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show it to de captain, (nice gentleman is de captain!)

time:2023-12-06 03:42:35 source:Untouched network author:computer read:377次

Johannes of Valencia, and these Chief Priests, were all men of mark; conspicuous to the able editors of their day: but the only Brother now generally known to mankind is Albert, Hochmeister of the Teutsch Ritterdom; by whom Preussen came into the Family. Of him we must now speak a little.

show it to de captain, (nice gentleman is de captain!)


show it to de captain, (nice gentleman is de captain!)

Albert was born in 1490; George's junior by six years, Casimir's by nine. He too had been meant for the Church; but soon quitted that, other prospects and tendencies opening. He had always loved the ingenuous arts; but the activities too had charms for him. He early shone in his exercises spiritual and bodily; grew tall above his fellows, expert in arts, especially in arms;--rode with his Father to Kaiser Max's Court; was presented by him, as the light of his eyes, to Kaiser Max; who thought him a very likely young fellow; and bore him in mind, when the Mastership of the Teutsch Ritterdom fell vacant. [Rentsch, pp. 840-863.]

show it to de captain, (nice gentleman is de captain!)

The Teutsch Ritterdom, ever since it got its back broken in that Battle of Tannenberg in 1410, and was driven out of West-Preussen with such ignominious kicks, has been lying bedrid, eating its remaining revenues, or sprawling about in helpless efforts to rise again, which require no notice from us. Hopeless of ever recovering West-Preussen, it had quietly paid its homage to Poland for the Eastern part of that Country; quietly for some couple of generations. But, in the third or fourth generation after Tannenberg, there began to rise murmurs,--in the Holy Roman Empire first of all. "Preussen is a piece of the Reich," said hot, inconsiderate people; "Preussen could not be alienated without consent of the Reich!" To which discourses the afflicted Ritters listened only too gladly; their dull eyes kindling into new false hopes at sound of them. The point was, To choose as Hochmeister some man of German influence, of power and connection in the Country, who might help them to their so-called right. With this view, they chose one and then another of such sort;--and did not find it very hopeful, as we shall see.

Albert was chosen Grand-Master of Preussen, in February, 1511; age then twenty-one. Made his entry into Konigsberg, November next year; in grand cavalcade, "dreadful storm of rain and wind at the time,"--poor Albert all in black, and full of sorrow, for the loss of his Mother, the good Polish Princess, who had died since he left home. Twenty months of preparation he had held since his Election, before doing anything: for indeed the case was intricate. He, like his predecessor in office, had undertaken to refuse that Homage to Poland; the Reich generally, and Kaiser Max himself, in a loose way of talk, encouraging him: "A piece of the Reich," said they all; "Teutsch Ritters had no power to give it away in that manner." Which is a thing more easily said, than made good in the way of doing.

Albert's predecessor, chosen on this principle, was a Saxon Prince, Friedrich of Meissen; cadet of Saxony; potently enough connected, he too; who, in like manner, had undertaken to refuse the Homage. And zealously did refuse it, though to his cost, poor man. From the Reich, for all its big talking, he got no manner of assistance; had to stave off a Polish War as he could, by fair- speaking, by diplomacies and contrivances; and died at middle age, worn down by the sorrows of that sad position.

An idea prevails, in ill-informed circles, that our new Grand- Master Albert was no better than a kind of cheat; that he took this Grand-Mastership of Preussen; and then, in gayety of heart, surreptitiously pocketed Preussen for his own behoof. Which is an idle idea; inconsistent with the least inquiry, or real knowledge how the matter stood. [Voigt, ix. 740-749; Pauli, iv. 404-407.] By no means in gayety of heart, did Albert pocket Preussen; nor till after as tough a struggle to do other with it as could have been expected of any man.

One thing not suspected by the Teutsch Ritters, and least of all by their young Hochmeister, was, That the Teutsch Ritters had well deserved that terrible down-come at Tannenberg, that ignominious dismissal out of West-Preussen with kicks. Their insolence, luxury, degeneracy had gone to great lengths. Nor did that humiliation mend them at all; the reverse rather. It was deeply hidden from the young Hochmeister as from them, That probably they were now at length got to the end of their capability: and ready to be withdrawn from the scene, as soon as any good way offered!-- Of course, they Were reluctant enough to fulfil their bargain to Poland; very loath they to do Homage now for Preussen, and own themselves sunk to the second degree. For the Ritters had still their old haughtiness of humor, their deepseated pride of place, gone now into the unhappy CONSCIOUS state. That is usually the last thing that deserts a sinking House: pride of place, gone to the conscious state;--as if, in a reverse manner, the House felt that it deserved to sink.


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