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formed his resolution to invade Norman- was Edward the Confessor, who is dy, and lay it waste with fire and sword, popularly considered the very personiand bring back Richard le Bon with fication of the Saxon race, but who was him in chains to England, it remained half a Norman by birth, and wholly only to execute his design. The Eng- Norman by education ; for the successlish fleet sailed for the Cotentin, and es of the Danes compelled his family to landed a force which should have done become exiles, and his youth and eargreat things. But if the Normans of lier manhood were passed in Normanthe Cotentin were stout thieves, not dy.* When he became king, the Northe less were they stout soldiers. No mans had matters pretty much their greater error than that men must have own way in England. He remembered clean consciences to be good warriors. that Robert, Duke of Normandy, father The Normans rose to a man — and of William the Conqueror, had once even to a woman - against the invaders. made an attempt to restore the Saxon Knights and seamen and peasants and line in England, and th he failed only the peasants' wives, all armed; and the because his fleet was destroyed by a English were beaten so badly that they storm. Duke William's influence had could not have been beaten worse, had aided in his elevation to the English their cause been utterly devilish. But throne. His gratitude was expressed few of them escaped, — probably those at the expense of his people. Once who had the sense to run first; and crowned, Edward invited his Norman they got off in six ships, all the rest of friends to England. That country soon the fleet falling into the hands of the swarmed with foreigners, with whom Normans. The Norman Duke and the the king was more at home than he was British Basileus proceeded to make with his own subjects. Their language, peace, and the peace-making business the Romane, was his language. It was led to a marriage, one of many royal the language of the higher classes, the marriages which have produced ex- language of fashion, " the court tune." traordinary consequences, and led to Such strong places as then stood in much fighting, as if there were a nat- England were garrisoned by foreignural connection between wedlock and ers, and other Normans were settled In private life, marriage not un

in the towns. The country was half frequently leads to contention ; in pub- conquered years before the year of lic life, contention often leads to mar- Hastings. riage,

Ethelred sought to engraft Duke William visited England in the branch of Cerdic upon the stem of 1051. He was most hospitably reRollo,” in the hope of increasing the ceived, and it is supposed that what he power of England. He asked for the saw caused him to form the plan that hand of Emma, sister of Richard le led to the Conquest. Edward admired Bon, and obtained it. This union was his visitor; and on the death of Ed. every way unfortunate, and prepared ward the Outlaw, whom he had rethe road for the Conquest. The Nor- called from Hungary, with the intenmans who accompanied Emma to Eng- tion of proclaiming him as heir to land, and those who followed her, are the crown, - he determined that Wildescribed as “subtle, intriguing, false, liam should be his successor. He beand capable of any act of treason which queathed the English crown to the ruler promised to further their own fortunes." of Normandy. Harold agreed to supThey behaved as members of “supe- • ". The heart of Emma clung more and more to her rior races

generally behave in coun- native land. Her feelings were inherited by the chiltries inhabited by“ inferior races."

dren who were afterward born to her, - they imbibed

Their hearts were They obtained power and place, and thoroughly alienated from England, and the Norused their influence to the detriment mans and Normandy became as their kindred and of England. The king and queen did



their home."— Palgrave, Vol. III. p. 112.

wife was Editha, daughter of Earl Godwin, and sis. not live happily. One of their children

them at their mother's breast.


ter of Harold.

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port this arrangement. On his death- great affection, and is suddenly cut bed, Edward said to Harold and his off by illness. The testator then rekinsmen, “ Ye know full well, my lords, turns to his will in favor of his cousin, that I have bequeathed my kingdom to who resides abroad. His acute and the Duke of Normandy, and are there active brother-in-law has taken the not those here whose oaths have been management of his affairs; is well ingiven to secure his succession ?” The formed of this will; and, when the person to whom the crown should have testator is on his death-bed, he congone was Edgar Atheling, son of Ed- trives to tease and persuade the dying ward the Outlaw, and a lineal descend- man to alter the will again in his favor. ant of Ironside. Neither William nor This is exactly the state of the case ; Harold had any claim to the succession, and though considerable doubts have whereas Edgar's claim was as good been raised relating to the contradicas that of the Prince of Wales to the tory bequests of the Confessor, there throne of Great Britain is to-day. That can be no difficulty in admitting that Edward did not nominate Edgar must the conflicting pretensions of William be attributed, in part at least, to the and Harold were grounded upon the conviction that his nomination would acts emanating from a wavering and be treated with contempt by the parti- feeble mind. If such disputes take sans of both William and Harold. He place between private individuals, they feared, it is probable, that the nomina- are decided by a court of justice ; but tion of Edgar would give England up if they concern a kingdom, they can to the horrors of war, and that, after only be settled by the sword.” And that prince should be disposed of by a to the sword Harold and William reunion of Saxons and Normans against mitted the settlement of the question. his claim, there would be another con- The two men who were thus arrayed test between the two factions of the in deadly opposition to each other were victors. He was incapable of the grim not unworthy of being competitors for humor of the Macedonian Alexander,

Harold belonged to the who on his death-bed bequeathed his greatest Saxon family of his time, of kingdom "to the strongest”; but his which he had been the head ever since bequest was virtually of the same nature the death of his father, the great Earl as that which so long before was made Godwin, which took place in 1053. in Babylon. His death led to great Earl Godwin was one of the foremost funeral games, which are not yet over. men of the ante-Norman period of

Harold," says Palgrave, “afterward England, though his character, as Mr. founded his title upon Edward's last St. John observes, “lies buried bewill; many of our historians prove his neath a load of calumny"; and he claim, and the different statements are quotes Dr. Hook as saying that “Goddifficult to be reconciled; yet, taken win was the connecting link between altogether, the circumstances are ex- the Saxon and the Dane, and, as the actly such as we meet with in private leader of the united English people, life. The childless owner of a large became one of the greatest men this estate at first leaves his property to country has ever produced, although, his cousin on the mother's side, from as is the English custom, one of the whose connections he has received most maligned.” “Calm, moderate, much kindness.

He advances in age, and dignified, reining in with wisdom and alters his intentions in favor of a the impetuosity of his nature," says nephew on his father's side, - an amia. Mr. St. John," he presented to those ble young man, living abroad, — and around him the beau ideal of an Engfrom whom he had been estranged in lishman, with all his predilections and consequence of a family quarrel of long prejudices, the warmest attachment to standing. The young heir comes to

* The History of Normandy and of England, the testator's house, is received with

Vol. III. PP. 293, 294.



no more

his native land, and a somewhat over- through the mists of history, but canweening contempt of foreigners. He not grasp and fix them for the instrucwas without question the greatest tion of posterity.” * This portraiture statesman of his age; and, indeed, may be somewhat too highly colored, but statesmanship in England may almost it is better painting than we get from be said to have commenced with him. Norman writers, who were Whether we look at home or abroad, capable of writing justly of Godwin and we discover no man in Christendom Harold, than Roman authors of Hanworthy to be ranked with him, in genius nibal and Spartacus. Godwin was an or wisdom, in peace or war. His fige abler man than his son and successor, ure towers far above all his contempo- and probably the latter would never raries ; he constitutes the acme of the have been able to aspire to royalty, and purely Saxon mind. No taint of for- for a few months to wear a crown, had eign blood was in him. . . . . God- not the fortunes of his house been win's lot was cast upon evil days. The raised so high by his father. Nevermarriage of Ethelred with Emma origi- theless, Harold was worthy of his innated a fatal connection between this heritance, and possessed rare qualities, country and Normandy, the first fruits such as made him not undeserving a of which, forcing themselves but too throne, and of better fortune than he obviously on his notice, he prevented, found at Hastings. He was patriotic, while he lived, from growing to matu- magnanimous, brave, humane, honorrity. The efforts, public and secret, able, and energetic. His chief fault which he found it necessary to make seems to have been a deficiency in in the performance of this patriotic judgment, which led him rashly to entask, laid him open to the charge of gage in undertakings that might better craft and subtlety. Let it be granted have been deferred. Such, at least, is that he deserved the imputation ; but the impression that we derive from his it must be added, that, if foreign inva- fighting the battle of Hastings, when sion and conquest be an evil, from that he had everything to gain from delay, evil England was preserved as long as and when every day that an action was his crafty and subtle head remained postponed was as useful to the Saxon above ground; and had he lived thir- cause as it was injurious to that of the teen years longer, the accumulated and Normans. concentrated scoundrelism of Europe Harold's rival was the illegitimate would have been dashed away in foam son of Robert the Devil, as he is comand blood from the English shore. monly called, because he has been, Properly understood, Godwin's whole though improperly, “identified with a life was one protracted agony for the certain imaginary or legendary hero," salvation of his country. He had to but who was a much better man than contend with every species of deleteri- his diabolic sobriquet implies. Wilous influence, ferocious, drunken, liam's mother was Arletta, or Herleva, dissolute, and imbecile kings, the reck- daughter of a tanner of Falaise. The less intrigues of monasticism at the in- Conqueror never escaped the reproach stigation of Rome, and the unprin- of his birth, into which bastardy and cipled and infamous ambition of the plebeianism entered in equal proporNorman Bastard, who crept into Eng. tions. He was always “William the land during this great man's exile, and Bastard,” and he is so to this day. fled in all haste at his return. What “William the Conqueror," says Palhe had to contend with, what plots he grave, “ the founder of the most noble frustrated, what malice he counteracted, empire in the civilized world, could what superstition and stupidity he ren- never rid himself of the contumelious dered harmless, will never be known in appellation which bore indelible record detail. We perceive the indefinite and indistinct forms of these things floating Vol. II. pp. 176-178.

• History of the Four Conquests of England,

liam received developed his faculties, and made him one of the chief men of his age ; and in 1066 he prepared to assert his right to the English crown. ·

of his father's sin. In all history, William is the only individual to whom such an epithet has adhered throughout his life and fortunes. Was the word of affront ever applied to Alphonso, the stern father of the noble house of Braganza, by any one except a Castilian ? Not so William ; a bastard was William at the hour of his birth; a bastard in prosperity; a bastard in adversity; a bastard in sorrow; a bastard in triumph; a bastard in the maternal bosom ; a bastard when borne to his horror-inspiring grave. “William the Conqueror' relatively, but «William the Bastard’ positively; and a bastard he will continue so long as the memory of man shall endure." Sir Francis seems to have forgotten the Bastard of Orleans. Nevertheless, and in spite of his illegitimacy, William became ruler of Normandy when he was but a child, bis father abdicating the throne, and forcing the Norman baronage to accept the boy as his successor; and that boy thirty years later founded a royal line that yet endures in full strength, Queen Victoria being the legitimate descendant of William of Normandy.* The training that Wil

• The legitimate descent of Queen Victoria from the Conqueror is sometimes disputed, because it is not correctly traced, in consequence of the line of descent being carried back through Henry VII., instead of being carried through his wife, née Elizabeth Plantagenet. It may not be uninteresting to state the royal pedigree, which is at times rather intricate, and full of sinuosities, – in part due to the occurrence of political revolutions, old Eng. lish statesmen never having paid much regard to political legitimacy, which is a modern notion. Queen Victoria is the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent, who was son of George III., who was son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was son of George II., who was son of George I., who was son of the Electress Sophia (by Ernest Augustus, Elector of Hanover), who was daughter of Elizabeth Stuart (by Frederick V., Elector Palatine and “Winter King" of Bohemia), who was daughter of James I. (Sixth of Scotland), who was son of Mary, Queen of Scots (by Henry Stuart, Lord Darnleyi, who was daughter of James V., who was son of Margaret Tudor (by James IV.), who was daughter of Elizabeth Plantagenet (by Henry VII.), who was daughter of Edward IV., who was son of Richard, Duke of York, who was son of Anne Mortimer (by Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, son of Edmund, Duke of York, fifth son of Edward III.), who was daughter of Roger, Earl of Marche, who was son of Philippe (by Edmund, Earl of Marche), who was daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence,

third son of Edward III., who was son of Edward II., who was son of Edward I., who was son of Henry III., who was son of John, who was son of Henry II., who was son of Matilda (by Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou), who was daughter of Henry I. (by Matilda of Scotland, sister of Edgar Atheling, and therefore of the Saxon blood royal), who was son of William the Conqueror. Thus Queen Victoria is descended legitimately from the Conqueror, not only through Lionel, Duke of Clarence, Edward III.'s third son, but also through that monarch's fifth son, Edmund, Duke of York, whose second son, the arl of Cambridge, married the great-granddaughter of the Duke of Clarence. Had the great struggle of the English throne in the fifteenth century been correctly named, it would stand in history as the contest between the lines of Clar. ence (not York) and Lancaster. In virtue of her descent from Henry VII., Queen Victoria shares “the aspiring blood of Lancaster," which was so mounting that it brought the worst of woes on Eng. land. Henry VII. was the son of Margaret Beaufort (by Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond), who was the daughter of John, Duke of Somerset, who was the son of John, Earl of Somerset, who was the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III. ; but the mother of the Earl of Somerset was, at the time of his birth, not the wise, but the mistress of the Duke of Lancaster, though he married her late in life, and in various ways obtained the legitimation of the children she had borne him, - facts that could not remove the great fact of their illegitimacy, if marriage is to count for any. thing, and which no good historian ever has treated with respect. Lord Macaulay calls the Tudors “a line of bastards,” and ranks them with the “succession of impostors" set up by the adherents of the White Rose. Froude's great work has created a new interest in the question of the English succession, for he bases his peculiar view of the character of Henry VIII., and his justification of all his acts of heartless tyranny, on the necessities that grew out of that perplexing question, which troubled England for two centuries, thus forming a practical satire on that theory which represents that the peculiar excellence of hereditary monarchy is found in its power to prevent disputes for the possession of government, and to promote the preservation of society's peace, –a theory which has often been thrown into the teeth of republicans, and particularly since the occurrence of our unhappy civil troubles. Yet one would think that Gettysburg and Shiloh were not worse days than Towton and Bar

Those persons who are interested in the English succession question, and who would see how wide a one it was, and how far and how long and variously it affected the politics of Continental Europe as well as those of England, should read the chapter on the subject in Miss Cooper's “Life and Letters of Arabella Stuart," a learned and lively work, and not the least meritorious of those admirable historical productions which we owe to the genius, the industry, and the honesty of Englishwomen, Agnes Suickland, Caroline A. Halsted, Lucy Aiken, Mrs. Everett Green, Elizabeth Cooper, and others,


The Norman barons were at first double emblem of military and ecclesidisinclined to support their lord's claim astical investiture. Of the sixty thouupon England. Their tenures did not sand men that formed the Norman bind them to cross the sea. But at army, Normans formed the smallest last they were won over to the support portion, and most of their number were of his cause, on the promise of receiving not of noble birth. the lands of the English. He called William sailed on the 28th of Sepupon foreigners to join his army, prom- tember, and landed his army on the ising them the plunder of England. 29th, without experiencing any resist“ All the adventurers and adventurous ance. Harold was in the North, conspirits of the neighboring states were tending with and defeating the Northinvited to join his standard,” and his men, one of whose leaders was his invitation was accepted. “ William brother Tostig. As soon as he republished his ban,” says Thierry, “in ceived intelligence of William's landthe neighboring countries; he offered ing he marched south, bent upon giving gold, and the pillage of England to immediate battle, though his mother every able man who would serve him and his brother Gurth and other relawith lance, sword, or crossbow. A tives, and many of his friends, strongmultitude accepted the invitation, com- ly counselled delay. This counsel was ing by every road, far and near, from good, for his force was to William's as north and south. They came from one to four ; and even a week's delay Maine and Anjou, from Poitiers and might have so far strengthened the Brittany, from France and Flanders, Saxons as to have enabled them to from Aquitaine and Burgundy, from the fight on an approach to equal terms Alps and the banks of the Rhine. All with the invaders. But Harold rejected the professional adventurers, all the all advice, and pressed forward to acmilitary vagabonds of Western Europe, tion so imprudently as to countenance, hastened to Normandy by long march- in a superstitious age, the notion that es ; some were knights and chiefs of he was urged on by an irresistible war, the others simple foot-soldiers and power, which had decreed his destrucsergeants-of-arms, as they were then tion. Certainly he did not display called; some demanded money - pay, much sagacity before battle, though others only their passage, and all the both skill and bravery in it were not booty they might win. Some asked for wanting on his part. The battle of land in England, a domain, a castle, Hastings was fought on the 14th of a town; others simply required some October, 1066. The Normans were the rich Saxon in marriage. Every thought, assailants ; but for six hours — from every desire of human avarice pre- nine in the morning till three in the sented itself. William rejected no one,

afternoon they were repulsed ; and says the Norman chronicle, and satis- had the Saxons been content to hold fied every one as well as he could. He their ground, victory would have been gave, beforehand, a bishopric in Eng- theirs. But they left the position they land to a monk of Fescamp, in return

had so valiantly maintained, to pursue for a vessel and twenty armed men. the Normans, when the latter feigned The Pope was William's chief support to fly. Even then they fought with

Harold and all his adherents were heroic resolution, and might have reexcommunicated, and William received gained the day, had not Harold fallen. a banner and ring from Rome, the Soon after, the English position was - wbose writings do honor to the sex, and fairly en

stormed, and the king's brother, Gurth, title their authors to be ranked with those accom

was slain. The combat lasted till the plished ladies of the sixteenth century whose solid coming on of darkness. Fifteen thouattainments have so long been matter of despairing sand of the victors are said to have admiration

* Histoire de la Conquête de l'Angleterre par les fallen, -a number as great as the enNormans, Tom. I. Pp. 237, 238.

tire English army.



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