Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/480

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September, 1481, a third son was born; but he survived for a few months only. His mother's death soon followed. On March 27, 1482, the results of a neglected fall from her horse proved fatal to the Duchess Mary. Pitiable as was the decease of one so young, and so full of life and happiness, from a political point of view it threatened to prove disastrous to those whom she left behind her.

In accordance with the declaration put forth immediately before their marriage, Maximilian's authority in the Netherlands had come to an end with the life of his consort; and his claims to its continuance must be based on his parentage of their two surviving children, and Philip the young heir in particular. But these children were in the power of Ghent, where, as throughout Flanders, Maximilian was profoundly unpopular. Moreover, the feeling was widespread that apart from his personal prowess the advantages looked for from his union with the Duchess Mary had proved illusory. Neither the Emperor nor England had come forward as allies against the French invasion; and at home all was disturbance and disorder. Holland and Zeeland were once more torn by the old faction-feuds; in Gelderland Arnhem was ready to give the signal for renewed revolt; Utrecht had driven out its Burgundian Bishop. Meanwhile Flanders was exposed to the full force of the French advance; her trade and industry were at a standstill. Ghent and her sister-towns had no desire for annexation to France; but neither did they wish to bear the burden of a war which must end either thus or by covering the hated German prince with glory. They therefore resolved to force him into a peace with France which would leave them free, under the nominal rule of his youthful son. In the three years' struggle which ensued before Ghent lay at Maximilian's mercy, he was obliged to all intents and purposes to rely upon himself. Lower Austria, with parts of Styria and the adjoining duchies, were in the grasp of King Matthias Corvinus, and the Emperor had to depend upon the scant sympathy and goodwill which he could find among the electors at Frankfort. A loud cry arose in the Austrian dominions for the presence of the valiant and vigorous Archduke; but instead of giving way, as so often afterwards, to his natural impetuosity, he resolved so far as his hereditary interests were concerned to bide his time.

While in Holland and Zeeland as well as in Hainault Maximilian was at once acknowledged as guardian of his son and regent on his behalf (mambourg), Flanders and Brabant refused to concede this position to him, except under the control in each case of a Council named by the province. Yet on every side faction was raging. At Liege William de la Marck savagely murdered the Bishop and thrust his own son into his place, defying Maximilian and the nobles of Brabant and Namur so long as he knew himself supported by France; nor was it till 1485 that after new outrages he fell into the Archduke's hands and was righteously put to death at Maestricht. New troubles had begun at