His extreme impecuniosity made him from the first subservient to the Polish senate and nobles (szlachta), who deprived him of the control of the mint - then one of the most lucrative sources of revenue of the Polish kings - curtailed his prerogative, and generally endeavoured to reduce him to a subordinate position.
Still spoke of the reunion of Lithuania with Poland under constitutional forms. But the project lapsed because already then any measure of self-government by extending the power of the Polish" szlachta "(land-owning noble class) in Lithuania menaced Russia's influence in that country which strategically rounded off her north-western frontier.
External pressure, here as elsewhere, created a patriotic military caste, and the subsequent partitional period, when every little prince had his own separate court, still further established the growing influence of the szlachta, or gentry, who were not backward in claiming and obtaining special privileges in return for their services.
The first authentic pacta conventa made between the Polish nobility and the Crown dates from the compact of Kassa (September 17, 137 4), when Louis of Hungary agreed to exempt the szlachta from all taxation, except two Polish groschen per hide of land, and to compensate them for the expenses of all military service rendered beyond the confines of the realm.
Suffice it here to say that it was both antimonarchical and anti-democratic, tending, as it did, to place all political authority in the hands of the szlachta, or gentry.
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