silent for some time. “Julia,” said Fitz-Ullin, at
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!
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);--8ee 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.