to each other after a long, long separation: each seemed
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.
SEVENTH KURFURST, JOHANN GEORGE.
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!