Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/354

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the permanent gain accruing from the establishment of an imperial High Court. Nor were any efficient means taken at Cologne or Constance to secure the execution of the sentences of the imperial Chamber. Max himself was not chiefly to blame for this. He renewed at Constance a wise proposal that had fallen flat at Cologne. This was a plan for the nomination by the King of four marshals to carry out the law in the four districts of the Upper Rhine, Lower Rhine, Elbe and Danube respectively. Each marshal was to be assisted by twenty-five knightly subordinates and two councillors. An under-marshal, directly dependent on the Chamber, was to execute criminal sentences. But the princes feared lest this strong executive should intrench upon their territorial rights. Now that the Emperor and not the Estates controlled the Empire, a prince had every inducement to give full scope to his particularistic sympathies. Very weak, however, was the system of execution that found favour at Constance. It was thought enough that the Kammerrichter should be authorised to pronounce the ban of the Empire against all who withstood his authority. If the culprit did not yield within six months, the Church was to put him under excommunication. If this did not suffice, then Diet or TSmperor was to act. In other words, there was no practical way of carrying out the sentence of the Chamber against over-powerful offenders.

The Diet of Constance placed on a permanent basis the closely allied questions of imperial taxation and imperial levies of troops. Brilliant though the prospects of the House of Austria now seemed, Maximilian's personal necessities only increased with the widening of his hopes. It cost him much trouble to maintain Wladislav of Hungary on his throne, though in the end he succeeded; and the betrothal of Anne, Wladislav's daughter and heiress, to one of Maximilian's grandsons, an infant like herself, further guaranteed the eventual succession of the Habsburgs in Hungary and Bohemia (March, 1506). The death in the same year (September) of his son Philip of Castile, had involved him in fresh responsibilities. Philip's successor, the future Charles V, was only six years old,and it taxed all Maximilian's skill to guard the interests of his grandson. He now felt it urgently necessary that he should cross the Alps to Italy, and should receive the imperial Crown from the Pope. With this object he besought the Estates at Constance for liberal help. He gave his word that, if an army of thirty thousand men were voted to him, all conquests he might make in Italy should remain for ever with the Empire; that they should not be granted out as fiefs without the permission of the Electors; and that an imperial Chamber should be established in Italy to secure the payment by the Italians of their due share in the burdens of the Empire. But these glowing promises only induced the Diet to make a grudging grant of twelve thousand men with provision for their equipment. The matricular system, already adopted at Cologne, was again employed to raise the men and the money. Henceforward, so long as