Joachim's first Wife, from whom descend the following Kurfursts, was a daughter of that Duke George of Saxony, Luther's celebrated friend, "If it rained Duke-Georges nine days running."
JOACHIM GETS CO-INFEFTMENT IN PREUSSEN.
This second Wife, she of the accident at Grimnitz, was Hedwig, King Sigismund of Poland's daughter; which connection, it is thought, helped Joachim well in getting what they call the MITBELEHNUNG of Preussen (for it was he that achieved this point) from King Sigismund.
MITBELEHNUNG (Co-infeftment) in Preussen;--whereby is solemnly acknowledged the right of Joachim and his Posterity to the reversion of Preussen, should the Culmbach Line of Duke Albert happen to fail. It was a thing Joachim long strove for; till at length his Father-in-law did, some twenty years hence, concede it him. [Date, Lublin, 19th July, 1568: Pauli, iii. 177-179, 193; Rentsch, p. 457; Stenzel, i. 341, 342.] Should Albert's Line fail, then, the other Culmbachers get Preussen; should the Culmbachers all fail, the Berlin Brandenburgers get it. The Culmbachers are at this time rather scarce of heirs: poor Alcibiades died childless, as we know, and Casimir's Line is extinct; Duke Albert himself has left only one Son, who now succeeds in Preussen; still young, and not of the best omens. Margraf George the Pious, he left only George Friedrich; an excellent man, who is now prosperous in the world, and wedded long since, but has no children. So that, between Joachim's Line and Preussen there are only two intermediate heirs;--and it was a thing eminently worth looking after. Nor has it wanted that. And so Kurfurst Joachim, almost at the end of his course, has now made sure of it.
JOACHIM MAKES "HERITAGE-BROTHERHOOD" WITH THE DUKE OF LIEGNITZ.
Another feat of like nature Joachim II. had long ago achieved; which likewise in the long-run proved important in his Family, and in the History of the world: an "ERBVERBRUDERUNG," so they term it, with the Duke of Liegnitz,--date 1537. ERBVERBRUDERUNG ("Heritage-brotherhood," meaning Covenant to succeed reciprocally on Failure of Heirs to either) had in all times been a common paction among German Princes well affected to each other. Friedrich II., the then Duke of Liegnitz, we have transiently seen, was related to the Family; he had been extremely helpful in bringing his young friend Albert of Preussen's affairs to a good issue,--whose Niece, withal, he had wedded:--in fact, he was a close friend of this our Joachim's; and there had long been a growing connection between the two Houses, by intermarriages and good offices.
The Dukes of Liegnitz were Sovereign-Princes, come of the old Piasts of Poland; and had perfect right to enter into this transaction of an ERBVERBRUDERUNG with whom they liked. True, they had, above two hundred years before, in the days of King Johann ICH-DIEN (A.D. 1329), voluntarily constituted themselves Vassals of the Crown of Bohemia: [Pauli, iii. 22.] but the right to dispose of their Lands as they pleased had, all along, been carefully acknowledged, and saved entire. And, so late as 1521, just sixteen years ago, the Bohemian King Vladislaus the Last, our good Margraf George's friend, had expressly, in a Deed still extant, confirmed to them, with all the emphasis and amplitude that Law-Phraseology could bring to bear upon it, the right to dispose of said Lands in any manner of way: "by written testament, or by verbal on their death-bed, they can, as they see wisest, give away, sell, pawn, dispose of, and exchange
And made accordingly it was: signed, sealed, drawn out on the proper parchments, 18th October, 1537; to the following clear effect: "That if Duke Friedrich's Line should die out, all his Liegnitz countries, Liegnitz, Brieg, Wohlau, should fall to the Hohenzollern Brandenburgers: and that, if the Line of Hohenzollern Brandenburg should first fail, then all and singular the Bohemian Fiefs of Brandenburg (as Crossen, Zullichau and seven others there enumerated) should fall to the House of Liegnitz." [Stenzel, i. 320.] It seemed a clear Paction, questionable by no mortal. Double-marriage between the two Houses (eldest Son, on each side, to suitable Princess on the other) was to follow: and did follow, after some delays, 17th February, 1545. So that the matter seemed now complete: secure on all points, and a matter of quiet satisfaction to both the Houses and to their friends.