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The History of England, Volume I by David Hume

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pretext for this violence, he endeavoured, without discovering his
intentions, to provoke and allure them into insurrections, which, he
thought, could never prove dangerous, while he detained all the
principal nobility in Normandy, while a great and victorious army was
quartered in England, and while he himself was so near to suppress any
tumult or rebellion. But as no ancient writer has ascribed this
tyrannical purpose to William, it scarcely seems allowable, from
conjecture alone, to throw such an imputation upon him.

[MN Their insurrections.]
But whether we are to account for that measure from the king's vanity
or from his policy, it was the immediate cause of all the calamities
which the English endured during this and the subsequent reigns, and
gave rise to those mutual jealousies and animosities between them and
the Normans, which were never appeased till a long tract of time had
gradually united the two nations, and made them one people. The
inhabitants of Kent, who had first submitted to the conqueror, were
the first that attempted to throw off the yoke; and in confederacy
with Eustace, Count of Boulogne, who had also been disgusted by the
Normans, they made an attempt, though without success, on the garrison
of Dover [w]. Edric the Forester, whose possessions lay on the banks
of the Severn, being provoked at the depredations of some Norman
captains in his neighbourhood, formed an alliance with Blethyn and
Rowallan, two Welsh princes; and endeavoured, with their assistance,
to repel force by force [x]. But though these open hostilities were
not very considerable, the disaffection was general among the English,
who had become sensible, though too late, of their defenceless
condition, and began already to experience those insults and injuries
which a nation must always expect, that allows itself to be reduced to
that abject situation. A secret conspiracy was entered into to
perpetrate, in one day, a general massacre of the Normans, like that
which had formerly been executed upon the Danes; and the quarrel was
become so general and national, that the vassals of Earl Coxo, having
desired him to head them in an insurrection, and finding him resolute
in maintaining his fidelity to William, put him to death as a traitor
to his country.
[FN [w] Gul. Gemet. p. 289. Order. Vital. p. 508. Anglia Sacra, vol.
i. p. 245. [x] Hoveden, p. 450. M. West. p. 226. Sim. Dunelm. p.

[MN Dec. 6.]
The king, informed of these dangerous discontents, hastened over to
England; and by his presence, and the vigorous measures which he
pursued, disconcerted all the schemes of the conspirators. Such of
them as had been more violent in their mutiny, betrayed their guilt by
flying or concealing themselves; and the confiscation of their
estates, while it increased the number of malecontents, both enabled
William to gratify farther the rapacity of his Norman captains, and
gave them the prospect of new forfeitures and attainders. The king
began to regard all his English subjects as inveterate and
irreclaimable enemies; and thenceforth either embraced, or was more
fully confirmed in the resolution of seizing their possessions, and of
reducing them to the most abject slavery. Though the natural violence
and severity of his temper made him incapable of feeling any remorse
in the execution of this tyrannical purpose, he had art enough to
conceal his intention, and to preserve still some appearance of
justice in his oppressions. He ordered all the English, who had been
arbitrarily expelled by the Normans during his absence, to be restored
to their estates [y]: but at the same time he imposed a general tax on
the people, that of Danegelt, which had been abolished by the
Confessor, and which had always been extremely odious to the nation
[FN [y] Chron. Sax. p. 173. This fact is a full proof that the
Normans had committed great injustice, and were the real cause of the
insurrections of the English. [z] Hoveden, p. 450. Sim. Dunelm. p
197. Alur. Beverl. p. 127.]

[MN 1068.] As the vigilance of William overawed the malecontents,
their insurrections were more the result of an impatient humour in the
people, than of any regular conspiracy which could give them a
rational hope of success against the established power of the Normans.
The inhabitants of Exeter, instigated by Githa, mother to King Harold,
refused to admit a Norman garrison, and betaking themselves to arms,
were strengthened by the accession of the neighbouring inhabitants of
Devonshire and Cornwall [a]. The king hastened with his forces to
chastise this revolt; and on his approach, the wiser and more
considerable citizens, sensible of the unequal contest, persuaded the
people to submit, and to deliver hostages for their obedience. A
sudden mutiny of the populace broke this agreement; and William,
appearing before the walls, ordered the eyes of one of the hostages to
be put out, as an earnest of that severity which the rebels must
expect if they persevered in their revolt [b]. The inhabitants were
anew seized with terror, and surrendering at discretion, threw
themselves at the king's feet, and supplicated his clemency and
forgiveness. William was not destitute of generosity, when his temper
was not hardened either by policy or passion: he was prevailed on to
pardon the rebels, and he set guards on all the gates, in order to
prevent the rapacity and insolence of his soldiery [c]. Githa escaped
with her treasures to Flanders. The malecontents of Cornwall imitated
the example of Exeter, and met with like treatment: and the king,
having built a citadel in that city, which he put under the command of
Baldwin, son of Earl Gilbert, returned to Winchester, and dispersed
his army into their quarters. He was here joined by his wife Matilda,
who had not before visited England, and whom he now ordered to be
crowned by Archbishop Aldred. Soon after she brought him an accession
to his family by the birth of a fourth son, whom he named Henry. His
three elder sons, Robert, Richard, and William, still resided in
[FN [a] Order. Vital. p. 510. [b] Ibid. [c] Ibid.]

But though the king appeared thus fortunate, both in public and
domestic life, the discontents of his English subjects augmented
daily; and the injuries committed and suffered on both sides rendered
the quarrel between them and the Normans absolutely incurable. The
insolence of victorious masters, dispersed throughout the kingdom,
seemed intolerable to the natives; and wherever they found the
Normans, separate or assembled in small bodies, they secretly set upon
them, and gratified their vengeance by the slaughter of their enemies.
But an insurrection in the north drew thither the general attention,
and seemed to threaten more important consequences. Edwin and Morcar
appeared at the head of this rebellion; and these potent noblemen,
before they took arms, stipulated for foreign succours from their
nephew Blethyn, Prince of North Wales, from Malcolm, King of Scotland,
and from Sweyn, King of Denmark. Besides the general discontent which
had seized the English, the two earls were incited to this revolt by
private injuries. William, in order to ensure them to his interests,
had, on his accession, promised his daughter in marriage to Edwin; but
either he had never seriously intended to perform this engagement, or,
having changed his plan of administration in England from clemency to
rigour, he thought it was to little purpose, if he gained one family,
while he enraged the whole nation. When Edwin, therefore, renewed his
applications, be gave him an absolute denial [d]; and this
disappointment, added to so many other reasons of disgust, induced
that nobleman and his brother to concur with their incensed
countrymen, and to make one general effort for the recovery of their
ancient liberties. William knew the importance of celerity in
quelling an insurrection, supported by such powerful leaders, and so
agreeable to the wishes of the people, and having his troops always in
readiness, he advanced by great journeys to the north. On his march
he gave orders to fortify the castle of Warwick, of which he left
Henry de Beaumont governor, and that of Nottingham, which he committed
to the custody of William Peverell, another Norman captain [e]. He
reached York before the rebels were in any condition for resistance,
or were joined by any of the foreign succours which they expected,
except a small reinforcement from Wales [f]; and the two earls found
no means of safety, but having recourse to the clemency of the victor.
Archil, a potent nobleman in those parts, imitated their example and
delivered his son as a hostage for his fidelity [g]; nor were the
people, thus deserted by their leaders, able to make any farther
resistance. But the treatment which William gave the chiefs was very
different from that which fell to the share of their followers. He
observed religiously the terms which he had granted to the former, and
allowed them for the present to keep possession of their estates; but
he extended the rigours of his confiscations over the latter, and gave
away their lands to his foreign adventurers. These, planted
throughout the whole country, and in possession of the military power,
left Edwin and Morcar, whom he pretended to spare, destitute of all
support, and ready to fall, whenever he should think proper to command
their ruin. A peace which he made with Malcolm, who did him homage
for Cumberland, seemed at the same time to deprive them of all
prospect of foreign assistance [h].
[FN [d] Order. Vital. p. 511. [e] Ibid. [f] Ibid. [g] Ibid. [h]
Order. Vital. p. 511.]

[MN Rigours of the Norman government.]
The English were now sensible that their final destruction was
intended; and that instead of a sovereign, whom they had hoped to gain
by their submission, they had tamely surrendered themselves, without
resistance, to a tyrant and a conqueror. Though the early
confiscation of Harold's followers might seem iniquitous, being
inflicted on men who had never sworn fealty to the Duke of Normandy,
who were ignorant of his pretensions, and who only fought in defence
of the government which they themselves had established in their own
country; yet were these rigours, however contrary to the ancient Saxon
laws, excused on account of the urgent necessities of the prince; and
those who were not involved in the present ruin hoped that they should
thenceforth enjoy, without molestation, their possessions and their
dignities. But the successive destruction of so many other families
convinced them that the king intended to rely entirely on the support
and affections of foreigners; and they foresaw new forfeitures,
attainders, and acts of violence as the necessary result of this
destructive plan of administration. They observed that no Englishman
possessed his confidence, or was intrusted with any command or
authority; and that the strangers, whom a rigorous discipline could
have but ill restrained, were encouraged in their insolence and
tyranny against them. The easy submission of the kingdom on its first
invasion had exposed the natives to contempt; the subsequent proofs of
their animosity and resentment had made them the object of hatred; and
they were now deprived of every expedient by which they could hope to
make themselves either regarded or beloved by their sovereign.
Impressed with the sense of this dismal situation, many Englishmen
fled into foreign countries with an intention of passing their lives
abroad free from oppression, or of returning on a favourable
opportunity to assist their friends in the recovery of their native
liberties [i]. Edgar Atheling himself, dreading the insidious
caresses of William, was persuaded by Cospatric, a powerful
Northumbrian, to escape with him into Scotland; and he carried thither
his two sisters, Margaret and Christina. They were well received by
Malcolm, who soon after espoused Margaret, the elder sister; and
partly with a view of strengthening his kingdom by the accession of so
many strangers, partly in hopes of employing them against the growing
power of William, he gave great countenance to all the English exiles.
Many of them settled there; and laid the foundation of families which
afterwards made a figure in that country.
[FN [i] Order. Vital. p. 508. M. West. p. 225. M. Paris, p. 4. Sim.
Dun. p. 197.]

While the English suffered under these oppressions, even the
foreigners were not much at their ease; but finding themselves
surrounded on all hands by enraged enemies, who took every advantage
against them, and menaced them with still more bloody effects of the
public resentment, they began to wish again for the tranquillity and
security of their native country. Hugh de Grentmesnil, and Humphry de
Teliol, though intrusted with great commands, desired to be dismissed
the service; and some others imitated their example: a desertion which
was highly resented by the king, and which he punished by the
confiscation of all their possessions in England [k]. But William's
bounty to his followers could not fail of alluring many new
adventurers into his service; and the rage of the vanquished English
served only to excite the attention of the king and those warlike
chiefs, and keep them in readiness to suppress every commencement of
domestic rebellion or foreign invasion.
[FN [k] Order. Vitalis, p. 512.]

[MN 1069. New insurrections.]
It was not long before they found occupation for their prowess and
military conduct. Godwin, Edmond, and Magnus, three sons of Harold,
had, immediately after the defeat at Hastings, sought a retreat in
Ireland; where, having met with a kind reception from Dermot and other
princes of that country, they projected an invasion on England, and
they hoped that all the exiles from Denmark, Scotland, and Wales,
assisted by forces from these several countries, would at once
commence hostilities, and rouse the indignation of the English against
their haughty conquerors. They landed in Devonshire; but found Brian,
son of the Count of Britany, at the head of some foreign troops, ready
to oppose them; and being defeated in several actions, they were
obliged to retreat to their ships, and to return with great loss to
Ireland [l]. The efforts of the Normans were now directed to the
north, where affairs had fallen into the utmost confusion. The more
impatient of the Northumbrians had attacked Robert de Comyn, who was
appointed governor of Durham; and gaining the advantage over him from
his negligence, they put him to death in that city, with seven hundred
of his followers [m]. This success animated the inhabitants of York,
who, rising in arms, slew Robert Fitz-Richard, their governor [n]; and
besieged in the castle William Mallet, on whom the command now
devolved. A little after, the Danish troops landed from three hundred
vessels; Osberne, brother to King Sweyn, was intrusted with the
command of these forces, and he was accompanied by Harold and Canute,
two sons of that monarch. Edgar Atheling appeared from Scotland, and
brought along with him Cospatric, Waltheof, Siward, Bearne,
Merleswain, Adelin, and other leaders, who, partly from the hopes
which they gave of Scottish succours, partly from their authority in
those parts, easily persuaded the warlike and discontented
Northumbrians to join the insurrection. Mallet, that he might better
provide for the defence of the citadel of York, set fire to some
houses which lay contiguous; but this expedient proved the immediate
cause of his destruction. The flames, spreading into the neighbouring
streets, reduced the whole city to ashes: the enraged inhabitants,
aided by the Danes, took advantage of the confusion to attack the
castle, which they carried by assault; and the garrison, to the number
of three thousand men, was put to the sword without mercy [o].
[FN [l] Gul. Gemet. p. 290. Order. Vital. p. 513. Anglia Sacra, vol.
i. p. 246. [m] Order. Vital. p. 512. Chron. de Mailr. p. 116.
Hoveden, p. 450. M. Paris, p. 5. Sim. Dun. p. 198. [n] Order.
Vital. p. 512. [o] Order. Vital. p. 513. Hoveden, p. 451.]

This success proved a signal to many other parts of England, and gave
the people an opportunity of showing their malevolence to the Normans.
Hereward, a nobleman in East Anglia celebrated for valour, assembled
his followers, and taking shelter in the Isle of Ely, made inroads on
all the neighbouring country [p]. The English in the counties of
Somerset and Dorset rose in arms, and assaulted Montacute, the Norman
governor; while the inhabitants of Cornwall and Devon invested Exeter,
which, from the memory of William's clemency, still remained faithful
to him. Edric the Forester, calling in the assistance of the Welsh,
laid siege to Shrewsbury, and made head against Earl Brient and
Fitz-Osberne, who commanded in those quarters [q]. The English, every
where, repenting their former easy submission, seemed determined to
make by concert one great effort for the recovery of their liberties,
and for the expulsion of their oppressors.
[FN [p] Ingulph. p. 71. Chron. Abb. St. Petri de Burgo, p. 47. [q]
Order. Vital. p. 514.]

William, undismayed amidst this scene of confusion, assembled his
forces, and animating them with the prospect of new confiscations and
forfeitures, he marched against the rebels in the north, whom he
regarded as the most formidable, and whose defeat he knew would strike
a terror into all the other malecontents. Joining policy to force, he
tried before his approach to weaken the enemy, by detaching the Danes
from them; and he engaged Osberne, by large presents, and by offering
him the liberty of plundering the sea-coast, to retire, without
committing farther hostilities, into Denmark [r]. Cospatric, also, in
despair of success, made his peace with the king, and paying a sum of
money as an atonement for his insurrection, was received into favour,
and even invested with the earldom of Northumberland. Waltheof, who
long defended York with great courage, was allured with this
appearance of clemency; and as William knew how to esteem valour, even
in an enemy, that nobleman had no reason to repent of his confidences
[s]. Even Edric, compelled by necessity, submitted to the conqueror,
and received forgiveness, which was soon after followed by some degree
of trust and favour. Malcolm, coming too late to support his
confederates, was constrained to retire; and all the English rebels in
other parts, except Hereward, who still kept in his fastnesses,
dispersed themselves, and left the Normans undisputed masters of the
kingdom. Edgar Atheling, with his followers, sought again a retreat
in Scotland from the pursuit of his enemies.
[FN [r] Hoveden, p. 451. Chron Abb. St Petri de Burgo, p. 47. Sim.
Dun. p. 199. [s] Malmes. p. 104. H. Hunt. p. 369.]

[MN 1070. New rigours of the government.]
But the seeming clemency of William towards the English leaders
proceeded only from artifice, or from his esteem of individuals: his
heart was hardened against all compassion towards the people; and he
scrupled no measure, however violent or severe, which seemed requisite
to support his plan of tyrannical administration. Sensible of the
restless disposition of the Northumbrians, he determined to
incapacitate them ever after from giving him disturbance, and he
issued orders for laying entirely waste that fertile country which,
for the extent of sixty miles, lies between the Humber and the Tees
[t]. The houses were reduced to ashes by the merciless Normans; the
cattle seized and driven away; the instruments of husbandry destroyed;
and the inhabitants compelled either to seek for a subsistence in the
southern parts of Scotland, or if they lingered in England, from a
reluctance to abandon their ancient habitations, they perished
miserably in the woods from cold and hunger. The lives of a hundred
thousand persons are computed to have been sacrificed to this stroke
of barbarous policy [u], which, by seeking a remedy for a temporary
evil, thus inflicted a lasting wound on the power and populousness of
the nation.
[FN [t] Chron. Sax. p. 174. Ingulph. p. 79. Malmes. p. 103.
Hoveden, p. 451. Chron. Abb. St. Petri de Burgo, p. 47. M. Paris, p.
5. Sim. Dun. p. 199. Brompton, p. 966. Knyghton, p. 2344. Anglia
Sacra, vol. i. p. 702. [u] Order. Vital. p. 515.]

But William finding himself entirely master of a people who had given
him such sensible proofs of their impotent rage and animosity, now
resolved to proceed to extremities against all the natives of England,
and to reduce them to a condition in which they should no longer be
formidable to his government. The insurrections and conspiracies in
so many parts of the kingdom had involved the bulk of the landed
proprietors, more or less, in the guilt of treason; and the king took
advantage of executing against them, with the utmost rigour, the laws
of forfeiture and attainder. Their lives were indeed commonly spared;
but their estates were confiscated, and either annexed to the royal
demesnes, or conferred with the most profuse bounty on the Normans and
other foreigners [w]. While the king's declared intention was to
depress, or rather entirely extirpate the English gentry [x], it is
easy to believe that scarcely the form of justice would be observed in
those violent proceedings [y]; and that any suspicions served as the
most undoubted proofs of guilt against a people thus devoted to
destruction. It was crime sufficient in an Englishman to be opulent,
or noble, or powerful; and the policy of the king, concurring with the
rapacity of foreign adventurers, produced almost a total revolution in
the landed property of the kingdom. Ancient and honourable families
were reduced to beggary; the nobles themselves were every where
treated with ignominy and contempt; they had the mortification of
seeing their castles and manors possessed by Normans of the meanest
birth and lowest stations [z]; and they found themselves carefully
excluded from every road which led either to riches or preferment [a].
[FN [w] W. Malmes. p. 104. [x] H. Hunt p. 370. [y] See note [H], at
the end of the volume. [z] Order. Vitalis, p. 521. M. West. p. 229.
[a] See note [I], at the end of the volume.]

[MN Introduction of the feudal law.]
As power naturally follows property, this revolution alone gave great
security to the foreigners; but William, by the new institutions which
he established, took also care to retain for ever the military
authority in those hands which had enabled him to subdue the kingdom.
He introduced into England the feudal law, which he found established
in France and Normandy, and which, during that age, was the foundation
both of the stability and of the disorders in most of the monarchical
governments of Europe. He divided all the lands of England, with very
few exceptions, beside the royal demesnes, into baronies, and he
conferred these, with the reservation of stated services and payments,
on the most considerable of his adventurers. These great barons, who
held immediately of the crown, shared out a great part of their lands
to other foreigners, who were denominated knights or vassals, and who
paid their lord the same duty and submission in peace and war, which
he himself owed to his sovereign. The whole kingdom contained about
seven hundred chief tenants, and sixty thousand two hundred and
fifteen knights-fees [b]; and as none of the native English were
admitted into the first rank, the few who retained their landed
property were glad to be received into the second, and under the
protection of some powerful Norman, to load themselves and their
posterity with this grievous burden, for estates which they had
received free from their ancestors [c]. The small mixture of English
which entered into this civil or military fabric (for it partook of
both species) was so restrained by subordination under the foreigners,
that the Norman dominion seemed now to be fixed on the most durable
basis, and to defy all the efforts of its enemies.
[FN [b] Order. Vital. p. 523. Secretum Abbatis, apud Selden, Titles
of Honour, p. 573. Spellm. Gloss. in verbo FEODUM. Sir Robert
Cotton. [c] M. West. p. 225. M. Paris, p. 4. Bracton, lib. 1. cap.
II. num. 1. Fleta, lib i. cap. 8. n. 2.]

The better to unite the parts of the government, and to bind them into
one system, which might serve both for defence against foreigners, and
for the support of domestic tranquillity, William reduced the
ecclesiastical revenues under the same feudal law; and though he had
courted the church on his invasion and accession, he now subjected it
to services which the clergy regarded as a grievous slavery, and as
totally unbefitting their profession. The bishops and abbots were
obliged, when required, to furnish to the king, during war, a number
of knights, or military tenants, proportioned to the extent of
property possessed by each see or abbey; and they were liable, in case
of failure, to the same penalties which were exacted from the laity
[d] The pope and the ecclesiastics exclaimed against this tyranny, as
they called it; but the king's authority was so well established over
the army, who held every thing from his bounty, that superstition
itself, even in that age, when it was most prevalent, was constrained
to bend under his superior influence.
[FN [d] M. Paris, p. 5. Anglia Sacra, vol. i. p. 248.]

But as the great body of the clergy were still natives, the king had
much reason to dread the effects of their resentment; he therefore
used the precaution of expelling the English from all the considerable
dignities, and of advancing foreigners in their place. The partiality
of the Confessor towards the Normans had been so great, that, aided by
their superior learning, it had promoted them to many of the sees in
England; and even before the period of the Conquest, scarcely more
than six or seven of the prelates were natives of the country. But
among these was Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury; a man who, by his
address and vigour, by the greatness of his family and alliances, by
the extent of his possessions, as well as by the dignity of his
office, and his authority among the English, gave jealousy to the king
[e]. Though William had, on his accession, affronted this prelate by
employing the Archbishop of York to officiate at his consecration, he
was careful on other occasions to load hint with honours and caresses,
and to avoid giving him farther offence till the opportunity should
offer of effecting his final destruction [f]. The suppression of the
late rebellions, and the total subjection of the English, made him
hope that an attempt against Stigand, however violent, would be
covered by his great successes, and be overlooked amidst the other
important revolutions which affected so deeply the property and
liberty of the kingdom. Yet, notwithstanding these great advantages,
he did not think it safe to violate the reverence usually paid to the
primate; but under cover of a new superstition, which he was the great
instrument of introducing into England.
[FN [e] Parker, p. 161. [f] Ibid. p. 164.]

[MN Innovation in ecclesiastical government.]
The doctrine which exalted the papacy above all human power had
gradually diffused itself from the city and court of Rome; and was,
during that age, much more prevalent in the southern than in the
northern kingdoms of Europe. Pope Alexander, who had assisted William
in his conquests, naturally expected that the French and Normans would
import into England the same reverence for his sacred character with
which they were impressed in their own country; and would break the
spiritual as well as civil independency of the Saxons, who had
hitherto conducted their ecclesiastical government, with an
acknowledgment indeed of primacy in the see of Rome, but without much
idea of its title to dominion or authority. As soon, therefore, as
the Norman prince seemed fully established on the throne, the pope
despatched Ermenfroy, Bishop of Sion, as his legate into England; and
this prelate was the first that had ever appeared with that character
in any part of the British islands. The king, though he was probably
led by principle to pay this submission to Rome, determined, as is
usual, to employ the incident as a means of serving his political
purposes, and of degrading those English prelates who were become
obnoxious to him. The legate submitted to become the instrument of
his tyranny; and thought, that the more violent the exertion of power,
the more certainly did it confirm the authority of that court from
which he derived his commission. He summoned, therefore, a council of
the prelates and abbots at Winchester; and being assisted by two
cardinals, Peter and John, he cited before him Stigand, Archbishop of
Canterbury, to answer for his conduct. The primate was accused of
three crimes: the holding of the see of Winchester, together with that
of Canterbury; the officiating in the pall of Robert his predecessor;
and the having received his own pall from Benedict IX., who was
afterwards deposed for simony, and for intrusion into the papacy [g].
These crimes of Stigand were mere pretences; since the first had been
a practice not unusual in England, and was never any where subjected
to a higher penalty than a resignation of one of the sees; the second
was a pure ceremonial; and as Benedict was the only pope who then
officiated, and his acts were never repealed, all the prelates of the
church, especially those who lay at a distance, were excusable for
making their applications to him. Stigand's ruin, however, was
resolved on, and was prosecuted with great severity. The legate
degraded him from his dignity: the king confiscated his estate, and
cast him into prison, where he continued, in poverty and want, during
the remainder of his life. Like rigour was exercised against the
other English prelates: Agelric, Bishop of Selesey and Agelmare, of
Elmham, were deposed by the legate, and imprisoned by the king. Many
considerable abbots shared the same fate: Egelwin, Bishop of Durham,
fled the kingdom: Wulstan, of Worcester, a man of an inoffensive
character, was the only English prelate that escaped this general
proscription [h], and remained in possession of his dignity. Aldred,
Archbishop of York, who had set the crown on William's head, had died
a little before of grief and vexation, and had left his malediction to
that prince on account of the breach of his coronation oath, and of
the extreme tyranny with which he saw he was determined to treat his
English subjects [i].
[FN [g] Hoveden, p. 453. Diceto, p. 482. Knyghton, p. 2345. Anglia
Sacra, vol. i. p. 5, 6. Ypod. Neust. p. 438. [h] Brompton relates,
that Wulstan was also deprived by the synod; but refusing to deliver
his pastoral staff and ring to any but the person from whom he first
received it, he went immediately to King Edward's tomb, and struck the
staff so deeply into the stone, that none but himself was able to pull
it out: upon which he was allowed to keep his bishopric. This
instance may serve, instead of many, as a specimen of the monkish
miracles. See also the annals of Burton, p. 284. [i] Malmes. de
Gest. Pont. p. 154.]

It was a fixed maxim in this reign, as well as in some of the
subsequent, that no native of the island should ever be advanced to
any dignity, ecclesiastical, civil, or military [k] The king,
therefore, upon Stigand's deposition, promoted Lanfranc, a Milanese
monk, celebrated for his learning and piety, to the vacant see. This
prelate was rigid in defending the prerogatives of his station; and
after a long process before the pope, he obliged Thomas, a Norman
monk, who had been appointed to the see of York, to acknowledge the
primacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Where ambition can be so
happy as to cover its enterprises, even to the person himself, under
the appearance of principle, it is the most incurable and inflexible
of all human passions. Hence Lanfranc's zeal in promoting the
interests of the papacy, by which he himself augmented his own
authority, was indefatigable; and met with proportionable success.
The devoted attachment to Rome continually increased in England; and
being favoured by the sentiments of the conquerors, as well as by the
monastic establishments formerly introduced by Edred and by Edgar, it
soon reached the same height at which it had, during some time, stood
in France and Italy [l]. [MN 1070.] It afterwards went much farther;
being favoured by that very remote situation which had at first
obstructed its progress; and being less checked by knowledge and a
liberal education, which were still somewhat more common in the
southern countries.
[FN [k] Ingulph. p. 70, 71. [l] M. West. p. 228. Lanfranc wrote in
defence of the real presence against Berengarius; and in those ages of
stupidity and ignorance, he was greatly applauded for that

The prevalence of this superstitious spirit became dangerous to some
of William's successors, and incommodious to most of them; but the
arbitrary sway of this king over the English, and his extensive
authority over the foreigners, kept him from feeling any immediate
inconveniences from it. He retained the church in great subjection,
as well as his lay subjects; and would allow none, of whatever
character, to dispute his sovereign will and pleasure. He prohibited
his subjects from acknowledging any one for pope whom he himself had
not previously received: he required that all the ecclesiastical
canons, voted in any synod, should first be laid before him, and be
ratified by his authority: even bulls or letters from Rome could not
legally be produced, till they received the same sanction: and none of
his ministers or barons, whatever offences they were guilty of, could
be subjected to spiritual censures till he himself had given his
consent to their excommunication [m]. These regulations were worthy
of a sovereign, and kept united the civil and ecclesiastical powers,
which the principles introduced by this prince himself had an
immediate tendency to separate.
[FN [m] Eadmer, p. 6.]

But the English had the cruel mortification to find that their king's
authority, however acquired or however extended, was all employed in
their oppression; and that the scheme of their subjection, attended
with every circumstance of insult and indignity [n], was deliberately
formed by the prince, and wantonly prosecuted by his followers [o].
William had even entertained the difficult project of totally
abolishing the English language; and, for that purpose, he ordered,
that in all schools throughout the kingdom, the youth should be
instructed in the French tongue; a practice which was continued from
custom till after the reign of Edward III., and was never indeed
totally discontinued in England. The pleadings in the supreme courts
of judicature were in French [p]: the deeds were often drawn in the
same language: the laws were composed in that idiom [q]: no other
tongue was used at court: it became the language of all fashionable
company; and the English themselves, ashamed of their own country,
affected to excel in that foreign dialect. From this attention of
William, and from the extensive foreign dominions long annexed to the
crown of England, proceeded that mixture of French which is at present
to be found in the English tongue, and which composes the greatest and
best part of our language. But amidst those endeavours to depress the
English nation, the king, moved by the remonstrances of some of his
prelates, and by the earnest desires of the people, restored a few of
the laws of King Edward [r]; which, though seemingly of no great
importance towards the protection of general liberty, gave them
extreme satisfaction, as a memorial of their ancient government, and
an unusual mark of complaisance in their imperious conquerors [s].
[FN [n] Order. Vital. p. 523. H. Hunt. p. 370. [o] Ingulph. p. 71.
[p] 36 Edw. III. cap. 15. Selden Spicileg. ad Eadmer, p. 189.
Fortescue de laud leg. Angl. cap. 48. [q] Chron. Rothom. A. D. 1066.
[r] Ingulph. p. 88. Brompton, p. 982. Knyghton, p. 2355. Hoveden,
p. 600. [s] See note [K], at the end of the volume.]

[MN 1071.] The situation of the two great earls, Morcar and Edwin,
became now very disagreeable. Though they had retained their
allegiance during this general insurrection of their countrymen, they
had not gained the king's confidence, and they found themselves
exposed to the malignity of the courtiers, who envied them on account
of their opulence and greatness, and at the same time involved them in
that general contempt which they entertained for the English.
Sensible that they had entirely lost their dignity, and could not even
hope to remain long in safety; they determined, though too late, to
share the same fate with their countrymen. While Edwin retired to his
estate in the north, with a view of commencing an insurrection, Morcar
took shelter in the Isle of Ely with the brave Hereward, who, secured
by the inaccessible situation of the place, still defended himself
against the Normans. But this attempt served only to accelerate the
ruin of the few English who had hitherto been able to preserve their
rank or fortune during the past convulsions. William employed all his
endeavours to subdue the Isle of Ely; and having surrounded it with
flat-bottomed boats, and made a causeway through the morasses to the
extent of two miles, he obliged the rebels to surrender at discretion.
Hereward alone forced his way, sword in hand, through the enemy; and
still continued his hostilities by sea against the Normans, till at
last William, charmed with his bravery, received him into favour, and
restored him to his estate. Earl Morcar, and Egelwin, Bishop of
Durham, who had joined the malecontents, were thrown into prison, and
the latter soon after died in confinement. Edwin, attempting to make
his escape into Scotland, was betrayed by some of his followers, and
was killed by a party of Normans, to the great affliction of the
English, and even to that of William, who paid a tribute of generous
tears to the memory of this gallant and beautiful youth. The King of
Scotland, in hopes of profiting by these convulsions, had fallen upon
the northern counties; but on the approach of William, he retired; and
when the king entered his country, he was glad to make peace, and to
pay the usual homage to the English crown. To complete the king's
prosperity, Edgar Atheling himself, despairing of success, and weary
of a fugitive life, submitted to his enemy; and receiving a decent
pension for his subsistence, was permitted to live in England
unmolested. But these acts of generosity towards the leaders were
disgraced, as usual, by William's rigour against the inferior
malecontents. He ordered the hands to be lopt off; and the eyes to be
put out, of many of the prisoners whom he had taken in the Isle of
Ely; and he dispersed them in that miserable condition throughout the
country, as monuments of his severity.

[MN 1073.] The province of Maine, in France, had, by the will of
Herbert, the last count, fallen under the dominion of William some
years before his conquest of England; but the inhabitants,
dissatisfied with the Norman government, and instigated by Fulk, Count
of Anjou, who had some pretensions to the succession, now rose in
rebellion, and expelled the magistrates whom the king had placed over
them. The full settlement of England afforded him leisure to punish
this insult on his authority; but being unwilling to remove his Norman
forces from this island, he carried over a considerable army, composed
almost entirely of English; and joining them to some troops levied in
Normandy, he entered the revolted province. The English appeared
ambitious of distinguishing themselves on this occasion, and of
retrieving that character of valour which had long been national among
them; but which their late easy subjection under the Normans had
somewhat degraded and obscured. Perhaps too they hoped that, by their
zeal and activity, they might recover the confidence of their
sovereign, as their ancestors had formerly, by like means, gained the
affections of Canute; and might conquer his inveterate prejudices in
favour of his own countrymen. The king's military conduct, seconded
by these brave troops, soon overcame all opposition in Maine: the
inhabitants were obliged to submit, and the Count of Anjou
relinquished his pretensions.

[MN 1074. Insurrection of the Norman barons.]
But during these transactions the government of England was greatly
disturbed; and that too by those very foreigners who owed every thing
to the king's bounty, and who were the sole object of his friendship
and regard. The Norman barons, who had engaged with their duke in the
conquest of England, were men of the most independent spirit; and
though they obeyed their leader in the field, they would have regarded
with disdain the richest acquisitions, had they been required in
return to submit, in their civil government, to the arbitrary will of
one man. But the imperious character of William, encouraged by his
absolute dominion over the English, and often impelled by the
necessity of his affairs, had prompted him to stretch his authority
over the Normans themselves beyond what the free genius of that
victorious people could easily bear. The discontents were become
general among those haughty nobles; and even Roger, Earl of Hereford,
son and heir of Fitz-Osberne, the king's chief favourite, was strongly
infected with them. This nobleman, intending to marry his sister to
Ralph de Guader, Earl of Norfolk, had thought it his duty to inform
the king of his purpose, and to desire the royal consent; but meeting
with a refusal, he proceeded nevertheless to complete the nuptials,
and assembled all his friends, and those of Guader, to attend the
solemnity. The two earls, disgusted by the denial of their request,
and dreading William's resentment for their disobedience, here
prepared measures for a revolt; and during the gaiety of the festival,
while the company was heated with wine, they opened the design to
their guests. They inveighed against the arbitrary conduct of the
king; his tyranny over the English, whom they affected on this
occasion to commiserate; his imperious behaviour to his barons of the
noblest birth; and his apparent intention of reducing the victors and
the vanquished to a like ignominious servitude. Amidst their
complaints, the indignity of submitting to a bastard [t] was not
forgotten; the certain prospect of success in a revolt, by the
assistance of the Danes and the discontented English, was insisted on;
and the whole company, inflamed with the same sentiments, and warmed
by the jollity of the entertainment, entered, by a solemn engagement,
into the design of shaking off the royal authority. Even Earl
Waltheof; who was present, inconsiderately expressed his approbation
of the conspiracy, and promised his concurrence towards its success.
[FN [t] William was so little ashamed of his birth, that be assumed
the appellation of bastard in some of his letters and charters.
Spellm. Gloss. in verb. BASTARDUS. Camden in RICHMONDSHIRE.]

This nobleman, the last of the English who, for some generations,
possessed any power or authority, had, after his capitulation at York,
been received into favour by the Conqueror; had even married Judith,
niece to that prince; and had been promoted to the earldoms of
Huntingdon and Northampton [u]. Cospatric, Earl of Northumberland,
having, on some new disgust from William, retired into Scotland, where
he received the earldom of Dunbar from the bounty of Malcolm; Waltheof
was appointed his successor in that important command, and seemed
still to possess the confidence and friendship of his sovereign [w].
But as he was a man of generous principles, and loved his country, it
is probable that the tyranny exercised over the English lay heavy upon
his mind, and destroyed all the satisfaction which he could reap from
his own grandeur and advancement. When a prospect, therefore, was
opened of retrieving their liberty, he hastily embraced it; while the
fumes of the liquor, and the ardour of the company, prevented him from
reflecting on the consequences of that rash attempt. But after his
cool judgment returned, he foresaw that the conspiracy of those
discontented barons was not likely to prove successful against the
established power of William; or if it did, that the slavery of the
English, instead of being alleviated by that event, would become more
grievous, under a multitude of foreign leaders, factious and
ambitious, whose union and whose discord would be equally oppressive
to the people. Tormented with these reflections, he opened his mind
to his wife Judith, of whose fidelity he entertained no suspicion, but
who, having secretly fixed her affections on another, took this
opportunity of ruining her easy and credulous husband. She conveyed
intelligence of the conspiracy to the king, and aggravated every
circumstance, which, she believed, would tend to incense him against
Waltheof, and render him absolutely implacable [x]. Meanwhile the
earl, still dubious with regard to the part which he should act,
discovered the secret in confession to Lanfranc, on whose probity and
judgment he had a great reliance: he was persuaded by the prelate,
that he owed no fidelity to those rebellious barons, who had by
surprise gained his consent to a crime; that his first duty was to his
sovereign and benefactor; his next to himself and his family; and
that, if he seized not the opportunity of making atonement for his
guilt by revealing it, the temerity of the conspirators was so great,
that they would give some other person the means of acquiring the
merit of the discovery. Waltheof, convinced by these arguments, went
over to Normandy; but though he was well received by the king, and
thanked for his fidelity, the account previously transmitted by Judith
had sunk deep into William's mind, and had destroyed all the merit of
her husband's repentance.
[FN [u] Order. Vital. p. 522. Hoveden, p. 454. [w] Sim. Dun. p. 205.
[x] Order. Vital. p. 536.]

The conspirators, hearing of Waltheof's departure, immediately
concluded their design to be betrayed; and they flew to arms before
their schemes were ripe for execution, and before the arrival of the
Danes, in whose aid they placed their chief confidence. The Earl of
Hereford was checked by Walter de Lacy, a great baron in those parts,
who, supported by the Bishop of Worcester and the Abbot of Evesham,
raised some forces, and prevented the earl from passing the Severn, or
advancing into the heart of the kingdom. The Earl of Norfolk was
defeated at Fagadun, near Cambridge, by Odo, the regent, assisted by
Richard de Bienfaite and William de Warenne, the two justiciaries.
The prisoners taken in this action had their right foot cut off, as a
punishment of their treason: the earl himself escaped to Norwich,
thence to Denmark; where the Danish fleet, which had made an
unsuccessful attempt upon the coast of England [y], soon after
arrived, and brought him intelligence, that all his confederates were
suppressed, and were either killed, banished, or taken prisoners [z].
Ralph retired in despair to Britany, where he possessed a large estate
and extensive jurisdictions.
[FN [y] Chron. Sax. p. 183. M. Paris, p. 7. [z] Many of the
fugitive Normans are supposed to have fled into Scotland; where they
were protected, as well as the fugitive English, by Malcolm. Whence
come the many French and Norman families, which are found at present
in that country.]

The king, who hastened over to England in order to suppress the
insurrection, found that nothing remained but the punishment of the
criminals, which he executed with great severity. Many of the rebels
were hanged; some had their eyes put out; others their hands cut off.
But William, agreeably to his usual maxims, showed more lenity to
their leader, the Earl of Hereford, who was only condemned to a
forfeiture of his estate, and to imprisonment during pleasure. The
king seemed even disposed to remit this last part of the punishment,
had not Roger, by a fresh insolence, provoked him to render his
confinement perpetual. [MN 1075.] But Waltheof, being an Englishman,
was not treated with so much humanity; though his guilt, always much
inferior to that of the other conspirators, was atoned for by an
early repentance and return to his duty. William, instigated by his
niece, as well as by his rapacious courtiers, who longed for so rich a
forfeiture, ordered him to be tried, condemned, and executed. [MN
29th April 1075.] The English, who considered this nobleman as the
last resource of their nation, grievously lamented his fate, and
fancied that miracles were wrought by his relics, as a testimony of
his innocence and sanctity. The infamous Judith, falling soon after
under the king's displeasure, was abandoned by all the world, and
passed the rest of her life in contempt, remorse, and misery.

Nothing remained to complete William's satisfaction but the punishment
of Ralph de Guader; and he hastened over to Normandy in order to
gratify his vengeance on that criminal. But though the contest seemed
very unequal between a private nobleman and the King of England, Ralph
was so well supported both by the Earl of Britany and the King of
France, that William, after besieging him for some time in Dol, was
obliged to abandon the enterprise, and make with those powerful
princes a peace, in which Ralph himself was included. England, during
his absence, remained in tranquillity, and nothing remarkable
occurred, except two ecclesiastical synods which were summoned, one at
London, another at Winchester. In the former the precedency among the
episcopal sees was settled, and the seat of some of them was removed
from small villages to the most considerable town within the diocese.
In the second was transacted a business of more importance.

[MN 1076. Dispute about investitures]
The industry and perseverance are surprising, with which the popes had
been treasuring up powers and pretensions during so many ages of
ignorance; while each pontiff employed every fraud for advancing
purposes of imaginary piety, and cherished all claims which might turn
to the advantage of his successors, though he himself could not expect
ever to reap any benefit from them. All this immense store of
spiritual and civil authority was now devolved on Gregory VII. of the
name of Hildebrand, the most enterprising pontiff that had ever filled
that chair, and the least restrained by fear, decency, or moderation.
Not content with shaking off the yoke of the emperors, who had
hitherto exercised the power of appointing the pope on every vacancy,
or at least of ratifying his election; he undertook the arduous task
of entirely disjoining the ecclesiastical from the civil power, and of
excluding profane laymen from the right which they had assumed of
filling the vacancies of bishoprics, abbeys, and other spiritual
dignities [a]. The sovereigns who had long exercised this power, and
who had acquired it not by encroachments on the church, but on the
people, to whom it originally belonged [b], made great opposition to
this claim of the court of Rome; and Henry IV., the reigning emperor,
defended this prerogative of his crown with a vigour and resolution
suitable to its importance. The few offices, either civil or
military, which the feudal institutions left the sovereign the power
of bestowing, made the prerogative of conferring the pastoral ring and
staff the most valuable jewel of the royal diadem; especially as the
general ignorance of the age bestowed a consequence on the
ecclesiastical offices, even beyond the great extent of power and
property which belonged to them. Superstition, the child of
ignorance, invested the clergy with an authority almost sacred; and as
they engrossed the little learning of the age, their interposition
became requisite in all civil business, and a real usefulness in
common life was thus superadded to the spiritual sanctity of their
[FN [a] L'Abbe Conc. tom. x. p. 371, 372. com. 2. [b] Padre Paolo
sopra benef. eccles. p. 30.]

When the usurpations, therefore, of the church had come to such
maturity as to embolden her to attempt extorting the right of
investitures from the temporal power, Europe, especially Italy and
Germany, was thrown into the most violent convulsions, and the pope
and the emperor waged implacable war on each other. Gregory dared to
fulminate the sentence of excommunication against Henry and his
adherents, to pronounce him rightfully deposed, to free his subjects
from their oaths of allegiance; and instead of shocking mankind by
this gross encroachment on the civil authority, he found the stupid
people ready to second his most exorbitant pretensions. Every
minister, servant, or vassal of the emperor, who received any disgust,
covered his rebellion under the pretence of principle; and even the
mother of this monarch, forgetting all the ties of nature, was
seduced to countenance the insolence of his enemies. Princes
themselves, not attentive to the pernicious consequences of those
papal claims, employed them for their present purposes; and the
controversy, spreading into every city of Italy, engendered the
parties of Guelf and Ghibbelin; the most durable and most inveterate
factions that ever arose from the mixture of ambition and religious
zeal. Besides numberless assassinations, tumults, and convulsions to
which they gave rise, it is computed that the quarrel occasioned no
less than sixty battles in the reign of Henry IV., and eighteen in
that of his successor, Henry V., when the claims of the sovereign
pontiff finally prevailed [c].
[FN [c] Padre Paolo sopra benef. eccles. p. 113.]

But the bold spirit of Gregory, not dismayed with the vigorous
opposition which he met with from the emperor, extended his
usurpations all over Europe; and well knowing the nature of mankind,
whose blind astonishment ever inclines them to yield to the most
impudent pretensions, he seemed determined to set no bounds to the
spiritual, or rather temporal monarchy, which he had undertaken to
erect. He pronounced the sentence of excommunication against
Nicephorus, Emperor of the East: Robert Guiscard, the adventurous
Norman, who had acquired the dominion of Naples, was attacked by the
same dangerous weapon: he degraded Boleslas, King of Poland, from the
rank of king; and even deprived Poland of the title of a kingdom: he
attempted to treat Philip, King of France, with the same rigour which
he had employed against the emperor [d]: he pretended to the entire
property and dominion of Spain; and he parcelled it out amongst
adventurers, who undertook to conquer it from the Saracens, and to
hold it in vassalage under the see of Rome [e]: even the Christian
bishops, on whose aid he relied for subduing the temporal princes, saw
that he was determined to reduce them to servitude; and by assuming
the whole legislative and judicial power of the church, to centre all
authority in the sovereign pontiff [f].
[FN [d] Epist. Greg. VII. epist. 32, 35. lib. 2. epist. 5. [e] Epist.
Greg. VII. lib. 1. epist. 7. [f] Greg. epist. lib. 2. epist. 55.]

William the Conqueror, the most potent, the most haughty, and the most
vigorous prince in Europe, was not, amidst all his splendid successes,
secure from the attacks of this enterprising pontiff. Gregory wrote
him a letter, requiring him to fulfil his promise in doing homage for
the kingdom of England to the see of Rome, and to send him over that
tribute, which all his predecessors had been accustomed to pay to the
vicar of Christ. By the tribute he meant Peter's pence; which, though
at first a charitable donation of the Saxon princes, was interpreted,
according to the usual practice of the Romish court, to be a badge of
subjection acknowledged by the kingdom. William replied, that the
money should be remitted as usual; but that neither had he promised to
do homage to Rome, nor was it in the least his purpose to impose that
servitude on his state [g]. And the better to show Gregory his
independence, he ventured, notwithstanding the frequent complaints of
the pope, to refuse to the English bishops the liberty of attending a
general council which that pontiff had summoned against his enemies.
[FN [g] Spicileg. Seldeni ad Eadmer, p. 4.]

But though the king displayed this vigour in supporting the royal
dignity, he was infected with the general superstition of the age, and
he did not perceive the ambitious scope of those institutions, which,
under colour of strictness in religion, were introduced or promoted by
the court of Rome. Gregory, while he was throwing all Europe into
combustion by his violence and impostures, affected an anxious care
for the purity of manners; and even the chaste pleasures of the
marriage-bed were inconsistent, in his opinion, with the sanctity of
the sacerdotal character. He had issued a decree prohibiting the
marriage of priests, excommunicating all clergymen who retained their
wives, declaring such unlawful commerce to be fornication, and
rendering it criminal in the laity to attend divine worship, when such
profane priests officiated at the altar [h]. This point was a great
object in the politics of the Roman pontiffs; and it cost them
infinitely more pains to establish it, than the propagation of any
speculative absurdity which they had ever attempted to introduce.
Many synods were summoned in different parts of Europe before it was
finally settled; and it was there constantly remarked, that the
younger clergymen complied cheerfully with the pope's decrees in this
particular, and that the chief reluctance appeared in those who were
more advanced in years: an event so little consonant to men's natural
expectations, that it could not fail to be glossed on, even in that
blind and superstitious age. William allowed the pope's legate to
assemble, in his absence, a synod at Winchester, in order to establish
the celibacy of the clergy; but the church of England could not yet be
carried the whole length expected. The synod was content with
decreeing, that the bishops should not thenceforth ordain any priests
or deacons without exacting from them a promise of celibacy; but they
enacted, that none, except those who belonged to collegiate or
cathedral churches, should be obliged to separate from their wives.
[FN [h] Hoveden, p. 455, 457. Flor. Wigorn. p. 638. Spellm. Concil.
fol. 13 A. D. 1076.]

[MN Revolt of Prince Robert.]
The king passed some years in Normandy; but his long residence there
was not entirely owing to his declared preference of that duchy: his
presence was also necessary for composing those disturbances which had
arisen in that favourite territory, and which had even originally
proceeded from his own family. Robert, his eldest son, surnamed
Gambaron or Curthose, from his short legs, was a prince who inherited
all the bravery of his family and nation; but without that policy and
dissimulation, by which his father was so much distinguished, and
which, no less than his military valour, had contributed to his great
successes. Greedy of fame, impatient of contradiction, without
reserve in his friendships, declared in his enmities, this prince
could endure no control even from his imperious father, and openly
aspired to that independence, to which his temper, as well as some
circumstances in his situation, strongly invited him [i]. When
William first received the submissions of the province of Maine, he
had promised the inhabitants that Robert should be their prince; and
before he undertook the expedition against England, he had, on the
application of the French court, declared him his successor in
Normandy, and had obliged the barons of that duchy to do him homage as
their future sovereign. By this artifice, he had endeavoured to
appease the jealousy of his neighbours, as affording them a prospect
of separating England from his dominions on the continent; but when
Robert demanded of him the execution of those engagements, he gave him
an absolute refusal, and told him, according to the homely saying,
that he never intended to throw off his clothes till he went to bed
[k]. Robert openly declared his discontent; and was suspected of
secretly instigating the King of France and the Earl of Britany to the
opposition which they made to William, and which had formerly
frustrated his attempts upon the town of Dol. And as the quarrel
still augmented, Robert proceeded to entertain a strong jealousy of
his two surviving brothers, William and Henry, (for Richard was killed
in hunting by a stag,) who, by greater submission and complaisance,
had acquired the affections of their father. In this disposition on
both sides, the greatest trifle sufficed to produce a rupture between
[FN [i] Order. Vital. p. 545. Hoveden, p. 457. Flor. Wigorn. p. 639.
[k] Chron. de Mailr. p. 160.]

The three princes, residing with their father in the castle of L'Aigle
in Normandy, were one day engaged in sport together; and after some
mirth and jollity, the two younger took a fancy of throwing over some
water on Robert as he passed through the court on leaving their
apartment [l]; a frolic, which he would naturally have regarded as
innocent, had it not been for the suggestions of Alberic de
Grentmesnil, son of that Hugh de Grentmesnil whom William had formerly
deprived of his fortunes, when that baron deserted him during his
greatest difficulties in England. The young man, mindful of the
injury, persuaded the prince that this action was meant as a public
affront, which it behoved him in honour to resent; and the choleric
Robert, drawing his sword, ran upstairs, with an intention of taking
revenge on his brothers [m]. The whole castle was filled with tumult,
which the king himself, who hastened from his apartment, found some
difficulty to appease. But he could by no means appease the
resentment of his eldest son, who, complaining of his partiality, and
fancying that no proper atonement had been made him for the insult,
left the court that very evening, and hastened to Rouen, with an
intention of seizing the citadel of that place [n]. But being
disappointed in this view by the precaution and vigilance of Roger de
Ivery, the governor, he fled to Hugh de Neufchatel, a powerful Norman
baron, who gave him protection in his castles; and he openly levied
war against his father [o]. The popular character of the prince, and
a similarity of manners, engaged all the young nobility of Normandy
and Maine, as well as of Anjou and Britany, to take part with him; and
it was suspected, that Matilda, his mother, whose favourite he was,
supported him in his rebellion by secret remittances of money, and by
the encouragement which she gave his partisans.
[FN [l] Order. Vital. p. 545. [m] Ibid. [n] Order. Vital. p. 545.
[o] Ibid. Hoveden, p. 457. Sim. Dun. p. 210. Diceto, p. 487.]

[MN 1079.] All the hereditary provinces of William, as well as his
family, were, during several years, thrown into convulsions by this
war; and he was at last obliged to have recourse to England, where
that species of military government which he had established gave him
greater authority than the ancient feudal institutions permitted him
to exercise in Normandy. He called over an army of English under his
ancient captains, who soon expelled Robert and his adherents from
their retreats, and restored the authority of the sovereign in all his
dominions. The young prince was obliged to take shelter in the castle
of Gerberoy in the Beauvoisis, which the King of France, who secretly
fomented all these dissensions, had provided for him. In this
fortress he was closely besieged by his father, against whom, having a
strong garrison, he made an obstinate defence. There passed under the
walls of this place many rencounters, which resembled more the single
combats of chivalry than the military actions of armies; but one of
them was remarkable for its circumstances and its event. Robert
happened to engage the king, who was concealed by his helmet; and both
of them being valiant, a fierce combat ensued, till at last the young
prince wounded his father in the arm, and unhorsed him. On his
calling out for assistance, his voice discovered him to his son, who,
struck with remorse for his past guilt, and astonished with the
apprehensions of one much greater, which he had so nearly incurred,
instantly threw himself at his father's feet, craved pardon for his
offences, and offered to purchase forgiveness by any atonement [p].
The resentment harboured by William was so implacable, that he did not
immediately correspond to this dutiful submission of his son with like
tenderness; but giving him his malediction, departed for his own camp,
on Robert's horse, which that prince had assisted him to mount. He
soon after raised the siege, and marched with his army to Normandy;
where the interposition of the queen, and other common friends,
brought about a reconcilement, which was probably not a little
forwarded by the generosity of the son's behaviour in this action, and
by the returning sense of his past misconduct. The king seemed so
fully appeased, that he even took Robert with him into England; where
he intrusted him with the command of an army, in order to repel an
inroad of Malcolm, King of Scotland, and to retaliate by a like inroad
into that country. The Welsh, unable to resist William's power, were,
about the same time, necessitated to pay a compensation for their
incursions; and every thing was reduced to full tranquillity in this
[FN [p] Malmes. p. 106. H. Hunt. p. 369. Hoveden, p. 457. Flor.
Wig. p. 639. Sim. Dun. p. 210. Diceto, p. 287. Knyghton, p. 2351.
Alur. Beverl. p. 135.]

[MN 1081. Doomsday-book.]
The state of affairs gave William leisure to begin and finish an
undertaking, which proves his extensive genius, and does honour to his
memory: it was a general survey of all the lands in the kingdom, their
extent in each district, their proprietors, tenures, value; the
quantity of meadow, pasture, wood, and arable land, which they
contained; and in some counties the number of tenants, cottagers, and
slaves of all denominations, who lived upon them. He appointed
commissioners for this purpose, who entered every particular in their
register by the verdict of juries; and after a labour of six years
(for the work was so long in finishing) brought him an exact account
of all the landed property of his kingdom [q]. This monument, called
Doomsday-book, the most valuable piece of antiquity possessed by any
nation, is still preserved in the Exchequer; and though only some
extracts of it have hitherto been published, it serves to illustrate
to us, in many particulars, the ancient state of England. The great
Alfred had finished a like survey of the kingdom in his time, which
was long kept at Winchester, and which probably served as a model to
William in this undertaking [r].
[FN [q] Chron. Sax. p. 190. Ingulph, p. 79. Chron. T. Wykes, p. 23.
H. Hunt. p. 370. Hoveden, p. 460. M. West. p. 229. Flor. Wigorn. p.
641. Chron. Abb. de Petri de Burgo, p. 51. M. Paris, p. 8. The more
northern counties were not comprehended in this survey; I suppose
because of their wild, uncultivated state. [r] Ingulph, p. 8.]

The king was naturally a great economist; and though no prince had
ever been more bountiful to his officers and servants, it was merely
because he had rendered himself universal proprietor of England, and
had a whole kingdom to bestow. He reserved an ample revenue for the
crown; and in the general distribution of land among his followers, he
kept possession of no less than one thousand four hundred and twenty-
two manors in different parts of England [s], which paid him rent,
either in money, or in corn, cattle, and the usual produce of the
soil. An ancient historian computes, that his annual fixed income,
besides escheats, fines, reliefs, and other casual profits to a great
value, amounted to near four hundred thousand pounds a year [t]; a sum
which, if all circumstances be attended to, will appear wholly
incredible. A pound in that age, as we have already observed,
contained three times the weight of silver that it does at present;
and the same weight of silver, by the most probable computation, would
purchase near ten times more of the necessaries of life, though not in
the same proportion of the finer manufactures. This revenue,
therefore, of William, would be equal to at least nine or ten millions
at present; and as that prince had neither fleet nor army to support,
the former being only an occasional expense, and the latter being
maintained without any charge to him by his military vassals, we must
thence conclude, that no emperor or prince, in any age or nation, can
be compared to the Conqueror for opulence and riches. This leads us
to suspect a great mistake in the computation of the historian:
though, if we consider that avarice is always imputed to William, as
one of his vices, and that having by the sword rendered himself master
of all the lands in the kingdom, he would certainly in the partition
retain a great proportion for his own share; we can scarcely be guilty
of any error in asserting, that perhaps no king of England was ever
more opulent, was more able to support by his revenue the splendour
and magnificence of a court, or could bestow more on his pleasures, or
in liberalities to his servants and favourites [u].
[FN [s] West's inquiry into the manner of creating peers, p. 24. [t]
Order. Vital. p. 523. He says one thousand and sixty pounds and some
odd shillings and pence a day. [u] Fortescue, de Dom. reg. et
politic. cap. 111.]

[MN The new forest.]
There was one pleasure to which William, as well as all the Normans
and ancient Saxons, was extremely addicted, and that was hunting; but
this pleasure he indulged more at the expense of his unhappy subjects,
whose interests he always disregarded, than to the loss or diminution
of his own revenue. Not content with those large forests which former
kings possessed in all parts of England, he resolved to make a new
forest near Winchester, the usual place of his residence; and for that
purpose he laid waste the country in Hampshire for an extent of thirty
miles, expelled the inhabitants from their houses, seized their
property, even demolished churches and convents, and made the
sufferers no compensation for the injury [w]. At the same time, he
enacted new laws, by which he prohibited all his subjects from hunting
in any of his forests, and rendered the penalties more severe than
ever had been inflicted for such offences. The killing of a deer or
boar, or even a hare, was punished with the loss of the delinquent's
eyes; and that at a time, when the killing of a man could be atoned
for by paying a moderate fine or composition.
[FN [w] Malmes. p. 3. H. Hunt. p. 731. Anglia Sacra, vol. i. p.

The transactions recorded during the remainder of this reign may be
considered more as domestic occurrences which concern the prince, than
as national events which regard England. Odo, Bishop of Baieux, the
king's uterine brother, whom he had created Earl of Kent, and
intrusted with a great share of power during his whole reign, had
amassed immense riches; and agreeably to the usual progress of human
wishes, he began to regard his present acquisitions but as a step to
farther grandeur. He had formed the chimerical project of buying the
papacy; and though Gregory, the reigning pope, was not of advanced
years, the prelate had confided so much in the predictions of an
astrologer, that he reckoned upon the pontiff's death, and upon
attaining, by his own intrigues and money, that envied state of
greatness. Resolving, therefore, to remit all his riches to Italy, he
had persuaded many considerable barons, and among the rest, Hugh, Earl
of Chester, to take the same course; in hopes that, when he should
mount the papal throne, he would bestow on them more considerable
establishments in that country. [MN 1082.] The king, from whom all
these projects had been carefully concealed, at last got intelligence
of the design, and ordered Odo to be arrested. His officers, from
respect to the immunities which the ecclesiastics now assumed,
scrupled to execute the command, till the king himself was obliged in
person to seize him; and when Odo insisted that he was a prelate, and
exempt from all temporal jurisdiction, William replied, that he
arrested him not as Bishop of Baieux, but as Earl of Kent. He was
sent prisoner to Normandy; and, notwithstanding the remonstrances and
menaces of Gregory, was detained in custody during the remainder of
this reign.

[MN 1083.] Another domestic event gave the king much more concern: it
was the death of Matilda, his consort, whom he tenderly loved, and for
whom he had ever preserved the most sincere friendship. Three years
afterwards he passed into Normandy, and carried with him Edgar
Atheling, to whom he willingly granted permission to make a pilgrimage
to the Holy Land. [MN 1087. War with France.] He was detained on
the continent by a misunderstanding, which broke out between him and
the King of France, and which was occasioned by inroads made into
Normandy by some French barons on the frontiers. It was little in the
power of princes at that time to restrain their licentious nobility;
but William suspected, that these barons durst not have provoked his
indignation, had they not been assured of the countenance and
protection of Philip. His displeasure was increased by the account he
received of some railleries which that monarch had thrown out against
him. William, who was become corpulent, had been detained in bed some
time by sickness; upon which Philip expressed his surprise that his
brother of England should be so long in being delivered of his big
belly. The king sent him word, that, as soon as he was up, he would
present so many lights at Notre-dame, as would perhaps give little
pleasure to the King of France; alluding to the usual practice at that
time of women after childbirth. Immediately on his recovery, he led
an army into L'Isle de France, and laid every thing waste with fire
and sword. He took the town of Mante, which he reduced to ashes. But
the progress of these hostilities was stopped by an accident which
soon after put an end to William's life. His horse starting aside of
a sudden, he bruised his belly on the pommel of the saddle; and being
in a bad habit of body, as well as somewhat advanced in years, he
began to apprehend the consequences, and ordered himself to be carried
in a litter to the monastery of St. Gervas. Finding his illness
increase, and being sensible of the approach of death, he discovered
at last the vanity of all human grandeur, and was struck with remorse
for those horrible cruelties and acts of violence, which, in the
attainment and defence of it, he had committed during the course of
his reign over England. He endeavoured to make atonement by presents
to churches and monasteries; and he issued orders, that Earl Morcar,
Siward, Bearne, and other English prisoners, should be set at liberty.
He was even prevailed on, though not without reluctance, to consent,
with his dying breath, to release his brother Odo, against whom he was
extremely incensed. He left Normandy and Maine to his eldest son
Robert: he wrote to Lanfranc, desiring him to crown William King of
England: he bequeathed to Henry nothing but the possessions of his
mother Matilda; but foretold that he would one day surpass both his
brothers in power and opulence. He expired in the sixty-third year of
his age, in the twenty-first year of his reign over England, and in
the fifty-fourth of that over Normandy.

[MN 9th Sept. Death and character of William the Conqueror.]
Few princes have been more fortunate than this great monarch, or were
better entitled to grandeur and prosperity, from the abilities and the
vigour of mind which he displayed in all his conduct. His spirit was
bold and enterprising, yet guided by prudence: his ambition, which was
exorbitant, and lay little under the restraints of justice, still less
under those of humanity, ever submitted to the dictates of sound
policy. Born in an age when the minds of men were intractable and
unacquainted with submission, he was yet able to direct them to his
purposes; and partly from the ascendant of his vehement character,
partly from art and dissimulation, to establish an unlimited
authority. Though not insensible to generosity, he was hardened
against compassion; and he seemed equally ostentatious and equally
ambitious of show and parade in his clemency and in his severity. The
maxims of his administration were austere; but might have been useful,
had they been solely employed to preserve order in an established
government [x]; they were ill calculated for softening the rigours
which, under the most gentle management, are inseparable from
conquest. His attempt against England was the last great enterprise
of the kind which, during the course of seven hundred years, has fully
succeeded in Europe; and the force of his genius broke through those
limits, which first the feudal institutions, then the refined policy
of princes, have fixed to the several states of Christendom. Though
he rendered himself infinitely odious to his English subjects, he
transmitted his power to his posterity, and the throne is still filled
by his descendants: a proof, that the foundations which he laid were
firm and solid, and that, amidst all his violence, while he seemed
only to gratify the present passion, he had still an eye towards
[FN [x] M. West. p. 230. Anglia Sacra, vol. i. p. 258.]

Some writers have been desirous of refusing to this prince the title
of Conqueror, in the sense which that term commonly bears; and, on
pretence that the word is sometimes in old books applied to such as
make an acquisition of territory by any means, they are willing to
reject William's title, by right of war, to the crown of England. It
is needless to enter into a controversy, which, by the terms of it,
must necessarily degenerate into a dispute of words. It suffices to
say, that the Duke of Normandy's first invasion of the island was
hostile; that his subsequent administration was entirely supported by
arms; that in the very frame of his laws, he made a distinction
between the Normans and English, to the advantage of the former [y];
that he acted in every thing as absolute master over the natives,
whose interest and affections he totally disregarded; and that if
there was an interval when he assumed the appearance of a legal
sovereign, the period was very short, and was nothing but a temporary
sacrifice, which he, as has been the case with most conquerors, was
obliged to make of his inclination to his present policy. Scarce any
of those revolutions, which both in history and in common language,
have always been denominated conquests, appear equally violent, or
were attended with so sudden an alteration both of power and property.
The Roman state, which spread its dominion over Europe, left the
rights of individuals in a great measure untouched; and those
civilized conquerors, while they made their own country the seat of
empire, found that they could draw most advantage from the subjected
provinces, by securing to the natives the free enjoyment of their own
laws and of their private possessions. The barbarians who subdued the
Roman empire, though they settled in the conquered countries, yet
being accustomed to a rude uncultivated life, found a part only of the
land sufficient to supply all their wants; and they were not tempted
to seize extensive possessions, which they knew neither how to
cultivate nor enjoy. But the Normans and other foreigners, who
followed the standard of William, while they made the vanquished
kingdom the seat of government, were yet so far advanced in arts as to
be acquainted with the advantages of a large property; and having
totally subdued the natives, they pushed the rights of conquest (very
extensive in the eyes of avarice and ambition, however narrow in those
of reason) to the utmost extremity against them. Except the former
conquest of England by the Saxons themselves, who were induced, by
peculiar circumstances, to proceed even to the extermination of the
natives, it would be difficult to find in all history a revolution
more destructive, or attended with a more complete subjection of the
ancient inhabitants. Contumely seems even to have been wantonly added
to oppression [z]; and the natives were universally reduced to such a
state of meanness and poverty, that the English name became a term of
reproach; and several generations elapsed before one family of Saxon
pedigree was raised to any considerable honours; or could so much as
attain the rank of baron of the realm [a]. These facts are so
apparent from the whole tenour of the English history, that none would
have been tempted to deny or elude them, were they not heated by the
controversies of faction; while one party was ABSURDLY afraid of those
ABSURD consequences, which they saw the other party inclined to draw
from this event. But it is evident that the present rights and
privileges of the people, who are a mixture of English and Normans,
can never be affected by a transaction, which passed seven hundred
years ago; and as all ancient authors [b] who lived nearest the time,
and best knew the state of the country, unanimously speak of the
Norman dominion as a conquest by war and arms, no reasonable man, from
the fear of imaginary consequences, will ever be tempted to reject
their concurring and undoubted testimony.
[FN [y] Hoveden, p. 600. [z] H. Hunt. p. 370. Brompton, p. 980. [a]
So late as the reign of King Stephen, the Earl of Albemarle, before
the battle of the Standard, addressed the officers of his army in
Brompton, p. 1026. See farther Abbas Rieval, p. 339, &c. All the
barons and military men of England still called themselves Normans.
[b] See note [L], at the end of the volume.]

King William had issue, besides his three sons who survived him, five
daughters, to wit, (1.) Cicely, a nun in the monastery of Feschamp,
afterwards abbess in the Holy Trinity at Caen, where she died in 1127.
(2.) Constantia, married to Alan Fergent, Earl of Britany. She died
without issue. (3.) Alice, contracted to Harold. (4.) Adela, married
to Stephen, Earl of Blois, by whom she had four sons, William,
Theobald, Henry, and Stephen; of whom the elder was neglected on
account of the imbecility of his understanding. (5.) Agatha, who died
a virgin, but was betrothed to the King of Gallicia. She died on her
journey thither, before she joined her bridegroom.




[MN 1087. Accession of William Rufus.]
William, surnamed RUFUS, or the RED, from the colour of his hair, had
no sooner procured his father's recommendatory letter to Lanfranc, the
primate, than he hastened to take measures for securing to himself the
government of England. Sensible that a deed so unformal, and so
little prepared, which violated Robert's right of primogeniture, might
meet with great opposition, he trusted entirely for success to his own
celerity; and having left St. Gervas, while William was breathing his
last, he arrived in England before intelligence of his father's death
had reached that kingdom [a]. Pretending orders from the king, he
secured the fortresses of Dover, Pevensey, and Hastings, whose
situation rendered them of the greatest importance; and he got
possession of the royal treasure at Winchester, amounting to the sum
of sixty thousand pounds, by which he hoped to encourage and increase
his partisans [b]. The primate, whose rank and reputation in the
kingdom gave him great authority, had been intrusted with the care of
his education, and had conferred on him the honour of knighthood [c];
and being connected with him by these ties, and probably deeming his
pretensions just, declared that he would pay a willing obedience to
the last will of the Conqueror, his friend and benefactor. Having
assembled some bishops, and some of the principal nobility, he
instantly proceeded to the ceremony of crowning the new king [d]; and
by this despatch endeavoured to prevent all faction and resistance.
At the same time Robert, who had been already acknowledged successor
to Normandy, took peaceable possession of that duchy.
[FN [a] W. Malmes, p. 120. M. Paris, p. 10. [b] Chron. Sax. p. 192.
Brompton, p. 983. [c] W. Malmes. p. 120. M. Paris, p. 10. Thom.
Rudborne, p. 263. [d] Hoveden, p. 461.]

[MN 1087. Conspiracy against the king.]
But though this partition appeared to have been made without any
violence or opposition, there remained in England many causes of
discontent, which seemed to menace that kingdom with a sudden
revolution. The barons, who generally possessed large estates both in
England and in Normandy, were uneasy at the separation of those
territories; and foresaw, that as it would be impossible for them to
preserve long their allegiance to two masters, they must necessarily
resign either their ancient patrimony or their new acquisitions [e].
Robert's title to the duchy they esteemed incontestable; his claim to
the kingdom plausible; and they all desired that this prince, who
alone had any pretensions to unite these states, should be put in
possession of both. A comparison also of the personal qualities of
the two brothers led them to give the preference to the elder. The
duke was brave, open, sincere, generous: even his predominant faults,
his extreme indolence and facility, were not disagreeable to those
haughty barons, who affected independence, and submitted with
reluctance to a vigorous administration in their sovereign. The king,
though equally brave, was violent, haughty, tyrannical, and seemed
disposed to govern more by the fear than by the love of his subjects.
Odo, Bishop of Baieux, and Robert, Earl of Mortaigne, maternal
brothers of the Conqueror, envying the great credit of Lanfranc, which
was increased by his late services, enforced all these motives with
their partisans, and engaged them in a formal conspiracy to dethrone
the king. They communicated their design to Eustace, Count of
Boulogne; Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury and Arundel; Robert de Belesme,
his eldest son; William, Bishop of Durham; Robert de Moubray; Roger
Bigod; Hugh de Grentmesnil; and they easily procured the assent of
these potent noblemen. The conspirators, retiring to their castles,
hastened to put themselves in a military posture; and expecting to be
soon supported by a powerful army from Normandy, they had already
begun hostilities in many places.
[FN [e] Order. Vital. p. 666.]

The king, sensible of his perilous situation, endeavoured to engage
the affections of the native English. As that people were now so
thoroughly subdued that they no longer aspired to the recovery of
their ancient liberties, and were content with the prospect of some
mitigation in the tyranny of the Norman princes, they zealously
embraced William's cause, upon receiving general promises of good
treatment, and of enjoying the license of hunting in the royal
forests. The king was soon in a situation to take the field; and as
he knew the danger of delay, he suddenly marched into Kent; where his
uncles had already seized the fortresses of Pevensey and Rochester.
These places he successively reduced by famine; and though he was
prevailed on by the Earl of Chester, William de Warenne, and Robert
Fitz-Hammon, who had embraced his cause, to spare the lives of the
rebels, he confiscated all their estates, and banished them the
kingdom [f]. This success gave authority to his negotiations with
Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury, whom he detached from the confederates; and
as his powerful fleet, joined to the indolent conduct of Robert,
prevented the arrival of the Norman succours, all the other rebels
found no resource but in flight or submission. Some of them received
a pardon; but the greater part were attainted; and the king bestowed
their estates on the Norman barons, who had remained faithful to him.
[FN [f] Chron. Sax. p. 195. Order. Vital. p. 668.]

[MN 1089.] William, freed from the danger of these insurrections,
took little care of fulfilling his promises to the English, who still
found themselves exposed to the same oppresions which they had
undergone during the reign of the Conqueror, and which were rather
augmented by the insolent impetuous temper of the present monarch.
The death of Lanfranc, who retained great influence over him, gave
soon after a full career to his tyranny; and all orders of men found
reason to complain of an arbitrary and illegal administration. Even
the privileges of the church, held sacred in those days, were a feeble
rampart against his usurpations. He seized the temporalities of all
the vacant bishoprics and abbeys; he delayed the appointment of
successors to those dignities, that he might the longer enjoy the
profits of their revenue; he bestowed some of the church lands in
property on his captains and favourites; and he openly set to sale
such sees and abbeys as he thought proper to dispose of. Though the
murmurs of the ecclesiastics; which were quickly propagated to the
nation, rose high against this grievance, the terror of William's
authority, confirmed by the suppression of the late insurrections,
retained every one in subjection, and preserved general tranquillity
in England.

[MN 1090. Invasion of Normandy.]
The king even thought himself enabled to disturb his brother in the
possession of Normandy. The loose and negligent administration of
that prince had emboldened the Norman barons to affect a great
independency; and their mutual quarrels and devastations had rendered
the whole territory a scene of violence and outrage. Two of them,
Walter and Odo, were bribed by William to deliver the fortresses of
St. Valori and Albemarle into his hands: others soon after imitated
the example of revolt; while Philip, King of France who ought to have
protected his vassal in the possession of his fief, was, after making
some efforts in his favour, engaged by large presents to remain
neuter. The duke had also reason to apprehend danger from the
intrigues of his brother Henry. This young prince, who had inherited
nothing of his father's great possessions, but some of his money, had
furnished Robert, while he was making his preparations against
England, with the sum of three thousand marks; and in return for so
slender a supply, had been put in possession of the Cotentin, which
comprehended near a third of the duchy of Normandy. Robert
afterwards, upon some suspicion, threw him into prison; but finding
himself exposed to invasion from the King of England, and dreading the
conjunction of the two brothers against him, he now gave Henry his
liberty, and even made use of his assistance in suppressing the
insurrections of his rebellious subjects. Conan, a rich burgess of
Rouen, had entered into a conspiracy to deliver that city to William;
but Henry, on the detection of his guilt, carried the traitor up to a
high tower, and with his own hands flung him from the battlements.

The king appeared in Normandy at the head of an army; and affairs
seemed to have come to extremity between the brothers; when the
nobility on both sides, strongly connected by interest and alliances,
interposed and mediated an accommodation. The chief advantage of this
treaty accrued to William, who obtained possession of the territory of
Eu, the towns of Aumale, Fescamp, and other places; but in return, he
promised that he would assist his brother in subduing Maine, which had
rebelled; and that the Norman barons, attainted in Robert's cause,
should be restored to their estates in England. The two brothers also
stipulated, that on the demise of either without issue, the survivor
should inherit all his dominions; and twelve of the most powerful
barons on each side swore, that they would employ their power to
ensure the effectual execution of the whole treaty [g]: a strong proof
of the great independence and authority of the nobles in those ages!
[FN [g] Chron. Sax. p. 197. W. Malmes. p. 121. Hoveden, p. 462. M.
Paris, p. 11. Annal. Waverl. p. 137. W. Heming. p. 463. Sim.
Dunelm. p. 216. Brompton, p. 986.]

Prince Henry, disgusted that so little care had been taken of his
interests in this accommodation, retired to St. Michael's Mount, a
strong fortress on the coast of Normandy, and infested the
neighbourhood with his incursions. Robert and William, with their
joint forces, besieged him in this place, and had nearly reduced him
by the scarcity of water; when the elder, hearing of his distress,
granted him permission to supply himself, and also sent him some pipes
of wine for his own table. Being reproved by William for this
ill-timed generosity, he replied, WHAT, SHALL I SUFFER MY BROTHER TO
also, during this siege, performed an act of generosity which was less
suitable to his character. Riding out one day alone, to take a survey
of the fortress, he was attacked by two soldiers and dismounted. One
of them drew his sword in order to despatch him; when the king
exclaimed, HOLD, KNAVE! I AM THE KING OF ENGLAND. The soldier
suspended his blow; and raising the king from the ground, with
expressions of respect, received a handsome reward, and was taken into
his service. Prince Henry was soon after obliged to capitulate; and
being despoiled of all his patrimony, wandered about for some time
with very few attendants, and often in great poverty.

[MN 1091.] The continued intestine discord among the barons was alone
in that age destructive; the public wars were commonly short and
feeble, produced little bloodshed, and were attended with no memorable
event. To this Norman war, which was so soon concluded, there
succeeded hostilities with Scotland, which were not of longer
duration. Robert here commanded his brother's army, and obliged
Malcolm to accept of peace, and do homage to the crown of England.
This peace was not more durable. [MN 1093.] Malcolm, two years
after, levying an army, invaded England; and after ravaging
Northumberland, he laid siege to Alnwick, where a party of Earl
Moubray's troops falling upon him by surprise, a sharp action ensued,
in which Malcolm was slain. This incident interrupted for some years
the regular succession to the Scottish crown. Though Malcolm left
legitimate sons, his brother, Donald, on account of the youth of these
princes, was advanced to the throne; but kept not long possession of
it. Duncan, natural son of Malcolm, formed a conspiracy against him;
and being assisted by William with a small force, made himself master
of the kingdom. New broils ensued with Normandy. The frank, open,
remiss temper of Robert was ill fitted to withstand the interested,
rapacious character of William, who, supported by greater power, was
still encroaching on his brother's possessions, and instigating his
turbulent barons to rebellion against him. [MN 1094.] The king,
having gone over to Normandy to support his partisans, ordered an army
of twenty thousand men to be levied in England and to be conducted to
the sea-coast, as if they were instantly to be embarked. Here Ralph
Flambard, the king's minister, and the chief instrument of his
extortions, exacted ten shillings a-piece from them, in lieu of their
service, and then dismissed them into their several counties. This
money was so skilfully employed by William that it rendered him better
service than he could have expected from the army. He engaged the
French king by new presents to depart from the protection of Robert,
and he daily bribed the Norman barons to desert his service; but was
prevented from pushing his advantages by an incursion of the Welsh,
which obliged him to return to England. He found no difficulty in
repelling the enemy; but was not able to make any considerable
impression on a country guarded by its mountainous situation. [MN
1095.] A conspiracy of his own barons, which was detected at this
time, appeared a more serious concern, and engrossed all his
attention. Robert Moubray, Earl of Northumberland, was at the head
of this combination; and he engaged in it the Count d'Eu, Richard de
Tunbridge, Roger de Lacy, and many others. The purpose of the
conspirators was to dethrone the king, and to advance in his stead
Stephen, Count of Aumale, nephew to the Conqueror. William's despatch
prevented the design from taking effect, and disconcerted the
conspirators. Moubray made some resistance, but being taken prisoner,
was attainted, and thrown into confinement, where he died about thirty
years after. [MN 1096.] The Count d'Eu denied his concurrence in the
plot; and to justify himself, fought, in the presence of the court at
Windsor, a duel with Geoffrey Bainard, who accused him. But being
worsted in the combat, he was condemned to be castrated, and to have
his eyes put out. William de Alderi, another conspirator, was
supposed to be treated with more rigour, when he was sentenced to be

[MN The Crusades.]
But the noise of these petty wars and commotions was quite sunk in the
tumult of the crusades, which now engrossed the attention of Europe,
and have ever since engaged the curiosity of mankind, as the most
signal and most durable monument of human folly that has yet appeared
in any age or nation. After Mahomet had, by means of his pretended
revelations, united the dispersed Arabians under one head, they issued
forth from their deserts in great multitudes; and being animated with
zeal for their new religion, and supported by the vigour of their new
government, they made deep impression on the eastern empire, which was
far in the decline, with regard both to military discipline and to
civil policy. Jerusalem, by its situation, became one of their most
early conquests; and the Christians had the mortification to see the
holy sepulchre, and the other places, consecrated by the presence of
their religious founder, fallen into the possession of infidels. But
the Arabians or Saracens were so employed in military enterprises, by
which they spread their empire, in a few years, from the banks of the
Ganges to the Straits of Gibraltar, that they had no leisure for
theological controversy; and though the Alcoran, the original monument
of their faith, seems to contain some violent precepts, they were much
less infected with the spirit of bigotry and persecution than the
indolent and speculative Greeks, who were continually refining on the
several articles of their religious system. They gave little
disturbance to those zealous pilgrims who daily flocked to Jerusalem;
and they allowed every man, after paying a moderate tribute, to visit
the holy sepulchre, to perform his religious duties, and to return in
peace. But the Turcomans or Turks, a tribe of Tartars, who had
embraced Mahometanism, having wrested Syria from the Saracens, and
having, in the year 1065, made themselves masters of Jerusalem,
rendered the pilgrimage much more difficult and dangerous to the
Christians. The barbarity of their manners, and the confusions
attending their unsettled government, exposed the pilgrims to many
insults, robberies, and extortions; and these zealots, returning from
their meritorious fatigues and sufferings, filled all Christendom with
indignation against the infidels, who profaned the holy city by their
presence, and derided the sacred mysteries in the very place of their
completion. Gregory VII., among the other vast ideas which he
entertained, had formed the design of uniting all the western
Christians against the Mahometans; but the egregious and violent
invasions of that pontiff on the civil power of princes had created
him so many enemies, and had rendered his schemes so suspicious, that
he was not able to make great progress in this undertaking. The work
was reserved for a meaner instrument, whose low condition in life
exposed him to no jealousy, and whose folly was well calculated to
coincide with the prevailing principles of the times.

Peter, commonly called the Hermit, a native of Amiens in Picardy, had
made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Being deeply affected with the
dangers to which that act of piety now exposed the pilgrims, as well
as with the instances of oppression under which the eastern Christians
laboured, he entertained the bold, and in all appearance
impracticable, project of leading into Asia, from the farthest
extremities of the West, armies sufficient to subdue those potent and
warlike nations which now held the holy city in subjection [h]. He
proposed his views to Martin II., who filled the papal chair, and who,
though sensible of the advantages which the head of the Christian
religion must reap from a religious war, and though he esteemed the
blind zeal of Peter a proper means for effecting the purpose [i],
resolved not to interpose his authority, till he saw a greater
probability of success. He summoned a council at Placentia, which
consisted of four thousand ecclesiastics, and thirty thousand
seculars; and which was so numerous that no hall could contain the
multitude, and it was necessary to hold the assembly in a plain. The
harangues of the pope, and of Peter himself, representing the dismal
situation of their brethren in the East, and the indignity suffered by
the Christian name, in allowing the holy city to remain in the hands
of infidels, here found the minds of men so well prepared, that the
whole multitude, suddenly and violently, declared for the war, and
solemnly devoted themselves to perform this service, so meritorious,
as they believed it, to God and religion.
[FN [h] Gul. Tyrius, lib. 1. cap. 11. M. Paris, p. 17. [i] Gul.
Tyrius, lib. 1. cap. 13.]

But though Italy seemed thus to have zealously embraced the
enterprise, Martin knew that, in order to ensure success, it was
necessary to enlist the greater and more warlike nations in the same
engagement; and having previously exhorted Peter to visit the chief
cities and sovereigns of Christendom, he summoned another council at
Clermont in Auvergne [k]. The fame of this great and pious design
being now universally diffused, procured the attendance of the
greatest prelates, nobles, and princes; and when the pope and the
Hermit renewed their pathetic exhortations, the whole assembly, as if
impelled by an immediate inspiration, not moved by their preceding
impressions, exclaimed with one voice, IT IS THE WILL OF GOD! IT IS
THE WILL OF GOD! Words deemed so memorable, and so much the result of
a divine influence, that they were employed as the signal of
rendezvous and battle in all the future exploits of those adventurers
[l]. Men of all ranks flew to arms with the utmost ardour; and an
exterior symbol too, a circumstance of chief moment, was here chosen
by the devoted combatants. The sign of the cross, which had been
hitherto so much revered among Christians, and which, the more it was
an object of reproach among the pagan world, was the more passionately
cherished by them, became the badge of union, and was affixed to the
right shoulder, by all who enlisted themselves in this sacred warfare
[FN [k] Concil. tom. x. Concil. Clarom. Matth. Paris, p. 16. M.
West. p. 233. [l] Historia Bell. Sacri, tom. i. Musaei Ital. [m]
Hist. Bell. Sacri, tom. i. Mus. Ital. Order. Vital. p. 721.]

Europe was at this time sunk into profound ignorance and superstition:
the ecclesiastics had acquired the greatest ascendant over the human
mind: the people, who, being little restrained by honour, and less by
law, abandoned themselves to the worst crimes and disorders, knew of
no other expiation than the observances imposed on them by their
spiritual pastors; and it was easy to represent the holy war as an
equivalent for all penances [n], and an atonement for every violation
of justice and humanity. But, amidst the abject superstition which
now prevailed, the military spirit also had universally diffused
itself; and though not supported by art or discipline, was become the
general passion of the nations governed by the feudal law. All the
great lords possessed the right of peace and war: they were engaged in
perpetual hostilities with each other: the open country was become a
scene of outrage and disorder: the cities, still mean and poor, were
neither guarded by walls, nor protected by privileges, and were
exposed to every insult: individuals were obliged to depend for safety
on their own force, or their private alliances: and valour was the
only excellence which was held in esteem, or gave one man the
pre-eminence above another. When all the particular superstitions,
therefore, were here united in one great object, the ardour for
military enterprises took the same direction; and Europe, impelled by
its two ruling passions, was loosened, as it were, from its
foundations, and seemed to precipitate itself in one united body upon
the East.
[FN [n] Order. Vital. p. 720.]

All orders of men, deeming the crusades the only road to Heaven,
enlisted themselves under these sacred banners, and were impatient to
open the way with their sword to the holy city. Nobles, artisans,
peasants, even priests [o], enrolled their names; and to decline this
meritorious service, was branded with the reproach of impiety, or what
perhaps was esteemed still more disgraceful, of cowardice and
pusillanimity [p]. The infirm and aged contributed to the expedition
by presents and money; and many of them, not satisfied with the merit
of this atonement, attended it in person, and were determined, if
possible, to breathe their last in sight of that city where their
Saviour had died for them. Women themselves, concealing their sex
under the disguise of armour, attended the camp; and commonly forgot
still more the duty of their sex, by prostituting themselves, without
reserve, to the army [q]. The greatest criminals were forward in a
service which they regarded as a propitiation for all crimes; and the
most enormous disorders were, during the course of those expeditions,
committed by men inured to wickedness, encouraged by example, and
impelled by necessity. The multitude of the adventurers soon became
so great, that their more sagacious leaders, Hugh, Count of
Vermandois, brother to the French king, Raymond, Count of Toulouse,
Godfrey of Bouillon, Prince of Brabant, and Stephen, Count of Blois,
became apprehensive lest the greatness itself of the armament should
disappoint its purpose; and they permitted an undisciplined multitude,
computed at three hundred thousand men, to go before them, under the
command of Peter the Hermit, and Walter the Moneyless [s]. These men
took the road towards Constantinople through Hungary and Bulgaria; and
trusting that Heaven, by supernatural assistance, would supply all
their necessities, they made no provision for subsistence on their
march. They soon found themselves obliged to obtain by plunder what
they had vainly expected from miracles; and the enraged inhabitants of
the countries through which they passed, gathering together in arms,
attacked the disorderly multitude, and put them to slaughter without
resistance. The more disciplined armies followed after; and passing
the straits at Constantinople, they were mustered in the plains of
Asia, and amounted in the whole to the number of seven hundred
thousand combatants [t].
[FN [o] Order. Vital. p. 720. [p] W. Malm. p. 133. [q] Vertot, Hist.
de Chev. de Malte, vol. i. p. 46. [r] Sim. Dunelm. p. 222. [s]
Matth. Paris, p. 17. [t] Matth. Paris, p. 20, 21.]

Amidst this universal frenzy, which spread itself by contagion
throughout Europe, especially in France and Germany, men were not
entirely forgetful of their present interests; and both those who went
on this expedition, and those who stayed behind, entertained schemes
of gratifying, by its means, their avarice or their ambition. The
nobles who enlisted themselves were moved, from the romantic spirit of
the age, to hope for opulent establishments in the East, the chief
seat of arts and commerce during those ages; and in pursuit of these
chimerical projects, they sold at the lowest price their ancient
castles and inheritances, which had now lost all value in their eyes.
The greater princes, who remained at home, besides establishing peace
in their dominions by giving occupation abroad to the inquietude and
martial disposition of their subjects, took the opportunity of
annexing to their crown many considerable fiefs, either by purchase,
or by the extinction of heirs. The pope frequently turned the zeal of
the crusaders from the infidels against his own enemies, whom he
represented as equally criminal with the enemies of Christ. The
convents and other religious societies bought the possessions of the
adventurers, and as the contributions of the faithful were commonly
intrusted to their management, they often diverted to this purpose
what was intended to be employed against the infidels [u]. But no one
was a more immediate gainer by this epidemic fury than the King of
England, who kept aloof from all connexions with those fanatical and
romantic warriors.
[FN [u] Padre Paolo Hist. delle benef. ecclesiast. p. 128.]

[MN Acquisition of Normandy.]
Robert, Duke of Normandy, impelled by the bravery and mistaken
generosity of his spirit, had early enlisted himself in the crusade;
but being always unprovided with money, he found that it would be
impracticable for him to appear in a manner suitable to his rank and
station, at the head of his numerous vassals and subjects, who,
transported with the general rage, were determined to follow him into
Asia. He resolved, therefore, to mortgage, or rather to sell his
dominion; which he had not talents to govern; and he offered them to
his brother William for the very unequal sum of ten thousand marks
[w]. The bargain was soon concluded: the king raised the money by
violent extortions on his subjects of all ranks, even on the convents,
who were obliged to melt their plate in order to furnish the quota
demanded of them [x]: he was put in possession of Normandy and Maine,
and Robert, providing himself with a magnificent train, set out for
the Holy Land, in pursuit of glory, and in full confidence of securing
his eternal salvation.
[FN [w] W. Malm. p. 123. Chron. T. Wykes. p. 24. Annal. Waverl. p.
139. W. Heming. p. 467. Flor. Wig. p. 648. Sim. Dunelm. p. 222.
Knyghton, p. 2564. [x] Eadmer, p. 35. W. Malm. p. 123. W. Heming.
p. 467.]

The smallness of this sum, with the difficulties which William found
in raising it, suffices alone to refute the account which is
heedlessly adopted by historians, of the enormous revenue of the
Conqueror. Is it credible that Robert would consign to the rapacious
hands of his brother such considerable dominion, for a sum, which,
according to that account, made not a week's income of his father's
English revenue alone? Or that the King of England could not on
demand, without oppressing his subjects, have been able to pay him the
money? The Conqueror, it is agreed, was frugal as well as rapacious;
yet his treasure, at his death, exceeded not sixty thousand pounds,
which hardly amounted to his income for two months: another certain
refutation of that exaggerated account.

The fury of the crusades, during this age, less infected England than
the neighbouring kingdoms; probably because the Norman conquerors,
finding their settlement in that kingdom still somewhat precarious,
durst not abandon their homes in quest of distant adventures. The
selfish interested spirit also of the king, which kept him from
kindling in the general flame, checked its progress among his
subjects: and as he is accused of open profaneness [y], and was endued
with a sharp wit [z], it is likely that he made the romantic chivalry
of the crusaders the object of his perpetual raillery. As an instance
of his irreligion, we are told, that he once accepted of sixty marks
from a Jew, whose son had been converted to Christianity, and who
engaged him by that present to assist him in bringing back the youth
to Judaism. William employed both menaces and persuasion for that
purpose; but finding the convert obstinate in his new faith, he sent
for the father and told him, that as he had not succeeded, it was not
just that he should keep the present; but as he had done his utmost,
it was but equitable that he should be paid for his pains; and he
would therefore retain only thirty marks of the money [a]. At another
time, it is said, he sent for some learned Christian theologians and
some rabbies, and bade them fairly dispute the question of their
religion in his presence: he was perfectly indifferent between them;
had his ears open to reason and conviction; and would embrace that
doctrine which upon comparison should be found supported by the most
solid arguments [b]. If this story be true, it is probable that he
meant only to amuse himself by turning both into ridicule: but we must
be cautious of admitting every thing related by the monkish historians
to the disadvantage of this prince: he had the misfortune to be
engaged in quarrels with the ecclesiastics, particularly with Anselm,
commonly called St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury; and it is no
wonder his memory should be blackened by the historians of that order.
[FN [y] G. Newbr. p. 358. W. Gemet. p. 292. [z] W. Malm. p. 122.
[a] Eadmer, p. 47. [b] W. Malm. p. 123.]

[MN Quarrel the Anselm, the primate.]
After the death of Lanfranc, the king, for several years, retained in
his own hands the revenues of Canterbury, as he did those of many
other vacant bishoprics; but falling into a dangerous sickness, he was
seized with remorse, and the clergy represented to him, that he was in
danger of eternal perdition, if before his death he did not make
atonement for those multiplied impieties and sacrileges of which he
had been guilty [c]. He resolved therefore to supply instantly the
vacancy of Canterbury; and for that purpose he sent for Anselm, a
Piedmontese by birth, Abbot of Bec in Normandy, who was much
celebrated for his learning and piety. The abbot earnestly refused
the dignity, fell on his knees, wept, and entreated the king to change
his purpose [d]; and when he found the prince obstinate in forcing the
pastoral staff upon him, he kept his fist so fast clenched, that it
required the utmost violence of the bystanders to open it, and force
him to receive that ensign of spiritual dignity [e]. William soon
after recovered; and his passions regaining their wonted vigour, he
returned to his former violence and rapine. He detained in prison
several persons whom he had ordered to be freed during the time of his
penitence; he still preyed upon the ecclesiastical benefices; the sale
of spiritual dignities continued as open as ever; and he kept
possession of a considerable part of the revenues belonging to the see
of Canterbury [f]. But he found in Anselm that persevering opposition
which he had reason to expect from the ostentatious humility which
that prelate had displayed in refusing his promotion.
[FN [c] Eadmer, p. 16. Chron. Sax. p. 198. [d] Eadmer, p. 17.
Diceto, p. 494. [e] Eadmer, p. 18. [f] Eadmer, p. 19, 43. Chron.
Sax. p. 119.]

The opposition made by Anselm was the more dangerous on account of the
character of piety which he soon acquired in England by his great zeal
against all abuses, particularly those in dress and ornament. There
was a mode, which, in that age, prevailed throughout Europe, both
among men and women, to give an enormous length to their shoes, to
draw the toe to a sharp point, and to affix to it the figure of a
bird's bill, or some such ornament, which was turned upwards, and
which was often sustained by gold or silver chains tied to the knee
[g]. The ecclesiastics took exception at this ornament, which they
said was an attempt to belie the scripture, where it is affirmed, that
no man can add a cubit to his stature; and they declaimed against it
with great vehemence, nay, assembled some synods, who absolutely
condemned it. But, such are the strange contradictions in human
nature! though the clergy, at that time, could overturn thrones, and
had authority sufficient to send above a million of men on THEIR
errand to the deserts of Asia, they could never prevail against these
long pointed shoes: on the contrary, that caprice, contrary to all
other modes, maintained its ground during several centuries; and if
the clergy had not at last desisted from their persecution of it, it
might still have been the prevailing fashion in Europe.
[FN [g] Order. Vital. p. 682. W. Malmes. p. 123. Knyghton, p. 2369.]

But Anselm was more fortunate in decrying the particular mode which
was the object of his aversion, and which probably had not taken such
fast hold of the affections of the people. He preached zealously
against the long hair and curled locks which were then fashionable
among the courtiers; he refused the ashes on Ash-Wednesday to those
who were so accoutred; and his authority and eloquence had such
influence, that the young men universally abandoned that ornament, and
appeared in the cropped hair, which was recommended to them by the
sermons of the primate. The noted historian of Anselm, who was also
his companion and secretary, celebrates highly this effort of his zeal
and piety [h].
[FN [h] Eadmer, p. 23.]

When William's profaneness therefore returned to him with his health,
he was soon engaged in controversies with this austere prelate. There
was at that time a schism in the church between Urban and Clement, who
both pretended to the papacy [i]; and Anselm, who, as Abbot of Bec,
had already acknowledged the former, was determined, without the
king's consent, to introduce his authority into England [k]. William,
who, imitating his father's example, had prohibited his subjects from
recognizing any pope whom he had not previously received, was enraged
at this attempt; and summoned a synod at Rockingham, with an intention
of deposing Anselm: but the prelate's suffragans declared, that
without the papal authority, they knew of no expedient for inflicting
that punishment on their primate [l]. The king was at last engaged by
other motives to give the preference to Urban's title: Anselm received
the pall from that pontiff; and matters seemed to be accommodated
between the king and the primate [m], when the quarrel broke out
afresh from a new cause. William had undertaken an expedition against
Wales, and required the archbishop to furnish his quota of soldiers
for that service; but Anselm, who regarded the demand as an oppression
on the church, and yet durst not refuse compliance, sent them so
miserably accoutred, that the king was extremely displeased, and
threatened him with a prosecution [n]. Anselm, on the other hand,
demanded positively that all the revenues of his see should be
restored to him; appealed to Rome against the king's injustice [o];
and affairs came to such extremities, that the primate, finding it
dangerous to remain in the kingdom, desired and obtained the king's
permission to retire beyond sea. All his temporalities were seized
[p]; but he was received with great respect by Urban, who considered
him as a martyr in the cause of religion, and even menaced the king on
account of his proceedings against the primate and the church, with
the sentence of excommunication. Anselm assisted at the council of
Bari, where, besides fixing the controversy between the Greek and
Latin churches, concerning the procession of the Holy Ghost [q], the
right of election to church preferments was declared to belong to the
clergy alone, and spiritual censures were denounced against all
ecclesiastics, who did homage to laymen for their sees or benefices,
and against all laymen who exacted it [r]. The right of homage, by
the feudal customs, was, that the vassal should throw himself on his
knees, should put his joined hands between those of his superior, and
should in that posture swear fealty to him [s]. But the council
declared it execrable, that pure hands, which could create God, and
could offer him up as a sacrifice for the salvation of mankind, should
be put, after this humiliating manner, between profane hands, which,
besides being inured to rapine and bloodshed, were employed day and
night in impure purposes, and obscene contacts [t]. Such were the
reasonings prevalent in that age; reasonings which, though they cannot
be passed over in silence, without omitting the most curious, and
perhaps not the least instructive part of history, can scarcely be
delivered with the requisite decency and gravity.
[FN [i] Hoveden, p. 463. [k] Eadmer, p. 25. M. Paris, p. 13.
Diceto, p. 494. Spellm. Conc. vol ii. p. 16. [l] Eadmer, p. 30. [m]
Diceto, p. 495. [n] Eadmer, p. 37, 43. [o] Ibid. p. 40. [p] M.
Paris, p. 13. Parker, p. 178. [q] Eadmer, p. 49. M. Paris, p. 13.
Sim. Dun. p. 224. [r] M. Paris, p. 14. [s] Spellman, Du Cange, in
verb. HOMINIUM. [t] W. Heming. p. 467. Flor. Wigorn. p. 649. Sim.
Dunelm. p. 224. Brompton, p. 994.]

[MN 1097.] The cession of Normandy and Maine by Duke Robert increased
the king's territories; but brought him no great increase of power,
because of the unsettled state of those countries, the mutinous
disposition of the barons, and the vicinity of the French king, who
supported them in all their insurrections. Even Helie, Lord of La
Fleche, a small town in Anjou, was able to give him inquietude; and
this great monarch was obliged to make several expeditions abroad,
without being able to prevail over so petty a baron, who had acquired
the confidence and affections of the inhabitants of Maine. He was,
however, so fortunate as at last to take him prisoner in a rencounter;
but having released him at the intercession of the French king and the
Count of Anjou, he found the province of Maine still exposed to his
intrigues and incursions. Helie, being introduced by the citizens
into the town of Mans, besieged the garrison in the citadel: [MN
1099.] William, who was hunting in the new forest when he received
intelligence of this hostile attempt, was so provoked, that he
immediately turned his horse, and galloped to the sea-shore at
Dartmouth; declaring, that he would not stop a moment till he had
taken vengeance for the offence. He found the weather so cloudy and
tempestuous, that the mariners thought it dangerous to put to sea: but
the king hurried on board, and ordered them to set sail instantly;
telling them, that they never yet heard of a king that was drowned
[u]. By this vigour and celerity, he delivered the citadel of Mans
from its present danger: and pursuing Helie into his own territories,
he laid siege to Majol, a small castle in those parts: [MN 1100.] but
a wound, which he received before this place, obliged him to raise the
siege; and he returned to England.
[FN [u] W. Malm. p. 124. H. Hunt. p. 378. M. Paris, p. 36. Ypod.
Neust p. 442.]

The weakness of the greatest monarchs, during this age, in their
military expeditions against their nearest neighbours, appears the
more surprising, when we consider the prodigious numbers which even
petty princes, seconding the enthusiastic rage of the people, were
able to assemble, and to conduct in dangerous enterprises to the
remote provinces of Asia. William, Earl of Poitiers and Duke of
Guienne, inflamed with the glory, and not discouraged by the
misfortunes, which had attended the former adventurers in the
crusades, had put himself at the head of an immense multitude,
computed by some historians to amount to sixty thousand horse, and a
much greater number of foot [w], and he purposed to lead them into the
Holy Land against the infidels. He wanted money to forward the
preparations requisite for this expedition, and he offered to mortgage
all his dominions to William, without entertaining any scruple on
account of that rapacious and iniquitous hand to which he resolved to
consign them [x]. The king accepted the offer, and had prepared a
fleet and an army, in order to escort the money, and take possession
of the rich provinces of Guienne and Poictou; [MN 2d August.] when an
accident put an end to his life, and to all his ambitious projects.
He was engaged in hunting, the sole amusement, and indeed the chief
occupation of princes in those rude times, when society was little
cultivated, and the arts afforded few objects worthy of attention.
Walter Tyrrel, a French gentleman, remarkable for his address in
archery, attended him in this recreation, of which the new forest was
the scene; and as William had dismounted after a chase, Tyrrel,
impatient to show his dexterity, let fly an arrow at a stag, which
suddenly started before him. The arrow, glancing from a tree, struck
the king in the breast, and instantly slew him [y]; while Tyrrel,
without informing any one of the accident, put spurs to his horse,
hastened to the sea-shore, embarked for France, and joined the crusade
in an expedition to Jerusalem; a penance which he imposed on himself
for this involuntary crime. The body of William was found in the
forest by the country people, and was buried without any pomp or
ceremony at Winchester. His courtiers were negligent in performing
the last duties to a master who was so little beloved; and every one
was too much occupied in the interesting object of fixing his
successor, to attend the funeral of a dead sovereign.
[FN [w] W. Malm. p. 149. The whole is said by Order. Vital., p. 789,
to amount to three hundred thousand men. [x] W. Malmes. p. 127. [y]
Ibid. p. 126. H. Hunt. p. 378. M. Paris, p. 37. Petr. Blois, p.

[MN Death and character of William Rufus.]
The memory of this monarch is transmitted to us with little advantage
by the churchmen, whom he had offended; and though we may suspect, in
general, that their account of his vices is somewhat exaggerated, his
conduct affords little reason for contradicting the character which

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