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to resist the barons, which saved industry and commerce from extinction at a time of unbridled lawlessness, when the central power could do nothing for their aid. In the pecuniary embarrassments of the margraves also originated the power of the Stände, or estates, consisting of the noblesse, the clergy, and the towns. The first recorded instance of a diet co-operating with the ruler occurs in 1170, and in 1280 we find the margraves solemnly binding themselves not to raise a “bede” or special voluntary contribution (like the English “benevolence”) without the consent of their estates. By 1355 the estates had secured the appointment of a permanent councillor, without whose concurrence the decrees of the margraves were invalid. In the century that followed the extinction of the Ascanians liberty degenerated into licence, and the land was given over to an almost total anarchy. Only the most powerful towns were able to maintain their independence, and many of them and of the clergy paid regular black-mail to the nearest nobles. Thus rotten within, it is no wonder that the electorate completely lost its independent political importance. The Hohenzollerns.—The new ruler who had to face this state of affairs was a member of an old Swabian family, which took its name of Hohenzollern from the ancestral castle in the Swabian Alb. Recent investigation has traced back the line to Hunfrid, duke of Rhaetia and Istria at the beginning of the 9th century, a member of the widely-spread family of the Burkardingians, while it finds the actual progenitors of the Swabian branch of the family in two Alemannian dukes of the 10th century. At a later period the Hohenzollerns were conspicuous for their loyal services to the Hohenstauffen emperors, under whom they acquired extensive possessions in Franconia and Moravia, and also the office of burgrave of Nuremberg (1191). They were ultimately recognized as among the most powerful princes of the empire, and, though they never attained to the electoral dignity, they frequently exercised considerable influence in the transference of the imperial crown. Rudolf of Hapsburg owed his succession in 1273 to the exertions of one Hohenzollern burgrave, and Louis the Bavarian owed the victory of Mühldorf (1322) to another. The two sons of the first burgrave, Conrad and Frederick, divided their inheritance between them, the former retaining the Franconian estates and the dignity of burgrave, the latter the ancestral possessions in Swabia. From the first of these descended the rulers of Prussia, while the other line also still exists in the person of the mediatized prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Frederick (1415-1440), who as elector of Brandenburg assumed the style of Frederick I., showed himself equal to the troublesome task before him, and would have been still more successful had his interests been limited to the electorate. By a prudent mixture of lenity and firmness, which did not shrink from actual fighting, he controlled the lawlessness of the Quitzows and other robber barons, restored a fair degree of internal order, and made his subjects feel that the central power was a fact that could not be ignored. While thus regulating the affairs of Brandenburg, Frederick was also a conspicuous figure in imperial politics, especially in the Hussite wars. His candidature for the imperial throne in 1438 may be regarded as the first occasion on which the houses of Hohenzollern and Hapsburg came into competition. Frederick was succeeded in Brandenburg by his son Frederick II. (1440-1470), and in his Franconian possessions by his son Albert. The former followed in his father's footsteps by taking energetic measures to consolidate his power and restore the electorate to its former extent. His chief struggle was with the large towns, which had cordially welcomed the Hohenzollerns as champions against the freebooting barons, but were unwilling

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again united with Brandenburg. Albert allowed his devotion to the emperor to interfere to some extent with his own interests, but he carried on successful wars with Mecklenburg and Pomerania, and effectually resisted the attempts of the Teutonic knights to repossess themselves of the Neumark. His name is best remembered by the Dispositio Achillea, a family ordinance providing for the future separation of Brandenburg and Ansbach-Baireuth, and establishing the custom of primogeniture in each. According to Hallam, this was the first instance of the legal establishment of primogeniture, and, when we consider the effect it had in keeping the Brandenburg possessions together, while those of Saxony (for instance) were frittered away among younger sons and their descendants, we shall not fail to discern its importance in determining

Prussia's future. With the accession of John (1486-1499), John surnamed “Cicero” on account of his eloquence or of his (Cicero).

knowledge of Latin, begins a short period in which the rulers of Brandenburg take little share in imperial politics. At home John found his hands full in repressing the disorders that had arisen through Albert's long absence from the electorate, and he acted with such vigour and address that he succeeded in obtaining from the towns an important excise on beer, frequently refused to his father. The old claim to feudal supremacy over Pomerania, dating from the days of the Ascanians, was compromised in 1493 for an assurance of eventual succession on the extinction of the Pomeranian dukes.

the foundation of a university at Frankfort-on-the-Oder. He also effected an important internal reform by the introduction of Roman law, looking upon this as an easier way of securing uniformity of procedure than by a codification of the heterogeneous common law of his dominions. The inconvenience arising from the fact that the supreme court

followed the sovereign from place to place was now re

moved in Brandenburg, as a short time before in England, by the establishment of a fixed and central court of final jurisdiction (Kammergericht). This court had its seat at Berlin, which had recently become the capital and residence of the electors. In curbing the lawlessness of the nobles, who were yet far from being perfectly disciplined, Joachim showed as strong a hand as his predecessors. He adhered strenuously to his Roman Catholic belief in spite of the fact that Protestantism had been embraced by his own family and by most of his subjects, and he regarded with abhorrence the attitude of the Protestant princes towards the emperor. In violation of the family law, Joachim I. bequeathed the Neumark to his younger son

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The next elector, Joachim I. Joachim (1499-1535), acquired the surname of “Nestor” from his I. (Nesencouragement of learning, which he showed inter alia by *


careful avoidance of conflict with the emperor and had been steadily deteriorating, and their personal rights oman Catholic party. The church ordinance which were already seriously encroached upon. * framed for Brandenburg was drawn up in such a Under Joachim's son, John George (1571-1598), who John ay that the head of the state became likewise the head permanently reunited the Neumark with Brandenburg, the George. the state church, and henceforth he regarded him- tendencies just noticed received emphatic expression. All lf, like Henry VIII. of England, as standing towards vacant official positions were filled with members of the is own country in the place of the pope. The public noblesse, who also received the right of exacting compultroduction of the new faith was accomplished without sory service from the peasants and other similar privileges. ifficulty, and the clergy witnessed the secularization of The elector, who acquired the name of “Oekonom” or heir property with much equanimity. The funds thus steward from his admirable financial management, soon cquired by Joachim, a prince of magnificent ideas and of reduced the large debt left by his father, and, leaning on vish expenditure, were of great service to him ; but part the support he had earned from the barons, was able to f them he devoted to the encouragement of science and act with great independence towards the other elements rt. A compact of mutual right of eventual inheritance of the diet. During his undisturbed reign the material made in 1537 with the duke of Liegnitz and Brieg was of prosperity of Brandenburg advanced considerably, and the reat ultimate importance as affording Frederick II. a population was increased by numerous Protestant refugees retext for his claims to Silesia. A still more useful | from France and Holland. Joachim Frederick (1598-Joachim rrangement of a similar kind was carried out by Joachim 1608) had the good sense and resolution to oppose the "rickn 1569, when he secured the right of succession to the testament of his father, which had assigned the Neumark

luchy of Prussia.
Between the accession of the Hohenzollern dynasty and
he period at which we have now arrived the area of
Brandenburg had been increased to nearly 15,000 square
miles, and its material prosperity had grown in at least an
xtual ratio. It was still, however, far from being a com-
pact or united state, nor had it as yet any pretension to
an independent part on the European stage. Perhaps the
most marked internal change was the increase in the power
of the estates, resulting in great measure from the financial
needs of the electors. Their gradual progress towards com-
plete recognition as a co-ordinate branch of government
may be said to have culminated in the formal declaration
of Joachim II., that he would never undertake any action
of importance affecting the welfare of his subjects without
first consulting the estates. Yet alongside of this growth
of the estates there were other causes at work paving the
way for the future absolutism of the rulers. Thus the
new ecclesiastical constitution brought the elector, as head
of the church, into immediate relation with all classes of
the people, and the abolition of the distinction between
mediate and immediate subjects in the religious sphere
prepared the way for a similar position in secular matters.
So too the introduction of Roman law accustomed the
mind to dwell on the central authority and administration,
and its very terminology promoted the conception of the
elector as a “royal" ruler. A more important cause,
however, than either of these was the gradual decline of
the power of the towns, with the accompanying revival of
that of the nobles. The practical independence and com-
parative wealth of the towns had been followed by intestine
feuds, in which the patricians were arrayed against the
guilds, and these not only weakened the towns directly,
but also gave the electors frequent pretexts to interfere
and curtail their privileges. At the end of the reign of
Joachim II. the elector and the diet, the noblesse and the
municipalities, were still in a state of comparative and
promising equilibrium. But it was evident that the power
of the diet was now almost wholly confined to its command
of the purse, and that an elector who could make himself
independent of its subsidies would be in a position to defy
its claims; while it was equally evident that the growing
weakness of the towns was incapacitating them for any
effectual resistance to an ambitious prince, who might
utilize the congenial support of the noblesse as a stepping.
stone to arbitrary power. The short-sighted and selfish
neglect of general questions now making way among the
separate sections of the diet, and their increasing tendency
to appear at those sittings only in which their own peculiar
interests were under discussion, also helped to free the
hands of the electors. The condition of the peasantry

to his younger brother, and in the Gera Bond executed a
solemn ratification of the Dispositio Achillea. Ansbach and
Baireuth were formally relinquished to the younger line,
and have never since, except from 1791 to 1806, formed
part of the Prussian dominions. This reign is memorable
for the establishment of a state council (Staatsrath), which
served in some degree as a ministerial cabinet, and may be
characterized as the nucleus of the bureaucracy of modern

Prussia. John Sigismund (1608–1619) does not seem to John have been a man of marked personal character, but his Sigis,

reign is of great importance in the history of Brandenburg
on account of the extensive territorial enlargement that
fell to its lot. The contingency which had been contem:
plated in the treaty with Prussia in 1569 was realized on
the death of 1)uke Albert in 1618; and John Sigismund,
whose title was strengthened by his marriage with the late
duke's daughter, inherited the duchy. His marriage also
brought him a claim to the duchies of Cleves and Jülich
and other lands near the Rhine, but this title was disputed
by the count palatine of Neuburg. The count was a
Roman Catholic, and his contest with the elector soon
became a mere incident in the great conflict that now broke
out between the two religions. The disputed territories
were occupied by Spanish and Dutch troops, and neither
claimant derived much advantage from them till after the
Thirty Years' War. For a time, however, the outlying
possessions of John Sigismund touched on both sides the
limits of modern Prussia. In 1613 the elector, either from
pure conviction or from a desire to conciliate the leformed
diet of Cleves, announced his adoption of the Reformed
(Calvinistic) type of Protestantism, an action that gave
great offence in his older dominions. He made, however,
no attempt to induce his subjects to follow his example,
and may be said to have inaugurated the policy of religious
toleration that has since been characteristic of Prussian
rulers. 1)uring his reign his territories were more than
doubled in extent, covering at his death an area of 31,000
square miles; but the elector of Brandenburg could not
yet claim to rank above those of Bavaria and Saxony.

Duchy of Prussia.-The duchy of Prussia, thus ac- Duchy of quired by the elector, formed the eastern half of the ter. Prussia.

ritory bearing the name of Preussen, and stretched along
the Baltic Sea from the Vistula to the Memel. It still
remained a Polish fief, and was separated from the rest
of the electoral dominions by West Prussia, which the
Teutonic Order had been forced to resign to Poland a
century and a half before. The native Prussians were of
a race akin to the Letts and Lithuanians, and their name
(Pruzi, Prutheni) was probably derived from a Lettish
root meaning “intelligence.” Towards the cind of the

* The traditionary connexion of the name with the proximity of

Teutonic Order.

first century of the Christian era we find authentic accounts of the importation by the Romans of amber from the Baltic coast, but the first mention of the Pruzi by name occurs in a document of the 9th century. Their first appearance in German history is connected with the attempt made in 997 by Adalbert, bishop of Prague, to convert them to Christianity. But his efforts, as well as those of his successor Bruno, met with little success, and each of these pious missionaries found a martyr's grave on the shore of the Baltic. The obstinate adherence of the natives to their paganism was strengthened by their natural suspicion of a political aim under cover of missionary enterprise, and they felt that they were fighting for their land as well as for their religion. The next serious attempt at their conversion was made two hundred years later by a Cistercian monk named Christian, who at the outset had some success and was appointed first bishop of Prussia. The Prussians, however, soon expelled Christian and his supporters, and even invaded Polish territory, plundering and exacting tribute. In this extremity Christian and Conrad, duke of Masovia, applied for aid to the knights of the TEUTONIC ORDER (q.v.), who gladly embarked on this new crusade. The Prussians made a desperate resistance; but the military discipline and strength of the Teutonic knights were not in the long run to be withstood, reinforced, as they were, by crowds of crusaders and adventurers anxious to share in the pious work, and assisted on two occasions by the troops of Ottocar of Bohemia. The knights entered Prussia in 1230, and after half a century of hard fighting found themselves masters of the entire country. They had previously taken care to procure from the emperor and the pope a grant of all the lands they should conquer, as well as of those offered to them by Conrad of Masovia. At first the government of the Order, though arbitrary, was not unfavourable to the welfare of the land. The few native nobles who adopted Christianity were allowed to retain their privileged position, and the ranks of the noblesse were recruited by grants to German knights. Numerous towns and villages were built; the place of the greatly thinned Prussians was taken by industrious German colonists; agriculture and commerce were carried on with energy and success; and all aggression from without was vigorously repelled. The general plan of colonization was similar to that in Brandenburg, except that the place of the margrave was taken by a class of privileged nobles, who divided the power of government among them. In 1309 Pomerelia, to the west of the Vistula, was subdued, and the headquarters of the Order were removed from Venice to the fortress of Marienburg on the Vistula; and before the end of the century the “Ordensland” of Prussia is said to have contained about fifty walled towns, still more numerous castles, and several hundred villages and hamlets, while it extended from Pomerania to the western frontier of Lithuania. The active trade which now flourished was carried on mainly with England and the Hanseatic towns. As time went on, however, the knights allowed their vows of temperance and chastity to sink into abeyance and became enervated by luxury and excess. Their old military skill declined, and they had sunk to such a state of weakness that the single battle of Tannenberg (1410), in which they were defeated by the Poles, shook their power to its foundations. Their arbitrary and exclusive rule now began to reap its reward : the Prussians took advantage of the weakness of the Order to claim a larger share in the government, and, as their burdens continued to grow more oppressive, finally formed an alliance with its arch-enemy Poland. Attacked from

Russia seems unfounded, and the form Borussia or Porussia, which has been adopted as the Latin appellation of the country, is used for the first time by a chronicler of the fifteenth century.

without and weakened by dissension within, the Order was at length compelled to succumb ; and a war begun in 1454 ended thirteen years later with the cession of West Prussia to Poland and an acknowledgment of the latter's feudal superiority over the remaining territories of the Order. The knights turned to Germany for help, and endeavoured to persuade powerful German princes to undertake the office of grand master. In 1511 their choice fell on Albert, a member of the Franconian branch of the Hohenzollerns, who undertook the task of reorganization with vigour and attempted to dispense with the oath of fealty to Poland. But, failing to receive any adequate support from the emperor, he at length, acting on the advice of Luther, determined to embrace Protestantism and convert the Ordensland into a secular and hereditary duchy. This momentous transformation was carried out in 1525 without interference from either the empire or Poland, and Albert continued to be a vassal of the latter state as duke of Prussia. The people of Prussia, many of whom had already gone over to the new faith, hailed the reform with great satisfaction, and most of the knights contentedly changed their life-rents for feudal holdings, married, and became hereditary nobles. When it passed into the hands of the elector of Brandenburg, Prussia thus consisted of a compact secular duchy, owing fealty to Poland, and possessing the two well-defined estates of nobles and burghers, the first of which held the reins of power.

John Sigismund died in 1619, a year after his acquisi-George tion of Prussia, and left his territories to his son George William.

William (1619-1640). This unfortunate prince may perhaps be described as the first utterly incompetent ruler of his line, though due allowance must be made for the extreme difficulty of his position. Succeeding to power at the outbreak of the great struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism, he neglected the opportunity of joining with Saxony in the formation of a strong league of German Protestant princes, and by his temporizing policy converted his electorate into the common battle-ground. In the language of Carlyle, “where the Titans were bowling rocks at each other, George William hoped by dexterous skipping to escape share of the game.” His own irresolution was aided by the fact that his chancellor and chief adviser, Schwarzenberg, was a Roman Catholic and of strong imperialist sympathies, while the great bulk of his, subjects dreaded an increase of the power of Calvinism almost more than that of Roman Catholicism. Brandenburg was overrun in turn by Mansfeld, Tilly, and Wallenstein, and suffered as much as if it had taken an active part in the war. The Restitution Edict of 1628, however, gave the elector serious cause of alarm, and the appearance of Gustavus Adolphus before Berlin in 1631 confirmed his faltering decision and made him for a time throw in his lot with the Protestant cause. After the death of Gustavus, Brandenburg followed the example of Saxony in negotiating a separate peace with the emperor (1635). But this apostasy brought little relief, as the emperor gave no aid in expelling the Swedes from Brandenburg and Pomerania, which they continued to occupy for several years. In 1639 the elector removed his court to Königsberg in Prussia, the only part of his realms in which he was sure of comparative tranquillity, and there he died in 1640, leaving a land devastated in great part by fire and sword and at the lowest ebb of dignity and power.

Frederick William (1640-1688), whom both his con-Great temporaries and after ages have agreed to dignify with Elector.

the title of the “Great Elector,” was only twenty years old when he succeeded to the throne, but he at once began to manifest a decided and vigorous character very different from that of his father. He emancipated himself without delay from the guidance of Schwarzenberg, and, in spite of

rear in his war with the Turks. At his death, which took place in 1688, he was engaged in helping the prince of Orange to prepare for his descent on England.

The reign of the Great Elector forms one of the most Brandensignal instances in history of the conquest of adverse cir-burg cumstances by personal energy and merit; and it is with *.

- - - - - he Great

reason that Prussian historians describe him as the second E. founder of the state. At his accession the greater part of

emperor's displeasure, concluded a peace with Sweden, lich provided for the withdrawal of the Swedish troops m the electorate. During the following years of war ederick William preserved a strict neutrality and utilized 2 opportunity to restore the material resources of his Intry and reorganize and strengthen his army. The its of this line of action were seen at the peace of estphalia (1648), when Frederick William, as lord of

efficient army of 25,000 men, was able to secure a wdy hearing for his claims to territorial extension. He ablished his right to the whole of Pomerania, but, as the redes refused to give up Western or Hither Pomerania orpommern), he received as compensation the rich clesiastical principalities of Magdeburg, Halberstadt, and inden, in central Germany. In the second Swedish and lish war, which broke out in 1655, he used his inter2diate position with great skill and unscrupulousness, lying himself first with one and then with the other of e belligerents, as seemed likely to be most profitable. lus the troops of Brandenburg took a prominent share in e defeat of the Poles at the three days' battle of Warsaw 656), in return for which service Sweden undertook to cognize the elector as independent sovereign of the duchy Prussia. Scarcely, however, did the scale of victory *gin to turn than the elector deserted his former ally, ld in the treaty of Wehlau (1657) received his reward the formal relinquishment by Poland of its feudal rights wer Prussia. This important step, which added the ectorate to the independent states of Europe and preared the way for the growth of a great north German ower, was ratified three years later at the general peace of 'liva. In 1666 the long-vexed question of the inheritance * the Rhenish duchies was settled by an amicable partion, according to which Cleves, Mark, and Ravensberg all to the share of Prussia. When Louis XIV. attacked Iolland in 1672 Frederick William was at first the only terman prince to suspect danger in the ambitious designs the French monarch. In spite of tempting offers from rance, he concluded an alliance with Holland, and at the end of Austrian and Brandenburgian troops joined the Mutch in an ineffectual campaign on the Rhine. In 1673 e was forced, through lack of sufficient support from the mperor, to make peace with France; but he joined the riple alliance of Holland, Spain, and the empire in the ollowing year and took part in an indecisive campaign in Alsace. There he received intelligence that the Swedes, it the instigation of France, had broken into Brandenburg. Hastening back to his own country without delay, he took the enemy by surprise, and at the head of about 6000 men gained a brilliant victory over twice that number of Swedish troops at Fehrbellin (1675), a small town to the north-west of Berlin. This success over the hitherto invincible Swedes lent great prestige to the elector's arms, and he followed it up by a series of vigorous campaigns, in which, with the aid of Denmark, he swept Brandenburg and Pomerania clear of the invaders, capturing Stettin in 1677 and Stralsund in 1678. The invasion of Prussia from Livonia, which formed the last effort of the Swedes, was also triumphantly repelled, the most memorable incident of the short struggle being the elector's forced march over the frozen surface of the Frische Haff. At the peace of St Germain (1679), however, owing to the influence of Frano and the lukewarm support of the emperor, Frederick William saw himself forced to restore Hither Pomerania to Sweden. The policy of the last years of the Great Elector may be described as an endeavour to hold the balance between France and the emperor. At first he joined in a somewhat unnatural alliance with Louis XIV., but after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) he drew nearer to Austria and covered the emperor's

his territory was in the occupation of strangers and devastated by war, and in European politics Brandenburg was regarded as merely an appendage of the empire. Its army was of little value; its soil was poor; and its revenue was insignificant. To other sources of weakness were added the scattered nature of the electoral possessions, their mutual jealousies, and their separate interests. At Frederick William's death the new north German state of Brandenburg-Prussia was a power that had to be reckoned with in all European combinations. Inferior to Austria alone among the states of the empire, it was regarded as the head and patron of German Protestantism ; while the fact that one-third of its territory lay outside the empire added to its independent importance. Its area had been raised to 43,000 square miles; its revenue had multiplied fivefold ; and its small army was nowhere surpassed in efficiency. The elector had overthrown Sweden and inherited her position on the Baltic, and he had offered a steady and not ineffectual resistance to the ambition of France. While thus winning for himself a position in the councils of Europe, the elector was not less active in strengthening the central authority within his dominions, and the transformation effected during his reign in the internal government of the state was not less striking than that in its external importance. Frederick William found Brandenburg a constitutional state, in which the legislative power was shared between the elector and the diet; he left it to his successor as in substance an absolute monarchy. Many circumstances helped him in effecting this change, among the chief of which were the want of harmonious action on the part of the estates and the accelerated decline of the political power of the towns. The substitution of a permanent excise for the subsidies granted from time to time by the estates also tended to increase the elector's independence, and the Government officials (Steuerrathe) appointed to collect this tax in the towns gradually absorbed many of the administrative functions of the local authorities. The nobles and prelates generally preferred to raise their quota according to the old method of bede or “contribution,” and this weakened the last bond of common interest between them and the estate of the burghers. In Brandenburg the elector met with little opposition in establishing his personal sovereignty, and after 1653 no general diet of Brandenburg was held. In Cleves and Mark he gained his end simply by an overwhelming display of force; but in Prussia, where the spirit of independence was fostered by its history and by its distance from the seat of power, he found much greater difficulty. His emancipation from the suzerainty of Poland gave him a great advantage in the struggle, though the estates on their side averred that their relation with Poland was one that could not be dissolved except by common consent, It was not until the elector had occupied Königsberg with an armed force, and imprisoned the one (Burgomaster Roth) and executed the other (Baron Kalkstein) of the principal champions of independence, that he was able to bend the estates to his will. Arbitrary and unconstitutional as this conduct seems to us, we must not forget that Frederick William's idea of the functions of an absolute prince was very superior to the unqualified egotism of the French monarchs, and that, while he insisted upon being


master in his own house, it was that he might at the same time be the first servant of the state. In his eyes an absolute government was the best guarantee of the common welfare, and was not sought merely for the sake of personal aggrandizement. It is not without significance in connexion with this that beyond his own territories he twice espoused the cause of the people against an absolute ruler, first in opposing Louis XIV., and again in aiding William of Orange. In matters of general administration Frederick William showed himself a prudent and careful ruler, and laid the foundation of the future greatness of Prussia in almost every department. The military and bureaucratic systems of the country both received their first important impulse in this reign. The wounds inflicted by the Thirty Years' War were in a great measure healed, and the finances and credit of the state were established on a firm basis. Agriculture and commerce were improved and encouraged by a variety of useful measures, and education was not neglected. The elector even established Prussian colonies in Africa, and formed a small but efficient navy. In matters of religion Brandenburg stands out prominently as the only country of the time in which all Christian confessions were not only tolerated but placed upon an equal footing. The condition of the peasantry, however, reached almost its lowest ebb, and the “recess” or charter of 1653 practically recognizes the existence of villainage. While the barons had been losing power on the one side as opposed to the elector, they had been increasing it on the other at the expense of the peasants. The Thirty Years' War afforded them frequent opportunities of replacing the village “Schulzen’’ with manorial courts; and the fact that their quota of taxation was wholly wrung from the holdings of the peasants made the burden of the latter four or five times as great as that of the towns. The state of public morals also still left much to be desired, while the clergy were too much occupied with squabbles over Lutheranism and Calvinism to be an effective instrument of reform. The Great Elector's son Frederick I. (1688-1713) was an ostentatious and somewhat frivolous prince, who hazarded the acquisitions of his father by looking on his position as assured and by aiming rather at external tokens of his dignity than at a further consolidation of the basis on which it rested. The Brandenburg troops showed all their wonted prowess in the war of the second coalition against Louis XIV. and in that of the Spanish Succession; but Frederick's interests were only mediately concerned, and neither the peace of Ryswick (1697) nor that of Utrecht (1713) brought him any very tangible advantage. Brandenburg soldiers also helped the emperor in his wars with the Turks, and English readers should not forget that Frederick's action in covering the Dutch frontier with 6000 troops left William of Orange free scope in his expedition to England. The most notable incident in Frederick's reign was, however, his acquisition of the title of king of Prussia, which long formed the principal object of his policy, and which led him to make important concessions to all whose co-operation was necessary. The emperor's consent was finally purchased by the promise of a contingent of 8000 men to aid him in the War of the Spanish Succession, and on 18th January 1701 Frederick crowned himself at Königsberg with accompanying ceremonies of somewhat inflated grandeur. Elector Frederick III. of Brandenburg became henceforth King Frederick I. of Prussia, the title being taken from that part of his

* Strictly speaking, the title assumed was “king in Prussia” (König in Preussen), this apparently being meant to indicate that there was still a Prussia (West Prussia) of which he was not king, though it has also been otherwise explained.

territories in which he had no suzerain to acknowledge. Superficial as this incident may at first sight appear, it added considerably to the moral and political momentum of the country, and its advantages were reaped by Frederick's two vigorous successors. About the same time (1697) the elector of Saxony also acquired the kingly dignity by his election to the throne of Poland, but in doing so he had to become a Roman Catholic, and thus left the Hohenzollerns without a rival among the Protestant dynasties of Germany. Frederick was an extravagant ruler, who lavished large sums in maintaining his personal state; but his expenditure was not wholly of this profitless nature, since he founded the university of Halle as a school of liberal theology, established academies of art and science at Berlin, and patronized men of literary eminence. In this he was perhaps mainly inspired by his talented wife Sophia Charlotte, a sister of George I. of England. The court of Vienna had consoled itself for the growing power of Prussia under the Great Elector by the reflexion that it was probably of a temporary mature and due mainly to the vigorous individuality of that prince. The events of Frederick I.'s reign seemed to justify this view. At his accession Prussia might fairly claim to rank as the second state of Germany and possessed considerable influence as a European power of all but the first order. This, however, had been changed before the death of Frederick. Bavaria, Saxony, and Hanover had all raised themselves to at least a level with Prussia, which now sank back into the position of a merely German state and loyal supporter of the empire. Frederick's preoccupation in the western wars had allowed Sweden to reassert her pre-eminence in northern Europe, and it was Russia and not Prussia that now impeded her progress. The internal soundness of the country had also suffered : the finances were in a state of complete disorganization, and the burden of taxation was almost insupportable. If Frederick's successor had not been a man of vigorous character the downhill progress might have continued until it had removed Prussia altogether from the list of important states. Perhaps the general estimate of Frederick's character is unduly low owing to the fact that he was followed as well as preceded by a ruler of unusual capacity.

His son Frederick William I. (1713-1740) possessed Frederick administrative talents of no mean order and was singularly William

painstaking, industrious, and determined in carrying out." his plans. Though marked by no great external achievements or exciting events, his reign is of the utmost importance in the Prussian annals from having checked the threatened downfall of Prussia and paved the way for Frederick the Great. By carefully husbanding his finances Frederick William filled his treasury and was able to keep on foot one of the largest and best disciplined armies in Europe, thereby securing for Prussia an influence in European councils altogether disproportionate to its size and population. In internal management he made Prussia the model state of Europe, though his administration was of a purely arbitrary type, in which the estates were never consulted and his ministers were merely clerks to register his decrees. The first act of the young king, who was as economical as his father was extravagant, was to institute a salutary reform in the expensive institutions of the court; and some idea of the drastic nature of this change may be gathered from the fact that the annual allowance for the salaries and pensions of the chief court officials and civil servants was at once reduced from 276,000 to 55,000 thalers. The peace of Utrecht (1713), which added 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 Denmark on the other. Though at first disposed

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