John, Frederick

John, Frederick (surnamed the Magnanimous), elector of Saxony, son of John the Constant (q.v.), was born at 'Torgau, June 30, 1503. Brought up in the Church of the Reformation, he became its unwavering advocate, and, like his father, he was on terms of most intimate friendship with Luther, with whom he carried on an uninterrupted correspondence. He increased the endowment of Wittenberg University from the sequestrated revenues of convents, and in 1548 founded the University of Jena. His relations to the emperor were unpleasant. In 1536 he entered into a reaffirmation of the Smalcald league, by which the Protestant princes bound themselves to mutual protection for ten years. In 1544 the emperor Charles V was left free to give his whole attention to the affairs in Germany. A war broke out. Frederick was finally defeated, and taken prisoner at Miihlberg, April 24, 1547. He remained in prison till 1552, and died at Weimar, March 3, 1554. John Frederick remained true to the cause of the Evangelical Church in spite of his many misfortunes. See Muller, Geschichte Johann Friedrich des Grossmuthigen (Jena, 1765); Ranke, Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation, 4:190 sq.; Burkhardt, Die Gefangenschaft Joh. Fr. d. Grossmuthigen (1863); Plitt-Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v. , Lichtenberger, Encyclop. des Sciences Religieuses, s.v. (B.P.)

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