with this that beyond his own territories he twice time (1697) the elector of Saxony also acquired the kingly espoused the cause of the people against an absolute ruler, dignity by his election to the throne of Poland, but in first in opposing Louis XIV., and again in aiding William doing so he had to become a Roman Catholic, and thus of Orange.
left the Hohenzollerns without a rival among the ProtestIn matters of general administration Frederick William ant dynasties of Germany. Frederick was an extravagant showed himself a prudent and careful ruler, and laid the ruler, who lavished large sums in maintaining his personal foundation of the future greatness of Prussia in almost state; but his expenditure was not wholly of this profitless every department. The military and bureaucratic systems nature, since he founded the university of Halle as a school of the country both received their first important impulse of liberal theology, established academies of art and science in this reign. The wounds inflicted by the Thirty Years' at Berlin, and patronized men of literary eminence. In War were in a great measure healed, and the finances and this he was perhaps mainly inspired by his talented wife credit of the state were established on a firm basis. Agri- Sophia Charlotte, a sister of George I. of England. culture and commerce were improved and encouraged by The court of Vienna had consoled itself for the growing a variety of useful measures, and education was not power of Prussia under the Great Elector by the reflexion neglected. The elector even established Prussian colonies that it was probably of a temporary nature and due mainly in Africa, and formed a small but efficient navy. In to the vigorous individuality of that prince. The events matters of religion Brandenburg stands out prominently of Frederick I.'s reign seemed to justify this view. At his as the only country of the time in which all Christian accession Prussia might fairly claim to rank as the second confessions were not only tolerated but placed upon an state of Germany and possessed considerable influence as a equal footing. The condition of the peasantry, however, European power of all but the first order. This, however, reached almost its lowest ebb, and the “ or charter had been changed before the death of Frederick. Bavaria, of 1653 practically recognizes the existence of villainage. Saxony, and Hanover had all raised themselves to at least While the barons had been losing power on the one side a level with Prussia, which now sank back into the posias opposed to the elector, they had been increasing it on tion of a merely German state and loyal supporter of the the other at the expense of the peasants. The Thirty empire. Frederick's preoccupation in the western wars Years' War afforded them frequent opportunities of replac- had allowed Sweden to reassert her pre-eminence in ing the village “Schulzen ” with manorial courts; and the northern Europe, and it was Russia and not Prussia that fact that their quota of taxation was wholly wrung from now impeded her progress. The internal soundness of the the holdings of the peasants made the burden of the latter country had also suffered : the finances were in a state of four or five times as great as that of the towns. The state complete disorganization, and the burden of taxation was of public morals also still left much to be desired, while almost insupportable. If Frederick's successor had not the clergy were too much occupied with squabbles over been a man of vigorous character the downhill progress Lutheranism and Calvinism to be an effective instrument might have continued until it had removed Prussia altoof reform,
gether from the list of important states. Perhaps the King The Great Elector's son Frederick I. (1688-1713) was an general estimate of Frederick's character is unduly low Frederick ostentatious and somewhat frivolous prince, who hazarded owing to the fact that he was followed as well as preceded
the acquisitions of his father by looking on his position as by a ruler of unusual capacity.
Bran- Frederick the Great. By carefully husbanding his finances denburg soldiers also helped the emperor in his wars with Frederick William filled his treasury and was able to keep the Turks, and English readers should not forget that on foot one of the largest and best disciplined armies in Frederick's action in covering the Dutch frontier with Europe, thereby securing for Prussia an influence in Euro6000 troops left William of Orange free scope in his pean councils altogether disproportionate to its size and expedition to England. The most notable incident in population. In internal management he made Prussia the Frederick's reign was, however, his acquisition of the title model state of Europe, though his administration was of a of king of Prussia, which long formed the principal object purely arbitrary type, in which the estates were never conof his policy, and which led him to make important con
sulted and his ministers were merely clerks to register his
Guelders to the Prussian territories, left Frederick William
free to turn his attention to the northern war then raging
between Sweden on the one side and Russia, Poland, and been otherwise explained.
Denmark on the other. Though at first disposed