Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/380

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to thwart Maximilian's plans in Hungary. With the Jagellos of Hungary he carried on several wars, all of them being in point of fact designed on one pretext or another to renew and improve upon the original treaty, dated July 19, 1463, between the Emperor Frederick III and King Matthias, in virtue of which the Habsburgs were eventually entitled to claim the crown of St Stephen. The Treaty of Pozsony (Nov. 7, 1491) as well as the negotiations of March, 1506, leading to the Treaty of July 19, 1506, and the "Congress" of Vienna (July, 1515), all terminated at the last-named date in an arrangement according to which Wladislav's daughter Anne was to marry Ferdinand, Maximilian's grandson, and Wladislav's son Louis was to become the husband of Maximilian's grand-daughter Mary. By these double marriages the Habsburg claim to the kingdom of Hungary was brought within measurable distance of consummation. It is impossible here to do more than indicate the immense diplomatic activity of Maximilian in this the most lasting of his achievements. All the levers of the international policy then in operation were put in motion by him. His policy towards Louis XII of France, and that towards the Dukes of Milan; his European league against Venice (the so-called League of Cambray), all and everything was utilised by him to flatter, threaten, bribe or cajole Hungary into accepting his House as the eventual heir of the Jagellos. In July, 1510, his ambassadors, together with those of France and Venice, pleaded before the Hungarian Diet at Tata, pretending to be very anxious for the participation of Hungary in the league against Venice.

As against this business-like and powerful policy of the ingenious Habsburg, what do we find in Hungary? Nothing. Hungary had neither standing ambassadors at the various Courts, nor any class of trained diplomatists. At Tata the assembled gentry listened with self-complacency to the eloquent foreign orators, but as usual the noblemen soon lost patience and dispersed. Venice rightly judged the nullity of Hungary's international position, when even in the midst of her danger she refused to make any concessions whatever to the "Venetian" party amongst the Magyar nobles. The Popes, whose still very valuable countenance Hungary might have secured by a more aggressive policy against Venice in Dalmatia, or in Friuli, likewise dropped Hungary. Ignorant of what passed beyond the Carpathian Mountains; unable to avail themselves of the currents and counter-currents of the international policy; rendering no service to the chief Powers of the day,—the Hungarians were left in the hour of their greatest danger to their own slender resources as against the most formidable military Power of the time. The Habsburgs, both from having worn the imperial dignity for ages, and because their countless enclaves brought them into incessant conflicts with nearly all the Powers of Europe, had by long and patient study learned the priceless value of a sound and sustained