Imágenes de páginas

This sacrifice of the most beautiful province of the kingdom had been forced on the queen by the internal distraction and political weakness of Denmark; and although she afterwards succeeded in placing the crowns of the three Scandinavian nations on her head by the celebrated Calmarian union in 1396, yet the favorite scheme of her life was the reunion of the duchy of South Jutland with the kingdom of Denmark. Circumstances seemed in her favor. The warlike Duke Gerhard, the first who assumed the title of Duke of Schleswig, had perished in battle against the Ditmarskers, in 1404. His sons Henry, Adolph and Gerhard, were minors, and the youngest still unborn.

Queen Margaretha, by her consummate skill in employing persuasion and force alternately, might perhaps have seen her exertions crowned with success; but her death in 1412, and the violence and indiscretion of her unworthy nephew, Erik of Pomerania, who inherited her triple crown, kindled a most bloody and untoward twenty years' war with the young dukes, which fill the most disgraceful pages in the annals of Denmark. Though Erik disposed of the united armies and fleets of the whole north, that dastard and indolent king was foiled in every attempt to repossess himself of Schleswig. In 1420, a Danish army of nearly a hundred thousand men suffered a terrible defeat at Immervad ; and Flensborg, the only cify still occupied by the king, was on the point of surrendering to the gallant Duke Henry, and his Hanseatic allies, when both the contending parties were invited to appear before the throne of the German Emperor Sigismund, who offered himself as umpire in this odious dispute. King Erik at once accepted the invitation, and departed for Germany. The young Counts of Holstein, on the contrary, preferred the prosecution of the war, until at last Henry, yielding to the exhortations of the clergy, presented himself at the Imperial Court at Buda in Hungary, in 1424. Here he found a splendid assembly of German princes and Madjar magnates, as assessors, attending on the decision of the emperor. King Erik and his Danish nobles, sure of gaining their cause, had already left Hungary, and undertaken a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

It is very interesting to observe tie s uncertainty about the relations bema the duchies and Denmark, in the writep of the historians of the fifteenth eennr, as among the diplomatists and pcteti of the present day. It appears, me theless, that the principal point is dfepa on the part of the vassals at that '-r-i was their refusal to render feudal bees. and military aid to their liege-lord. H« ever this might have been, ceruin i; .that when the imperial umpire demc-'--! the production of all the former docon*:. and acts of feoffment, setting forth its claims of the Counts of Holstein to i:> duchy, Henry of Schauenborg could eL' refer to the vague expressions of the act« 1386 and point to his good sword fer;t< rest of the evidence. The imperial »tence was pronounced on the 28th of Jut 1424, according to which the emperor.* the chosen umpire of both parties, tair: consulted the prelates, knights, profep.and lawyers of the Roman Empire, resolved: "that the whole of South Juik: with the city of Schleswig, the casik > Gottorp and other towns, the Dsmi wood {D'dniach Wold,) the island of Aland the coast district of the Friesians, rti all rights and privileges, had ever bekcfK to the king and kingdom of Demnai likewise that the Counts Henry, AdoJpi and Gerhard, neither had posses<>ed nor a possess any hereditary right to the dnebj. By that sentence, the constitution of Dal' Valdemar of 1326, if ever it had existed, was then declared invalid, » Schleswig was pronounced an appctr nance of the Danish realm. Henry, a dignant at the apparent injustice of uv imperial decision, solemnly protested, «* appealed to the Pope. But Martin V„ feeling himself in a difficult position between the council of Constanz and ii' Emperor, and intimidated by a nutsr* from the latter, in which he ad^isedbjniu confine his attention to ecclesiastical alurs. contented himself with eihorting u Counts of Holstein to pious submission. mc to peace with Denmark. .

Both parties then returned totb**TM'and the war in Schleswig was earned >* with renewed strength. In H2?> *■** Henry fell before Flensborg; buthfewn* brother Adolph continued the contest »lli extraordinary energy and success.

)urg, Lubeck and other powerful Hanseatio :ities, supporting Holstein with their fleets, lesolated the coasts of Denmark, and runed her commerce. The greatest dissatsfaction with the incapacity of the king jrevailed throughout the kingdoms of the Julmarian union. Erik was deposed, and he first act of his successor, Christopher .he Bavarian, was the recognition of the aereditary rights of the house of Schauenx>rg to the duchy of Schleswig. At the Danish diet in Colding, in 1439, the Duke Molph, kneeling down before his liegeord, on his throne, surrounded by the :ourt and nobility, took the oath of allegiance, and received from the hand of the dng the banner of investiture.

The Calmarian union still existed, but it lad become a mere phantom; the arrogance of the prelates and nobles, the subection of the people, and the total want of wlitical liberty and public opinion in that ige of ignorance and oppression, did not )ennit the development of a confederacy unong the Scandinavian nations, which )therwise would have promoted their civlization, happiness, and power. Denmark lad not gained by her doubtful union with Sweden; she felt the more deeply her relent loss, and all her efforts tended towards .he recovery of her alienated possessions >n the main land. The Danish nobility, in ompliance with this feeling, after the udden death of King Christopher the Ba:arian, in 1448, sent a deputation to Duke Wolph of Schleswig-Holstein, to offer lim the crown of Denmark. The Duke cas at the time only forty-five years of ige; but being without children, and preening the quiet retirement of his present wsition, to the cares and vicissitudes waiting him on the throne of the warring ingdoms, he declined the proffered honor, mt directed the attention of the Danes to lis young sister's son, Count Christian of )ldenborg, whom he himself had educated nd tenderly loved. Count Christian accepted, the crown, and became the founder f the present dynasty of Denmark, in the ear 1448.

Eleven years after this event, 1459, ^dolph of Schleswig-Holstein died. His lder brother, Henry, had lived unmarried, ■nd perished in his thirtieth year; the ounger, Gerhard, died suddenly on the Ihine, in 1433, without legitimate issue, "hus the house of the Counts of Schau- I

enborg-Rendsborg became extinct, and the duchy of Schleswig of course escheated to the crown of Denmark, which the king ought immediately to have taken possession of. The county of Holstein, on the contrary, being a German fief, apparently devolved on the nearest agnate heirs of the lateral line of Schauenborg-Pinneberg, who already, in the year 1396, by a treaty, had secured its succession. The princes of the family of Oldenborg, however, were more nearly related to the defunct Count of Holstein than the house of Schauenborg-Pinneberg, but only as cognates. Some historians, in defence of such direct rights of King Christian to the succession of Holstein, mention that several instances were on record in the German states of that time, where the merely cognate heirs inherited. Thus a contemporary chronicler of Lubec, who continues the chronicle of Detmar from 1401 to 1472, and whose work, even by the historians of Holstein themselves, is pronounced to be of the highest authority, says, " that the nobles of Holstein rejected altogether this plea of a family compact between the two lines of the house of Schauenboeg, as the council of the land had never sanctioned or confirmed it; and with regard to the inheritance of the Holstein fief, they recognized that King Christian and his brothers were nearer in respect to the succession, than the more distant Westphalian branch of the house of Schauenborg-Pinneberg, as they were sister's children of Count Adolph, and in their land, the female line (Spindle-side) might inherit as well as the male line (Sword-side)." A distinction seems thus to have existed in the succession between the great or banner-fiefs, (feuda vexilli, Fanelehn,) and the minor tiefs of the German Empire; inasmuch as in the former the inheritance was limited to male keirs, while in the latter the female line partook of the same right. Holstein, being originally a dependent fief of the duchy of Saxony, and not a feudum vexilli of the Empire, the direct right of King Christian to the succession of this duchy might have been justly insisted upon at the time; which goes directly against the late assertion of Prussia with regard to both duchies, " that only the agnates were admitted to the inheritance." The great question, however, as to whether Schleswkr. an ancient and important

province of Denmark, should be at last incorporated with the kingdom and separated from Holstein, or again become united with the latter, by a new investiture of the king, was now to be determined. But a new difficulty had unexpectedly been created by the fact that the Duke Adolph, moved perhaps by his old rancor towards Denmark, against whom he had spent his youth in hard fighting, and still more by his natural desire to preserve the close union of his two beautiful states, had persuaded his young nephew, Christian of Oldenborg, when the crown of Denmark was offered to him in 1448, to renounce his right to Schleswig, and to promise that, according to the constitutio Valdemariana, the duchy of Schleswig and the kingdom of Denmark never should be united again under the same sceptre, and that the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein should remain forever and ever undivided—ewich tosamtnend ungedelt.

This curious Low German document of Count Christian of Oldenborg is dated 28th of June, 1448, more than a year before his coronation at Copenhagen as King of Denmark on the 28-th October, 1449. It had no validity, because Count Christian could not give away any territory or rights of the kingdom of Denmark, the crown of which he did not wear ; nay, he could not even do so after he had been crowned king, except with the consent of the states in a general dannehof or diet. This renunciation and promise of the young Count may therefore be considered null and void.

We said that Christian, as a cognate heir, had no right to the succession in Holstein in 1459. His ambition however incited him to go any length in order to acquire both the estates, Holstein as well as Schleswig, and to unite both with the kingdom in spite of his own renunciation of 1448. Instead, therefore, of drawing in the escheated fief of Schleswig, and incorporating it with Denmark, be did not enforce that right, but simply offered himself as a candidate for the free election of the Schleswig and Holstein nobility. Thus he placed himself on a level with the indigent counts of Schauenborg-Pinneberg, well knowing that the large sums he had by underhand means distributed among the avaricious prelates and nobles, and the powerful influence of the family of Rantt zau, would procure him the majority of

the votes. In this manner King Christiaa gained his object, but not without gnat sacrifices, which through his whole reign pressed hard on the kingdom of Denmark. He settled his patrimonial counties of 05denborg and Delmenhorst on his younpr brother, with forty thousand florins. The Counts of Schauenborg received an indemnification of four hundred and thirty thousand florins, the county of Pinneberg. and several other possessions. The prelates and nobles secured their most extasive privileges, throwing all the burdens d the commonwealth on the more nuroen* and industrious classes of the citizens ami peasants. On his actual election to th* duchies he declared by a charter of rights (Haand/astning) dated the 5th of March. 1460, which the Holstein historians consider as a renewal of the Yaldemarian Constitution, that the estates of Schleswig *sd Holstein were to remain inseparable: tint they had of their own free will, wnkrsi any regard to his being King of Denmark. chosen him for their Duke and Count, tki they likewise after his death were entit!--: to elect his successor from among his children, or in case of his having no issue, frca among his lawful heirs, and that if hethcaki leave but one son to succeed him on tt# throne of Denmark, the estates should ha« the right to choose some other chief, provided only he were of the kin and lie-.--. of the deceased.

The future position of Schleswig f«r several centuries was now decided. A fc» years later, in 1474, Holstein was erer:-*into a duchy, and though Schleswig reaawaed a Danish fief, which did not belong to tt* empire, it now entered by its relation to Ho. stein into a more intimate intercourse *' Germany. The mass of the people «c spoke Danish, as they do to this day. but ti» all-powerful nobility, by intermarriag** ~ the sister duchy, and the clergy, by «k« great spiritual movement in the south, hcame more and more Germanized. Wife* half a century, the diet in Schleswig Vy to be held in the Low-German dialed. the times of the Reformation, the translation of the Bible in the man language was still nearly ble to the great majority of th* people, both in Holstein and yet by the mighty influence of the G* man civilization from the south, and indifference of the Oh


hemselves spoke the German at the court j if Copenhagen, the Danish lost ground, md the High-German at last gaining the ictory, became the language of the pul)it, of the bar, and of the national assembles. The university of Kiel was erected in .665, and the young Schleswigers as well is the Holsteiners, having received their edication at that institution, extended their ravels to Germany, in order to finish their tudies and bring German literature and cience back to their native countries, ^or were the commercial relations with he Hanseatic confederation less influential n alienating the Schleswigers from their Danish brethren. The naval establishnents ( Slyrishavne) of the victorious Vallemars, who with their Danish fleets subjected all the southern coasts of the 3altic, and extended their feudal dominion >ver Esthonia, Pomerania and Riigen, had fone to ruin during the civil wars of the burteenth century. The eighty-five cities if the rich and powerful I [ansa had for learly two centuries possessed the entire sommerce of the Baltic and northern seas, md by their exclusive rights and privileges, kept the Scandinavian kings in the most ibject bondage to a commercial aris'toc•acy. No wonder, then, that Hamburg, Liibeck, and Bremen had become the ichools and places of general resort of the ictive mariners of Schleswig and Holstein. King Christian I. of Oldenborg, having Jius, in 1460, been elected Duke of Schleswig and Holstein, it might have been supDosed that the great question about the luchies had at last been solved; but most inhappily for the tranquillity and welfare )f the Danish monarchy, new divisions bllowed thirty years later (1490) which it different periods, for nearly two cen,uries and a half, were the causes of dylastic dissensions, foreign invasions, and ncalculable distress and misery in the ivhole monarchy. Although the crown if Denmark continued elective for two hundred years (1460—1660) after the iccession of Christian I., it descended levertheless as regularly from father to ;on, as if it had been hereditary. But in Lhe duchies, where the nobility {Rilterichaft) alone formed the states, this oligarchy simultaneously elected different lescendants of the house of Oldenborg, md the lands thus became divisible and subdivisible among distinct lines of the

dynasty, quite contrary to the spirit of the principle of unity expressed in the act of 1460, which in this manner was abolished de facto by the Schleswig and Holstein states themselves.

Christian I. died in 1441, and left two sons by his Queen Dorothea—Hans, who was elected King of Denmark, and Frederik, at that time only ten years of age. The ambitious queen dowager, desiring her younger son, Prince Frederik, to be elected in the duchies, succeeded by her intrigues in delaying the final decision of the states for nine years, when at last, in 1490, both the royal brothers were elected, and a very remarkable division of the two provinces took place. Instead of declaring King Hans of Denmark Duke of Schleswig, and his brother Frederik Duke of Holstein and vassal of the Germanic Empire, the states now divided both duchies between both the princes. King Hans obtained the northern district of fiadersleben, the city of Flensborg, the island of Als, as belonging to Schleswig, and the western and southern parts of Holstein, with Rendsborg, Gliickstad, Itzehoe, Segeberg, Oldesloe and the promontory of Heiligenhafcn,—which all formed the possessions of the Royal or Segeberg line of succession. His younger brother Frederik united the Schleswig districts of Gottorp, Tondern and Apenrade, with Kiel, the eastern parts of Holstein and the island of Femern, and thus established the Ducal or Gottorp line. In this manner the Segeberg line possessed six different districts of both duchies inclosed or intermingled with the four portions belonging to that of Gottorp! This most untoward subdivision of the two Danish and German fiefs, afterwards gave rise to the fatal denomination of "a duchy of SchleswigHolslein," which, although a political nullity, has nevertheless been the cause of interminable complications and dissensions, and mainly contributed to the present unjust and iniquitous invasion of Denmark by the Germanic confederation. Disputes soon arose between the brothers; the ambitious Frederik laid claims to the investiture of fiefs in Denmark and Norway, which were refused by the diet, who declared that Denmark was a free and indivisible elective kingdom. Such a refusal exasperated the duke in the highest degree. He united with the Hanseatic ciiieM against his brother, and taking advantage of the unruly spirit of the Swedes, he even attempted by flattery and promises to be elected their king. A civil war would no doubt have broken out with King Hans, if a feud against the Ditmarskers in Holstein had not caused the brothers to unite their forces against the common enemy.

The Ditmarskers, a people of Saxon descent inhabiting a small fertile district between the Elbe and the Eyder, in that part of Holstein which faces the Western ocean, had during several centuries lived in perfect independence. They formed a commonwealth, which was governed by bailiffs and aldermen, and united by the love of freedom, they had maintained themselves in this situation against all aggression. At the conquest of Holstein by King Valdemar the Victorious, they followed the Danish banner; but during the bloody battle of Bomh'dved in 1227, they, by treacherously attacking the Danes in their rear, caused their total overthrow. Tins treachery was rewarded by the counts of Holstein with perfect independence, and although Count Gerhard afterwards attempted to subdue them, they defeated and slew him, foiled all subsequent invasions, and obtained from the German Emperor the privilege of being placed beneath the protection of the archiepiscopal see of Bremen. Nor would those poor and brave herdsmen and fishermen have been disturbed in their tranquillity, if they had not, like the Swiss on the Alps, relying on their victories, become troublesome aggressors on their neighbors. King Christian I. had already resolved their reduction, and having represented them to the Emperor Friederich III. as a set of lawless and unruly rovers, he received permission to make the conquest of their territory. But he died, and his sons would perhaps have left the Ditmarskers to themselves, if they had not taken an active part in the dispute between Duke Frederik and the Hanseatic cities of Liibeck and Hamburg, and destroyed the ducal depots and custom-houses on the island of Helgoland. The king and the duke now resolved the war. The brilliant feudal array of Denmark and the duchies assembled in Holstein during the winter of 1500, and was strengthened by six thousand mercenary Saxon lance-knechts, commanded by the haughty condottiere Junker Slents, who

promised the king that he would tate fttraarsk even if it was chained to heaveni*!! Thus the best appointed army Deorai had ever sent forth, consisting of ttett thousand combatants, advanced throtr1. the low marshes against the six thosaad armed herdsmen, who in vain had ifcmanded the aid of the cities on the Efct On the 13th of February, the Danesc** pied the open town of Meldorf, which to! been abandoned, and only the aged ad it defenceless fell victims to the wild soihoy of the time. But their cruelty and p*sumption met with the justest cbastisaDK*. Animated by despair.'and resolved to pcr« in the cause of their liberty, tins tori'i of people, led on by the heroic Wolf tobrand, occupied a small fort situated ■ an eminence between Meldorf and Hsingsted. The royal army had to p«s ffl a narrow and swampy road, hemmed h on both sides by ditches and maisha While the Saxon infantry advanced, tkey were received by a destructive fire from ik batteries on the hill. They lost their Cobmander, and falling back in disorder aa the Danish chivalry, they were funon* attacked on all sides by the light-antr. Ditmarskers, who, on their long span, with dexterity jumped over the dheba and began an indiscriminate slaughter M the defenceless flanks of the crowded column. Three hundred and sixty nobles d the most distinguished families in Denmark and the duchies, and more tha fifteen thousand troops, perished o» $* battle-field. The king himself escaped with difficulty. The old Dannebrog, tl» Danish banner from the times of the Vufemars, was lost together with all the C«hb«i arms, and an immense baggage, TtoWmarskers, pursuing the retreating may. made devastating incursions into Hobe* which forced the king, by the mediatimo' the Hanseatic cities, to recogniie their independence.

King Hans died in 1513, and m* ceeded by his spirited, but violent «w cruel son, Christian II., who immedittoy on his accession called together the SOW of Schleswig and Holstein to a gro** diet in Flensborg, in order to be decTM duke of the royal share in the d«M» The states assembled; but before lk*T swore allegiance to the king, they demwed the confirmation of all their prffBcffi and rights, and certain restitutions to n<&

« AnteriorContinuar »