1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Switzerland/History/Shaking off the Empire
3. The great victory at Sempach not merely vastly increased the fame of the Everlasting League but also enabled it to extend Struggles in Appenzell, St Gall and Valsis. both its influence and its territory. The 15th century is the period when both the League and its several members took the aggressive, and the expansion of their power and lands cannot be better seen than by comparing the state of things at the beginning and at the end of this century. The pastoral highlands of Appenzell (Abbatis Cella) and the town of St Gall had long been trying to throw off the rights exercised over them by the great abbey of St Gall. The Appenzellers, especially, had offered a stubborn resistance, and the abbot's troops had been beaten back by them in 1403 on the heights of V ogelinseck, and again in 1405 in the great fight on the Stoss Pass (which leads up into the highlands), in which the abbot was backed by the duke of Austria. The tales of the heroic defence of Uri Rotach of Appenzell, and of the appearance of a company of Appenzell women disguised as warriors which turned the battle, are told in connexion with this light, but do not appear till the 17th and 18th centuries, being thus quite unhistorical, so far as our genuine evidence goes. Schwyz had given them some help, and in 1411 Appenzell was placed under the protection of the League (save Bern), with which in the next year the city of St Gall made a similar treaty to last ten years. So too in 1416-1417 several of the “tithings” of the Upper Valais (i.e. the upper stretch of the Rhone valley), which in 1388 had beaten the bishop and the nobles in a great tight at Visp, became closely associated with Lucerne, Uri and Unterwalden. It required aid in its final struggle (1418-19) against the great house of Raron, the count-bishop of Sitten (or Sion), and the house of Savoy, which held the Lower Valais-the Forest districts, on the other hand, wishing to secure themselves against Raron and Savoy in their attempt to conquer permanently the Val d'0ssola on the south side of the Simplon Pass. Bern, however, supported its burgher, the lord of Raron, and peace was made in 1420. Such were the first links which bound these lands with the League; but they did not become full members for a long time—Appenzell in 1 513, St Gall in 1803, the Valais in 1815.
Space will not allow us to enumerate all the small conquests made in the first half of the 15th century by every member of the League; suffice it to say that each increased and rounded ofi' its territory, but did not give the conquered lands any political rights, governing them as “subject lands,” often very harshly. The same phenomenon of lands which had won their own freedom playing the part of tyrant over other lands which joined them more or less by their voluntary action is seen on a larger scale in the case of the conquest of the Aargau, and in the first attempts to secure a footing south of the Alps.
In 1412 the treaty of 1394 between the League and the Habsburgs had been renewed for fifty years; but when in 141 5 Duke Frederick of Austria helped Pope John XXII. to escape from Constance, where the great ecumenical council was then sitting, and the emperor Sigismund placed the duke under the ban of the Empire, summoning all members of the Empire to arm against him, the League hesitated, because of their treaty of 1412, till the emperor declared that all the rights and lands of Austria in the League were forfeited, and that their compact did not release them from their obligations to the Empire. In the name, therefore, of the emperor, and by his special command, the different members of the League overran the extensive Habsburg possessions in the Aargau. The chief share fell to Bern, but certain districts (known as the Freie Aemter) were joined together and governed as bailiwicks held in common by all the members of the League (save Uri, busied in the south, and Bern, who had already secured the lion's share of the spoil for herself). This is the first case in which the League as a whole took up the position of rulers over districts which, though guaranteed in the enjoyment of their old rights, were nevertheless politically unfree. As an encouragement and a reward, Sigismund had granted in advance to the League the right of criminal jurisdiction (haute justice or Blutbann), which points to the fact that they were soon to become independent of the Empire, as they were of Austria.
As the natural policy of Bern was to seek to enlarge its borders at the expense of Austria, and later of Savoy, so we find that Uri, shut off by physical causes from extension in other directions, as steadily turned its eyes towards the south. In 1410 the First Italian Conquest valley of Urseren was finally joined to Uri; though communications were difficult, and carried on only by Italian means of the “Stiebende Briicke,” a wooden bridge suspended by chains over the Reuss, along the side of a great rocky buttress (pierced in 1707 by the tunnel known as the Urnerloch), yet this enlargement of the territory of Uri gave it complete command over the St Gotthard Pass, long commercially important, and now to serve for purposes of war and conquest. Already in 1403 Uri and Obwalden had taken advantage of a quarrel with the duke of Milan as to custom dues at the market of Varese to occupy the long narrow upper Ticino valley on the south of the pass called the Val Leventina; in 1411 the men of the same two lands, exasperated by the insults of the local lords, called on the other members of the League, and all jointly (except Bern) occupied the Val d'0ssola, on the south side of the Simplon Pass. But in 1414 they lost this to Savoy, and, with the object of getting it back, obtained in 1416-1417 the alliance of the men of the Upper Valais, then fighting for freedom, and thus regained (1416) the valley, despite the exertions of the great Milanese general Carmagnola. In 1419 Uri and Obwalden bought from its lord the town and district of Bellinzona. This rapid advance, however, did not approve itself to the duke of Milan, and Carmagnola reoccupied both valleys; the Confederates were not at one with regard to these southern conquests; a small body pressed on in front of the rest, but was cut to pieces at Arbedo near Bellinzona in 1422. A bold attempt in 1425 by a Schwyzer, Peter Rissi by name, to recover the Val d'0ssola caused the Confederates to send a force to rescue these adventurers; but the duke of Milan intrigued with the divided Confederates, and finally in 1426, by a payment of a large sum of money and the grant of certain commercial privileges, the Val Leventina, the Val d'Ossola and Bellinzona were formally restored to him. Thus the first attempt of Uri to acquire a footing south of the Alps failed; but a later attempt was successful, leading to the inclusion in the Confederation of what has been called “Italian Switzerland.”
The original contrasts between the social condition of the different members of the League became more marked when the The First Civil War. period of conquest began, and led to quarrels and ill-feeling in the matter of the Aargau and the Italian conquests which a few years later ripened into a civil war, brought about by the dispute as to the succession to the lands of Frederick, count of Toggenburg, the last male representative of his house. Count F rederick's predecessors had greatly extended their domains, so that they took in not only the Toggenburg or upper valley of the Thur, but Uznach, Sargans, the Rhine valley between Feldkirch and Sargans, the Priittigau and the Davos valley. He himself, the last great feudal lord on the left bank of the Rhine, had managed to secure his vast possessions by making treaties with several members of the League, particularly Zürich (1400) and Schwyz (1417)—from 1428 inclining more and more to Schwyz (then ruled by Ital Riding), as he was disgusted with the arrogant behaviour of Stussi, the burgomaster of Zürich. His death (April 30, 1436) was the signal for the breaking out of strife. The Prattigau and Davos valley formed the League of the Ten Iurisdictions in Raetia (see below), while F rederick's widow sided with Zürich against Schwyz for different portions of the great inheritance which had been promised them. After being twice defeated, Zürich was forced in 1440 to buy peace by certain cessions (the “Hofe”) to Schwyz, the general feeling of the Confederates being opposed to Zürich, so that several of them went so far as to send men and arms to Schwyz. Zürich, however, was bitterly disappointed at these defeats, and had recourse to the policy which she had adopted in 1356 and 1393)—an alliance with Austria (concluded in 1442), which now held the imperial throne in the person of Frederick III. Though technically within her rights according to the terms on which she had joined the League in 1351, this act of Zürich caused the greatest irritation in the Confederation, and civil war at once broke out, especially when the Habsburg emperor had been solemnly received and acknowledged in Zürich. In 1443 the Zürich troops were completely defeated at St Jakob on the Sihl, close under the walls of the city, Stussi himself being slain. Next year the city itself was long besieged. Frederick, unable to get help elsewhere, procured from Charles VII. of France the despatch of a body of Armagnac free lances (the Ecorcheurs), who came, 30,000 strong, under the dauphin Louis, plundering and harrying the land, till at the very gates of the free imperial city of Basel (which had made a twenty years' alliance with Bern), by the leper house of St lakob on the Birs (Aug. 26, 1444), the desperate resistance of a small body of Confederates (1200 to 1500), till cut to pieces, checked the advance of the freebooters, who sustained such tremendous losses that, though the victors, they hastily made peace, and returned whence they had come. Several small engagements ensued, Zürich long declining to make peace because the Confederates required, as the result of a solemn arbitration, the abandonment of the Austrian alliance. At length it was concluded in 1450, the Confederates restoring. almost all the lands they had won from Zürich. Thus ended the third attempt of Austria to conquer the League by means of Zürich, which used its position as an imperial free city to the harm of the League, and caused the first civil war by which it was distracted. These fresh proofs of the valour of the Confederates, and of the growing importance of the League, did not fail to produce Constitution of the League, c. 1450 important results. In 1452 the “Confederates of the the Old League of Upper Germany” (as they styled themselves) made their first treaty of alliance with France, a connexion which was destined to exercise so much influence on their history. -Round the League there began to gather a new class of allies (known as “Zugewandte Orte,” or associated districts), more closely joined to it, or to certain members of it, than by a mere treaty of friendship, yet not being admitted to the rank of a full member of the League. Of these associates three, the abbot (1451) and town of St Gall (1454), and the town of Bienne (Biel), through its alliance (1352) with Bern, were given seats and votes in the Diet, being called socii; while others, known as confoederati, were not so closely bound to the League, such as the Valais (1416-1417), Schaffhausen (1454), Rottweil (1463), Muhlhausen (1466), (to the class of confoederati belonged in later times Neuchatel 1406-1501), the Three Leagues of Raetia (1497-1498), Geneva (1519-1536), and the bishop of Basel (1579). Appenzell, too, in 1452, rose from the rank of a “protected district” into the class of associates, outside which were certain places “ protected” by several members of the League, such as Gersau (1359), the abbey of Engelberg (c. 1421), and the town of Rapperswil (1464). The relation of the “associates” to the League may be compared with the ancient practice of “Commendation”: they were bound to obey orders in declaring war, making alliances, &c. In 1439 Sigismund succeeded his father Frederick in the Habsburg lands in Alsace, the Thurgau, and Tirol and, being much irritated by the constant encroachments of the Confederates, in particular by the loss of Rapperswil (1458), declared war against them, but fared very badly. In 1460 the Confederates overran the Thurgau and occupied Sargans. Winterthur was only saved by an heroic defence. Hence in 1461 Sigismund had to give up his claims on those lands and renew the peace for fifteen years, while in 1467 he sold Wintherthur to Zürich. Thus the whole line of the Rhine was lost to the Habsburgs, who retained (till 1801) in the territories of the Confederates the F rickthal only. The Thurgovian bailiwicks were governed in common as “subject” lands by all the Confederates except Bern. The touchiness of the now rapidly advancing League was shown by the eagerness with which in 1468 its members took up arms against certain small feudal nobles who were carrying on a harassing guerrilla warfare with their allies Schaffhausen and Muhlha usen. They laid siege to Waldshut, and to buy them off Sigismund in August 1468 engaged to pay 10,000 gulden as damages by the 24th of June 1469; in default of payment the Confederates were to keep for ever the Black Forest, and Waldshut, one of the Black Forest towns on the Rhine. A short time before (1467) the League had made treaties of friendship with Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, and with the duke of Milan. All was now prepared for the intricate series of intrigues which led up to the Burgundian War)—a great epoch in the history of the League, as it created a common national feeling, enormously raised its military reputation, and brought about the close connexion with certain parts of Savoy, which finally (1803-1815) were admitted into the League.
Sigismund did not know where to obtain the sum he had promised to pay. In this strait he turned to Charles the Bold The Burgundian War. (properly the Rash), duke of Burgundy, who was then beginning his wonderful career, and aiming at restoring the kingdom of Burgundy. For this purpose Charles wished to marry his daughter and heiress to Maximilian, son of the emperor, and first cousin of Sigismund, in order that the emperor might be induced to give him the Burgundian crown. Hence he was ready to meet Sigismund's advances. On the oth of May 1469 Charles promised to give Sigismund 50,000 florins, receiving as security for repayment Upper Alsace, the Breisgau, the Sundgau, the Black Forest, and the four Black Forest towns on the Rhine (Rheinfelden, Sackingen, Laufenburg and Waldshut), and agreed to give Sigismund aid against the Swiss, if he was attacked by them. It was not unnatural for Sigismund to think of attacking the League, but Charles's engagement to him is quite inconsistent with the friendly agreement made between Burgundy and the League as late as 1467, The emperor then on his side annulled Sigismund's treaty of 1468 with the Swiss, and placed them under the ban of the Empire. Charles committed the mortgaged lands to Peter von Hagenbach, who proceeded to try to establish his master's power there by such harsh measures as to cause the people to rise against him. The Swiss in these circumstances began to look towards Louis XI. of France, who had confirmed the treaty of friendship made with them by his father in 1452. Sigismund had applied to him early in 1469 to help him in his many troubles, and to give him aid against the Swiss, but Louis had point-blank refused. Anxious to secure their neutrality in case of his war with Charles, he made a treaty with them on the 13th of August 1470 to this eHect. All the evidence goes to show that Sigismund was not a tool in the hands of Louis, and that Louis, at least at that time, had no dehnite intention of involving Charles and the Swiss in a war, but wished only to secure his own flank.
Sigismund in the next few years tried hard to get from Charles the promised aid against the Swiss (the money was paid punctually enough by Charles on his behalf), who put him off with various excuses. Charles on his side, in 1471-1472, tried to make an alliance with the Swiss, his efforts being supported by a party in Bern headed by Adrian von Bubenberg. Probably Charles wished to use both Sigismund and the Swiss to further his own interests, but his shifty policy had the effect of alienating both from him. Sigismund, disgusted with Charles, now inclined towards Louis, whose ally he formally became in the summer of 1473—a change which was the real cause of the emperor's Bight from Treves in November 1473, when he had come there expressly to crown Charles. The Confederates on their side were greatly moved by the oppression of their friends and allies in Alsace by Hagenbach, and tried in vain (January 1474) to obtain some redress from his master. Charles's too astute policy had thus lost him both Sigismund and the Swiss. They now looked upon Louis, who, thoroughly aware of Charles's ambition, and fearing that his disappointment at Treves would soon lead to open war, aimed at a master stroke-no less than the reconciliation of Sigismund and the Swiss. This on the face of it seemed impracticable, but common need and Louis's dexterous management brought it to pass, so that on the 30th of March 1474 the Everlasting Compact was signed at Constance, by which Sigismund finally renounced all Austrian claims on the lands of the Confederates, and guaranteed them in quiet enjoyment to them; they, on the other hand agreed to support him if Charles did not give up the mortgaged lands when the money was paid down. The next day the Swiss joined the league of the Alsatian and Rhine cities, as also did Sigismund. Charles was called on to receive the money contributed by the Alsatian cities, and to restore his lands to Sigismund. He, however, took no steps. Within a week the oppressive bailiif Hagenbach was captured, and a month later (May 9, 1474) he was put to death, Bern alone of the Confederates being represented. On the 9th of October the emperor, acting of course at the instance of Sigismund, ordered them to declare war against Charles, which took place on the 25th of October. Next day Louis formally ratined his alliance with the Confederates, promising money and pensions, the latter to be increased if he did not send men. Throughout these negotiations and later Bern directs Swiss policy, though all the Confederates are not quite agreed. She was specially exposed to attack from Charles and Charles's ally (since 1468) Savoy, and her best chance of extending her territory lay towards the west and south. A forward policy was thus distinctly the best for Bern, and this was the line supported by the French party under Nicholas von Diesbach, Adrian von Bubenberg opposing it, though not with any idea of handing over Bern to Charles. The Forest districts, however, were very suspicious of this movement to the west, by which Bern alone could profit, though the League as a whole might lose; then, too, Uri had in 1440 finally won the Va.l Leventina, and she and her neighbours favoured a southerly policy-a policy which was crowned with success after the gallant victory won at Giornico in 1478 by a handful of men from Zürich, Lucerne, Uri and Schwyz over 12,000 Milanese troops. Thus Uri first gained a permanent footing south of the Alps, not long before Bern won its first conquests from Savoy.
The war in the west was begun by Bern and her allies (Fribourg, Soleure, &c.) by marauding expeditions across the ]ura, in which Héricourt (November 1474) and Blarnont (August 1475) were taken, both towns being held of Charles by the “sires” de Neuchâtel, a cadet line of the counts of Montbéliard. It is said that in the former expedition the white cross was borne (for the first time) as the ensign of the Confederates, but not in the other. Meanwhile Yolande, the duchess of Savoy, had, through fear of her brother Louis XI. and hatred of Bern, finally joined Charles and Milan (January 1475), the immediate result of which was the capture, by the Bernese and friends (on the way back from a foray on Pontarlier in the free county of Burgundy or Franche-Comté), of several places in Vaud, notably Grandson and Echallens, both held of Savoy by a member of the house of Chalon, princes of Orange (April 1475), as well as of Orbe and Iougne, held by the same, but under the count of Burgundy. In the summer Bern seized on the Savoyard district of Aigle. Soon after (October-November 1475) the same energetic policy won for her the Savoyard towns of Morat, Avenches, Estavayer and Yverdon; while (September) the Upper Valais, which had conquered all Lower or Savoyard Valais, entered into alliance with Bern for the purpose of opposing Savoy by preventing the arrival of Milanese troops. Alarmed at their success, the emperor and Louis deserted (June-September) the Confederates, who thus, by the influence of Louis and Bernese ambition, saw themselves led on and then abandoned to the wrath of Charles, and very likely to lose their new conquests. They had entered on the war as “helpers” of the emperor, and now became principals in the war against Charles, who raised the siege of Neuss, made an alliance with Edward IV. 'of England, received the surrender of Lorraine, and hastened across the Iura (February 1476) to the aid of his ally Yolande. On the 21st of February Charles laid siege to the castle of. Grandson, and after a week's siege the garrison of Bernese and Fribourgers had to surrender (Oct. 28), while, by way of retaliation for the massacre of the garrison of Estavayer in 1475, of the 412 men two only were spared in order to act as executioners of their comrades. This hideous news met a large body of the Confederates gathered together in great haste to relieve the garrison, and going to their rendezvous at Neuchâtel, where both the count and town had become allies of Bern in 1406. An advance body of Bernese, Fribourgers and Schwyzers, in order to avoid the castle of Vauxmarcus (seized by Charles), on the shore of the Lake of Neuchâtel, and on the direct road from Neuchâtel to Grandson, climbed over a wooded spur to the north, and attacked (March 2) the Burgundian outposts. Charles drew back his force in order to bring down the Swiss to the more level ground where his cavalry could act, but his rear misinterpreted the order, and when the main Swiss force appeared over the spur the Burgundian army was seized with a panic and fled in disorder. The Swiss had gained a glorious victory, and regained their conquest of Grandson, besides capturing very rich spoil in Charles's camp, parts of which are preserved to the present day in various Swiss armouries. Such was the famous battle of Grandson. Charles at once retired to Lausanne, and set about reorganizing his army. He resolved to advance on Bern by way of Morat (or Murten), which was occupied by a Bernese garrison under Adrian von Bubenburg, and laid siege to it on the 9th of June. The Confederates had now put away all jealousy of Bern, and collected a large army. The decisive battle took place on the afternoon of the 22nd of June, after the arrival of the Zürich contingent under Hans Waldmann. English archers were in Charles's army, while with the Swiss was René, the dispossessed duke of Lorraine. After facing each other many hours in the driving rain, a body of Swiss, by out flanking Charles's Van, stormed his palisades camp, and the Burgundians were soon hopelessly beaten, the losses on both sides (a contrast to Grandson) being exceedingly heavy. Vaud was reoccupied by the Swiss (Savoy having overrun it on Charles's advance); but Louis now stepped in and procured the restoration of; that region to Savoy, save Grandwereson, Morat, Orbe and Ếchallens, which were to be held by the Bernese jointly with the Fribourgers, Aigle by Bern alone -Savoy at the same time renouncing all its claims over Friitbourg. Thus French-speaking districts first became permanently connected with the Confederation, hitherto purely German, and the war had been one for the maintenance of recent conquests, rather than purely in defence of Swiss freedom. Charles tried in vain to raise a third army; René recovered Lorraine, and on the 5th of January 1477, under the walls of Nancy, Charles's wide-reaching plans were ended by his defeat and death, many Swiss being with René's troops. The wish of the Bernese to overrun Franche-Comté was opposed by the older members of the Confederation, and finally, in 1479, Louis, by very large payments, secured the abandonment of all claims on that province, which was annexed to the French crown.
These glorious victories really laid the foundation of Swiss nationality; but soon after them the long-standing jealousy Internal Disputes in the League. between the civic and rural elements in the Con-Disputesln federation nearly broke it up. This had always hindered common action save in the case of certain pressing questions. In 1370, by the “Parsons' ordinance” (Pfaifenbrief), agreed on by all the Confederates except Bern and Glarus, all residents whether clerics or laymen, in the Confederation who were bound by oath to the duke of Austria were to swear faith to the Confederation, and this oath was to rank before any other; no appeal was to lie to any court spiritual or lay (except in matrimonial and purely spiritual questions) outside the limits of the Confederation, and many regulations were laid down as to the suppression of private wars and keeping of the peace on the high roads. Further, in 1393, the “Sempach ordinance” was accepted by all the Confederates and Soleure; this was an attempt to enforce police regulations and to lay down “articles of war” for the organization and discipline of the army of the Confederates, minute regulations being made against plundering—women, monasteries and churches being in particular protected and secured. But save these two documents common action was limited to the meeting of two envoys from each member of the Confederation and one from each of the “socii” in the Diet, the powers of which were greatly limited by the instructions brought by each envoy, thus entailing frequent reference to his government, and included foreign relations, war and peace, and common arrangements as to police, pestilence, customs duties, coinage, &c. The decisions of the majority did not bind the minority save in the case of the affairs of the bailiwicks ruled in common. Thus everything depended on common agreement and good will. But disputes as to the divisions of the lands conquered in the Burgundian War, and the proposal to admit into the League the towns of Fribourg and Soleure, which had rendered such good help in the war, caused the two parties to form separate unions, for by the latter proposal the number of towns would have been made the same as that of the “Lander,” which these did not at all approve. Suspended a moment by the campaign in the Val Leventina, these quarrels broke out after the victory of Giornico; and at the Diet of Stans (December 1481), when it seemed probable that the failure of all attempts to come to an understanding would result in the disruption of the League, the mediation of Nicholas von der Flüe (or Bruder Klaus), a holy hermit of Sachseln in Obwalden though he did not appear at the Diet in person, succeeded in bringing both sides to reason, and the third great ordinance of the League-the “compact of Stans”-was agreed on. By this the promise of mutual aid and assistance was renewed, especially when one member attacked another, and stress was laid on the duty of the several governments to maintain the peace, and not to help the subjects of any other member in case of a rising. The treasure and movables captured in the war were to be equally divided amongst the combatants, but the territories and towns amongst the members of the League. As a practical proof of the reconciliation, on the same day the towns of Fribourg and Soleure were received as full members of the Confederation, united with all the other members, though on less favourable terms than usual, for they were forbidden to make alliances, save with the consent of all or of the greater part of the other members. Both towns had long been allied with Bern, whose influence was greatly increased by their admission. Fribourg, founded in 1178 by Berthold IV. of Zaringen, had on the extinction of that great dynasty (1218) passed successively by inheritance to Kyburg (1218), by purchase to Austria (1277), and by commendation to Savoy (1452); when Savoy gave up its claims in 1477 Fribourg once more became a free imperial city. She had become allied with Bern as early as 1243, but in the 14th and I5ll'1 centuries became Romance-speaking, though from 1483 onwards German gained in strength and was the official language till 1798. Soleure (or Solothurn) had been associated with Bern from 1295, but had in vain sought admission into the League in 1411. Both the new members had done much for Bern in the Burgundian War, and it was for their good service that she now procured them this splendid reward, in hopes perhaps of aid on other important and critical occasions.
The compact of Stans strengthened the bonds which joined the members of the Confederation; and the same centralizing tendency is well seen in the attempt (1483-1489) of Hans Waldmann, the burgomaster of Zürich, to assert the rule of his city over the neighbouring country districts, to place all power in the hands of the gilds (whereas by Brun's constitution the patricians had an equal share), to suppress all minor jurisdictions, and to raise a uniform tax. But this idea of concentrating all powers in the hands of the government aroused great resistance, and led to his overthrow and execution. Peter Kistler succeeded (1470) better at Bern in a reform on the same lines, but less sweeping.
The early history of each member of the Confederation, and of the Confederation itself, shows that they always professed to belong to the Empire, trying to become immediately dependent on the emperor in order to prevent oppression by middle lords, and to enjoy practical liberty. The Empire itself had now become very much of a shadow; cities and princes were gradually asserting their own independence, sometimes breaking away from it altogether. Now, by the Practical Freedom from the Empire. time of the Burgundian War, the Confederation stood in a position analogous to that of a powerful free imperial city. As long as the emperor's nominal rights were not enforced, all went well; but, when Maximilian, in his attempt to reorganize the Empire, erected in 1495 at Worms an imperial chamber which had jurisdiction in all disputes between members of the Empire, the Confederates were very unwilling to obey it—partly because they could maintain peace at home by their own authority, and partly because it interfered with their practical independence. Again, their refusal to join the “Swabian League,” formed in 1488 by the lords and cities of South Germany to keep the public peace, gave further offence, as well as their fresh alliances with France. Hence a struggle was inevitable, and the occasion by reason of which it broke out was the seizure by the Tyrolese authorities in 1499 of the Münsterthal, which belonged to the “Gotteshausbund,” one of the three leagues which had gradually arisen in Raetia. These were the “Gotteshausbund” in 1367 (taking in all the dependents of the cathedral church at Chur living in the Oberhalbstein and Engadine); the “Ober” or “Grauer Bund” in 1395 and 1424 (taking in the abbey of Disentis and many counts and lords in the Vorder Rhein valley, though its name is not derived, as often stated, from the “grey coats” of the first members, but from “grawen” or “grafen,” as so many counts formed part of it); and the “league of the Ten jurisdictions” (Zehngerichtenbund), which arose in the Prattigau and Davos valley (1436) on the death of Count Frederick of Toggenburg, but which, owing to certain Austrian claims in it, was not quite so free as its neighbours. The first and third of these became allied in 1450, but the formal union of the three dates only from 1524, as documentary proof is wanting of the alleged meeting at Vazerol in 1471, though practically before 1524 they had very much in common. In 1497 the Ober Bund, in 1498 the Gotteshausbund, made a treaty of alliance with the Everlasting League or Swiss Confederation, the Ten Jurisdictions being unable to do more than show sympathy, owing to Austrian claims, which were not bought up till 1649 and 1652. Hence this attack on the Münsterthal was an attack on an “associate” member of the Swiss Confederation, Maximilian being supported by the Swabian League; but its real historical importance is the influence it had on the relations of the Swiss to the Empire. The struggle lasted several months, the chief nght being that in the Calven gorge (above Mals; May 22, 1499), in which Benedict Fontana, a leader of the Gotteshausbund men, performed many heroic deeds before his death. But, both sides being exhausted, peace was made at Basel on the 22nd of September 1499. By this the matters in dispute were referred to arbitration, and the emperor annulled all the decisions of the imperial chamber against the Confederation; but nothing was laid down as to its future relations with the Empire. No further real attempt, however, was made to enforce the rights of the emperor, and the Confederation became a state allied with the Empire, enjoying practical independence, though not formally freed till 1648. Thus, 208 years after the origin of the Confederation in 1291, it had got rid of all Austrian claims (1394 and 1474), as well as all practical subjection to the emperor. But its further Ldvance towards the position of an independent state was long checked by religious divisions within, and by the enormous influence of the French king on its foreign relations.
With the object of strengthening the northern border of the Confederation, two more full members were admitted in 1 501-Basel and Schaffhausen—on the same terms as Fribourg and Soleure. The city of Basel had originally been ruled by its bishop, but early in the 14th century it became a free imperial city; before 1501 it had made no permanent alliance with the Confederation, though it had been in continual relations with it. Schaffhausen had grown up round the Benedictine monastery of All Saints, and became in the early 13th century a free imperial city, but was mortgaged to Austria from 1330 to 1415, in which last year the emperor Sigismund declared all Duke Frederick's rights forfeited in consequence of his abetting the flight of Pope John XXII. It bought its' freedom in 1418 and became an “ associate ” of the Confederation in 1454.
A few years later, in 1513, Appenzell, which in 1411 had become a “ protected” district, and in 1452 an “associate” The League enlarged to Thirteen Members. member of the Confederation, was admitted as the thirteenth full member; and this remained the number till the fall of the old Confederation in 1798. Round the three original members had gathered first five others, united with the three, but not necessarily with each other; and then gradually there grew up an outer circle, consisting of five more, allied with all the eight old members, but tied down by certain stringent conditions. Constance, which seemed called by nature to enter the League, kept aloof, owing to a quarrel as to criminal jurisdiction in the Thurgau, pledged to it before the district was conquered by the Confederates.
In the first years of the 16th century the influence of the Confederates south of the Alps was largely extended. The conquests system of giving pensions, in order to secure the in Im, ” right of enlisting men within the Confederation, and of capitulations, by which the different members supplied troops, was originated by Louis XI. in 1474, and later followed by many other princes. Though a tribute to Swiss valour and courage, this practice had very evil results, of which the first fruits were seen in the Milanese troubles (ISOO-I 516), of which the following is a summary. Both Charles VIII. (1484) and Louis XII. (1499 for ten years) renewed Louis XI.'s treaty. The French attempts to gain Milan were largely carried on by the help of Swiss mercenaries, some of whom were on the opposite side; and, as brotherly feeling was still too strong to make it possible for them to fight against one another, Lodovico Sforza's Swiss troops shamefully betrayed him to the French at Novara (1500). In 1500, too, the three Forest districts occupied Bellinzona (with the Val Blenio) at the request of its inhabitants, and in 1503 Louis XII. was forced to cede it to them. He, however, often held back the pay of his Swiss troops, and treated them as mere hirelings, so that when the ten years' treaty came to an end Matthew Schinner, bishop of Sitten (or Sion), induced them to join (1 SIC) the pope, Julius II., then engaged in forming the Holy League to expel the French from Italy. But when, after the battle of Ravenna, Louis XII. became all-powerful in Lombardy, 20,000 Swiss poured down into the Milanese and occupied it, Felix Schmid, the burgomaster of Zürich, naming Maximilian (Lodovico's son) duke of Milan, in return for which he ceded to the Confederates Locarno, Val Maggia, Mendrisio and Lugano (1512), while the Raetian Leagues seized Chiavenna, Bormio and the Valtellina. (The former districts, with Bellinzona, the Val Blenio and the Val Leventina, were in 1803 made into the canton of Ticino, the latter were held by Raetia till 1797.) In 1513 the Swiss completely defeated the French at Novara, and in 1 SI 5 Pace was sent by Henry VIII. of England to give pensions and get soldiers. Francis I. at once on his accession (1515) began to prepare to win back the Milanese, and, successfully evading the Swiss awaiting his descent from the Alps, beat them in a pitched battle at Marignano near Milan (Sept. 13, 1515), which broke the Swiss power in north Italy, so that in 1516 a peace was made with France-the Valais, the Three Raetian Leagues and both the abbot and town of St Gall being included on the side of the Confederates. Provision was made for the neutrality of either party in case the other became involved in war, and large pensions were promised. This treaty was extended by another in 1521 (to which Zürich, then under Zwingli's influence, would not agree, holding aloof from the French alliance till 1614), by which the French king might, with the consent of the Confederation, enlist any number of men between 6000 and 16,000, paying them fit wages, and the pensions were raised to 3000 francs annually to each member of the Confederation. These two treaties were the starting point of later French interference with Swiss affairs.