Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/108

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the King; but Stephen the Duke remained true to the national faith. He seems to have entered into a sort of vassal relation to Mohammad; for, when he makes peace with his neighbour Ragusa in 1454, we find him undertaking not to attack it, save at the command of the "Great ruler the Sultan of Turkey." On the fall of Constantinople the Bosnian King offered tribute; but Hunyady's feat at Belgrade, and the success of Scanderbeg in the south, raised up King Stephen's drooping hopes and heartened him to refuse the payment (1456). Before, however, any results ensued from his change of attitude, he made peace again (1458); his object was to have his hands free for laying hold of Servia. In the diet of Szegedin the Hungarian King agreed that the despot's son, Stephen Tomasevic, should become despot of Servia and actual ruler of the little northern strip of Servia that was not in Turkish power. The position here depended entirely on holding the key-fortress of Semendra. But the inhabitants of this place were reluctant to submit to the Bosnian prince imposed upon them; and when in the next year Mohammad appeared with an army, they opened their gates to him. A cry of mortification at the fall of this bulwark arose in Hungary and Italy, and the disaster was attributed to the corruption and cowardice of Stephen Tomasevic. The Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus never forgave him; but the evidence seems to show that the surrender was the act of the inhabitants of the town, done in his despite.

Two years later King Stephen Thomas died, hampered in his struggle with the Turk by his feuds with his vassal and father-in-law, the ruler of Herzegovina, and with the Ban of Croatia, and above all by the estrangement in religion between himself and his folk. The storm broke upon his son Stephen, who, having apparently convinced Pope Pius II of his innocence in the loss of Semendra, was crowned by the Pope's Legate, and reconciled with the Hungarian monarch. Meanwhile the anti-national policy of the kings was producing its effect. The oppressive measures adopted by them, at the instigation of the Pope and Hungary, towards the Patarenes, alienated many of that sect, who fled into Turkey or remaining in the country acted as spies for the Sultan, while some actually embraced Islam. Mohammad resolved to reduce Bosnia to complete subjection. When he sent an embassy to demand tribute, King Stephen, taking the envoy into a treasure-chamber, said, "Here is the tribute; but I have no mind to send it to the Sultan." "It is a fine treasure to keep," replied the envoy, "but I know not whether it will bring you luck; I fear, the reverse." When however Stephen failed to gain any aid from Venice or from Ragusa (itself trembling at the danger of a Turkish attack), and heard of the equipment of a great Turkish army, he repented his boldness, and sent to Mohammad to offer the tribute and ask for a truce for fifteen years. His ambassadors found the Sultan at Hadrianople. The historian of the Bosnian war, Michael Konstantinovic, who was in the service of the Turks, was there at the