Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/376

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Kings; and Bakdcz embellished the great cathedral of Esztergom with much exquisite work. Nor were the seats of the nobles neglected, and the pleasant manor-style of fifteenth century Italy may still be admired in the northern counties of Zemplen and Abauj, whither the Turk seldom extended his ravaging expeditions.

But if, as will be noted below in connexion with other equally deplorable facts, the Renaissance proper can scarcely be regarded as having attained to any national importance in Hungary, the Reformation soon penetrated into the various regions and social strata of the country. Already in 1518 traces appear of the influence of the teachings of Luther and Melanchthon in Bartfa, Eperjes, Lcicse, and other towns of northern Hungary. Even among the magnates we find several adherents or patrons of the new creed, such as Peter Perenyi, Th. Nadasdi, Valentine Torok. The bulk of the population, however, remained faithful to the old religion, and in 1523, 1524, and 1525 very stringent laws were passed against the " Lutherani?

In Bohemia the Hussite movement and the aspirations of the Utra-quists, which were not appeased before the Diet of Kuttenberg in 1485, paved the way for the Reformation. Gallus Cahera, a butcher's son, who became vicar of the great Teyn-church at Prague, and John Hlawsa of Libocan were the chief leaders of a religious revival in the sense of Lutheranism.

There can thus be little doubt that, with all the undeniable drawbacks of oligarchic or aristocratic misgovernment, both Hungary and Bohemia still possessed numerous elements of prosperity, and that the relatively sudden downfall of both kingdoms, while certainly connected with some moral failing in rulers and ruled alike, cannot be attributed to ethical deficiencies. These were certainly not so exceptional as to account for the disappearance of national independence after a single great defeat on the battlefield. As was remarked at the outset of this chapter, the unexpected dissolution of the two kingdoms and their absorption by a Power not very much better organised than themselves and suffering from many similar evils, remains one of the great difficulties besetting this earliest period of modern history. To seek to remove such difficulties by moralising on the selfishness or greed of this Palatine or that magnate, supplies no historic synthesis of the true relation of facts. Whenever a disaster like that of Mohacs stands at the end of a long series of events, it is only fair to assume that the country in question must have been terribly misgoverned. The neglect, not so much of one or the other of the ordinary virtues indispensable under all circumstances, but rather of one of the directive forces of national life and progress, will-except when a nation is specially protected by nature, as for instance by the geographical configuration of the country-invariably land it in serious predicaments, and eventually in political ruin. One of those directive forces is what is commonly called