Memoirs of the House of Brandenburg

by Frederick the Great

A New Translation by Levi Bookin


Joachim-Frederick was fifty-two years old when he succeeded to the Electorate. During the life of his father he enjoyed the bishoprics of Magdeburg, of Havelberg, and of Lebus. When he succeeded John-George, he resigned the archbishopric of Magdeburg in favor of one of his sons, Christian-William. During the dementia of Duke Albert-Frederick, Joachim-Frederick had the administration of Prussia. He acquired the succession to the duchy of Jaegerndorf, which he ceded to a son named John-George, as compensation for the bishopric of Strasburg, which he had been forced to resign. In those days, successions were often united and as often divided, the bad statesmanship of these princes rendering the effort, that Fortune made for the aggrandizement of their houses, thankless and useless.

Joachim-Frederick was the first prince who established a Council of State. It remains to be judged how the administration of the government, justice, and the management of finances must have been in this crude and savage country, where there had not even been people employed to attend to these tasks.

The Elector undoubtedly perceived the necessity of providing education for the youth; and it was with this intention that he founded the college of Joachimsthal. A hundred and twenty people there are brought up, fed, and taught, according to the institution in belles-lettres. The Great Elector subsequently transferred this college to Berlin. The poverty of the country and the lack of money in circulation, gave rise to the sumptuary laws that the Elector published.

He died in the year 1608, aged sixty-three years.

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