Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/478

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the Duchess Dowager transferred all her influence to the only remaining suitor, the selection of whom promised high political advantage; and the choice actually fell upon Archduke Maximilian of Austria.

The vigilance of the Emperor Frederick III had long prepared this match, and even the catastrophe of Nancy had been unable to baulk his purpose. Now, while at Bruges Mary was seeking to satisfy a clamorous demand for a suppression of the pretensions of le Franc, the imperial envoys arrived to urge upon her the acceptance of the Austrian suit (April 18); and Mary formally accorded it. On May 21 Maximilian, who had been delayed by the slackness of the response made by the Estates to the imperial appeal for support of his enterprise (the Wittelsbachs were jealous about Hainault and Holland, while the King of Bohemia remembered the Luxemburg connexion), at last started on his expedition; and after passing through Louvain and Brussels, where he was well received, at the head of a body of near 8000 horsemen, arrived at Ghent. At six o'clock on the following morning his marriage with Mary was solemnised by the Bishop of Tournay, in the presence of the Count of Chimay and the hooftman of Bruges, "min jonker" of Gelders and his sister bearing the tapers before the bride. He had not come a day too soon. Part of Hainault was already in Louis' hands, and Brabant and Flanders were alike threatened; but, now that the political situation had so decisively altered to his disadvantage, he paused. Mary, in securing the protection of which she stood in need against the contending influences around, and the popular bodies confronting her, had at the same time gained for the Netherlands the alliance of a House not less resolved upon withstanding the encroachments of France in the West of the Empire, than it was upon resisting Hungarian ambition and the Turkish danger in the East. On no other conditions could the House of Austria command support from the princes of the Empire, or continue to hold authority there. With England also the Austrian marriage at once placed the Netherlands government on close terms of friendship.

At first things went smoothly with Archduke Maximilian in the Netherlands. Born in 1459, he was but a boy in years and little else than a boy in mind, notwithstanding the completeness of the education which he afterwards professed to have received through the care of the old Weisskunig", and the solemn purposes which he ascribed to himself as the "dear hero" Tewrdanck. But at no time of his life was he wanting either in courage or in elasticity of disposition. On September 18 Louis was found ready to conclude a favourable truce at Lens, having enough on his hands in consequence of the reconciliation of the Swiss to the House of Austria, and the menace of an English as well as an Aragonese invasion. And though in 1478 the campaign recommenced with much show of ardour, it only ended in another truce (July). The Flemish army under Maximilian's command, reinforced by Swiss mercenaries and English archers, had driven the French back