Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/337

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should be in the hands of a committee of magnates, and not under the control of the German monarch. This design has been described as an attempt at federalism; but the word suggests a more conscious partition of power between central and local authority, and a more organised and representative control of the supreme power than ever Berthold or his associates dreamed to be necessary. A more complete analogy with Berthold's ideals is to be found in the policy of the great prelates and earls of England against the more neglectful or self-seeking kings of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The Clares and the Montforts, the Bohuns, Bigods, and Lancasters, the Cantilupes, the Winchelseas, and the Arundels of medieval England had no trace of properly feudal ambition. They accepted the centralised institutions of the monarchy as ultimate facts, and aspired only to keep the centralised power under their own control. The heroes of the Provisions of Oxford, the Lords Ordainers, and the Lords Appellant, while upholding the representative legislative and taxative body by frequent sessions of Parliament, sought to put the executive power which properly belonged to the Crown into the hands of a commission roughly representative of the great houses. It was a nobler ambition and a finer career for a Clare or a Bohun or a Fitzalan to take his share in controlling the central power than to strive to put a ring fence round his estates and govern them as he had long administered his Welsh Marcher lordships. Even the lord of a great Palatinate might prefer to have his share in ruling England as a whole, rather than limit his ambition to playing the part of a petty king on his own estates. An Anthony Bek was a greater man as minister of Edward I than as the mere sovereign of the lands of St Cuthbert.

Berthold and his associates were in the same position as the English baronial leaders. As Archbishop of Mainz Berthold might either be a petty prince holding sway over scattered regions of the Rhineland and of Franconia, or a great political ecclesiastic like Arundel or Wykeham or George of Amboise. The wider career appealed alike to his patriotism, his interests, and his ambition. As feudal sovereigns the Rhenish Electors stood but in the second rank of German rulers. As prelates, as councillors of their peers, as directors of the Diets, and as effective and not merely nominal Chancellors of their suzerain's domains, they might well emulate the exploits of a Hanno or a Rainald of Dassel. Under the guidance of an aristocracy that was neither feudal nor particularist, and in which the ecclesiastical element was so strong that the dangers of hereditary influence were reduced to a minimum, a German State might have arisen as united and strong as the France of Louis XI or Francis I, while as free as Lancastrian England. Rude facts proved this ambition unworkable. Monarchy, and monarchy only, could be practically efficient as the formative element in national life. Since German monarchy refused to do its duty, German unity was destined not to be achieved. Nevertheless the attempt of Berthold is among the most