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TRADITION FROM THE HARTZ.
TIME wore on, and Matthias was at last induced, by the affected moderation of Ferdinand, to fully credit that all of his former intolerance which had not arisen from the influence of others was now subjected to his better reason. On these grounds, when the Emperor found his declining health assume a warning aspect, he added to his former rival's nomination to the crown of Bohemia, his proclamation also as King of the Romans.
This object gained, and Matthias almost immediately falling into that state
of sickness which finished his separation from business, Ferdinand prepared to man his citadel against any opposition he might meet in his election to the empire, whenever the expected vacancy should occur. Meanwhile his partisans were greedy for some rewards in hand; and the Emperor having put it out of his own power to hold any further check on his presumptive heir, the latter became. less cautious in his selfish proceedings, and boldly sent his own creatures into all the vacant places of trust in the empire. Bohemia, however, too well remembering his oppressions while pursuing his schemes with Rodolph, to be duped into any acknowledgment of his authority, refused to receive him or any of his deputies; protesting the right of electing her own monarch to be unalienable, and in proof of this independence, Budweits, a frontier fortress, shut its gates against his officers.
Hungary, not so much on its guard,
had been induced, on Ferdinand's first nomination, to admit his title; but on finding its native magnates displaced in favour of extortioners and tyrants, filling the treasury of the new sovereign at the expense of the people, the chiefs of the nation began some secret negociations with the leading men in the various towns of Bohemia; with the intention of throwing off his yoke, before the threatened arrival of Ferdinand to receive the oath of fealty, should be verified. Bernhard de Saxe, who was now ostensibly making the tour of the empire for his pleasure, sent this information to his Styrian master; and at the same time hinted, that if he meant to strike an effectual blow of intimidation, it had best be done in Hungary, that country having in some degree acknowledged his authority.
Ferdinand, in consequence, made himself master of the correspondence between the citizens of Presburgh and
those of Prague; which papers Bernhard had previously garbled in the way most suitable to his idea of his master's interest, as if it could be the interest of any sovereign to find his subjects traitors, or to make them so. But thus primed with firebrands against the country he professed to seek as an anxious parent, the yet uncrowned monarch left his confidential ministers, the Jesuits, to hold charge over the person and councils of Matthias, while he set forward towards the Hungarian dominions. And that no opposition might be attempted against his first personal movement in this desperate game, he sent on before him his ministers of state for the kingdom, under a formidable escort; but with every profession that the Styrian prince came in peace and good-will to his subjects. The inhabitants, taken by surprise, had not time to rally a thought for opposition; nor was there then power, unless the whole land had risen en masse to repel