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.
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.
Matters improved somewhat in 1527, when the szlachta, by a special act, placed the mightiest magnates on the same level as the humblest squire as regards military service, and proposed at the same time a more general assessment for the purpose, the control of the money so realized to be placed in the hands of the king.