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savageness to the reaction from fear. guished adventurers of an adventurHe probably had called his cowardice ous age. There is nothing more rocaution. His success settled the char- mantic than the history of the Noracter of Normandy, which became, or man family of Hauteville, which sent rather continued to be, a French coun- forth a number of men whose exertions try; and its people were Normans, the in Southern Europe had great effect result of a liberal mixture of many in the eleventh century. Foremost of races, from whom were to issue the his countrymen in courage and caparulers of many lands. The combat of city was the adventurer Robert de the Pré de la Bataille took place just Hauteville, better known as Robert four generations before Hastings, and Guiscard, substantially the founder of had its issue been different the current that Neapolitan kingdom which we of history might have run in a very have seen absorbed into the new kingdifferent direction from that in which dom of Italy. His daughter married it has set for eight centuries; but a son of one of the Byzantine Emperthe consequences of such a change ors, who was dethroned ; and Robert “must be left to that superhuman was thus enabled to enter on a series knowledge which the schoolmen call of Eastern conquests, which would media scientia, and which consists in have ended in the taking of Constanknowing all that would have happened tinople had not imperative circumhad events been otherwise than they stances compelled him to return to have been." The question at issue Italy. A few years later he resumed was whether the Normans should live his Oriental schemes, but died before as Frenchmen or disappear; and Wil- he could complete them, and when liam's triumph secured the ascendency everything promised him success. Had of the Romane party, who alone could a Norman dynasty been established establish Normandy. When his son, at Constantinople, at the close of the Richard sans Peur, became chief of eleventh century, by so able a man as the Normans, A. D.943, Normandy was Robert Guiscard, it is probable the a power in Europe, and virtually a free Lower Empire would have renewed its state, for its rulers were “indepen- life, and that the Normans would have dent as the kings of France, whose become as influential in the East as their superiority they acknowledged, but contemporary conquest of England had whose behests they never held them- made them in the West. The feudal selves bound to obey."
system, of which they were the great The Normans soon made themselves masters, might as easily have been infelt in Europe. They became the fore- troduced into Greece as it was into most of Christian communities, and England, and with the effect of prowere distinguished in arts and arms ducing an order of men who would and letters. They were the politest have proved themselves more than a people of their time, and in their man- match for any force that the Mussulners and modes of life they presented man could have brought against the strong contrasts to the general coarse- new nation. There would have been ness of the period in which they a regular flow of Normans and other flourished. Their valor seemed to in- hardy adventurers to Byzantium, and crease with their culture ; and if they the Turks never would have been were admired by the few because of allowed to cross the Hellespont to their intellectual superiority, they were establish themselves in Europe, and dreaded by the many because of their would have been fortunate had they dauntless bravery and the energy and been able to keep the Normans from success which characterized their mil- crossing the Hellespont to establish itary exploits. Though often fighting themselves in Asia. Thousands of at great odds, they were rarely defeat those fanatics who were so soon to ed. They furnished the most distin- cover the Syrian sands with their
bones, as Crusaders, would have been sentiment of perpetuity, inherent in the attracted to Greece, and would have Norman mind, to which everything was done Christendom better service there valueless that shared not in some dethan ever they were allowed to render gree its own enduring character. Abit under the Godfreys and Baldwins horrent alike of despotism and license, and Raymonds, the Louises and Rich- they imparted this love of institutions ards and Fredericks, who piously fought wherever they came. In their days for the redemption of the Redeemer's the world was passing through a fierce sepulchre. Indeed the Holy Sepulchre ordeal. A stern necessity lay on the could best have been freed from infidel whole system of things, a necessity pollution by operations from Greece, which may be expressed in this brief had Greece renewed her life under a formula, the sword. In their several dynasty worthy of the Greeks of old; missions, if I may so speak, the Norand Asia, the Land of Light, might mans were forced to use the appointhave been relieved from the thick ed in rument of the hour ; but the darkness under which it has so long readiness with which the sword was labored, had Norman genius and Nor- sheathed, the facility with which the man valor been authoritatively em- soldier changed into the citizen, shows ployed to direct the Christian pop- how deeply they felt that a state of ulations of the East, reinforced by hostilities, bloodshed, and disorder the surplus adventurers of the West, could not be the normal condition of against the Mussulmans. The West
And so we see them pass at might have liquidated its debt to the once from the battle-field to the counEast, by restoring Christianity to it.
cil-chamber. The fierce warrior of All this was on the cards, had Robert yesterday is the thoughtful legislator Guiscard lived a few years longer,
of to-day. The first interval of repose and he was one of many sons of a was ever employed in devising means poor and petty Norman baron, and su- for giving stability to their acquisitions, perior to thousands of his countrymen and a constitutional form to the socieonly in the circumstance that he was ty in which they were to be vested. more favored by Fortune. We are not Among the Teutons, such a task was to judge of what might have been ef- never referred to the wisdom of any fected by a Norman dynasty in Greece one leader, however successful, -- any by the miserable failure of that Latin oligarchy of chiefs, however eminent. empire of which Greece was the scene From time immemorial, the provisions in the thirteenth century, and which from which their laws were derived, and grew out of the capture of Constanti- on which their societies were based, nople by the French and the Vene- were the emanations of free public tians. That empire had not the ele- opinion. Their armies were triumments of success in it; and it was phant, because the soldier yielded up established too late, and on foundations his will implicitly to his general; their too feeble, to meet the demands of the societies were vigorous and stable, betime. Its founders lacked that legisla- cause, when the soldier became a cititive capacity with which the Normans zen, he resumed that will again. No were so liberally endowed. Though sooner had conquest and peace transwe cannot subscribe in full to Mr. muted the army into a society, than Acton Warburton's enthusiastic esti- the dominant sentiment appeared, mate of the Norman race, we believe the sentiment of rational indepenhim to be substantially correct in what dence, — resulting, as the community he says of their legislative genius. He formed, in liberal institutions."* Had dwells with unction on the strong ten
this legislative spirit been applied to dency to institutions that ever charac
Greece at the close of the eleventh terized them. This tendency, he ob
* Rollo and his Race; or, Footsteps of the Norserves, strongly indicates “the profound mans, Vol. II. pp. 107-109
century, the effect would have been to threaten the country exist only because create there a powerful nation; and the the party vanquished in the late civil Crescent never would have triumphed war are bent upon breaking the terms over the Cross in that land from which on which they were admitted to mercy. the West has drawn so much that is of They are fond of calling themselves the highest value in all its processes of Normans, though we have not heard intellectual culture.
much of their Norman origin since There is a reverse to this picture their Hastings went against them; but of the Normans. They had some very in respect to treachery and cruelty, and bad qualities, for they had no higher disregard of the rights of the poor and claims to perfection than is found in the helpless, they are the match of all the case of any other people. Mr. the barons of Normandy. James Augustus St. John, speaking of The Normans were often cruel, and the Norman princess Emma, who mar- some of their modes of punishing their ried the English Ethelred, says, after defeated enemies — blinding them, and admitting her great personal beauty, cutting off their feet and hands, and that “ her mental qualities were very far inflicting on them the most degrading from corresponding with the charms of of mutilations — might lead one to supher person. Like all other Normans, pose they were of Eastern origin, were she was greedy of gold, ambitious, self- not such practices traceable to the ish, voluptuous, and in an eminent de Northmen. These practices imply a gree prone to treachery."* This may grossness of mind that is much at war stand for a portrait of the whole Nor- with the common notion of the gentle
Nor does it detract from ness and cultivation of the Norman notheir aristocratical spirit that they were bles. They were noted for their craft, ever fond of money, or from their chiv- their spirit of intrigue, and their readialrous spirit that they were faithless ness to get possession of the property when they supposed treachery would of others by any and all means. The best promote their interests. Aristoc- most unscrupulous modern devotee of racies are always money-seekers, and Mammon would be ashamed of deeds often money-grubbers; and they plun- that never disturbed the placid egotism der all whom they have the power to of men who considered themselves the spoil. Alieni appetens is ever their flower of humanity and the salt of the motto, but sui profusus does always earth, — and whose estimate of them. go with it. The American slavocra- selves has seldom been called in quescy were the aristocracy of this country, tion. The fairer side of their conduct and they were far more “greedy of with regard to money is visible in their gold” than ever “Yankees” have been sensible encouragement of “business” Treachery is common to the chivalrous in all the forms which it then knew. classes, and the history of chivalry is “ Annual Mercantile Fairs," says Sir full of instances of its display by men F. Palgrave, “were accustomed in Norwho claimed a monopoly of honor. mandy. Established by usage and utilOur Southern “chivalry were un- ity, ere recognized by the law, their orifaithful to every compact they made, gin bespake a healthy energy. Foreign and it was their infidelity that brought manufacturers were welcomed as setabout their fall. The dangers that now tlers in the Burghs,- the richer the bet• What Sir F. Palgrave says of the famous son of
ter. No grudge was entertained against Robert Guiscard is applicable generally to the Nor. the Fleming ; and the material pros“ Bohemond was affectionate and true to
perity of the country and the briskness father, wife, and children, pleasant, affable, and
of commerce carried on in all the great courteous : yet wrapped up in selfishness, possessod bu insatiate ambition and almost diabolical cruelty, towns, proves that the pack-horses could proud and faithless, but in spite of all these vices
tramp along the old Roman roads with so seductive as to command the admiration even of those who knew him to be a heartless demon.”-His
facility. Indeed, amongst the Normans tory, Vol. IV. p. 471.
the commercial spirit was indigenous.
The Danes and the folk of Danish peasant, but he had no sympathy with blood were diligent traders. The greed his father's order. As in modern life of gain unites readily with desperate the most determined aristocrat is often bravery. When occasion served, Drake the man whose origin is the lowest, would deal like a Dutchman. Any so was it nine centuries ago, in Normode of making money enters into fa- mandy. Raoul was a sort of Clavercile combination with the bold rapacity house and Jeffreys in one person, and of the Flibustier." There was much he “enjoyed the sport of dogging material prosperity in Normandy at the the Villainage. He fell upon the Comclose of the tenth century, or less than munists ;- caught them in the very fact, a hundred years after Rollo had es- - holding a Lodge, - swearing in new tablished himself and his followers on members. Terrible was the catastrophe. French soil. The burgher class throve No trial vouchsafed. No judge called amazingly, and were the envy of all in. Happy the wretch whose weight who knew their condition ; and their stretched the halter. The country was military skill and valor were as famous visited by fire and flame; the rebels as their success in the industrial arts, were scourged, their eyes plucked out, and their wealth, which was its conse- their limbs chopped off, they were burnt quence. Free they were, or they would alive ; whilst the rich were impoverhave been neither rich nor valiant. ished and ruined by confiscations and The peasantry, too, were a superior fines.” Such were the good old times, people, who enjoyed much freedom, which never
can return, Heaven be and who exhibited their bravery when- praised! Such was the origin of the ever there was call for its exhibition, Norman nobility, destined to become facts which show that they must have the patricians of the world. The cruelbeen well governed, and which tend to ty with which the peasants were treatelevate our conception of the merits of ed by the new nobles is a type of the their rulers.
system that ever was pursued by men There was no such thing as a caste of “the gentle Norman blood ” toward of nobles in Normandy for very many a restless people. “The folk of Noryears after that country passed into mandie" had no mercy on men who the hands of the Northmen. About disputed, or even called in question, two generations after the death of Rol- their right to unrestricted dominion. lo, Richard le Bon, one of the most The Cotentin was the most imporpopular of his descendants, set up the tant part of Normandy, — was to Norstandard of exclusion, and created that mandy what Normandy was to the rest Norman nobility of which the world of Europe. It has been well described has heard so much for eight hundred as “not merely the physical bulwark years. The clergy were too powerful of Normandy, but the very kernel of in those days to be much affected by Norman nationality.” It now forms a his action, and the burghers were too part of the Département de la Manche, rich to be put down by a newly created and it holds Cherbourg in its bosom, nobility; but the peasantry were greatly the Cæsaris Burgus of the Romans, injured by the change, as it created an which the French imperial historian order who were interested in oppress- of the first Cæsar is completing as ing them. They conspired, and their a defiance to England, thus finishing course bears some resemblance to that what was long since begun under the of the Fenians of our day. The “Com- old monarchy. Ages ago — even before mune” was a word as alarming to Rich- the Romans had entered Gaul – what ard le Bon and his nobility as
we call Cherbourg is believed to have nian was at first to the most bigoted attracted Gaulish attention because of of Orangemen. The Duke employed its marine advantages. It is all but Raoul, Count of Ivri, to crush the Com- certain that the Romans fortified it. munists. Raoul was the son of a rich The Normans were children of the sea,
and they did not neglect it. The Nor- treaty of peace concluded between mans of the Cotentin were the purest Richard le Bon and Olave, the Norskmen of their race. They kept up that man, securing to the rovers the right connection with the ocean from which of free trade in Normandy. No certifisome other Normans revolted; and cate of origin was required when the they were led from the land to the big bales of English stuffs were offered sea by the same inducement that had to the chapman at the bridge-head of sent their ancestors out of Scania, Rouen; and the perils of England were the inability to find food there. “ The much enhanced by the entente cordiale population," we are assured,
- this expression has become techniteeming, the sterile land could not feed cal, and therefore untranslatable — subthem, but the roaring surges surround- sisting between Romane Normandy and ed them. All loved the sea, and upon the Northmen of the North.” the waves, and beyond the waves, they There is something amusing in this were ever seeking their fortunes. From extract; for it describes, as it were, and Hauteville, nigh Coutances, came the in advance, the state of things that exconquerors of Apulia and Sicily. And isted during our late war, The Seceswhen we call over Battle-Abbey Roll, sionists were our Danes, who, if they or search the Domesday record, or trace did not ravage our lands, cut up our comthe lineage of our [the British] aris- merce at a fearful rate, and not only tocracy, we shall find that the lords of found shelter and aid wherever the Engthese same Cotentin castles, with scarce- lish flag flies in authority, but were furly an exception, served in the Conquer- nished with ships by England and with or's army, or settled in the realm they men to work and to fight them, so that won.” The plain English of which is, our last sea-fight was won over our old that they were the cleverest, the most foe on that summer day when the Kearactive, and the most successful robbers sarge sent the Alabama to look after of their day and nation.
the old Raven craft of the Northmen England was too near Normandy not that may be lying under the old Norto be an object of the first interest to man waters, and did it, too, off the Cothe Normans. At the close of the tenth tentin shore, just where the conflict century King Ethelred II. adopted a between Saxons and Normans began. course that was destined to have the
King Ethelred, like President Linmost memorable consequences. Rich- coln in the case of the English, was ard le Bon bore himself toward the so unreasonable as to complain of the English much the same as the Eng- conduct of the Normans; and, again lish of to-day bore themselves to- like our lamented chief, he could not ward us in the Secession war. The find any excuse for piratical action in Danes were then the worst enemies of the fact that “the Normans were a England, and the Norman government thriving and money-getting people," so far anticipated the Palmerstonian and supposed they had the right to get policy of neutrality, which consists in money by encouraging robbery. But,
favoring the enemies of those whom unlike the American President, the Sax· you hate, as to throw open its ports to on king determined to have prompt and the ravagers of Normandy's neighbor. ample vengeance if he could get it. “Without sharing the danger," ob- He indulged in as much loud language serves Sir F. Palgrave, “ Normandy as was uttered in Vienna last June, prospered upon the prey which the when Sadowa was yet an unknown Danskerman made in England. The name.
He was bent upon vengeance, Normans were a thriving and money- stern and terrible. Now, vengeance is getting people. The great fair of Gui- a commodity that is dear when it is pry attests their national tendency. procurable gratis, but sometimes it is The liberal policy of the Dukes is also not obtainable at any price. And so forcibly illustrated by the remarkable Ethelred found it, to his cost. Having