Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/426

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years, and in 1468 he married the sister of Edward IV, the hereditary enemy of France.

The fortunes of Charles of Burgundy perhaps never stood higher than at the fall of Liege. Louis XI, his prisoner at Peronne, had been forced to promise Champagne to Charles of France, the ally of Burgundy, which would have made a convenient link between the northern and the southern dominions of Charles the Bold. But in the war of intrigue and arms that filled the next four years Louis on the whole gained the advantage. Charles of France was persuaded to give up Champagne. The old League was almost, but never quite, revived. The death of Charles of France in 1472 came opportunely, some said too opportunely, for his brother the King. Charles the Bold, who had recently established a standing army of horse and foot, determined to force the game and invaded France. But Louis avoided any engagement, and Charles consumed his forces in a vain attack on Beauvais. He retreated without any advantage gained. Meanwhile Britanny had been reduced to submission.

From that time Charles' ambition seems to look rather eastwards. In 1469 he had received from Sigismund of Austria, as security for a loan, the southern part of Elsass with the Breisgau. In 1473, after the conquest of Gelders and Zutphen, he entered on fruitless negotiations with the Emperor Frederick III with a view to being crowned as King, and recognised as imperial Vicar in the West. He even hoped to be accepted as King of the Romans. In 1474 he interfered in a quarrel between the Archbishop of Cologne and his Chapter, and laid siege to the little town of Neuss. Eleven months his army lay before this poor place. Imperial hosts gathered to its relief, and Charles was-baffled. Meanwhile his chance of chances went by. When, as the result of long-continued pressure, Edward IV at length invaded France, Charles, who had just raised the siege of Neuss, was exhausted and unable to take his part in the proposed operations. Edward made terms with Louis and retired. In the autumn (1475) Charles scored his last success by overrunning Lorraine. At length his northern and his southern dominions were united.

But meanwhile his acquisitions in Elsass and the Breisgau had involved him in quarrels with the Swiss. Swiss merchants had been ill-treated. The mortgaged provinces were outraged by the harsh rule of Peter von Hagenbach, the Duke's governor. The Swiss took up their quarrel, instigated by French gold. A revolt ensued, and the Swiss assisted the inhabitants to seize, try, and execute Hagenbach (May, 1474). In his camp before Neuss Charles received the Swiss defiance. Soon afterwards, the Swiss invaded Franche Comte and defeated the Duke's forces near Hericourt. In March, 1475, Pontarlier was sacked, and later in the same year the Swiss attacked the Duchess of Savoy and the Count de Romont, the Duke's allies, and were everywhere victorious.