Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/431

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regards the affairs of Britanny, though it gave Maximilian a breathing space for making favourable terms with the cities of the Netherlands. Meanwhile the state of war in Britanny continued. Like Mary of Burgundy before her, Anne sought a deliverer from unwelcome suitors and the stress of war in the Austrian Archduke. Covetous as usual of a profitable marriage, Maximilian snatched a moment from the claims of other business, and caused full powers to be made out for the conclusion by proxy of a marriage-contract on his behalf. Ten days afterwards the King of Hungary and conqueror of Austria, Matthias Corvinus, died (April 6, 1490). The prospect of recovering Vienna and acquiring Hungary opened before the eyes of Maximilian. He was at once immersed in correspondence and preparations, then in war. Successes were followed by difficulties, difficulties by reverses. The War in Hungary was closed in November, 1491, by the Peace of Pressburg. Meanwhile his emissaries had not found their course quite clear in Britanny. A Spanish suitor was in the field, and a series of delays followed. At length (December, 1490) the wedding of Maximilian to the Breton heiress was solemnly concluded by his proxy. But while to protect his bride, even to make the bond secure, his personal presence was needed, the bridegroom lingered in Eastern lands, and the French pressed on. Albret, disgusted at his own rebuff, surrendered the castle of Nantes to the suzerain, and the town was shortly occupied. Henry VII and Ferdinand sent no aid. The Duke of Orleans was liberated and reconciled to the King, who was beginning to act on his own behalf. The Duchess was besieged at Rennes and was forced to accept the French terms, consisting of the rupture of her marriage with the Roman King, and her union with the King of France. Without waiting for the needful dispensations the contract was concluded, and the marriage followed (December, 1491).

The marriage with Anne involved a breach of the Treaty of Arras (1482), which stipulated that Charles should marry Margaret of Austria (indeed, the marriage had been solemnised, though not consummated), and led to the retrocession in 1493 to Maximilian of Franche Comte, Artois and minor places. Yet the gain was adequate. Britanny was not as yet united to the French Crown, but preserved its liberties and separate government. It was, however, agreed that Anne, if she survived her husband, should be bound to marry the successor, or presumptive successor, to the Crown. Louis XII, on his accession, realised his early wish, obtained a divorce from his saintly, unhappy wife, and became Anne's third royal consort. Dangerous plans were at one time pushed by Anne for the marriage of her daughter to the heir of Burgundy, Spain, and Austria, but these plans fortunately broke down, and the marriage of her elder daughter and heiress Claude to Francis of Angouleme prevented the separation of Britanny from France. In 1532 the Estates of Britanny under pressure agreed to