CHRISTOPHER

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CHRISTOPHER, duke of Wurtemberg; born in 1515; one of the wisest rulers mentioned in history. His youth was a constant scene of adversity. When he was but four years old, the confederated Suabian cities expelled his father, the duke of Wurtemberg, from his dominions, and sold the dukedom to Austria. Christopher was brought to Vienna, and was hardly saved by his tutor, Tyfferni, from the hands of the Turks, when that city was besieged by Solyman. He was a second time preserved from captivity, by the same individual, in 1532, when Charles V intended to bury his person and his claims on Wurtemberg in a Spanish convent. Christopher had been conveyed almost to the frontiers of Spain, when he fled, and safely reached Bavaria, the duke of which was his uncle, and, together with Philip of Hesse, now commenced a war against Austria, to compel her to resign her claims to Wurtemberg. Francis I supplied them with money to carry on the contest. The battle of Laufen, in 1534, restored the father of Christopher to the government of Wurtemberg. Christopher himself, whom his father disliked, went into the French service. After eight years, he was recalled. In 1550, his father died; but he could not consider himself securely possessed of the dukedom until 1552, when he immediately began to devote himself in every way to the improvement of his subjects. He reestablished the Lutheran religion, which had been prohibited during the interregnum, and, in so doing, gratified the wishes of his subjects. But he did not appropriate the possessions of convents, and other ecclesiastical establishments, to himself, as so many or most of the Protestant princes did, but formed out of it a great fund, called the Wurtembergian church property, to be used for supplying the wants of the church, and for other beneficent purposes. The Wurtembergian cloister schools, for the education of young clergymen, and the great theological seminary at Tubingen, are his work. He improved the schools, so that education in Wurtemberg, even at the present time, is, perhaps, in a more flourishing state than in any other part of the world. He extended the liberties of his subjects, and established a civil code, which still exists. At the same time, he was continually attentive to the state of Europe. The fate of Protestantism in Germany was a subject in which he took great interest. He had an interview with Catharine of Medicis and the Guises, in order to alleviate the fate of the Huguenots, and contributed much to the religious peace at Augsburg in 1555. He endeavored to unite the Protestant princes of Germany, and was intrusted with many highly honorable commissions by the empire. He ruled 18 years, and died in December, 1568 ; but lives still in the memory of the people of Wurtemberg, who regard him as the model of a ruler. J. C. Pfister has well described the life of Christopher.