Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/343

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these troubles, Max was again forced to have recourse to the Estates. The Diet, which had been dragging on its lengthy and unimportant sittings at Worms, was transferred at the Emperor's request to his own city of Freiburg in the Breisgau. Max complained bitterly that the Estates were indifferent to his foreign policy and careless of the glories of the Empire. "I have been betrayed by the Lombards," he declared, "I have been abandoned by the Germans. But I will not again suffer myself to be bound hand and foot as at Worms. I will carry on the war myself, and you can say to me what you will. I would sooner dispense myself from my oath at Frankfort; for I am bound to the House of Austria as well as to the Empire." With King and Estates thus utterly at variance, no great results were to be expected. Maximilian desired to carry out his spirited foreign policy: the Estates wished to secure the peace and prosperity of Germany. It was to little purpose that Berthold and many of the cities brought in their contributions towards the Common Penny. Max betook himself to the Netherlands to wage war against Charles, Count of Egmont, the self-styled Duke of Gelderland, who upheld the French cause on the Lower Rhine. With war everywhere it was useless to go on with the farce of assembling the Estates. In 1499 an attempt to hold a Diet at Worms broke down, and, though Max went back from Gelderland to Cologne to meet the Estates, the rump of a Diet assembled at Worms refused to transfer its sittings to Cologne. Berthold lay dangerously sick. The helplessness and disorder of the Empire were as great as ever.

A trouble that had long been imminent now came to a head. The Swiss Confederacy, though still nominally a part of the Empire, had long been drifting into independence. It now refused to be bound by the new policy of strengthening the links that connected the various parts of the Empire with each other. The Swiss who had recently given great offence by declining to join the Swabian League, now forbade the collection of the Common Penny and rejected the jurisdiction of the Kammergericht. They renewed their connexion with France at the very moment when France went to war with the Empire, and threatened to absorb the confederated towns of Elsass, as in 1481 they had absorbed Freiburg and Solothurn. The eagerness of Max's Tyrolese government now forced him into open war with the Swiss. But the princely champions of reform would not lift a hand against the daring mountaineers who defied the authority of the Empire. Only the Swabian League gave Max any real help. Before long his armies were beaten and there was no money to raise fresh ones. In despair Max concluded the Peace of Basel (1499) in which he gave the Swiss their own terms. They were declared freed from the Common Penny and from the imperial Chamber and all other specific imperial jurisdiction. A vague and undefined relationship between the Swiss and the Empire was still allowed to remain until the Peace of 1648. And in the following years