The process in Brandenburg was absurdly tedious: collective privileges of the Diet still meant more to many representatives of towns and to the nobility than immediate economic benefit. The first effort in 1653 to introduce an excise failed completely. Through the years of war and after the peace in 1660 the government continued to put on all the pressure it could to get a permanent source of revenue. It had to do so by making use of the split between townsmen and nobility that arose originally from the fact that total taxation was supposed to be divided in a fixed proportion between the towns and the tenants of the taxfree nobles. A powerful group of the townsmen saw an excise as the only way of shifting some of the burden off themselves. The outcome of the quarreIs was a gradual and complicated extension of the excise system, partly by royal decree. The towns soon had cause to regret the support they had given to it : every device that would have lightened their payments was stopped, and the split in the Estates had enabled the Elector almost to eliminate them as a political force . Town and country quickly became separated by a rigid system of customs barriers, and industries had every incentive to move outside the urban boundaries. The state's economic programme largely disregarded old-style urban power.