Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/347

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separate negotiations with Cardinal Perraudi the papal Legate, and Max much resented the agreement made between Legate and Council, that the profits derived from the Jubilee in Germany should be devoted exclusively to the Turkish War. He avenged himself by allowing the Pope to proclaim the Jubilee without reservation and by quarrelling with the Legate. Meanwhile the Council was failing in the impossible task of governing Germany. The crisis came to a head in 1501 at the Diet of Nürnberg, from which Maximilian was absent. The King now broke openly with the Council, and did his best to make its position impossible. Not only did he refuse to attend its sittings, but he neglected to appoint a deputy to preside in his absence. He would not even nominate the Austrian representative. He denounced Berthold as a traitor and schemer, and strove to raise an army, after the ancient fashion, by calling upon the individual princes to supply their contingents.

In the struggle that ensued both King and reformers gave up any attempt to observe the new system. Berthold fell back upon the venerable expedient of a Union of Electors (Kurfurstenverein). He has been reproached with lack of policy in thus abandoning the infant constitution, but his action was probably the result of inevitable necessity. As he had to fight the King, he naturally chose the most practical weapon that lay to hand.

After the fashion of the Luxemburg period, an Electoral Diet was now held at Frankfort. The Elector Palatine Philip (1476-1508), nephew and successor of Frederick the Victorious, who had hitherto been at feud with the Elector of Mainz, now made terms with him and attended the meeting. Alarmed at the unity of the Electors, Maximilian ordered them to adjourn to Speyer, where he would meet them in person. But the Electors quitted Frankfort before the King's messenger could arrive. Before separating, however, they renewed the ancient Union of the Electors, and pledged each other to act as one man in upholding the reforms of 1495 and 1500. It was afterwards believed that the Electors talked of deposing Maximilian, or at least of obtaining still more drastic reforms. This however does not seem to have been the case. It was futile to seek further changes, when the innovations already approved of could not be carried out in practice.

The Electors resolved that, if the King did not summon a Diet, they would themselves meet in November at Gelnhausen, and invite the other Estates to join them. Before this parliamentary convention of the German Estates, they resolved to lay a programme of policy that far surpassed in comprehensiveness any previous plan of reformation. This scheme provided not merely for the maintenance of the Landfriede, the restoration of the Kammergericht, and the strengthening of the Reichs-regiment. It distinguished itself from its predecessors by going beyond the interests of the princes and taking some thought of the welfare of the ordinary poor man, whom it sought to protect from the personal