THE GREAT ELECTOR AND THE FIRST PRUSSIAN KING.
By Dr A. W. WARD.
The youth of the Great Elector.639
Accession of Frederick William. Schwarzenberg. 640
Relations with Sweden and Poland. Pomerania.641
Early years of Frederick William's reign.. 642
Waldeck's "plan of union." Policy as to Prussia. 643
Administrative changea. Magdeburg. 644
Cultivation and immigration.645
Industrial activity. Colonial policy. 646
The Brandenburg African Company. 647
Years of peace and preparation. Relations with England.. 649
Brandenburg and the Dutch Republic.. 650
Battle of Fehrbelliu.. 651
Treaties of Nymegen and St Germain.. 652
The Great Elector's alliance with France.. 653
The Great Elector and William of Orange.654
Frederick William's second marriage. 655
His wills. His death.. 656
Significance of his reign..657
The Elector Frederick III.. 658
The quest of royal Crowns..659
Aspirations of Frederick III.660
Brandenburg's share in the War against France. Peace of Ilyswyk 661
The fall of Danckelmann..662
Negotiations as to a royal Crown. 663
The Emperor yields. The Krontractat.. 664
Coronation of King Frederick I. 665
Frederick I and the Grand Alliance. 666
Inaction of Prussia in the Northern War.. 667
The foreign policy of Frederick I. 668
Military and economic progress under Frederick I. 669
Progress of learning and research. 670
Sophia Charlotte. Religious views of Frederick I. 671
Results of his reign.. 672
THE GREAT ELECTOR AND THE FIRST PRUSSIAN KING.
FREDERICK WILLIAM, on whom his contemporaries bestowed the designation of the Great Elector, was born at Berlin on February 16, 1620-the year in which the star of the Palatine House, whose ambition it had been to stand at the head of Protestant Germany, seemed to be quenched for ever. If his father's weakness of character had been in a great measure accountable for his failure to make good the position achieved by the union of Brandenburg and Prussia in the reign of George William's predecessor, Frederick William himself rose, with a vigour and an elasticity alike rarely paralleled, above the conditions in which his own reign, in its turn, began. Even a historian so little given to dithyrambics as Ranke cannot without emotion attempt to summarise the achievements of this high-minded precursor of the Prussian Kings-who like Henry, the father of Otto the Great, toiled so incessantly and with so little thought of self, in order to lay sure the foundations on which his successor was to erect an imposing superstructure.
Fortunately for Frederick William, much of his boyhood was spent at a distance from his father's luxurious and self-indulgent Court, and out of contact with the shifts and changes of an unstable policy. At Cüstrin in the New Mark he was trained in manly habits and imbued with the deep religious convictions from which through life he never swerved. In 1631 he moved to Wolgast in Pomerania, where his aunt Queen Maria Eleonora of Sweden resided during her consort's German campaign, and where the young Prince was regarded as the future ruler of the duchy. Gustavus Adolphus was said to have taken an interest in the boy, and to have intended to bestow on him the hand of his daughter Christina ; but the project, to which the Calvinism professed by the House of Brandenburg was an obstacle in the eyes of the Lutheran Swedes, remained in abeyance, though it was not relinquished by Frederick William till some years after his accession to his electorate. He completed his education at Leyden, whence he vibited the Court at Rhenen of the exiled Queen of
Bohemia, of whose eldest daughter, the incomparable Elizabeth, he became a true friend through life ; and then passed on to the Court and camp of his illustrious kinsman, Prince Frederick Henry of Orange. This sojourn was probably as important for his political as it was for his military training, and tended to alienate him completely from the House of Habsburg, by adhering to which, in accordance with the traditions of his own House, his father had gained so little. Instead of being, as he may have hoped to be, placed at the head of the Government of Cleves, he was in 1638 summoned to his father's Court at Königsberg, and during the remainder of George William's reign was excluded from all share in public affairs. Gradually he came to nurse the belief that the omnipotent Minister Schwarzenberg was plotting destruction to himself, the Electoral Prince, and treason in the event of his father's decease. When George William died in December, 1640, the new Elector Frederick William was, according to his own account, left friendless and without resources against his adversaries ; while Prussia was secure and fairly prosperous, the electorate had been devastated ; and even the allegiance of the troops that garrisoned its fortresses was doubtful, for George William had allowed them to swear fidelity to the Emperor as well as to himself.
The age was still an age of plots ; and Schwarzenberg was suspected of maturing a great design for introducing Imperial troops into the Brandenburg fortresses, on whose commanders he was supposed to be able to rely. How far he had proceeded with his schemes is uncertain ; but the young Elector, who had from the first made up his mind to break with the régime and the policy of Schwarzenberg, acted with both caution and firmness. While he temporised with the troops, he at once broke off a negotiation into which the Minister had entered with the Emperor for ceding part of Pomerania to Sweden, in return for a compensation elsewhere. The death of Schwarzenberg (March 14-, 1641) saved Frederick William from having to institute proceedings against him. The Imperialist policy, which had been espoused by the Estates of the electorate as well as by the Elector George William, suddenly became a thing of the past ; and to the next generation it had already become so unintelligible that Schwarzenberg's political career typified to it an unpatriotic ambition which shrank from no crime in order to compass its ends. But, whatever may be thought of his policy, his administrative influence had been altogether deleterious. His personal greed for money kept pace with his ambition, and infected the whole system of government with the spirit of financial corruption ; while at the same time there was a competition in expenditure among the chief officers of State.
In foreign policy, Frederick William-instead of following in the wake of the diplomatic overtures of the Emperor-speedily took a line of his own towards a Power whose hostility was of greater importance to
The results obtained in the Peace of Westphalia (1648) by the Brandenburg-Prussian State, and the course of its foreign relations in the period immediately ensuing, have been briefly indicated in a previous volume. The most important matter for the future of the State was the condition in which the Peace left the Pomeranian question. After the death (in 1637) of Duke Bogislav XIV, nothing stood in the way of the succession of the House of Brandenburg, whose claim was clear, except the certainty that here and nowhere else would the Swedish Crown seek its "satisfaction" for its long and deliberately protracted exertions in the Great War. The Emperor having ceased for some time to pretend to any objection against the payment of this part of the price of peace by Brandenburg, its Elector had to content himself with securing part of the eastern half of Pomerania (Hinterpommern), where Kolberg is the only port of any significance ; nor was it till five years later (1653) that even this territory was actually evacuated by the Swedes. In addition, Brandenburg had at Osnabrück finally gained the bishoprics
In Brandenburg-Prussia, as in other parts of the Empire, the years which followed on the Peace were a period of more or less sturdy attempts at self-recovery. To the sense of the difficulty of the task which awaited Frederick William at home was added that of political isolation. His relations with the Emperor Ferdinand III were cold ; and his close connexion with the Government of the United Provinces had come to an unexpected end with the death, in 1650, of William II of Orange, and with the transfer of power, for a term of twenty-two years, to an oligarchy little interested in supporting the interests, or espousing the quarrels, of Brandenburg in the Rhenish duchies.
Thus, at this early stage, Frederick William arrived at a clear conception of what was indispensable, if from the basis of his augmented but ill-cohering dominions he was to play an effective part in European politics. He must find allies in whom he could confide ; but of this confidence it was a preliminary condition that they, in their turn, should trust him as the ruler of a loyal and prosperous State. To reach this end, it was necessary to reorganise the home government. The control of this his father had abandoned to Schwarzenberg ; from Schwarzenberg it had descended to Conrad von Burgsdorf, who, though much valued and trusted by the Elector, and in the period of his ascendancy (1641-51) very nearly approaching the position of a Prime Minister, was very specially intent upon making his service profitable to himself. And after it had during a few eventful years been in the hands of Count George Frederick of Waldeck, it was in 1658 finally committed to the trustiest and most far-sighted of the Great Elector's Ministers-in a sense his master's alter ego-Otto von Schwerin, who was created Chancellor of the Electoral Mark, and Director of the Privy Council, and who effectively carried on the work of these combined offices for twoscore years. The reforms in the administration had begun about 1652, and were carried out with the aid of a reorganised Privy Council and a special Commission. They were directed to a more complete separation of the civil from the military administration, and of both from the Court, and to the subordination of the requirements of the latter to those of the State. The financial system in particular was put in better order ; but, though steps were taken to ensure an early preparation of the budget (état) in each of the "provinces" (as they were already called), the determination of the provincial Estates to assert their powers of self-control had still to be very seriously taken into account.
Above all, a beginning was made (except in so far as it may be held to have been anticipated by George William in 1637) with the establishment of a standing military force-the future right arm of Prussia in the struggle which was to end in her becoming a Great Power, as her civil administrative system was to be the left. When Frederick William's
In his political action within and without the boundaries of the Empire it behoved the Elector, even after he had secured to himself a free hand, to proceed with the utmost circumspection. In the Peace of Westphalia he had made the best bargain he could for himself, without yielding to the seduction of a proffered French alliance. It has been seen in a previous volume how, in the transactions which intervened between that Peace and the Peace of Oliva he had striven gradually to assert the political influence of his State. He had failed in his attempt in 1651 to wrest Jiilich and Berg by force from the Catholic Duke of Neuburg ; but during the remainder of the reign of Ferdinand III he lost no opportunity of upholding at the Diet, or furthering by negotiation, the autonomy of the Princes of the Empire. Indeed, the very remarkable " plan of Union " elaborated by his far-sighted and high-spirited Minister Waldeck in December, 1653, though originally confined to Protestant Princes, really aimed at a general league of non-Austrian States very much on the lines of the Furstenbttnd, set on foot a century and a quarter later by Frederick the Great.
But the chief political action of the Elector during these eleven or twelve years (1648-60) lay in a different direction. In this it was exerted with a most remarkable combination of energy and statecraft, which resulted, not only in preserving Ducal Prussia from falling into the grasp of either Poland or Sweden, but also, in accordance with the policy suggested by Waldeck, secured the duchy as an independent sovereign possession to the House of Hohenzollern. (It is no disproof of Waldeck's sincerity of purpose-only an illustration of the strangely shifting conditions of the political life of his age, that he should afterwards have himself passed into the Swedish service.) This acquisition, although its magnitude cannot palliate the diplomatic manuvres-almost unparalleled in the brusqueness of their sequence and in the effrontery of their inconsistencies-was the chief gain which the Peace of Oliva brought to Frederick William. For he came forth from the two Wars (the Polish and the Danish) provoked by the ambition of Charles X of Sweden, without having gained the friendship of any one of the contending Powers, and with a sense of insecurity as against future encroachments on their part. And he had been obliged to relinquish the places in western Pomerania into which he had thrown garrisons, regarding the
For what Frederick William had achieved, or for aid in his endeavours to retain what he had been obliged to renounce, he owed no thanks to the House of Habsburg. Yet to his action had been principally due the election of 1658, when Leopold I was chosen Emperor in his father's stead-on condition, to be sure, that he would henceforth renounce all support of Spain in the Franco-Spanish conflicts in Italy and the Netherlands. On the other hand, Frederick William was so far from any present intention of joining the Rheinbund, that, vexed by its friendliness to Sweden, he denounced it as subjecting weak German Princes to strong foreign Powers.
With the year 1660 a new period opens in the reign of the Great Elector-a time of sorely needed rest and recuperation for his dominions. During the ensuing twelve years the army, to which (though the Estates had insisted on a reduction of its numbers) the Elector continued to devote special attention, was but once employed on active service. This was in 1663, when Brandenburg troops aided the Imperial Government in one of its numerous conflicts with the Turkish Power. But there was much to do at home. The Prussian Estates, who disliked the sway of the Brandenburg Elector, if only because he was a professed Calvinist, resented the changes introduced by him into the administration of the duchy; and it was only by a strong display of military force and punitive energy at Königsberg that he induced the Estates to do homage to him as their hereditary Duke (October, 1663). The settlement effected on this occasion was not again undone; though it was some time before the spirit of resistance, stimulated by the Polish environment of Ducal Prussia, came to an end there. It cannot be said that in his dealings with the Prussian Estates the Elector had shown any very scrupulous respect for the forms of law. Another remarkable example of the vigour of his transforming processes is that of the archbishopric of Magdeburg, which was not actually incorporated in his dominions till the death, in 1680, of the last Administrator, Duke Augustus of Saxony, but whose Estates he forced to do homage to him so early as 1666, and in whose chief city an electoral garrison had lain since 1650.
In his western dominions, also, Frederick William had to maintain a strenuous struggle on behalf of the state unity towards which he was intent upon steadily advancing. After, in 1660 and 1661, he had obliged the Estates of Cleves and Mark to accept de facto his full sovereignty, it was formally acknowledged, together with that over Ravensberg, by the Treaty of Cleves (1666), concluded by him with Duke Philip William of Neuburg. In this they agreed to a permanent division between them of the long-contested Rhenish duchies ; and Frederick William, according to his custom, at once set about a thorough reorganisation of the administrative system of his western possessions.
But, while he was thus establishing the authority of his dynasty and securing its continuance in both the eastern and the western portions of his dominions, he was naturally not less anxious to promote the prosperity of his electorate, and to reinvigorate it by the infusion of new elements of population. The awful scourge of the Thirty Years1 War had left the naturally sterile soil of the Mark Brandenburg desolate, with a population sunk to 210,000 souls- something between one-third and one-half of the earlier number of its inhabitants. Berlin was little better than the centre of a desert, through whose sands a traveller might plod by the hour without meeting either man or beast. The industry and trade of many parts at least of the country were practically extinct. Frederick William perceived that the primary and paramount need of the Mark was human life and labour; and, following alike the historical traditions of the territory, the lessons of his Dutch experience, and the inspiration of his deep-seated principles of religious tolerance, he engaged in a system of home colonisation which, as carried on by himself and his successors-the first three Prussian Kings-is almost without a parallel in modern history. It has been calculated that, at the close of a single century of immigration (1670-1770), not less than 600,000 persons-or one-sixth of what had then come to be the total population of the Prussian monarchy-were immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Under the Great Elector, at all events, the foreign nationalities which contributed most largely to the formation of the " true-born Prussian " of later days-a type probably all the more vigorous and alert because of this intermixture-were the Dutch and the French. The Dutch, of whose aptitude for colonisation Frederick William had learnt something both in his juvenile experiences and from the tastes of his first consort, taught the impoverished and disheartened inhabitants of the Mark how to drain their lands, to manage dairy-farms (Hollandereien) and to cultivate potato-fields; and their example stimulated the Brandenburg Government to dig canals for the diffusion of trade and indubtry-in particular, the Frederick William Canal, which with the aid of Spree and Havel
The general industrial and commercial activity of Brandenburg-Prussia under Frederick William's rule did not reach its height till his later years, to which also belong the attempts made by him to carry out a colonial policy. Before his accession the foreign trade of his electorate and duchy were in the hands of other States, chiefly in those of Hamburg, to which so large a share of the mercantile enterprise of the Hansa had descended. Frederick William, who from the first had turned his attention to the opportunities of maritime trade, had already in 1647 taken up the question of the establishment of a Brandenburg East India Company ; and, three years later, he entered into negotiations with Denmark as to the purchase of a site for a Brandenburg colony on the coast of Coromandel But the essential was wanting-namely, capital ; nor was it till 1675, when (as will be seen) Sweden had declared war against Brandenburg, that the Elector began naval operations, by approving the equipment of privateers under the Brandenburg flag, who soon brought in many prizes. The venture was undertaken by Benjamin Raule, a Middelburg merchant, whose reckless spirit of enterprise had involved him in difficulties nearer
The attitude of Frederick William towards questions of religion possesses a significance beyond its connexion with his economic policy. The wide range of his intellectual and spiritual interests forms one of his most valid claims to the epithet of " Great." In him breadth of mind was
It would, at the same time, be an error to suppose that Frederick William's religious tolerance rendered him well-disposed towards Home. On one occasion, Louis XIV enquired whether it was the Elector's intention to pose as the Protector of the Protestants before the eyes of Europe ; and, almost with his dying breath, Frederick William enjoined upon one of the Princesses of his House the duty of remaining true to the Protestant religion in which she had been nurtured. But he had never been a fanatic either abroad or at home. In his earlier days, the Elector had turned a deaf ear to Oliver Cromwell's invitation, suggesting that he should place himself at the head of a kind of Protestant crusade. In his own dominions, he tolerated Arians, Socinians and Mennonites, and readmitted the Jews to Brandenburg, whence they had been excluded for more than a century. He frankly carried out the principle of a preference for Protestantism, but tolerated
Catholics, allowing them where necessary (as in Cleves) equality of rights, and even here and there opportunity for a little persecution. Brandenburg and Prussia were, as in his will of 1667 he "thanked God" that they remained, wholly free from popish abuses ; so that it was not till the end of his reign that Jesuit influence in schools was directly prohibited. Still, speaking broadly, even Catholicism was in the main treated throughout his dominions on the basis of liberty of conscience, and of the admissibility to public offices of adherents of all creeds. It may thus be asserted that Brandenburg-Prussia was, during the period of the Great Elector's reign, the only country in Europe which upheld the principle of religious toleration-except the United Provinces, where it was honoured in name rather than in fact.
During the twelve years of peace (1660-72), so sorely needed for the advancement of prosperity in his own dominions, Frederick William vigilantly observed the course of events outside. In other words, he followed every turn in the aggressive policy of France, the Power which dominated contemporary European politics, and shaped his own conduct accordingly. In 1665 he mustered in his Rhenish lands a force of 18,000 men; on the strength of which, besides asserting, in the following year, the recognition of the permanence of his authority there, he induced the enterprising Bishop of Münster to desist from an armed inroad into the United Provinces, which would have given Louis XIV an opportunity of intervention on their behalf The warlike prelate accepted the mediation proffered by the Elector ; and any French interference in the dispute was thus rendered superfluous.
With England in particular, Frederick's relations were throughout friendly ; and, in truth, the interests of the two Powers were continually making for a cooperation between them. Though the English Government had declined to guarantee the Peace of Oliva, it concluded, so early as July, 1661, a defensive alliance with Brandenburg, accompanied by a commercial treaty, which opened a long and varied series of political combinations between the two Powers. But, although there was so much to bring and keep them together, each had to deal, according to its own immediate point of view, with the situations successively created by the dominant action of Louis XIV. The records of the personal experience of Count Otto von Schwerin "the younger," who held the post of plenipotentiary at the Court of St James1 from 1674 to 1678, illustrate this relation in a period of only less critical importance than that which had preceded it for the affairs of Europe at large.
In the War of Revolution (1667-8), which laid bare the ulterior as well as the immediate purposes of the policy of France, Frederick William remained neutral-actuated perhaps chiefly by jealousy of Sweden, with whom he declined to associate himself in forming what would thus have become a " Quadruple " instead of a " Triple Alliance " with England and the United Provinces, but probably also moved
Although, as has been seen elsewhere, France was in the Peace of Aachen (1668) disappointed as to the fulfilment of her larger expectations, she continued to pursue them with the consistency which has always been proper to her diplomacy. Her policy owed an unavowed but extraordinary strength to the secret agreement as to the Spanish Succession concluded between Leopold I and Louis XIV in January, 1668, and confirmed by them in 1671. Both England and Sweden were, by arguments specious in both the one and the other case, gained over to cooperation in the projected French campaign against the United Provinces. Thus the amicable relations which had existed between England and Brandenburg since the conclusion of a defensive alliance and commercial treaty between them in July, 1661, proved of no avail. When, in 1672, that momentous campaign actually began, the Dutch Republic could look for no other ally besides the Elector of Brandenburg ; and it was no doubt for this reason that the Emperor sent troops to support any action that might be taken by the Elector. No sooner, however, had French forces begun to occupy the Cleves territory, than Frederick William's resolution gave way, even though the Emperor did not withdraw his troops ; and in June, 1673, the Elector executed one of the least creditable of his rearward manuvres by concluding with France the separate Peace of Vossem, in which, by way of return for the evacuation of the duchy of Cleves, he promised to abstain from any future act of hostility against France, except in the event of a declaration of war against her by the Empire. But, in the very next year, such a declaration was actually issued ; whereupon Frederick William duly took part in the demonstration intended to meet the extraordinary display of force by which Louis XIV sought to overwhelm the United Provinces ; and the mission to England of Otto von Schwerin the younger, mentioned above, seemed to promise to draw the Protestant Powers together once more. But, though Frederick William put an army of 20,000 men in the field, the campaign of the German
In the same month as that which witnessed the withdrawal of the German forces from the left bank of the Rhine, Sweden, instigated by France with a view to bringing about this result, invaded Brandenburg, and once more spread desolation through the land. The situation was full of peril for the dominions of Frederick William. The ambitious John Sobieski now sat on the Polish throne ; and Louis XIV was seeking to engage him to take part in an attack upon his Prussian neighbour. On the other side of the Mark, the Brunswick-Luneburg Duke John Frederick, the Catholic convert who held sway at Hanover, was eager to give proof of his sovereign independence by running contrary to the line of policy followed by the other Princes of his House, who loyally adhered to the Emperor in his conflict with France. Thus Frederick William was environed by foes actual or prospective, when in June, 1675, he set forth on the most celebrated campaign of his life, and the first great campaign in the annals of what may by anticipation be called the Prussian army.
On June 25 the Swedes were driven out of Rathenow on the Havel by the Brandenburgers ; and on the 28th the Brandenburg vanguard, numbering barely 6000 men, chiefly cavalry, routed nearly double the number of Swedes on the famous field of Fehrbellin. The glory that has continued to surround the name of this battle is mainly due to the fact that it was a purely German victory over a wholly alien adversary ; but there was much that was striking in the fight itself, and in the rapid march-an exploit like that of Cincinnatus of old-by which it had been preceded. From the day of Fehrbellin onward Frederick William was known to his people as the " Great Elector." The Ratisbon Diet was encouraged to issue a declaration of war against Sweden; and Frederick William openly avowed his intention of driving the Swedes out of Pomerania. His isolation was at an end ; and his troops were joined by an Imperial force, including the contingents of the Brunswick-Luneburg Dukes and of the Bishop of Münster. Denmark, too, always ready to " bite the heel " of Sweden, became a member of the alliance against her. In the course of
But, unfortunately for the Great Elector, whose sword seemed at last to have secured the acquisition which he and his House had so long had at heart, his success had been achieved just when the allies whom he had abandoned at Vossem were making up their minds for peace ; and Sweden's defeat by Brandenburg greatly helped to incline Louis XIV in the same direction. At the Peace Congress which assembled in 1676 at Nymegen, where England played the recognised part of the mediating Power, Brandenburg found herself once more in an isolated position. The failure of Frederick William to furnish effective aid to the United Provinces in return for the subsidies received from them now revenged itself upon him ; and France would of course do nothing against Sweden, whom she had urged into a war which had proved so disastrous. Thus, when in 1678-9 the Peace of Nymegen was actually concluded, all the German territories assigned to Sweden in the Peace of Westphalia were once more restored to her. Frederick William, with whom Denmark alone held out against these conditions, hesitated long before accepting them ; but at last he submitted to the inevitable, and, in June, 1679, concluded the Treaty of St Germain, by which western Pomerania with Stettin was given back to the Swedes. For the second time, and after a more complete and far more glorious conquest than that of nineteen years earlier, the prize had eluded his grasp.
The disappointment was severe; and its bitterness turned against the allies who this time had left him in the lurch-as he had before left them. The United Provinces were to be regretted not only as friends, but also as paymasters ; England was of no value in either capacity, and might be left to carry on her game of balancing and trimming; the fulness of the Great Elector's indignation seems to have been directed against the Emperor. Leopold had given further offence by taking advantage of the extinction in 1675 of the Liegnitz line of the Lower Silesian Dukes (by the death of Duke George William) to confiscate the principalities of Liegnitz, Brieg, and Wohlau, held by that House as the last survivors of the native dynasty, descended from the Piasts of Poland.
The relations between the Hofburg and the young Protestant Power, which had quickly lost their traditional cordiality, were enduringly embittered by the complications that arose between them with regard to this Piast inheritance, and to another Silesian principality, that of Jägerndorf, which, though purchased by the House of Brandenburg, had escheated to the Emperor when in 1620 Margrave John George had been placed under the ban.
It was therefore in a spirit of something like spite as well as with his usual design of turning the actual situation to the best possible account that, in August, 1679, Frederick William concluded an alliance, which, with certain modifications, was renewed in the years ensuing. Thus began a period in the history of his policy upon which it is difficult to look with admiration from the national point of view by no means, as has been seen, ignored by Frederick William. He now entered into a system of entire cooperation with France. Not only did he grant to her armies the right of free transit through his dominions, including even resort to the protection of his fortresses, but he promised to support the Dauphin as a candidate for the succession to the Imperial throne. In connexion with these transactions, no excessive importance should be attached to the mere fact of his acceptance of an annual French pension of 100,000 livres ; for the payment for services rendered, or about to be rendered, or about to be withheld, is an element never absent from any turn in the politics of this age, when the state-machine refused to move without constant greasing of the wheels. The subsidy which Frederick William had previously drawn from the United Provinces is to be regarded in much the same way.
In general, however, it cannot be denied that in the steadily advancing encroachments of France Frederick William had a very distinct share of responsibility, and that it is impossible to disconnect altogether from his course of action the " temporary " loss of Strassburg and the "reunited" places and districts, of which France was left in possession by the Truce concluded with her by the Empire at Ratisbon in 1684. Curiously enough, his policy had thus become alienated from that of England, who, although he had, in March, 1681, concluded a political and commercial alliance with her, was now disposed to turn away from France. With the Emperor himself Frederick William's relations became so strained that, in 1682, his offer of an auxiliary force of 12,000 troops, when Vienna seemed in danger from the Turks, was declined as dangerous. He employed it in occupying the disputed Silesian principalities.
But the nadir of his political course had now been reached. It was inconceivable that Frederick William's amicable relations with France, themselves the result of a reaction, should endure beyond a limited period of time ; and happily their close announced itself before that of his
But, with his extraordinary insight into the demands of the moment, he concentrated his attention upon his relations with the Maritime Powers. His kinsman William of Orange was rapidly assuming the character in which alone his memory remains immortal-that of the head and front of the European resistance to the aggressions of France. So far as England was concerned, Frederick William had quickly realised the prospects of the political situation which was developing there. During his exile after the death of Charles II, Monmouth had met with considerable sympathy in Protestant Germany ; and his formal expulsion from Brandenburg was far from representing the view actually taken by the Electoral Government of his pretensions.
Meanwhile, with his usual impetuousness-a feature in his character which should not be overlooked in accounting for the mutability of his political action-Frederick William, in March, 1686, concluded a secret treaty of alliance with the Emperor, which once more bound closely together the interests of Hohenzollerns and Habsburgs. Effective aid was promised by the Elector to the Emperor against the Turks ; and, while Frederick William, in order to leave no doubt as to his loyalty, renounced the claims of his House upon any other portion of Silesia, he received in return, or believed that he received in return, the cession of the Schwiebus Circle, which formed part of the principality of Glogau, and of which more anon. Hereupon, he drew up the strabegical plan for the expected war with France, and became a party to the League of Augsburg, concluded for purposes of defence in June, 1686, by the Emperor
Frederick William was not to live to witness the success of the project with which he had been so closely connected. He died on May 9, 1688. To the last, he was actively engaged in the work of government and in the prosecution of his political schemes, although the bodily sufferings undergone by him during many years had culminated in dropsy, and although the last period of his life was disturbed by domestic troubles. After the death of his cherished first consort, Louisa Henrietta of Orange, the ancestress of the royal House of Prussia, a wide-hearted and energetic woman, and a pious soul whom her husband's Minister Schwerin comforted with prayers and hymns in seasons of war, he had, in 1668, married Dorothea of Holstein-Glücksburg, the widow of Duke Christian William, the eldest of the Brunswick-Lüneburg brotherhood. This union, although in itself happy, led to quarrels between the new Electress and the children of the Elector's first marriage, and more especially the Electoral Prince Frederick, which had very serious consequences. The Electoral Prince, almost unavoidably, fell into intriguing hands ; and, before his father entered into the agreement of March, 1686, mentioned above, of which the cession of the Schwiebus Circle to Brandenburg was supposed to form an integral part, had been induced to promise to return the town and district to the House of Austria on his own accession as Elector. The Court of Berlin once more began to be full of dark and distracting rumours. When, in 1687, one of the Great Elector's
Thus the career of the Great Elector came to an end, amidst troubles such as a Prince the beginnings of whose reign fall within the period of the Thirty Years' War could not have expected to escape, but which he met with a clearness of purpose that no mutability of action on his part should be allowed to obscure. His steadfastness, even more than his flexibility, led on his monarchy towards a future of which he recognised at least some of the essential conditions. The methods pursued by him were and must remain open to comment and even to censure; but there rarely has been a great ruler and statesman in whom strength and breadth of mind were more closely united with depth of feeling. He was, moreover, far-sighted and even boldly speculative in fields far removed from the domain of politics ; and, while actively interested in higher education as he found it (he founded the University of Duisburg for his western dominions, and was jealous of his sovereign rights in connexion with appointments of professors), could conceive of a University teaching all things knowable, without troubling itself as to the relation of its instruction to particular forms of faith1.
(1 The charter of the Universität Brandeburgica gentium, seientiarum, et artium, suggested by the Swede Benedict Skylte^ was drawn up in 1667; but the existing resources proved inadequate.)
At home, the Great Elector made an important advance towards the unity of his State by establishing throughout his dominions a body of officials chosen by himself, without undue regard for provincial privileges, out of the entire area of his territories, or from among the subjects of other German States and Protestant foreigners. He took away the political power of his nobility, while increasing the advantages enjoyed by them as landlords ; he imposed a graduated income-tax upon all classes of his subjects ; and he placed all their contributions for the support of his army under the control of what was to all intents and purposes his Minister of War.
Still, the chief significance of his career as a ruler was, after all, that he first taught the Northern and North-eastern Powers who impeded the growth of his State, and the Great European Powers to boot, that nothing save the interests of that State itself, as they might from time to time present themselves to its rulers, would in the future decide the course of its political action. And thus it came to pass that in the eyes of the German nation at large (which, even after the Thirty Years' War had paralysed its powers, was far from having shut its eyes completely to the remembrances of a better past or even to the possibilities of a greater future) his rule over Brandenburg-Prussia came to represent the principle of opposition to the occupation of German lands by the foreigner. Whether the foreigner were Protestant or Catholic, Swede or Frenchman, he would have in the end to reckon with the Great Elector and his army. Thus, although the course of his life cannot, speaking humanly, be called fortunate, and though he was not able to master all the difficulties by which it was beset, at least none of his successors nor the people to which the traditions of his reign descended in successive generations, could remain blind either to what he had done or to what he consciously left for them to do after him. A firm support of the Imperial policy, but not with regard to such purely dynastic objects as his father had aided the Habsburgs in pursuing; the steady maintenance of Prussian independence as towards Poland ; a constant readiness to oust Sweden from the comer of Germany (no unimportant corner) which she still occupied ; an intimate alliance against France with the House of Orange, the kinsmen of the Hohenzollerns, and with England, so soon as a change in her Government should have made her once more one of the Protestant Powers-these were the cardinal points of the political "system" bequeathed by him. For carrying out such a policy a vigorous army and a fairly prosperous state of things at home were indispensable. The former requisite he had provided; the prosperity of his electorate and of the kingdom into which it was about to grow was due to no other cause so much as to the spirit of tolerance which was the noblest element in his strong, and at the same time deeply religious, character.
The Great Elector's son, the Elector Frederick III (afterwards, as the first King in Prussia, known as Frederick I) was of an altogether different mould from that in which his great predecessor was cast. The son, too, was in a sense not devoid of the imaginative power which is so strong an impulse to action ; but his aspirations long moved on the most clearly denned lines towards a single consummation. With the help, no doubt, of favourable circumstances, he accomplished the one end which he had in view during the earlier part of his reign. The main political purpose of his later years he was unable to achieve ; for at Utrecht he had to accept the Upper Quarter of Gelders in lieu of the principality of Orange.
Born in 1657 at Königsberg (the scene of the fulfilment of the chief design of his life), he was of weakly bodily health and a passionate disposition. The training which imparted strength to his physical, and steadiness to his moral, nature he owed to Eberhard Danckelmann, a native of Lingen, which with other Orange territories was inherited by Frederick in 1702. The return of Danckelmann (who, after saving his pupil's life in the course of a serious illness, had gradually acquired a commanding influence over him) into the Brandenburg service seemed in itself ominous of future acquisitions ; and his position at Frederick's Court and in the government of the State in the end became that of an omnipotent Prime Minister-a familiar type in this age of autocracy. On the whole, he seems to have served his master well, both before and after his accession as Elector, and not to have been personally open to corruption, though besides himself six brothers (hence "the Danckelmann Pleiad") found their way into the Electoral service. Generally, he followed the political traditions of the Great Elector ; and there seems no foundation for the suggestion that he inclined to France. It may be added that he had remained in ignorance as to the worse than dubious transactions with the Electoral Prince concerning Schwiebus before the Great Elector's death.
Immediately on his accession Frederick III began to take measures for upsetting his father's will. The assent of the Dowager Electress and her sons to this procedure was only obtained after four years' negotiation; but it was obtained, and in return for various compensations they renounced the territorial inheritances destined for them. The settlement of the Schwiebus question between the Imperial and the Brandenburg Government, on the other hand, occupied seven years, resulting in the restoration of the Circle to the House of Austria. The complications of this transaction, which from beginning to end illustrates a very degenerate phase of diplomacy, are not easy to unravel ; but it is clear that the Elector's desire for a royal Crown, and consequent wish to conciliate the Imperial Government, counted for something in the solution.
But there was yet another side to the question. In return for the cession to him of the Schwiebus Circle, the Great Elector had, as has
Enough has been said to indicate how Frederick Ill's earlier policy was affected by the design upon which during these years his attention was concentrated. It can hardly be necessary to enter into an elaborate analysis of the Elector's motives in seeking a royal Crown ; but some reference should be made to the high-strung princely ambitions which are generally characteristic of this age. The rapid changes in the territorial system of Europe, and of the Empire in particular, consequent upon the artificial settlements of the Peace of Westphalia and the ensuing series of pacifications, had fired the ambition, personal or dynastic, of many German Princes of the time. The resplendent exemplar of Louis XIV pointed the way to extremely expeditious methods of securing an appropriate extension of territorial power. His Court likewise became the model of lesser Courts-not perhaps so much in actual manners and ways of life (as to which the process of refinement through which Versailles itself passed was gradual) as in the determination of those perennial questions of etiquette, and more especially of precedence, which in the diplomatic negotiations of the age frequently seem to assume a paramount importance. A mere Duke of Brunswick-Liineburg, of ancient descent but mediocre power, who had as yet not even completely united in his hands his line's moiety of the dominion of a bipartite House, had after long efforts obtained the Imperial sanction for his assumption of the electoral dignity (1692), and was known to be looking forward to the parliamentary sanction, actually accorded to them nine years later, of the claims of his consort and their descendants to the English throne. On that throne a Count of Nassau had seated himself a few years earlier (1688). Charles XII, when crowned King of Sweden in 1697, was only fifteen years of age ; but speculations must have speedily arisen as to the chances of the Swedish throne passing, in the event of the death of this martial youth, to a son of his elder sister (for whose firstborn a very different fate was reserved), or (as actually happened) to a son of his younger sister and her future husband, who could hardly fail to be a German Protestant Prince. The Electoral Prince of Bavaria was, a few months before his premature death (1699), recognised by the King of Spain as the sole heir of his monarchy. Thus it seemed to be time for the Electors of ancient date, whose dynasties had long cherished the conviction that they were raised far above the level
The House of Brandenburg had rather longer to wait than the Albertine branch of the House of Wettin for its elevation to royal rank ; though there is evidence to show that the Great Elector himself had at one time thought of assuming the title of King of the Wends, but had abandoned the project at the time of the Peace of St Germain, when it seemed impolitic to offend Poland. The Crown which the Elector of Brandenburg ultimately secured was purchased by no such sacrifice as that by which Frederick Augustus II forfeited the last remnants of Saxony's Protestant hegemony in the Empire, and completed the transfer of that hegemony to Brandenburg. Moreover, the Prussian Crown only symbolised the tenure of a dominion which the House of Brandenburg and its subjects had secured by a consistent policy and were prepared to maintain by the force of arms. The basis of the Elector of Brandenburg's claim to rank among the Kings of Europe was, in other words, the duchy of Prussia, for which he had done homage to no man, and the army which had virtually been created by his predecessor, and which had enabled the Great Elector to assert his State as a factor in great questions of European politics. The display which Frederick III made a point of keeping up at his Court, while it may have well suited both his personality and his times, was deliberately intended to show that the means were at his disposal for maintaining the external grandeur that befits a king.
The European situation at the time of the accession of Frederick III, and the part taken by his father in urging on the great design of which the execution was imminent, were alike propitious to the aspirations of the new Elector. This would of itself suffice to explain why he steadily carried on the policy of his predecessor towards the impending English Revolution of 1688. William of Orange, it is not too much to say, was enabled to invade England by Frederick III, who, in August, 1688, in accordance with a compact concluded at Celle, sent several of his best regiments-5300 foot and 660 horse-into the United Provinces, to protect them against any French inroad. These troops were commanded by Marshal Schomberg, who, after long and distinguished service in France had, by the religious policy of Louis XIV, and by personal experiences in the same direction in Portugal, been driven into
The endeavours of the Emperor Leopold I in the War declared against France by the Empire in 1689 were actively supported by Frederick III, beyond the treaty engagements of his father. In this year 20,000 Brandenburg troops cooperated on the Rhine with Imperial forces of twice that number ; and, in October, Frederick III, with the aid of Duke Charles of Lorraine (whom Brandenburg troops had assisted in the capture of Mainz), brought the arduous siege of Bonn to a successful issue. In 1690, after the defeat of Waldeck and the Dutch at Fleurus (July 1), the advent of the Brandenburgers under their Elector, and of other auxiliaries, in a measure restored the balance of forces ; but it was not till 1695 that the electoral troops once more took part in an important action of the war-the recapture of Namur, which compensated William III for many failures in the Low Countries. Frederick III was at this time anxious to draw closer the bonds of alliance between himself and his kinsman by securing the hand of the widowed King for his daughter by his first wife, Louisa Dorothea Sophia. Another body of Brandenburg troops was in the same period aiding the Emperor in his perennial struggle against the Turks in Hungary.
But as yet the financial resources of Brandenburg-Prussia were so restricted that these efforts could not be made without the payment of subsidies by England and the United Provinces ; and this fact to some extent explains the disappointing experiences of the Elector Frederick III at Ryswyk. Moreover, since the Emperor Leopold was entirely opposed to the conclusion of this Peace, while the paramount desire of Frederick III was to remain on the best possible terms with the Emperor, this could not fail to affect injuriously his relations with the other allied Powers. At one time he could not even obtain the subsidies promised to him, and bitterly complained of his wrongs. But, in the end, prudence gained the day, and, on September 21, his ambassador, Privy Councillor von Schmettau, notwithstanding the warlike language previously held by him, attached his name to the Treaty of Peace with France, signed at Ryswyk by the Dutch, English and Spanish plenipotentiaries. Neither the joint guarantee of the royal Crown on which the ambition of Frederick III was fixed, nor the fulfilment of William Ill's promise to secure to the Brandenburg dynasty the
Government had adhered to the House of Orange and the European alliance against France. There is no ground for the notion that, towards the close of his ministerial career, an inclination towards that Power becomes perceptible; and after his death foreign affairs were for a time at least conducted on the same lines as his own, mainly by Paul von Fuchs, one of the principal promoters of the English alliance.
Within a very few years after Danckelmann's fall, Frederick III was enabled to accomplish the object which to him was of paramount importance. The rapidity with which the transactions concerning the assumption of a royal Crown were at last brought to a successful conclusion, contrasts with their tentative and purely personal beginnings. Before 1693, when the negotiations on the subject between Frederick William and the Emperor began, there is no indication of the Elector having discussed it with his Ministers ; and then the scheme found little favour with those whom he consulted-Danckelmann, Fuchs, and Privy Councillor Franz von Meinders-or with the Imperial ambassador Fridag. Too much has probably been made of the characteristic excess of zeal displayed in the matter by certain papal agents. It is certain, however, that at an early date the Curia offered its assistance through the skilful Italian Jesuit and convert-maker, Father Charles Maurice Vota. He was opposed to the French interest, having given up that of the Stewarts as a lost cause, and he commended himself in more ways than one to the Electress Sophia Charlotte, who, having been brought up simultaneously in three "religions," could afford to be impartial. The earliest document in the Prussian archives concerning the quest of a royal Crown is an artistic argument by Vota on the royal dignity and the best means of reaching it-to wit, " reunion," not, of course, conversion. Another Jesuit, also of considerable reputation at the time, Father Wolff (Baron Friedrich von Lüdinghausen), was brought into this more or less ingenious plot ; and Bishop Zaluski would have gladly been mixed up in it, with a view perhaps to anointing the King at his coronation. Father Vota afterwards opined that too many negotiators spoiled the design ; as a matter of fact, Frederick was as sound a Protestant at heart as his father had been before him.
In 1694 the great project had become known at Vienna, and the Emperor Leopold's first comment upon it was a very plain-spoken non possumus. Though, as has been seen, much trouble had been taken to modify this view, a fresh estrangement between the two Courts occurred in 1697, on the occasion of the death without heirs of Duke Gustavus Adolphus of Mecklenburg-Gustrow and the disputes as to the succession. The Lower Saxon Circle, represented by Brandenburg, Sweden and Brunswick-Luneburg, offered a determined resistance to the attempt to sequestrate the Duke's inheritance; and the Brandenburg Minister (Nicolas von Danckelmann) was recalled from Vienna. In 1698, however,
Religious considerations could not in this transaction be paramount with the Emperor Leopold, although he was too much under propagandist influences not to be desirous of drawing advantage out of it for the Church of Rome. But on this head the Elector Frederick adhered to his rights and duties as a Protestant Prince ; and, while he made a trivial concession as to allowing the Catholic services at the Imperial Embassy in Berlin to be continued even during the ambassador's absence, the final " Crown Treaty," as it was called, contained no reference to the religious question except an engagement on the part of the Elector not to take advantage of religious controversies in the Palatinate (where there was in these years much grievous persecution of the Calvinists under the Neuburg Elector John William) for reprisals on his own Catholic subjects.
But what finally determined the head of the Austrian Habsburgs to yield to the Elector Frederick's suit, was a motive of very direct political interest and profit. As has been shown in an earlier chapter, the Emperor Leopold I, whose assent to the secret agreement of 1668 for partitioning the Spanish monarchy had crippled the vigour of the foreign policy of Austria for a whole generation, had no share in the so-called First Partition Treaty of October, 1698. The death, in February, 1699, of the Electoral Prince Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria, whose claims that Treaty had recognised, placed the Emperor in so much more favourable a position that he was unwilling to agree to the Second Partition Treaty, concluded by France, England and the United Provinces in March, 1700, although it offered much more than the First had conceded to the Austrian claims. But it was no secret to the Emperor that if he stood out for the whole of the Spanish monarchy, he would have to make good this claim by the sword.
Charles II of Spain did not die till November 1, 1700 ; and before his death negotiations had been carried on between the Emperor and the Elector of Brandenburg for the " Crown Treaty " (Krontractat), settling the conditions of the Imperial assent to the assumption by the Elector of the royal Crown. This compact, into which both sides had entered with a very clear idea as to the nature of the situation, was signed on November 16, before as a matter of fact the news of the death of the
Frederick now had the wish of his heart ; and at Königsberg, on January 18, 1701, he placed on his head the royal crown, and then a second on the head of his consort, Sophia Charlotte, who would not have been herself or her mother's daughter, had she been so greatly impressed as he was by the solemnity of the occasion. After the King had assumed the crown, the ceremony of unction was performed by two clerics, a Lutheran and a Calvinist, who, as if to exemplify the maxim "No bishop, no king," had been " episcopated " for the purpose. In point of fact, Frederick I, as he was henceforth called, assumed and wore his Crown in absolute independence of any ecclesiastical authority on earth; and it has been justly observed that, unless it were the self-coronation of the excommunicated Emperor Frederick II at Jerusalem in the year 1229, history has to tell of few coronations so frankly " unspiritual " as that of his Prussian namesake. For the rest, it is on record that thirty-thousand horses had dragged to Königsberg what was thought requisite in the way of material for the display. The obsequious Count Kolbe von Wartenberg was, immediately after the royal princes, decorated by the King with the new Order of the Black Eagle. The virtually defunct German Order, the badge of whose High Master had undergone this last adaptation, was galvanised into giving its solitary support to the action of Pope Clement XI, who issued a brief admonishing the Catholic Powers from recognising the
Frederick I had well chosen the time for his coronation, more especially as the festivities accompanying it were prolonged for months instead of weeks. In May, 1702, the Empire together with the other members of the now consummated Grand Alliance, declared war against France; and the new "King in Prussia" put into the field a force of 14,000 men. This still left him free to use the larger part of his military resources as he thought best in influencing the course of the Northern War, in which the interests of his monarchy were even more closely concerned than in that of the Spanish Succession. Whatever side the Great Elector might have espoused in a conflict between Sweden on one side, and Poland and Denmark on the other, it is a tolerably safe assertion that he would not have left the occasion of such a conflict unutilised. At the opening of the Northern War in 1699, the Elector Frederick III had rendered to Sweden the great service of refusing to allow transit through his territory to 8000 Saxon troops, intended to hold Hanover and Celle in check; and in 1700 the Maritime Powers continued their efforts to keep Brandenburg out of the war. The Suedo-Danish conflict having been brought to a conclusion, the question was whether Frederick would, consistently with his previous refusal to Poland, prohibit the march through his dominions of the Swedish army moving upon Saxony. To keep Frederick William firm, Augustus II had, at an interview with him in Oranienbaum (January, 1700), promised not only to recognise the royal dignity which he had in view, but also to aid him towards the " better support of that dignity" by the acquisition of Swedish Pomerania. Frederick IV of Denmark having agreed to these undertakings, a Prussian force actually advanced to Leuzen, in the north-western corner of the Mark, in his support. The outbreak of the war with Russia (September, 1700) gave a new turn to the struggle. After the rout of the Russians at Narva (November), Frederick III would have played the part of mediator between Sweden and Poland, had this suited the plans and the temper of Charles XII, who declined to recognise the royal dignity soon afterwards assumed by the Elector, till he should have given convincing proofs of his friendly intentions. The Prussian efforts at mediation were renewed after the Swedish occupation of Courland in 1701 ; but the Swedish occupation of Poland continued through 1702, and the War continued to run its course without his official intervention.
In 1704, on the failure of the attempt, made with the aid of Marlborough (who visited Berlin in November), to induce Charles to
(1 Päpstlicher Unfug wider die Krone Preussen.)
This partition project was once more urged upon Charles XII in the critical summer of 1705 ; and the death of Queen Sophia Charlotte on February 1 of that year, which led to a complete estrangement between Prussian and Hanoverian policy, helped to incline Prussia towards Sweden. In December Marlborough paid a second visit to Berlin, in order to keep Prussia neutral in the Northern War; but the effect of the further successes of the Swedish arms was irresistible, and in August, 1707, a " Perpetual Alliance" concluded between Sweden and Prussia guaranteed an armed aid of 6000 men on either side in the case of an attack on the other. Earlier in the year, Prussia had recognised Stanislaus as King of Poland in return for the Swedish acknowledgment of the Prussian ownership of Elbing-which however was not evacuated by the Swedish garrison. A weaker compact than this-except in instances of dire necessity-it would be difficult to find in the course of Prussian history.
With " Poltawa's day " (July 8, 1709), however, the entire situation changed. A fresh partition seemed now at hand, in which Prussia, with a force of 50,000 men in readiness, might secure "Royal" (Polish) Prussia, with Warmia and a protectorate over Courland. But a meeting of the " three Fredericks," held at Potsdam before the month of July was out, was very far from leading to definite results ; and even on the Tsar Peter, with whom he had an interview at Marienwerder (October), Frederick I could not prevail to accept his plan for a Polish partition (between Prussia, Russia, and Poland), which had thus early become a cardinal principle of the eastern policy of Prussia. Nor was the scheme given up on the temporary adoption (March, 1710) of Ilgen's plan of neutralising the Swedish dominions within the Empire, until the Tsar decisively rejected this expedient for securing to Prussia some of the fruits of the conflict without obliging her to take up a distinct side in it. In August, 1711, the Russian and Polish-Saxon troops (some 24,000 in all) gave proof of the resentment which the attitude of Prussia had called forth in their Governments by marching through the Mark to unite with the Danish troops in Mecklenburg, and Prussia was no nearer a choice of sides than ever. At no time had a more obvious duty lain upon her than in 1712 of insisting upon the termination of a War which was making the German north-east the cockpit of the combatants ; yet she stood hesitating and facing both ways amidst the conflict of Danish, Polish, Russian and Hanoverian ambitions excited by the imminent
Thus the King who by his royal title professed to place the centre of gravity of his power in Prussia had failed to hold his own in this part of his monarchy, or on its north-eastern borders. On the other hand, his military resources played a prominent part in the great contest in western and central Europe, which it taxed all the diplomatic resources of the age to keep at all events in substance apart from the complications of the Northern War. In the War of the Spanish Succession, narrated in an earlier chapter, Prussian troops were engaged in large numbers, the contingent furnished by Frederick I rising to the very considerable height of 40,000 men ; and they gained distinction at Blenheim, Turin, Ramillies, Oudenarde, and Malplaquet-at which last battle the Crown Prince Frederick William was present. Yet the Peace of Utrecht, which Frederick I did not live to see concluded, brought with it only a very imperfect compensation for the sacrifices which the new kingdom had made on one side of Europe, while undergoing humiliations on the other. Nor is it certain that even such gains as accrued to Prussia would have been secured in the settlement, had not a more energetic monarch than Frederick I occupied his throne.
At least, however, the foreign policy of Frederick I had in northern affairs avoided any action which might have led to the disruption of his composite monarchy; and in the great contemporaneous conflict in central and western Europe it had proved true to the best traditions of his House and to those of the last period of his father's rule. Nor had he forgone any opportunity of rounding off, or otherwise supplementing, the straggling body of territories of which the Prussian State was composed. After the prolonged negotiations on the matter of the Orange inheritance, he cannot but have been deeply disappointed, on the death of William III (March 8,1702, O.S.), to find that the last Prince of Orange of the old line had named as his heir John William Friso, Prince of Nassau-Dietz and Hereditary Stadholder of Friesland. The youthful heir's grandmother, Albertina Agnes, was the second surviving daughter of Prince Frederick Henry of Orange (the grandfather of William III), whereas Louisa Henrietta, the mother of Frederick of Prussia, was his eldest daughter. All that the King gained by his renunciation of the inheritance in its entirety was the possession of the countships of Lingen and Mors, which were contiguous to the duchy of Cleves, and to which he, in 1707, added by purchase the countship of Tecklenburg. A more important series of purchases was made by him from his prodigal Saxon neighbour, at a total cost of 370,000 dollars-including, among other acquisitions immediate or on reversion, the hereditary bailiffship (Erbvogtei) over the abbey of Quedlinburg, of which Augustus' discarded mistress, the celebrated Aurora von Königsmarck, was thus prevented from becoming Abbess, though she ultimately attained to the dignity of
Provost, of the foundation. On the frontier of Ducal Prussia the progressive system of extension could not be carried further by Frederick ; on the other hand, he in 1707 acquired the principality of Neuchâtel, with the countship of Valengin, by his inheritance of the feudal rights of the House of Chalons. It has been suggested that the Prussian acquisition of Neuchâtel was designed as a step towards the annexation of Franche Comté. But, though in 1709 the allies did invade Franche Comté, it would be difficult to show that this operation was conducted with a view to the aggrandisement of the Prussian monarchy. Although the first Prussian King had thus not very largely augmented his territories, he had undeniably contributed to the power of his State and the prosperity of its population in ways more direct than that of the acquisition of a royal Crown. It has been seen how he steadily followed his father in fostering the growth of a standing army, which he gradually raised from a total of 30,000, or thereabouts, to one of nearly 50,000 men. Of even superior significance for the future-though dropped by his successor, and not revived within the next two reigns-was the attempt of Frederick I to form a militia, or reserve for purely defensive purposes, which he intended to consist of about 10,000 men. In any case, it is specially noticeable that the organisation of its army gave the first practical expression to the idea of a Prussian monarchy. Formally, of course, no such monarchy as yet existed ; it was only in one section of his possessions, and with reference to that section (which did not form part of the Germanic Empire), that the Elector of Brandenburg bore the appellation of King. But, from 1701 onwards, his entire army was termed the royal Prussian army; and, furthermore, the several parts of the Brandenburg-Prussian State from which the levies for this army were drawn were called Prussian provinces-a term of great historic import, but for a long time without legal foundation.
Hand in hand with the advance towards political independence marked by the assumption of a royal Crown and the creation of a royal army went the emancipation from Imperial control of the jurisdiction obtaining in any part of the Brandenburg-Prussian territories. In 1701, the prlvïlegium de non appellando, in accordance with which no appeals in the Brandenburg electorate went beyond the electoral Courts, was extended to the whole of the King-Elector's dominions; in the ensuing year, a Supreme Court of Appeal was established at Berlin. Thus the only remnant of the Imperial authority which remained in Brandenburg-Prussia consisted of the relatively insignificant military obligations to which the Empire could still lay claim.
Connected alike with the needs of an enlarged territorial military system and with the increase in the general expenditure of his Government were Frederick I's sustained endeavours for the furtherance
Undoubtedly, the aspect under which the reign of Frederick I of Prussia is most readily remembered is the splendour with which he surrounded his newly established royal throne. He was not a ruler of genius, or even of inborn grandeur, like Louis XIV-he was, in truth, too sensitive about his personal dignity to be capable of merging it in that of his royal office ; and there was, moreover, something so frankly self-centred in his love of show that Queen Sophia Charlotte on her death-bed could take comfort in the thought of the satisfaction which he would find in the arrangements for her funeral. But his reign was marked by the foundation of institutions of lasting importance for the advancement of learning and research. Such were the University of Halle, founded in 1694, and destined, after passing through a first period of florescence and being twice closed by Napoleon, to be revived, and to absorb the University of Wittenberg; the Academy of Arts (1696); and the Academy of Sciences, founded in 1700, on the initiative of Sophia Charlotte and her great philosopher and friend, Leibniz, whose political activity often went hand in hand with his scientific interests. He delighted in his role of intermediary between the Hanoverian and Prussian Courts, and was at least as much valued at Berlin and Lützenburg by Queen Sophia Charlotte as he was at Herrenhausen by her mother, the more light-hearted and perhaps less strong-willed old Electress Sophia. It is noteworthy, that the objects of the Berlin Academy included the preservation of the purity of the German tongue. Yet the language of the Prussian Court was French ; and, as has been hinted in an earlier chapter, it was perhaps well for the future of the national literature that the German tongue should have been taught something of freedom and ease of movement by the very influence against which the instincts of the nation were already beginning to revolt.
Manifestly, the taste for things French at the Court and in the Brandenburg capital was materially advanced by the continued influx of French refugees into the Mark. By the close of the seventeenth century their numbers there had reached a total of 20,000; and this important addition to the most useful classes of the population had exercised a beneficial effect in various ways besides refining the life
But, though a sturdy Protestant at heart and one who preferred the Bible to all other books, and though ready to counteract the intrigues of the Saxon Lutherans by appointing Pietists to the Lutheran parsonages of the Mark, Frederick I was himself no Pietist ; and Spener gained no real influence over his Court. The King's own desire was for a union of the two Protestant confessions in his dominions; and, with the aid of Bishop Daniel Ernst Jablonsky, he moved on more
Thus, on the whole, the reign of the first Prussian King not unfitly continues the long period of progress through which his State had passed before his assumption of a royal Crown. The population of his dominions, notwithstanding many obstacles, was steadily increasing ; the public revenue had all but doubled ; the resources of the territory were being developed ; there was every reason for looking forward hopefully to the future. At a time when Spain was in collapse, though still capable of periodical patriotic effort-when France was brought to the verge of ruin by the sacrifices imposed upon her by the ambition of her master-when among the German electorates Saxony all but exhausted her resources in order to meet the exactions of the selfish voluptuary through whose person she was tied to Poland, and the Palatinate, after having been once more brought to the verge of material ruin, was terrorised by religious persecution-Brandenburg-Prussia, in spite of adverse circumstances, of defects of administration, and of vast unprofitable expenditure upon the gewgaws of the Court, steadily progressed. There was nothing of greatness in King Frederick I, or, except in a few leading principles, in either the home or the foreign policy of his Government. But the history of his reign illustrates at least one valuable truth : that an advance in civilisation and refinement is not incompatible with progress in material prosperity and with the consolidation of those foundations on which is built up the real strength of a State. Still, these foundations needed to be yet more firmly laid before a political structure could be erected upon them that might take its place among the Great Powers of Europe. The accomplishment of this last preliminary task was reserved for the reign of Frederick Ts successor.