Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/332

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was arranged that, on Sigismund's death without legitimate issue, Tyrol and the Swabian and Rhenish Habsburg lands should pass to the lord of Munich. Frederick bitterly resented this treason, but alone he could hardly have prevented its accomplishment. Yet the prospect of such an extraordinary extension of the Wittelsbach power frightened every petty potentate of Bavaria and Swabia. In 1487 the princes and bishops, abbots and counts, knights and cities of Upper Germany united to form the Swabian League, to maintain the authority of the Emperor and to prevent the union of Bavaria and Tyrol. Its action was irresistible. Tyrol passed quietly under Frederick's direct rule, and an armed Power was set up in the south which enormously strengthened the effective authority of the Emperor. The subsequent expulsion of the Hungarians from Vienna after the death of Matthias (1490), followed as it was by a. renewal of the ancient contracts of eventual succession with Wladislav of Bohemia, who now succeeded Matthias in Hungary, restored the might of Habsburg in the east as effectively as the Burgundian marriage had extended it in the west. It was characteristic of the old Emperor that he grudged his son any real share in his newly won power. The third Habsburg triumph, the election of Maximilian as King of the Romans, was carried through the Diet of 1486 in despite of the opposition of the Emperor. In consequence Maximilian entered upon his public career, as the leader of the opposition, and as favouring the plans of imperial reform to which Frederick had long turned a deaf ear.

The purely dynastic ambitions of Frederick were reflected in the policy of the strongest princes of the Empire. We have seen how anti-German were the ideals of such great imperial vassals as Charles the Bold of Burgundy, and the Dukes of Bavaria. Equally anti-national was the policy of the elder or Palatine branch of the Wittelsbach House, then represented by the Elector Frederick the Victorious (1449-76). A magnificent and ambitious ruler, who gathered round his Court doctors of Roman law and early exponents of German humanism, Frederick pursued his selfish aims with something of the strength and ability as well as with something of the recklessness and unscrupulousness of the Italian despot. He made friends with the Cech Podiebrad and with the Frenchman Charles of Burgundy. He was not ashamed to lure on the Bohemian with the prospects of the Imperial Crown, and anticipated the Emperor Frederick's boldest stroke in his scheme to marry his nephew Philip to Mary of Burgundy. Not even Albert IV of Munich was more clearly the enemy of the Empire than his kinsman the "Wicked Fritz." The dominions of the Elector Palatine were indeed scattered and limited. Yet he was not only the strongest but the most successful of the imperial vassals of his time. The failure of his dearest projects showed that the day of princely autocracy had not yet come.

Two great families had won a prominent position in northern