Nescio quâ natale solum dulcedine tangit
Humanos animos—

LONDON, Printed for Richard Simpson at the Three Trouts, and Ralph Simpson at the Harp in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1695.


I Have often complained, that so anci­ent and noble a Nation as ours, so re­nowned by the Fame of their Arms and Exploits abroad, so applauded and envi­ed, for their wise and happy Institutions at home, so flourishing in Arts and Learn­ing, and so adorned by excellent Wri­ters in other Kinds, should not yet have produced one good or approved general History of England. That of France has been composed with great Industry, by des Serres, with Iudgment and Candor by Mezeray. That of Spain with great Diligence and eloquent Stile, by Mariana. That of the Empire, with much Pains and good Order, as [Page] well as Learning, by Pedro de Mexia, but ours have been written by such mean and vulgar Authors, so tedious in their Relations, or rather Collections, so in­judicious in the Choice of what was fit to be told or to be let alone, with so lit­tle Order, and in so wretched a Style; that as it is a Shame to be ignorant in the Affairs of our own Country, so 'tis hardly worth the Time or Pains to be informed, since for that End a Man must read over a Library rather than a Book, and after all, must be content to forget more than he remembers.

'Tis true, some Parcels or short Pe­riods of our History have been left us by Persons of great Worth and Learn­ing, much honoured or esteemed in their Times; as, Part of Edward the fourth and Richard the third by Sir Thomas Moor; Henry the so­venth by Sir Francis Bacon; Henry the eighth by the Lord Herbert; Ed­ward [Page] the sixth by Sir John Hay­wood; and Queen Elizabeth by Mr. Camden. There are besides these, many voluminous Authors of ancient Times, in Latin, and of modern in English, with some Forreigners, as Froissart and Polidore Virgil; out of all which might be framed a full and just Body of our general History, if col­lected with Pains and Care, and di­gested with good Order; for the Archi­tect is only wanting, and not the Mate­rials for such a Building.

I will confess, I had it in my Thoughts at one Time of my Life, and the most proper for such a Work, to make an Abridgment of our English Story, having observed that Meze­ray's Abrege of his own, was more esteemed, and much more read than his larger Volume; but those Thoughts were soon diverted by other Imploy­ments, wherein I had the Hopes, as [Page] well as the Intentions of doing some greater Sevices to my Country. I have since endeavoured to engage some of my Friends in the same Design, whom I thought capable of atchieving it, but have not prevailed; some pretending Modesty, and others too much valuing Ease.

Therefore to invite and encourage some worthy Spirit, and true Lover of our Country to pursue this Attempt; I have consented to the publishing of this Introduction to the History of England, wherein I have traced a short Account of this Island, the Names, the Inhabi­tants, and Constitutions thereof, from the first Originals, as far as I could find any Ground of probable Story, or of fair Conjecture, since Philosophers tell us, that none can be said to know things well, who does not know them in their Beginnings. I have further de­duced it, through the great and me­morable [Page] Changes of Names, People, Customs, and Laws that passed here, until the End of the first Norman Reign, which made the last and great Period of this Kingdom, leaving the Successions and Constitutions since that Time, so fixed and Established as to have lasted for the Space of above six hundred Years, withont any considera­ble Alteration from so long a Course of Time, or such Variety of E­vents as have since arrived in the World.

I have hereby beaten through all the rough and dark Ways of this Iourney, the rest lies fair and easie through a plain and open Country, and I should think my self happy to see it well pur­sued by some abler Hand, for the Ho­nour of our Nation, and the Satisfa­ction of our own as well as forreign Readers, who shall be curious to know [Page] our Story. I wish it may be per­formed with the same good Intenti­ons, and with much better Suc­cess, than this small Endeavour of mine.


BRitain was by the Ancients accounted the greatest I­sland of the known World, and for ought is yet certain, may be so still, notwithstanding the later Discoveries of Madagascar and Iapan, which are by some brought into Competition. It extends from [Page 2] North to South about ten Degrees, and about two hundred Miles in the Breadth of its most extended Angles. It was anciently called Albion, which seems to have been softned from Alpion, the word Alp in some of the Original Western Languages, signifying generally very high Lands or Hills, as this Isle appears to those who approach it from the Continent. But of those Times there is no Certainty remains in Story, more than that it was so called, and very little known to the rest of the World.

By the Romans, and some time before Cesar, it was called Britan­nia; concerning which Name very much Debate, and no Agreement has been among the modern Learn­ed of our Country, or of others. After raking into all the Rubbish of those Authors; That which [Page 3] seems to me most probable, is, that the Strangers who came over into this Island upon the score of Traf­fick, from the Coasts of Gaul or Germany, called the Inhabitants by one common Name of Briths, gi­ven them from the Custom among them of painting their naked Bo­dies and small Shields with an azure Blew, which by them was called Brith, and distinguish'd them from Strangers who came among them: From this Name of the Inhabi­tants, the Romans upon their Inva­sions, Conquests, and Colonies establish'd in Gaul, which brought them first acquainted with this Island, called it Britannia, by giving a Latin termination to a barbarous Name, and the same which ap­pears to have been usual with them, by the Appellations of many other Countries, that fell under their [Page 3] Commerce or Conquests, as Mau­ritania, Lusitania, Aquitania, and se­veral others commonly known. The curious may observe this Care of the Romans, in giving their own Terminations to many barbarous Countries, and forming easie and pleasant Sounds out of the harshest, and most offensive, to such elegant Tongues and Ears as theirs: I shall instance only in three, among ma­ny more, that are obvious to such as please themselves with these Spe­culations. The Province of Bri­tain in France was called among the Natives Al Mor, which signi­sied Ad mare, or near the Sea; from this the Romans called it Ar­morica. The Isle between the Branches of the Rhine, which divide for some distance before they fall into the Sea, was called by the Old Germans Vat awe, which sig­nifies [Page 5] fat or fruitful Earth; and from this was framed the Latin word Batavia. The North-East part of Scotland was by the Natives called Cal Dun, which signifies a Hill of Hazel, with which it was covered; from whence the Romans gave it the Name of Caledonia: All which have lasted in their Lan­guage to this Day.

The Britains were little known abroad, before the first Entrance of the Romans into their Isle, or the Preparations and Enquiries they made in order to that Expedition: Their Coasts only opposite to Gaul and Belgium, were frequented by Merchants from thence, who came thereby acquainted with them, but little with the inland Provinces: And these were the Men from whom Cesar drew his best Intelli­gence concerning the Country he ntended to Invade.

[Page 6] All that we find related of them by any credible Witnesses or Au­thority, before the Romans entred, is, That the whole Country was filled with infinite numbers of Peo­ple, mightily abounding in all sorts of Cattle or Beasts, both Wild and Tame; Their Houses poorly Built, and scattered all over the Country, without Observance of Order or Distance, by which Villages are composed: But the Britains were placed as every Man liked, and at smaller or greater Distances, as they were invited by the Fertility of Soil, or the Convenience of Wood or of Water. They lived most upon Milk, or Flesh which they got by Hunting; Little upon Corn, which was not in much Esteem or Plenty among them. What Cloaths they wore to cover any Parts of their Bodies, were usually of the [Page 7] Skins of Beasts; but much of their Body, as Arms, Legs, and Thighs, was left naked, and in many of them, All; What was naked, was painted with Blew. This was uni­versal among them, whether esteemed an Adornment, or of Terror to their Adversaries, or to distinguish them from all their Neighbors that came among them, as Friends or as Enemies.

Their Towns were most upon their Coasts, and founded for the Advantage of Havens, and the Re­course of Strangers from the Con­tinent, to Buy and Sell, or Ex­change Wares with those of the Island. These Inhabitants were much more Civilized than those of the inland Country, by the Com­merce and Frequentation of other Nations, especially the Gauls, who had long before been Civilized by [Page 8] the Roman Colonies. The Com­modities exported out of the Isle, were chiefly Hydes and Tin; which last was peculiar to this Country, and in much Use abroad, both in nearer and remoter Regions, where this Island was chiefly known by the Product of this Commodity, convey'd among them at so great Distances, and so much in Request. Some Silver they had, but not in common Use, as having few Mines, and little Knowledge how to im­prove them, either in the Digging or Refining: Pearls they had too, and frequently found among them, but neither clear, nor coloured like those of the Orient, and therefore in low esteem among the Romans: But little Iron, and that used ei­ther for Arms, or for Rings, which was a sort of Money current among them: The rest was of Brass, which [Page 9] was brought from abroad, and im­ployed only for this Use.

Their Language, Customs, and Religion were generally the same with those of the Gauls, before the Roman Conquests in that Province, which were much earlier than in Britain: This affinity made them frequently assist the Gauls upon the Coasts, in their Wars against the Romans, and gave the first Occasion of Cesars invading Britain for Re­venge and Safety, as well as Con­quest and Glory.

Their Government was like that of the ancient Gauls, of several small Nations under several petty Princes; which seem the Original Governments of the World, and deduced from the natural Force and Right of Paternal Dominion; Such were the Hords among the Goths, the Clans in Scotland, and [Page 10] Septs in Ireland. Whether these small British Principalities descend­ed by Succession, or were elected by the Advantages of Age, Wis­dom, or Valour in the Families of the Prince, is not recorded. But upon great or common Dangers, the chief Commander of all their Forces, was chosen by common Consent in general Assemblies; as Cesar relates of Cassivelaunus against his Invasion. The same was done upon their Revolts against the Ro­man Colonies, under Caractacus and Voadicea; For among them, Wo­men were admitted to their Prin­cipalities and general Commands, by the Right of Succession, No­bility of Birth, or Eminence of o­ther Qualities.

Their Forces consisted chiefly in their Foot, and yet they could draw great numbers of Horse into [Page 11] the Field upon great Occasions; they likewise used Chariots in Fight; which with short Scythes fasten'd to the ends of the Axle-trees, gave cruel Wounds, great Terror, made fierce Charges upon the Ranks of their Enemies, and were of much Force to Break, or to Disor­der them. Their common Arms were small Shields, but very large Swords, which expressed more De­sire of Wounding their Enemies, than Defending themselves. They were esteemed a very brave and fierce People, till their Bodies came to be softned, and their Courages debased by the Luxury as well as Servitude, which the Romans intro­duced among them.

In their Religion and their Laws they were wholly governed by their Druids, as were the ancient Gauls, who are said to have been furnish­ed [Page 12] with the chiefest and most learn­ed of theirs, out of Britain, esteem­ed the Nursery of the ancient Dru­ids, so renowned in Story: These were the only Persons, of any sort of Learning in these Nations, which was derived by long Tradition a­mong them, consisted in the Ob­servation of the Heavens, Know­ledge of the Stars and their Courses, and thereby the Presages of many Events, or at least Seasons where­in the Vulgar is chiefly concern'd. The rest was their Doctrines of Religion, Forms of Divine Wor­ship, and Instructions in Morality, which consisted in Justice and For­titude. Their Lives were simple and innocent, in Woods, Caves; and hollow Trees: Their Food of Acorns, Berries, or other Maste; their Drink, Water: Which made them respected and admired, not [Page 13] only for knowing more than other Men, but for despising what all others valued and pursued, and by their great Virtue and Temperance they were suffered patiently to re­prove and correct the Vices and Crimes, from which themselves were free. All this together gave them such Authority and Venera­tion among the People, that they were not only the Priests, but the Judges too, throughout the Nati­on. No Laws were instituted by Princes or common Assemblies, without the Proposal or Approba­tion of the Druids; No Person was punished by Bonds, Strokes, or Death, without the Judgment and Sentence of the Druids: From a Belief, that Men would never sub­mit to the Loss of their Liberties, or their Lives, unless they believed it was inflicted upon them by a Di­vine Authority.

[Page 14] One Custom there was among the Britains which seems peculiar to themselves, and not found in the Stories of any other Nations, either Civil or Barbarous, which was a Society of Wives among certain numbers, and by common consent. Every Man married a single Wo­man, who was always after and alone esteemed his Wife: But it was usual for five or six, ten or twelve, or more, either Brothers or Friends, as they could agree, to have all their Wives in common: En­counters hapned among them as they were invited by Desire, or favoured by Opportunity. Every Womans Children were attributed to him that had married her; but all had a share in the Care and Defence of the whole Society, since no Man knew which were his own. Though this Custom be alledged as a Testi­mony [Page 15] how savage or barbarous a People the Britains were, yet I know not why it should appear more ex­travagant than the community of VVomen in some other Countries; the deflowering of Virgins by the Priest the first Night of their Mar­riage; the unlimited number of Wives and Concubines; not to mention the Marriage of Sisters a­mong the ancient Egyptians and A­thenians; and the borrowing and lending of VVives among the Ro­mans. On t'other side it may be al­ledged for some excuse of these our Ancestors, that by such a Custom they avoided the common mischiefs of Jealousie, the injuries of Adul­tery, the Confinement of single Marriages, the Luxury and Expence of many VVives or Concubines, and the partiality of Parents in the Education of all their own Chil­dren: [Page 16] All which are Considerati­ons that have fallen under the Care of many famous Law-givers. But the best excuse was made upon this occasion by a British VVoman (in the time of Severus) who being grown familiar with Iulia Augusta, and other chief Ladies of that Court, and having observed what passed there behind the Curtain, was one day reproached for this Custom of the Britains, as Infamous in the VVomen, as well as Barba­rous in the Men. She answered coldly, we do that openly with the best of our Men, which you do privately with the worst of yours. However it be, such were the Peo­ple and the Customs of Britain, when the Romans first invaded their Island under the Ensigns of Iulius Cesar. This famous Roman Leader then Governour of Gaul, after ha­ving [Page 17] subdued all that Province, and the bordering parts of Germany, was the first we read of with any cer­tainty, that enter'd Britain with Foreign Arms. His Forces were composed of Germans, Batavians, and Gauls, besides the best of his Old Roman Legions: Yet in two Expeditions he made into this I­sland, he rather encreased the Glo­ry than the Dominion of Rome; and gave Britain the Honour of be­ing the last Triumph of that migh­ty Republick, which had before subdued and reduced into Provinces so many Kingdoms and Common-wealths in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Britains with their naked Troops made a Brave Opposition against this Veterane Army, in ma­ny fierce encounters with mutual Losses; and various Successes; till Dissention entering among the se­veral [Page 18] Princes, some of them jealous of Cassivelaunus, or his Greatness, fled over to Cesar, submitted to the Romans, and desired their Protecti­on. Others followed their Exam­ple, till Cassivelaunus weakned by these Desertions, resolved likewise to make the best Terms he could for himself and the rest; he sends to Cesar, acknowledges the Roman State, agrees upon a certain Tri­bute, and delivers Hostages. And here began the Fate of Britain, to make way for Foreign Conquests by their Divisions at home.

The Romans were pleased with the Name of a New Conquest, and glad to end an Adventure with some Honour, which they found was not further to be pursued, with­out long Time and much Danger; and having discovered rather than subdued the Southern Parts only [Page 19] of the Island, returned into Gaul with their whole Forces, and left the Britains to their own Customs, Laws, and Governments.

Cesar being esteemed the best Writer, as well as the greatest Captain of his Age, or perhaps of any other; has with his own Pen left us the best Account, not only of this Enterprise, but of this Island too, till then, little known to the rest of the World.

Those Tales we have of what passed there before his time, of Brute and his Trojans, of many Ad­ventures and Successions, are co­vered with the Rust of Time, or involved in the Vanity of Fables, or pretended Traditions; which seem to all Men obscure or uncer­tain, but to me, forged at Pleasure, by the Wit or Folly of their first Authors, and not to be regarded.

[Page 20] From the first Entrance of Ce­sar's Triumphant Arms, we have some constant Light in the Story of Britain, tho often very weak and uncertain, from the Obscurity of those Barbarous Nations, who in­vaded the Northern Parts of the Island; and from the Ignorance of those Illiterate Ages, that passed from the Decay to the Restoration of the Greek and Roman Languages and Learning, in the Western Parts of Europe.

As the Roman Conquests advan­ced in this Island during the Reigns of so many Emperors, the bravest of the Natives, who could not en­dure that Subjection, retired into the Mountainous and Rocky Parts of Wales and Cornwall, where they preserved their Liberty some time longer, but fell at last, with the rest, into the common Servitude. [Page 21] But the greatest numbers, and of the hardest Bodies as well as Cou­rage, among the Britains, after ma­ny brave Attempts for Defence of their Country and Liberty, and ma­ny Defeats by the invincible Romans, still retired Northward from the Encroachments of the Conqueror, till they were at last beaten out in­to the rough and savage Parts, be­yond the two Fryths, where the Romans afterwards built a Wall. These native Britains were by them called Picts, from the Custom they still retained of Painting their Bo­dies and their Shields. And this I take for the most probable Account of the Nation so termed by the Romans (for among themselves they were called Albins) though much Pains and Invention has been em­ployed by many Authors, to make them a Foreign Race of People, [Page 22] who, from they know not what Country, and at they know not what Time, invaded and possessed Caledonia, or the Northern Parts of Scotland.

'Tis more difficult to find out the Original of the Scots, or the Time of their Entrance upon those North-west Regions; but as far as can be gathered out of the Dust or Rubbish of such barbarous Times and Writings, and what remains still of known Appellations and Events, it seems probable, that vast numbers of a savage People, called Scyths, at some certain time, began and atchieved the Conquest of the Northern Parts both of Britain and Ireland, and by an easie Change of the word, were called Scots, and from them, those two Countries were called Scotia major, and Scotia minor. Whether the Scots landed [Page 23] first in Ireland or Scotland, I leave disputed and undetermined among their Authors: But it seems agreed, that both those Countries were for some Course of Time, stiled Scotiae, and that both the Northwest Parts of Scotland as well as Ireland, were called Ierne. I am apt to conje­cture, that when these Scots seated themselves in those Parts of Scot­land, they divided themselves into two Races or Nations, whereof those who inhabited the North-East Parts, called themselves Albin-Scots, the Name of the Natives there, being then Albins, and the rest who possessed the North-west Parts were called Iren-Scots, from a River of that Country, which gave it the Name of Ierne; and this Name was communicated to all the rest of that Race, who con­quered and possessed the North of [Page 24] Ireland, which from them was stiled by the Saxons Iren-land, and by Ab­breviation, Ireland. And the Ori­ginal Name seems to have belong­ed rather to those Parts of Scotland than Ireland, since it is given us by the ancientest Latin Verse that mentions it, with the Epithet of Glacialis Ierne, which agrees little with the Clymate of Ireland.

That these fierce Invaders were Scythians or Scyths (which was their Vulgar Termination) is pro­bably conjectured, if not ascertain­ed, not only from their Name, but from the Seat of that Continent, which is nearest to the North of Scotland: This is Norway, and is the utmost Western Province of that vast Northern Region which extends from thence to the farthest Bounds of Tartary upon the Eastern Ocean, and was by the Ancients [Page 25] comprehended in that general Ap­pellation of Scythia, as well as di­vided into several other Barbarous Names and Countries. Besides, 'tis both usual and rational, that such great Transmigrations of People should be made from a worse to a better Clymate or Soil, rather than to a worse, which makes this probable, to have proceeded from Norway, than from lower and more fertile parts of Germany, and the Island which is the nearest part of Land to that Continent of Norway, retains still the Name of Schetland, as the first point which is reported to have been touched by the Scots, or Scyths, in this Navigation.

Another Argument may be drawn from several Customs still remain­ing among the Old Northern Irish, which are recorded to have been an­ciently among some of the Scythian [Page 26] Nations, removing their Houses or Creats, from one place to another according to the Seasons: Burning of their Corn instead of Beating or Treading in other Countries: Eating Blood they drew from living Cattle; Feeding generally upon Milk, and using little other Hus­bandry, besides the Pasture and Breed of Cattle. To this is added, that the Mantle or Plad, seems to have been the Garment in use a­mong the Western Scythians, as they continue still among the Nor­thern Irish, and the Highland Scots.

For their Language, it must be confess'd, there is not left the least Trace by which we may seek out the Original of this Nation; for it is neither known, nor recorded to have been used any where else in the World, besides Ireland, the High-lands of Scotland, and the Isle [Page 27] of Man, and must be allowed to be an Original Language, without any Affinity to the Old British, or any other upon the Continent, and perhaps with less mixture, than any other of those Original Languages yet remaining in any parts of Europe. The Conjecture raised of its having come from Spain, because some Spanish words are observed in it, appears too light to be regarded, when those very words are of the modern Spanish, which is a Lan­guage not above seven or eight Hundred Years Old, and com­pounded chiefly out of Old Roman and Gothick, with a later intrusion of the Saracen among them: And yet I know no better ground than this, for the other Tradition of Ireland having been anciently planted from Spain, and esteem the few Spanish words to have been introduced on­ly [Page 26] [...] [Page 27] [...] [Page 28] by Traffick of the South-west parts of Ireland to Spain.

It seems probable, that from what part soever of the Continent this Nation Sailed upon this Adventure, they were driven away by the force or fear of some other Invaders, and in so great numbers, that the Na­tives remaining, neither preserved any where their Name or Lan­guage, but were either destroy'd by the Conquerors, or blended into the Masse of the new Nations, who seated themselves in their Country, as we find the Old British to have been in England, by the Conquests and Inundations of the Saxons.

The time of this Expedition is yet less in view, nor does Buchanan, or any other Author that I know of, pretend to tell, or so much as conje­cture further, than upon a supposi­tion of the Scots coming first out [Page 29] of Ireland, without alledging any Authority for that neither. I know no way of making any guesses at a matter so obscure, without recourse to the Runick Learning and Stories, by which we find that the Asiatick Scythians, under the Names of Getes or Goths, and the Conduct of Odin their Captain, (their Law-giver at first, and afterwards one of their Gods) are esteemed to have begun their Expedition into the North-west parts of Europe, about the time that the Roman Arms began first to make a great noise, and give great fears in Asia, which was in the Reigns of Antiochus first, and then of Mithridates. How long the Arms of Odin and his Suc­cessors, were imployed in the Con­quest and Settlement of that vast Kingdom, which contained all the Tracts of Country surrounding the [Page 30] Baltick Sea, is not agreed upon in these Runick Stories; but 'tis necessary, Norway must have been the last they possessed in their We­stern Progress, and I am apt to think, the Scyths may have been driven by them, to seek nearer Seats in our Islands; and that 'tis pro­bable, to have been some time of the first Century. Whenever it was, it seems more agreed, that after the first Entrance of the Scots into Caledonia, they subdued much of the Country, mingled with the the rest of the Native Picts, con­tinued long to infest the Frontier Parts of the Roman Colonies in Britain, with great fierceness, and many various Events; and would possibly have made much greater noise and impressions upon the Ro­mans, if their greater Numbers had not been drawn another way, [Page 31] by so great a Drain as that of Ire­land, which they totally conquer­ed, and long possessed.

This is the best Account I have been ever able to give my self of these ancient Times and Events in the Northern Parts of our Islands, being a matter that has imployed so many unskilful Pens, in so much idle Trash, and worthless Stuff, as they have left upon it; but all involved in such groundless Tra­ditions and vanity of Fables, so obscured by the length of Time, and darkness of unlearned Ages, or covered over with such gross Forgeries, made at Pleasure by their first Inventers, that I know few ancient Authors upon this sub­ject, worth the pains of Perusal, and of dividing or refining so little Gold, out of so much course Oar, or from so much Dross. And I [Page 32] have the rather made this Excur­sion, because I have met with no­thing in Story more Obscure, and often observed with wonder, that we should know less of Ireland, than of any other Country in Europe. For, besides its having been anci­ently planted by the Scots, and ta­ken their Name, and then after several Centuries been subdued, and much of it planted by the Danes; we know nothing certain of the Affairs or Revolutions of that Island, till the English began their Conquests there, under the Ensigns of Henry the Second. For the Danish Establishments there, we neither know the Time nor the manner they either began or end­ed, though many Monuments still remain of the Towns and Castles they Built, and many Records a­mong some Families in Denmark, [Page 33] of the Lands and Possessions they long held and enjoyed in Ireland.

I shall now return to that part of our Island which was more pro­perly by the Romans termed Britan­nia, was Conquered by the Victo­rious Arms, and reduced into a Province by the wise Institutions of that renowned Nation; and ha­ving once found the end of the Thread, it will be easie to wind off the Bottom; and being a Sub­ject treated by so many Authors, and pretty well agreed, I shall trou­ble my self no further, than to con­tinue the Thread as it leads through the several Revolutions that have happened in this noble Island, till the last Norman Period, by which the present Succession and Govern­ment seem to have been Establish'd, and has ever since continued.

[Page 34] The Roman Arms entered Britain under the first and most renowned of their Emperors, which was Iu­lius Caesar: But it was not a Quar­ry worth such an Eagle, and so left by him, to be pursued by the Lieutenants of the succeeding Em­perors.

The fecond Expedition into Bri­tain was made by Claudius, under the Conduct of Plautius, and pur­sued under Ostorius, and other Ro­man Commanders, with great Suc­cesses. The Southern Coasts, with most of the inland Parts thereun­to adjacent, were wholly subdued and secured by Fortifying Camps, Building Castles, and Planting many Colonies. The rest seemed at a Gaze, and to promise Submis­sions at the first, rather than any Disturbances, to the Progress of the Roman Arms. Till provoked [Page 35] by the Oppression of some of the Pretors, and their corrupt Officers; The Britains towards the North, made head under Caractacus, and continued for nine years, not only a brave Defence, but threatned some fatal Dangers to the Roman Colo­nies, till in a decisive Battel, by the advantage of armed and disci­plined Veteran Soldiers, against loose Troops of naked Men; The Britains were totally vanquished, Caractacus taken Prisoner, and sent to make a part of a famous British Triumph at Rome. Yet one strong Endeavour more was made for their Liberty, in the time of Nero; when Paulinus going with the best part of his Army to subdue the Isle of Anglesey; The Britains presu­ming upon so great a Distance be­tween the Governour and his Co­lonies, made a general Insurrecti­on [Page 36] under Voadicea, fell upon the Ro­mans in all Places, took their Ca­stles, destroyed the chief Seats of their Power at London and Verulam, and pursued their Advantages with such Slaughter and Revenge, that above seventy Thousand Romans, or their Auxiliaries, were killed by the Fury of this general Re­volt: Yet Paulinus returning with his Army, encountred the British Forces in a set Battel, overthrew their whole Powers, pursued his Victory, with the Slaughter of eighty Thousand; forced Voadicea to Poison her self in Despair: And here ended, not only the British Liberties, but their very Hopes too, or any considerable Attempts ever to recover them.

Under Vespatian and Domitian, Iulius Agricola first discovered it to be an Island, Sailing round it with [Page 37] his Fleets, and extended and paci­fied the Bounds of his Province to the Neck of Land between the two Fryths about Sterling and Glasco; and returning, applied him­self to the Arts of Peace and Civil Institutions, brought in the Use of the Roman Laws and Customs, Habits and Arms, Language and Manners, Baths and Feasts, Stu­dies and Learning: By all which he pretended to soften the Minds, and change the very Natures of a barbarous People, very difficult to be subdued by other means, how violent soever. This wise Coun­cil pursued by his Successors in the Government, succeeded so well, that the Romans had little trouble afterwards in Britain, besides the Defence of their Province upon the Northern Borders.

[Page 38] After these Establishments, the Romans called all that part of the Island lying Northward from the two Fryths, Caledonia; leaving the Name of Britannia to the rest which was reduced to their Obedience, and from that time remained a Ro­man Province. To defend it from the Irruptions of these fierce and numerous People on the North side, Agricola began, and in some manner finished, a Wall or Vallum, upon that narrow space of Land that lies between the two Fryths or Bayes of the Eastern and We­stern Seas; upon which Glasco and Sterling are seated. He forti­fied this Pass between the two Points, with Towers and Ram­parts, to make it defensible against those barbarous Nations who in­habited the Northern side of that Country which the Romans esteem­ed [Page 39] not worth the Conquering, and provided only for Security of the rest of the Island. Many Ruins of this Vallum were lately, and for ought I know, may be still remain­ing; and among the rest, a small round Tower built of Stone, but so exactly Cut, as every one to Joynt into another, with admirable Art and Firmness, though without any use of Morter or Iron. And this was esteemed to have been a Temple of Terminus, and Built there as the utmost Bounds of the Roman Pro­vince. This was afterwards re­paired and stronger fortified by Adrian and Severus: Nor is it in­deed agreed by Authors which of them began or finish'd it, and whether the last made not another Vallum between the two Seas more Southward, and of a much greater Length: But I think the [Page 40] first more probable. However, this was a Defence intended and atchieved by the Romans, against those bold and brave Remainders of the Northern Britains assisted by the Scots, who yet frequently in­vaded and infested the Province, during the time the Romans held this Island, which was till the Reign of Honorius, and for the space of about four hundred and sixty Years.

Upon the Divisions in the Ro­man Empire, which was grown a Prey to their Armies, and com­monly disposed by their inconstant Humours; The Pretenders often fought their Battels, and decided their Quarrels in Gallia, as well several of the Commanders there who arrived at the Empire, as seve­ral others who fell in the pursuit of that fatal Purple, and left only [Page 41] the Name of Tyrants behind them in the Stories of that Age. For the assistance of these Factions, the British Legions were at several Times and Occasions drawn away into Gaul, and with them great Numbers of the bravest of the British Youth, who were affectio­nate to the Roman Government, and instructed in their Language, Man­ners, and Discipline of their Arms. As the Roman Forces decreased in Britain, the Picts and Scots still the more boldly infested the Northern Parts, crossing the Fryths, and ho­vering about the Coasts in little Boats of Wicker, covered with Leather, filled all, where they came, with Spoil and Slaughter, till repelled by what remained of the Roman Forces, they retired still into their Northern Nest, watch­ing for the next occasion of In­vasion, [Page 42] and Revenge upon the Neighbouring Britains, whenever the Romans were drawn away into remoter Parts of the Island. These Enterprises were often repeated, and as often as repress'd, for some time, till in the Reign of the se­cond Valentinian upon the mighty Inundations of those barbarous Northern Nations, which under the Names of Goths and Vandals invaded the Roman Empire with in­finite Numbers, Fury, and Dan­ger to Rome it self, all the Roman Legions were at last drawn out of Britain, with most of the Britains that were fit for Military Service, to relieve the Emperor, who was pursued by the Goths into Pied­mont, and there besieged in a strong Passage or Town he pretended to Defend.

[Page 43] The Romans taking their last Leave of this Province here, left the Britains to their own Govern­ment, and Choice of their own Kings and Leaders, with the best Instructions for the Exercise of their Arms and Discipline, and the Repairs and Defence of the Wall or Rampart they had raised against their Northern Foes. But these, finding the whole Country desert­ed by the Roman Bands, exhausted of their own bravest Youth, and weakned by their new Divisions, began to pour in greater Numbers than ever into the Northern Parts, and ravaged all before them, with greater Rage and Fury. The poor Britains sent over their miserable Epistle for Relief (still upon Re­cord) to the renowned Aetius, who had by several famous Suc­cesses, for a time, repelled the Vi­olence [Page 44] of the Gothick Arms; which was addressed in these words: To Aetius thrice Consul; The Groans of the Britains; and told him, after other lamentable Complaints; That the barbarous People drove them to the Sea, and the Sea back to the barba­rous People; between which, they had only left the Choice of these two Deaths, either to be killed by the one, or drown­ed by the other. But having no Hopes given them by the Roman General, of any Succours from that Side, they began to consider what other Nation they might call over to their Relief. The Saxons were one Branch of those Gothick Nati­ons, which swarming from the Northern Hive, had under the Conduct of Odin, possessed them­selves anciently of all those migh­ty Tracts of Land that surround the Baltick Sea. A Branch of [Page 45] these, under the Name of Suevi, (from whom the Baltick was of old called Mare Suevicum) had some time before Cesars Wars in Gaul, invaded and subdued very large ex­tended Territories in Germany from the Coast of the North-west Oce­an to the South-eastern Parts, whereof Suabia still retains the Memory and the Name. These Suevi or Suabi were for their Strength and Valour grown so Formidable to all the German Na­tions they had Conquered, and forced to seek new Seats; That those upon the Rhine, sending Em­bassadors to Cesar, told him, They would neither seek War with the Ro­mans, nor avoid it; That they esteem­ed themselves as Valiant as any other Nation, excepting only the Suevi, for whom the very immortal Gods were not a Match. These Suevi became [Page 46] afterwards divided into two several Nations, and by Limits agreed be­tween them. Those towards the South-east of Germany were called Francs, from their great Love of Liberty, and their Valour in pre­serving it, and never submitting to the Roman Subjection, as many other German Nations had done; These upon the fatal Decline of that Empire, invaded Gaul under the leading of Pharamond, and un­der the succeeding Kings of his Race, conquered the whole Pro­vince, and established that noble and ancient Kingdom of France.

The other Branch of the Suevi, possessed themselves of all those Tracts of Land in Germany that lie between the Elve and the lower Rhine, had extended their Seats all over the Coasts of the North-west Sea, and from thence exercised their [Page 47] Arms and fierce Courages, in all sorts of Spoils and Pyracies, not only upon Merchants or Traders at Sea, but upon the Maritime Coasts of Britain, opposite to those Countries about the Mouth of the Rhine, or thereunto adjacent. These fierce People were called Saxons, from a Weapon generally used a­mong them, and made like a Sythe with the Edge reversed, which in in their Language were termed Seaxes.

To these Vortigern, chosen King by the deserted and afflicted Bri­tains, made Address for Aid against the Picts and Scots, who had now made Inroads as far as Trent. Their desires of Relief, and offers of Seats in Britain, were soon accep­ted and granted by the Saxons, who under the Conduct of Hengist and Horsa, of the Race of Odin, came [Page 48] over with great Numbers, to the Assistance of the Britains, in the year 450. They joyned with the Natives at first, as Friends and Al­lies, had the Isle of Thanet assign­ed them at their Landing, and up­on occasion of greater numbers, the County of Kent for their Colo­ny and Habitation. They marched against the Picts and Scots, and in Conjunction with the British Arms, overthrew their Forces, in several Battels or Encounters with those cruel Ravagers, and beat them back into the most Northern Parts of the Province. After this, by Consent of the Britains, Hengist and Horsa sent for their two Sons or near Kinsmen, to come over with a new Army of Saxons by Sea, into those Northern Parts; who seated their Colony about Northumberland, upon pretence of [Page 49] guarding that Frontier against the Picts and Scots, and their Incursi­ons upon the Britains, which they did with great Bravery and Suc­cesses, and thereby left those Nati­ons, contented or forced, to bound their Territories with those rough and mountainous Countries that lye between the two Seas, near the River Tweed, and which ever since continued, as the Borders between the two Kingdoms of England and Scotland, into which, the Island came afterwards to be divided.

The Province, now delivered and secured from their ancient Foes, Dissentions began to arise between the Britains and their new Allies; The Saxons, valuing too high the assistance they had given, and the Britains perhaps too low what they had received, till the first allured by so fair a Prey, and the fertile [Page 50] Soil of so sweet a Country, invi­ting still greater numbers from the Continent, establish'd two Saxon Kingdoms, one in the Southern, and t'other in the Northern Parts; and from both these sides invaded the Britains, who for some time defended themselves and their Li­berties, with various Successes, and with the greater hatred and distin­ction, the Saxons being all Pagans, and the British generally Christi­ans; which Religion seems to have been planted here in the first Cen­tury, but to have taken Root, and spred chiefly under Constantius, who was long Governour of the Roman Province here, a great favourer of Christianity, and Father of Con­stantine the Great.

In the time of these first Wars between the Saxons and Britains, Ambrosius reigned over the last, and [Page 51] either as General of his Armies, or his Successor in the Kingdom, Arthur, so famous in the Traditi­ons, or rather in the Romances of succeeding Ages, and who is said to have gained twelve Battels over the Saxons, and to have left the Britains in the middle of the Pro­vince, for some time to secure from these fierce Enemies, till Peace and Luxury had again softned them, and by new Dissentions among themselves, exposed their whole Province to become an easie Prey to so fierce and numerous Invaders. The time of King Arthur's Reign or Atchievments (if any such there were) must have been between the Years 460 and 500. But this whole Story is left so uncertain or obscure by those poor Writers, who have pretended to leave the Tales, rather than the History of [Page 52] those times behind them, that it remains in doubt, whether to con­sider them as a part of the Story of that, or the Fables of succeed­ing Ages. Whatever there was of plain Stuff, the Embroidery of it, with the Knights of the Round Table, their Orders and their Chi­valry, and the rest of that kind, seems to have been introduced by that Vein of the Spanish Romances, which many Ages after filled the World with so much of that idle Trash, and chose for the Subject of them, the Adventures and Suc­cesses of the first Christian pretend­ed Heroes, who renowned such fictitious Names, by extravagant Actions or Adventures against the Pagans or the Saracens, either in Spain or other parts of Europe and Asia. And among these, 'tis pro­bable those Writers found room [Page 53] for the many Legends of the Bri­tish Arthur, and his Romantick Adventures against the Heathen Saxons.

After the Year 500, for one Century or thereabouts, the Saxon Forces were employed in subduing the midland Parts of Britain, inter­jacent between their two first Esta­blish'd Colonies or Kingdoms in the South or Kent, and in the North, or about Northumberland; and to furnish Men for such At­chievments, and the new Planta­tion of so great Tracts of Country, after the Conquest and Devastation of the Old, mighty numbers of the Saxon Race came over into Bri­tain in several Expeditions, and Landing at several Places; That which is recorded to have made sudden and easie way for their final Conquests, was a Treaty they en­tered [Page 54] into with the Britains, where upon a Parley mediated between them, Three Hundred of the Chief on each side, agreed to meet and conclude the Treaty in a great Plain: In the midst of Talk and Drink, which had part in this Commerce, the Saxons provoking maliciously, and the Britains inno­cently resenting, fell to quarrel; first in Words, and at last to Blows: When the Saxons upon a Sign agreed between them, drew out short Swords they had con­cealed under their upper Garments, fell upon the unarmed Britains, slew their whole number in the Field, who being the best and bravest of their Nation, left the rest exposed, without Heart or Head, to the Fury and Progress of the Saxon Arms. These heart­ned with Success, and proud of [Page 55] so great Possessions and Territories, invited and allured still greater Numbers of their own from a­broad, who being of several Branches, and from several Coasts, arrived here under several Names; among whom the Angles from Schonen and Iutland, swarmed over in such numbers, that they gave a new Name at length, to this Pro­vince, which from them was call­ed Angle-land, and for easier sound England.

The Saxons pursued their Inva­sion with Courage and Fierceness, equal to the Multitudes of their Nation, that swarmed over into this Island, and with such an un­interrupted Course of Fortune and Victories, after the year 500. that by the end of the next Century, they had subdued the whole Body of the Province, and establish'd in [Page 56] it seven several Kingdoms, which were by the Writers of those Times, stiled the Heptarchy of the Saxons. They had expelled the Britains out of the fairest and best of their ancient Possessions, and driven their greatest numbers, who escaped the Conqueror's Fury, in­to Wales and Cornwal, Countries mountainous and barren, encom­passed on three sides by the Sea, and towards the Land, of difficult Access. Some great Colonies of them, wholly abandoned their Na­tive Country to their fierce Inva­ders, sailed over into the North-west Parts of France, where pos­sessing new Seats, they gave a new Appellation to that Peninsula, which preserves still the Name and Me­mory of Britain there, though about this time, almost worn out at home.

[Page 57] This is the Account commonly given of the British Colonies first establishing themselves in that Canton of Gaul; But there is an­other given by some learned Per­sons of their own, and drawn, as they say, either from ancient Ar­chives or Traditions among them, and which to me seems the most probable. When upon the Roman Wars in Gaul, among several Pre­tenders to the Empire, great num­bers of the Britains, as well as Ro­man Forces in that Island, were drawn over to assist the contend­ing Parties. 'Tis said that very great Multitudes of the British having followed the unfortunate side, retired as fast as they could to that part of the Sea-coast near­est to their Isle, and most likely to furnish them with Ships for their Transportation: But, that the mi­series [Page 58] of their Native Country, from the furious Inroads of the Picts and Scots, so discouraged their Return, that by Consent of the Gauls their Friends, they establish­ed themselves in the furthest North-west Parts of that Province, which has since that time, retained their Language and their Name. And this agrees with the Legend of King Arthur, who is said to have been a young Prince or Leader, sent from the Britains in France, to assist their Country-men here a­gainst the Saxons. Whatever the Beginnings of this Colony were, or at what time, 'tis at least agreed to have been much augmented by the Resort of so many Britains, as sought Refuge there from the Saxon Cruelty.

The weak and poor Remainders of the old Britains, who were scat­tered [Page 59] among the Saxons in England, were wholly spoiled of their Lands and Goods, which were fallen un­der the Mercy of the Conquerors, who sharing them all among them­selves, left the remaining Britains in a Condition of downright Ser­vitude. Used them for Tilling Ground, Feeding Cattle, and other Servile Works, in House or Field, sometimes Farming out certain parts of Land to them, at certain Rents or Profits, but held always at the Will and Pleasure of the Landlord. The Children that were born of these miserable Peo­ple, belonged to the Lord of the Soil, like the rest of the Stock or Cattle upon it, and thus began Vil­lenage in England, which lasted till the time or end of Henry the Seventh's Reign.

[Page 60] Soon after the year 600. the Saxons in England having ended their old Quarrel with the Britains, began new ones among themselves; and according to the usual Circle of human Affairs, War ended in Peace, Peace in Plenty and Lux­ury, these in Pride; and Pride in Contention, till the Circle ended in new Wars. The Saxon Princes, of the seven Kingdoms they had erected in Britain, fell into Emu­lations of one anothers Greatness, Disputes about the Bounds of their several Principalities, or about Suc­cessions or Usurpations, pretended or exercised in one or other of them; These were followed by formal Wars among them, the stronger swallowing up the weak­er, and these having recourse to their Neighbours, for defence a­gainst encroaching Power. Many [Page 61] fierce Encounters, Sieges, Battels, Spoils, and Devastations of Coun­try, succeeded in the progress and decision of these mutual Injuries and Invasions between the Saxon Kings, for above Two Hundred Years; but the account of them is very poorly given us, with little order or agreement of Times or Actions, by the few and mean Au­thors of those barbarous and illi­terate Ages, and perhaps the rough course of those lawless Times and Actions, would have been too ig­noble a Subject for a good Histo­rian.

About the Year 8, o. after ma­ny various Events and Revolutions between the several Races of the Heptarchy, Ecbert descended from the West-Saxon Kings, having in­herited most of the Successions from the Prowess and Exploits of [Page 62] his Ancestors, and acquired others by his own, became the first sole King or Monarch of England, as it now was distinguished from the Principality of Wales, possessed by the old Britains, and from that part of the Island to the North of Tweed, possessed by the Picts and Scots, and by the Saxons stiled by one common Name of Scot­land.

This famous Adventure of the Saxons in England, was atchieved by the Force and Confluence of such Multitudes from the Coasts of Germany, which lie between the Belgick and Baltick Shores, that some Parts of their Native Coun­tries were left almost dispeopled, to fill again by new Swarms from the great Northern Hive, and the Number of Saxons and Angles, Iutes, and other Nations that came [Page 63] over, were not only sufficient to Conquer and Wast this whole Province, but even to Plant and People it soon again, with nume­rous and new Inhabitants. So as by them, succeeded in this Island, not only a Change of Government, as by the Roman Arms; but a Change of the very People or Na­tion, that inhabited or possessed the Lands of this whole Province: This induced a Change likewise of Names, of Language, of Cu­stoms, of Laws, of Arms, of Discipline, of Possessions, of Ti­tles, of Religion, and even of the whole Face of Nature, through this whole Kingdom. So as we may justly date the Original of all these amongst us, as well as our Nation it self, from these our Saxon Ancestors: Britain which was before a Roman Province, was [Page 64] now grown a Saxon Kingdom; and instead of its former Name was called England: The Lan­guage which was either Latin or British, was now grown wholly Saxon or English: The Land that was before divided into Roman Co­lonies or Governments, was so now into Shires, with Names given to them by the Saxons, as they first possessed, or afterwards thought fit to distinguish them.

The Habits in Peace, and Arms in War, the Titles of Officers in both, as well as of great Coun­sellors to their Kings, or great Pro­prietors of Lands, came to be all according to the Saxon Forms and Usage. The Laws of this Coun­try which before were Roman, changed now into Old Saxon Customs or Constitutions. Their Princes or Leaders of their several [Page 65] Nations, became Konings or Kings of the Territories, they had sub­dued. They reserved part of the Lands to themselves for their Re­venue, and shared the rest among their chief Commanders, by great Divisions, and among their Soldi­ers by smaller shares. The first, who had the great Divisions, were called Earls or Barons, those of the smaller were Knights; and the smallest of all were Freemen, who possessed some Proportions of free Lands, and were thereby di­stinguished from the Villens, that held nothing but at the Will of the Landlord.

In this universal Transformati­on, Religion it self had a share, like all the rest, and received new Forms and Orders, with the new Inhabitants, whilst all that was Roman or British, expired together [Page 66] in this Country: The Britains be­gan early to receive the Christian Faith; and as is reported from some of the Disciples themselves: And this was so propagated among them, that when the Romans left the Province, they were generally Christians, and had their Priests and Bishops from the ancient and Apostolick Institution. The Sax­ons were a sort of Idolatrous Pa­gans, that worshipped several Gods peculiar to themselves, among whom Woden, Thor, and Frea were the chief, which left their Memo­ry still preserved by the common names of three days in the Week: This Religious Worship they in­troduced with them and continued long in England, till they subdued the Britains, reduced it under their Heptarchy of Saxons Kings, per­secuted the British Christians, and [Page 67] drove them with their Religion, into Wales, where they continued under their Primitive Priests and Bishops, who with their Monks, were all under the Surintendance of one Arch-Priest or Bishop of Carleon or Chester, the Bound of the British Principality. About the year 600. or soon after, Pope Bo­niface sent Austin the Monk to Preach the Gospel in England to the Heathen Saxons, who landing at Dover, was received with Hu­manity by Ethelbert King of the South-Saxons; and being admitted with four or five of his Compani­ons, as well-meaning Men, to teach and explain the Doctrin and My­steries of Christianity, among these ignorant and barbarous People, they so well succeeded, that they con­verted at first, great numbers of the common sort, and at length [Page 68] the King himself, whose example gave easie way for introducing the Christian Faith into his whole Kingdom, which from thence spread into all the Countries sub­ject to the Saxon Heptarchy. Thus Religion came to be Establish'd in England, under the Rites and Forms and Authority of the Roman Church; by which Austin was instituted chief Bishop in England, and seat­ed by the Saxon King at Canterbury. But his Jurisdiction though admit­ted in all the Saxon Territories, was not received by the British Priests or People in Wales, though endeavoured by many missions from Austin and his Successors, and even by Wars and Persecutions of the Saxons, upon the Old British Chri­stians, at the instigation of the New Romish Priests, in one of which near Carleon, Twelve Hun­dred [Page 69] of the poor British Monks are said to have been slaughtered, while they were apart in the Field at their Prayers for the success of the British Army.

With this Account of a new face and state of Persons and of Things both Natural, Civil, and Religious, establish'd in England, I return to the Period I left, of the Saxon Heptarchy, which be­ing extinguish'd by long and va­rious Revolutions among them­selves, made way for the Reign of Ecbert, the first sole King or Mo­narch of England about the year 830.

It might have been reasonably expected, that a wise and fortu­nate Prince, at the Head of so great a Dominion, and so brave and numerous a People, as the English after the Expulsion of [Page 70] the Picts and Scots out of his Country into the rough Northern Parts, and of the Britains into the North-west Corners of the Island, should not only have enjoyed the Fruits of Peace and Quiet, but left much Felicity as well as great­ness, to many succeeding Generati­ons, both of Prince and People. Yet such is the instability of Hu­man Affairs, and the weakness of their best Conjectures, That Ec­bert was hardly warm in his united Throne, when both he and his Subjects began to be alarmed and perplexed at the approach of new and unknown Enemies; and this Island exposed to New Invasions.

About this time, a mighty Swarm of the Old Northern Hive, who had possessed the Seats about the Baltick (almost deserted by such numbers of Goths, Vandals [Page 71] and Saxons, as had issued out of them some Centuries before) be­gan, under the Names of Danes and Normans, to infest at first the Sea, and at length the Lands of the Belgick, Gallick, and British Shores, filling all where they came, with Slaughters, Spoils, and De­vastations. The Normans first o­ver-run the Belgick Provinces upon the Mouth of the Rhine, and gave them new Names of Holland and Zealand to those parts adjacent to the Sea: Afterwards they sailed with mighty Numbers into the Mouth of the Sean, and with great fierceness subdued that Northern part of France, which from them first received, and ever since re­tained the Name of Normandy, and became the State of a great Nor­man Duke, and his Successors for several Generations.

[Page 72] In the mean time, the Danes began their Inroads and furious In­vasions upon the Coasts of En­gland, with mighty numbers of Ships, full of fierce and barba­rous People, sometimes entring the Thames, sometimes the Humber, other times Coasting as far as Ex­eter, Landing where-ever they found the Shores unguarded, filling all with Ravage, Slaughter, Spoil, and Devastations of the Country; where they found any strong Op­position, retiring to their Ships, sailing home laden with Spoil; and by such encouragements, giving Life to new Expeditions the next Season of the Year. The bravest Blood of the English had been ex­hausted in their own Civil Wars, during the Contentions of the Heptarchy; since those ended, the [Page 73] rest were grown slothful with Peace and with Luxury, softned with new Devotions of their Priests and their Monks, with Pennances, and Pilgrimages, and great numbers running into Cloy­sters, and grown as unequal a Match now for the Danes, as the British had been for the Saxons be­fore. Yet this Century passed not without many various Successes between the two Nations; many Victories and many Defeats on both sides, so that twelve Battels are said to have been Fought be­tween them in one Year. The Danes divided their Force into se­veral Camps, removed them from one part of the Country to ano­ther, as they were forced by neces­sity of Provisions, or invited by hopes of new Spoils, or the weak­ness and divisions of the English: [Page 74] At length, fortified Posts and Pas­sages, built Castles for defence of Borders, one against the other, which gave the beginning to those numerous Forts and Castles that were scattered over the whole Country, and lasted so long, as to remain many of them, to this very Age. The English sometimes re­pulsed these Invasions, sometimes purchased the Safety of their Pro­vinces by great Sums of Money, which occasioned great Exactions of their Kings upon the People, and that great Discontents; While the Danes encreasing still, by new Supplies of Numbers and Force, began to mingle among the Inha­bitants of those parts they had sub­dued, made Truces and Treaties, and thereupon grew to live more peaceably under the Laws and Go­vernment of the English Kings. [Page 75] Alfred, to prevent the danger of New Invasions, began to Build Ships for the Defence of his Coasts, and Edgar a Prince of great Wisdom and Felicity in his Reign, applying all his thoughts to the encrease and greatness of his Naval Forces, as the true strength and safety of his Kingdom, raised them to that height both of Num­bers and Force, and disposed them with that Order, for the Guard of the Seas round the whole Island, as proved not only sufficient to se­cure his own Coasts from any new Invasions, but the Seas themselves from the Rovers and Spoilers of those Northern Nations, who had so long infested them: So that all Traders were glad to come under his Protection. Which gave a rise to that Right, so long claimed by the Crown of England to the Do­minion [Page 76] of the Seas, about the year 960.

But these provisions for the safe­ty of the Kingdom, began to de­cline with the Life of Edgar, and neglected in the succeeding Reigns, made way for new Expeditions of the Danes, who exacted new Tri­bute from the Kings, and Spoils from the Subjects, till Ethelred compounding with them for his own Safety, and their peaceable living in England, and fortifying himself by an Alliance with Rich­ard Duke of Normandy, laid a de­sign for the general Massacre of the Danes, spred abroad and living peaceably throughout the Realm, which was carried on with that secrecy and concurrence of all the English, that it was executed upon one day, and the whole Nation of the Danes massacred in England a­bout the year 1002.

[Page 77] This cruel and perfidious Mas­sacre, of so many Thousands, in­stead of ending the long miseries of this Kingdom from the Vio­lences, Invasions and Intrusions of the Danes, made way for new and greater Calamities than before: For Swane King of Denmark, exaspe­rated by the Slaughter of his Na­tion here, and among them of his own Sister, and animated by the Successes of so many private Ex­peditions; soon after landed with great Forces, formed several Camps of Danes in several parts of England, filled all with Spoil and Slaughter, forced Ethelred to fly for Relief into Normandy; and though he re­turned again, yet being a weak and cruel Prince, and thereby ill be­loved, and ill obeyed by his Sub­jects, he never recovered Strength enough to oppose the Forces and [Page 78] Numbers of the Danes, to whom many of the English Nobles, as well as Commoners, had in his absence submitted.

Swane died before he could at­chieve this Adventure, but left his Son Canute in a Course of such prosperous Fortunes, and the En­glish so broken or divided, that coming out of Denmark with new Forces in two hundred Ships, he reduced Edmund Son of Ethelred, first to a Division of the whole Kingdom between them, and after his untimely Death, was by the whole Nobility of the Realm ac­knowledged and received for King of England. This fierce Prince cut off some of the Royal Line, and forced others into Exile, Reign­ed long, and left the Crown for two Successions to his Danish Race, who all swore to Govern [Page 79] the Realm by the Laws which had been established, or rather digested by Edward the First, and Edgar, out of the Old Saxon Customs and Constitutions. But Hardecaute, last of the Danish Kings dying sud­denly at a Feast in the year 1042. left the Race so hated, by the Im­position and Exaction of several Tributes upon his People, that Edward surnamed the Confessor, and Grandson to Edgar, coming out of Normandy, where he had been long protected, found an easie accession to the Crown, by the ge­neral Concurrence, both of No­bles and People, and with great Applause restored the Saxon Race in the year 1043.

Thus expired, not only the Do­minion, but all Attempts or In­vasions of the Danes in England; which though continued and often [Page 80] renewed, with mighty Numbers, for above two hundred years, yet left no change of Laws, Customs, Language, or Religion, nor other Traces of their Establishments here, besides the many Castles they built, and many Families they left behind them, who after the Ac­cession of Edward the Confessor to the Crown, wholly submitting to his Government, and peaceably inhabiting, came to incorporate and make a part of the English Nation without any distinction.

Edward the Confessor Reigned long, reduced the Laws of Edward, Alfred, and Edgar's Reigns into more Form and Order, and go­verned by them. His Wars were successful both in Scotland and Wales, though managed by his Leaders, and without his presence. But being a Prince of a soft and [Page 81] easie Nature, he gave way to the growing Power and Arrogance of Earl Godwin, and his Sons, who had been the chief Instruments of advancing him to the Throne, up­on the Condition of Marrying Earl Godwin's Daughter. After he was settled in the Kingdom, either upon gratitude and inclination to the People and Customs of a Country where he had lived long, and been well received when he was banished from his own: He invited many of his Norman Friends into England, employ'd them in his greatest Offices either of Church or State, and upon some quarrels between them and the English, ex­prest too much partiality to the Normans: This gave Godwin and his Son Harold, occasion or pre­tence of raising and heading great Discontents of the English against [Page 82] the Norman Favorites, and at last Insurrections against the King; who soft in his Nature, devout in his temper, and now declined in his Age, endeavoured rather to ap­pease these troubles by Articles than by Arms, and thereby left Harold too powerful for a Subject, and aspiring to the Crown. Edward had no Children; and though he seemed desirous to leave the Crown to his Nephew, yet distrusting his weakness to defend it against so powerful a Rival, it does not appear, or is not agreed among Authors, whether he made any disposition of it at his Death or no, or whether any such at least, as was afterwards pretended.

Harald alledged, that he was appointed by Edward the Confessor to succeed him, was believed by some, and allowed by more, who [Page 83] followed his Power rather than his Right, and was immediately after the King's Death, elected or ad­mitted to the Crown.

His first trouble was from his own Brother, who being the Elder, had obtained assistance from Nor­way, to set up a Title or Pretence to the Kingdom, though he could have no other, but that his Bro­ther had usurped it. Harald having marched into the North, over­thrown his Brother and his Army of Strangers or Discontents, with great slaughter at Stamford, was suddenly recalled by a more dan­gerous and fatal Storm from the South. For William Duke of Nor­mandy surnamed the Conqueror, was landed at Hastings with a mighty Army of stout Norman Soldiers, to pursue a Right he pre­tended to the Succession of the [Page 84] Crown after the Death of Edward. What this was, is but obscurely proved or defended. But the pre­text was, that Edward had by Te­stament left him Successor of the Crown; and that Harald while he was last in Normandy, had likewise assured him of his Assistance to ad­vance him to the Kingdom upon the Death of the King; and the Duke therefore sent to put him in mind of that Engagement. But Harald was in possession, and ad­mitted neither of these Claims, re­solved to defend well what he had gotten ill, since the apparent Right was in Edgar Atheling descended from the true Saxon Race, and from a Brother of Edward the Con­fessor. To decide these Disputes, between the two powerful Pre­tenders (while the just Right lay unregarded for want of Force to [Page 85] support it) a fierce and bloody Battel was Fought near Hastings, which continued for a whole day, with great Bravery and Slaughter on both sides; but ended with the Death of Harald, most of the bravest Captains, and above Sixty Thousand Soldiers of the English Nation, who resolved to defend a Domestick Usurper against a Fo­reign Invader; and by the loss of their Lives, made easie way for the undisputed Succession of William the Conqueror, to the Crown of England about the year 1066. or as some account, 1068.

This Norman Prince was Natu­ral Son of Robert the Sixth Duke of Normandy, by Arlette, a very Beautiful Virgin of Falaize, with whom he fell in Love, as she stood gazing at her Door, whilst he passed through that Town: So that he [Page 86] was the Issue of a sudden and strong Inclination, like a noble Plant, raised in a hot Bed, which gave it such Force and Vigour, as made it prosper and grow to so great a Height: Nor is it unlikely that the ancient Heroes derived them­selves from some Gods, to cover the Misfortunes or Follies, the Rapes or Loves of some fair Maid­ens, or else the Passions of some frail Wives, who loved a Gallant better than a Husband: And the force of such Encounters, might have Part in the Constitution of a young Hero, and give a Natural Vigour, Spirit, and Lustre to the Children, from the Flames where­in they were conceived. 'Tis cer­tain this young Conqueror owed his Greatness to his Birth, and his Fortunes to his personal Merit, from the strength of his Temper [Page 87] and vigour of his Mind: For he had a Body of Iron, as well as a Heart of Steel; Yet his Intelle­ctuals were at least equal to his o­ther natural Advantages, and he appears as Wise in his politick In­stitutions, as he was Bold in his Enterprises, or Brave and Fortu­nate in the Atchievment of his great Adventures.

His Father Robert growing Old, fell into a Fit of Devotion, frequent enough in that Age; which made him resolve upon a Visit to the holy Sepulcher: His Nobles used all Arguments they could to dis­swade him, but chiefly from the want of lawful Issue, and the Competition like to arise upon his Death, between several great Pre­tenders, which might prove dan­gerous to his Country, and perhaps fatal to the Norman State. But [Page 88] he persisted in the Design of his Journy, and told them he had a young Son, that he believed cer­tainly to be his own, and of whose Person and Disposition he had great Hopes, and therefore resolved to leave him his Successor in the Dutchy; recommended him to their Care and Loyalty, and ap­pointed the King of France to be his Guardian, and the Duke of Britain his Governour, who was one of the fairest Pretenders to the Succession of that Dutchy, after the failing of Robert's Line; An unusual Strain or Testimony of the good Faith and Meaning of that Age, where Honour was so much more in Request than Inte­rest, that such a Prince could trust a Son of reproached Birth and dis­puted Right, to a powerful Neigh­bour, the likeliest to Invade him, [Page 89] and to a Pretender that stood the fairest to contest his Title.

The Prince was not above Nine or Ten Years Old, when Duke Robert caused his Nobles and Chief Norman Subjects, to Swear Feal­ty to him, and afterwards car­ried him to do Homage to Henry the First, King of France, for the Dutchy of Normandy, according to the Custom of the former Dukes, since their first Accords with that. Crown, after their Conquests and Establishments in that Part of France, which was before called Neustry, and took the Name of Normandy from those fierce Inva­ders: These coming from the Coasts of Norway in two several Expeditions, with mighty Num­bers of a Brave, but Barbarous People, had about Two Hundred Years before, first ravaged the [Page 90] Coasts of Holland and Flanders, then entred the Mouth of the Sein, subjected the Country by unresist­ed Arms, then taking the City of Rouen, Capital of that Province, upon Composition, and made In­roads from thence into the Isle of France, and near Paris it self, with such Fury and Success, that the King of France embroiled then at home, thought fit to tame these Lyons, rather than longer to op­pose them, and threw them, that noble and fruitful Morsel of Nor­mandy, to asswage their Hunger, yielding it up wholly to their Lead­er Roul, upon Conditions of his turning Christian, and his holding that Dutchy from the Crown of France, for him and his Successors.

After these Ceremonies were past of the Homages received in Normandy, and given in France; [Page 91] the old Duke Robert, delivered his young Son himself into the Hands and Tutelage of the French King, upon the Confidence of great Ser­vices he had formerly done him, in Disputes about the Crown; and immediately after these Trans­actions, began his Voyage into Asia, where he lived not long, and left his Son to be the Founder of his own Fortunes, rather than Heir of his Fathers; which he found exposed to all sorts of Dan­gers from the tenderness of his Age, the reproach of his Birth, a suspected Guardian, a disputed Ti­tle, and a distracted State.

After the News of Duke Robert's Decease, the Nobles of Normandy by him intrusted with the Govern­ment during his Sons Minority, found themselves soon involved in many Difficulties, by the open [Page 92] Factions of some Nobles, who envied their Greatness; and by the private Practices of others, who being derived from some of the former Dukes, resolved to set up their Pretences to the Succession, but masqued their Designs at first, and herded with the common Dis­contents, against the present Ad­ministration. The Governours, faithful to the Trust reposed in them by the Father, and the Feal­ty they had sworn to the Son, esteemed the Presence of the young Prince necessary to support their Authority and his Title, and thereupon prevailed with the King of France, to send him into Nor­mandy; which he did accordingly, with great Honour to himself, and Kindness to the young Duke, as well as Satisfaction to all his Loy­al Subjects; but to the Disap­pointment [Page 93] of those, who pretend­ed their Discontents rather against the Governours, than the Suc­cession.

No Prince ever came so early into the Cares and Thorns of a Crown, nor felt them longer, en­gaged in Difficulties and Toils, in Hardships and Dangers; His Life exposed to the Arms of Ene­mies, the Plots of Assassins: His Reign embroiled by the Revolts of his Subjects, the Invasions of his Neighbours; and his whole Life, though very long, spent in the necessary and dangerous De­fence of his own Title and Domi­nion, or in the ambitious Designs of acquiring greater: Yet none ever surmounted all with more Constancy of Mind, Prudence of Conduct, and Felicity of Fortune; By all which, he seems born to [Page 94] have been rather a great Prince, than a happy Man.

His first Contests and Dangers, arose from the declared Competiti­on of the Pretenders to the Succes­sion of the Dutchy, who favoured by the Defects of his Birth, and grounding their Title upon their own legitimate Descent; found so many Followers at home, and such Assistance from some neighbouring Princes, that agreeing together against the present Possessor, though disputing among themselves upon their own Rights, they raised great Forces, and constrained the young Duke to appear, not only at the Head of his Counsels, but of his Armies too, by that time he was full seventeen Years old.

These civil Wars continued long with many various Successes, bloo­dy Encounters, defeating and re­cruiting [Page 95] of Troops, surprising, sack­ing, besieging, relieving of Towns, and wasting of Countries, till at last, the Duke by his Vigilance, Prudence, Courage, and Industry, subdued totally, not only the For­ces but the Hearts of all his Compe­titors and Enemies at home, and forced them to quit both Normandy and France, and seek new Fortunes or at least Protection in Italy, un­der the Banners and Service of those Northern Princes, who had first by assisting their Friends, and then pur­suing their own fortunes, made them­selves Masters of Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily. So great was the Prow­ess and Conduct of those brave Nor­man Adventurers, that from Pruhans, as the French called them, because they could not stay at home, but left their own Country to seek Room in foreign and distant Regi­ons, [Page 96] they became Possessors and So­vereigns, in less than two hundred Years, of one noble Dutchy in France, a great Kingdom in the best Parts of Italy, and a greater yet, and more renowned in the British Isle, and thereby exchanged the savage Woods and barren Mountains of Norway, for three of the fruitfullest, fairest, and most pleasant Countries in the Western Parts of Europe, and which had been observed both before and since, to produce the bravest Bodies and Courages of any Provinces among their Neighbour Nations.

The Defeats and final Overthrow of Competitors at home, gave Duke William no long Quiet, for another appeared from abroad, more dan­gerous than any of the former: This was Martel Earl of Anjou, that was not only a Prince of great Pos­sessions, [Page 97] but yet more formidable, by the Alliance and Assistance of the King of France, who jealous of the Norman Greatness, thought it both wise and just to prevent its further Growth, and abate a Neighbour's Power, before it grew too high, and perhaps out of his Reach, by the Conduct, Ambiti­on, and Fortune of such an aspi­ring Prince.

To this end, and upon small Pretences (which never fail a strong Invader) he encouraged, if not set on foot the Earl of Anjou's Pretensi­ons to the Dutchy of Normandy, gave him first his Countenance and Assistance, to justfie his Claim and pursue it by Arms, but by de­grees, engaged in an open and de­clared War against the Duke; this he prosecuted with much Passion and Violence, imploying in it not [Page 98] only all the Forces he could raise, but his own Person to command them, attended by many, the chief Nobles of his Kingdom, and ma­ny great Persons of his Allies.

Duke William lost nothing of his Temper or Courage upon the Approaches of so great a Storm, but prepared first for his Defence, till flesht with Success in many Encounters, and trusting to the Bravery and Affections of his Ar­my, though much inferior to the French, he brought the Quarrel to the Decision of two fierce Battels in two pitched Fields: The first ended in an entire Victory on the Duke's side, with the Slaughter of three Parts of his Enemies, amount­ing to above thirty thousand Men: This Loss however rather enraged than discouraged the King of France, who gave himself or his [Page 99] Enemies no Quiet, till he engaged the Normans in a second Battel, with greater Forces and Rage on both sides, but with the same Success the former had ended. In this Field the King of France lost the Flower of his Army, the greatest part of his Nobles, and hardly escaped himself in Person. But that little availed this unfortunate Prince, who was so sensible of the Loss, and as he thought, dishonour re­ceived by so unequal a Match, that he had not the Heart to survive it long, but died of Grief, and there­by gave an end to this War, and left Duke William a calm and peace­able Reign, till he disturbed his own and his Neighbours Quiet, by new and greater Adventures. But to discover their Causes, and judge better of the Events, we must have recourse to the Acci­dents [Page 100] of the former Reigns, both in England and Normandy, and the great Commerce and Intelligences that were thereby grown, for many years past, between these two Courts and Nations.

Edward, for his Piety, surnamed the Confessor, the last King of the Saxon Race in England, had by the Persecution of his Enemies un­der the Reign of Harde-Cnute the Dane, been forced to leave England, and seek shelter in Normandy, where he was kindly received, nobly en­tertained by the Duke, lived long there with many English; who ad­hered to his Right, followed his Fortunes, and shared in the Causes and Reliefs of his Banishment; some found Imployments, others Alliances, All, favour and kind reception in Normandy. These mu­tual good Offices, produced so [Page 101] much kindness between the Givers and Receivers, that 'tis by some Writers reported, King Edward during his Residence in the Nor­man Court, promised Duke Robert, that in case he recovered the King­dom of England, and died without Issue, He would leave him the Crown. The first happening, and Edward restored by the Power of Earl Godwin, or rather the general Discontents of the English against the Danish Race and Government; 'Tis certain, King Edward after his Restoration, or rather first Acces­sion to the Crown, ever appeared more favourable and partial to the Normans, than was well resented by his English Subjects in general; but Earl Godwin and his Son Harold were so offended, that they made it the Cause or Pretence of a dan­gerous Insurrection, and were [Page 102] forced upon the ill Success there­of, to leave the Kingdom, and fly into Flanders, though after restored and received by the King, rather by Force than any free and willing Consent.

Duke William after the end of his Wars with France, had turned his Thoughts to the common Arts and Entertainments of Peace, re­gulating the Abuses of his State, and the Disorders introduced by a long Course of Wars and Violence, adorning his Palaces and Houses of Pleasure, building Churches and Abbies, and endowing them with great Bounty and Piety: After which he made a Journy into En­gland, where he was received and entertained by King Edward, with the same Kindness himself had found in the Norman Court; for which, like a good Prince, he was [Page 103] much pleased to make this Return of Gratitude as well as Justice. In this Visit, 'tis said by some Au­thors, that the Duke gained so far upon the Esteem and Kindness of the King, that he then renewed to the Son in England, the promise he had formerly made the Father in Normandy, of leaving him the Crown by Testament, in case he died without Issue.

Some time after the Duke's re­turn, Harold Son to Earl Godwin, and Heir of his great Possessions and Dependances in England, was forced by a Storm (as he at least pretended) upon the Coasts of Normandy; and to refresh himself after the Toils and Dangers of his Sea Voyage, went first to the Nor­man Court, and after some stay there, to that of France; and was in both entertained like a Person, [Page 104] known to be of so great Conside­ration and Power in England. But his last Visit at Paris was thought designed only to cover the true In­tention of his first in Normandy; Where he engaged to assist that Duke with all his Friends and Force in his Claim to the Crown of England upon King Edward's Death; which happening not long after, William claimed the Crown by virtue of a Testament from that King, and of an Engagement from Harold: But he on the contrary, denied any such Testament from the deceased Prince, alledged an Appointment made by him at his Death for Harold to succeed him, disowned any Promise made in Fa­vour of the Duke, and making the best use of the Credit and Autho­rity gained by his Father and him­self, in a crasie and diseased State, [Page 105] during the soft Reign, of a weak though pious King; Harold set up bodly for himself, without any re­spect of Right, beyond the Peoples submission (interpreted for their Consent) and was Elected King, by those Nobles and Commons of his Friends, or indifferent Persons, who assembled at his Coronation, leaving to Edgar Atheling an un­doubted, but yet unregarded Right of Succession; and to William, a disputed Plea, from the alledged Testament of the deceased King.

The Duke, fond of those ambi­tious Hopes he had framed early, and nourished long, and spighted at the perfidious dealing of Harold towards him, and his Insolence to­wards the English Nation, in seising the Crown and Government, against all Justice, or so much as Pretence of Right (which is com­monly [Page 106] made use of to cover the most lawless Actions) assembles his Estates of Normandy, exposes to them his Claim to England, the Wrong done him by Harold, his Resolutions of prosecuting both with his utmost Power: The Glo­ry as well as Justice of the Enter­prise; The hopes of Success from his own Right, and the hatred in England of the Usurper, as well as the Friends and Intelligences he had in that Kingdom; The great­ness of Spoils and Possessions, by the Conquest of his Enemies, and the Share he intended his Friends and Followers, according to each Man's Merit, and Contribution to­wards the Advancement of his Designs.

Though the generality of the Normans in this Assembly, were not at first very much moved by [Page 107] these Discourses, as either doubt­ing the Right or Success of so ha­zardous an Adventure; yet they could not discourage what they were unwilling to promote, since they found the Prince had it so much at Heart; who prevailed with several of the greatest Bishops and Nobles of Normandy, to make him a voluntary Offer of what Moneys, Men, and Ships, they would each of them furnish to­wards this Enterprise, as well as of their own Personal Attendance upon him, in so noble and just a Design.

This free and magnanimous Of­fer of the greatest among them, in some Degree spirited not only the rest of the Assembly, but had much Influence upon the People in general, who grew Confident of the Success: from the Greatness [Page 108] and Boldness of the Undertakers, so as they fell into Emulation, who should Engage soonest, and Contri­bute furthest upon this Occasion.

The Duke, assisted to his Ex­pectation by his Subjects, began to practice upon the Hopes and Ambition of his Neighbours, who weary of the long Quiet they had lived in at home, since the Part they had taken in the French and Norman Wars, begun to grow fond of some new Action, and to look out for new Adventures.

The Duke had gained and de­served so high Esteem and general Reputation by the wise Conduct of his Government, both in Peace and in War, by his Justice and Bounty, his Valour and his Cle­mency, that he was renowned, not only among his Subjects and his Neighbours, but in the remoter [Page 109] Regions of Germany and Italy; and found a Concurrence in this Design, from many Princes his Friends, and some who had been his greatest Enemies; He was fa­voured and assisted with Money or with Soldiers, by the Dukes of Britain and of Brabant, the Counts of Bologne and Flanders, and his ancient Competitor the Earl of Anjou: By many Princes of France, the most considered in that Court, as the Duke of Orleans, Earls of Poitou and Maine, excited by the Honour of the Enterprise, or Fame of the Leader, at a time when the Infancy of their King gave them no hopes of Action at home, and left that Crown unconcerned in what passed abroad. The Empe­rour sent some choice Troops, and experienced Commanders to serve in this Expedition; and the Pope, [Page 110] induced by the Fame of this Duke's great Virtues, and Piety in the whole Course of his Reign, which had now lasted above Forty years, sent him a Banner he had blessed with several Reliques; and there­by was esteemed, according to the Devotion of those Times, to have justified his Title, and even sancti­fied his Arms.

With all these Advantages this brave Duke began and finished his mighty Preparations, by a general Concurrence of his own Nobles and Subjects, and a Confluence of most of the bold adventurous Spi­rits in his Neighbour Provinces, led by the Desires of Glory or of Gains; The Princes, trusted his Faith and his Promises which he had never forfeited: The Knights and Soldiers, relyed upon his Va­lour and his Fortune, which had [Page 111] never failed in the long and happy course of his Reign.

What the Number was of the Army he brought over into En­gland, is not distinctly related, or well agreed; but must be con­cluded to have been very great, by that of the Ships wherein they were imbarqued, which were be­tween Eight and Nine Hundred: Besides, they were all chosen and brave Troops, excellently Disci­plined, Commanded by gallant Officers, strongly united by the Love of their Prince, and encou­raged by the common hatred of Harold his Enemy, both at home and abroad: A known Usurper, cruel in his Nature, of Danish Ex­traction, and thereby ungrateful to the English; a Hater of his own Blood, and who had never tri­umphed but over his own Brother; [Page 112] and by a bloody Victory at Stam­ford, had lost the bravest of his Troops, as he had done before the Hearts of his Subjects.

The Duke Landed his Army at Hastings in Sussex, about the begin­ing of October; and expecting a general Submission of the English to his Right and Title (pretended from the Testament of Edward the Confessor) or the Desertion of Harold (as an Usurper) by his own Army; He made at first no show of invading a Hostile Coun­trey, but rather of encamping in his own. Forbidding all injuries to any of the Inhabitants; and all Spoil of the Countrey about him: And so continued with his whole Army, in a quiet and peaceable manner for about a Fortnight, ei­ther to refresh his Troops, or to expect how his Claim to the [Page 113] Crown, and Arrival upon it, would be received in England.

But after this Time expired, he was soon rouz'd by the Approach of Harold, who returned from the Defeat of his Brother, and his Da­nish Assistants, with all the Forces he had employed in that Ex­pedition, and all he could invite or collect out of the Countrey as he passed. The first were stand­ing Troops, Numerous and Brave, which he kept for the defence of his Person and Title, knowing they were both generally hated in En­gland. The last were ill disci­plined, and worse affected, and served only to increase the number of his Army, which was very great.

Upon approach of his Enemies he sent Spies into the Norman Camp, who were taken, and cour­teously [Page 114] used by the Duke; carried through all his Troops, showed their Discipline and Disposal, and sent back with Rewards. At their return they told Harold, that the Normans looked rather like an Ar­my of Priests than of Soldiers, by their great Silence and Order in their Camp, as well as by their Faces being all shaved.

'Tis said the Duke before the Battel, sent an Offer to Harold, to decide the Quarrel between them by single Combat, and thereby spare their Subjects Blood: Which Ha­rold refused, and said he would leave it to God to determine. Up­on which, his Brother desired him, that he would not be present at the Battel, because he had formerly Sworn to Duke William to assist his Title upon King Edward's Death; and rather leave it to them, [Page 115] who had a juster Cause; and should Fight only for Defence of their Countrey, and without Breach of Oath. But the Courage of Harold was more than his Conscience, and so both parts disposed their Armies for a pitched Battel next Morning: After the English had passed the Night in Songs and Feasting, and the Normans in much Devotion.

The Fight began with great Fu­ry, and equal Bravery as well as Order on both sides. The English were cruelly gauled by thick Show­ers of Arrows from the Norman long Bows, before the Battle joyned; which was a Weapon then unused in England, and thereby the more sur­prising, by Wounds coming from Enemies so far out of reach, and not suddenly to be revenged. But when they came up to close Fight, the Normans were hewed down by [Page 116] the English Bills, which of all Wea­pons gives the most ghastly and de­plorable Wounds. Besides, their Points were so strong and so close together that no Charges of the Norman Horse could break the Eng­lish Ranks, though the Duke assaul­ted them so often, and with so great Bravery, that he had three Horses killed under him in the At­tempt. But finding them continue firm. He at length by a Signal, caused a sudden Flight to be feign­ed by his Normans that were most advanced: Upon which, the En­glish easily deceived by their own Courage as well as Hopes, began such an eager Pursuit, as by it they dissolved their Ranks that had been otherwise impenetrable. Upon this Incident, before expected, and soon discovered by the Duke, and upon another Signal given, the Normans [Page 117] returned with greater Fury than before; broke into the disordered Body of the English; routed and pursued them to a rising Ground, where their broken Forces made a Stand, fell again into Order, and encouraged by the Speeches, but more by the brave Example of Ha­rold, they renewed the Fight, and made a mighty Slaughter of the Normans, as they endeavoured to force them against the disadvantage of the Hill which they defended.

The Fierceness and Obstinacy of this memorable Battel, was of­ten renewed by the Courage of the Leaders▪ where-ever that of the Souldiers began to faint; till the Normans leaving the Assault of the Hill, too obstinately defended, and keeping a little distance, fell again to their Arrows, with one of which, Harold was shot quite [Page 118] through the Head, and fell to the Ground: And by his Death gave the Victory and the Field to the Normans, which had hitherto con­tinued doubtful on both sides; and seemed thus far to have been Fought with equal Courage and with equal Loss. But the Flight of the En­glish upon Harold's Fall, soon de­termined it, and was followed by a long and bloody pursuit of the Normans, which continued till Night; and left mighty Numbers of the English slain in their Flight, that had been safe in the Battel; and the rest of them wholly di­spersed, though covered by the Night: So different are the effects of Courage and of Fear, and so Just the Rewards of both; the first, which seeks dangers, often avoids them; the other, often runs into them, by endeavouring to [Page 119] escape them: Much greater num­bers falling in all Battels, by the pursuit of those that fly, than by the Slaughter of those that Fight.

Nothing seems to show the greatness of England, so much at this time, as that Harold should be able to assemble so mighty an Ar­my, to oppose this Invasion: And find above Threescore Thousand Men, Brave enough, not only to Fight, but to lose their Lives in his defence: For so many are a­greed to have been slain of the En­glish at this Battel of Hastings; where he lost his Crown and his Life together, and left the Field with the Kingdom, to this brave Norman Conquerour. This was the Man, These the Forces, and such the Circumstances that con­tributed to so famous an Enter­prise, by which the Fate of England [Page 120] was determined, in or about the Year 1066.

The Duke after this famous Victory, resolved not to lose the Fruits and Advantages he had there­by gained, (which is often done) for want of Speed or Vigour in the Prosecution, wherein Celerity is sometimes of more Consequence than Force. Therefore, after the Pursuit of his broken Enemies, and a short Refreshment of his own Army; He began immediately his March towards London, where was all the Strength then left in the Kingdom, believing if he could be Master of the Head, the rest of the Body would follow, without more Struggle or Resistance.

In his March, he is said to have exercised much Cruelty, towards all he found in Arms, with great Rigour and Oppression upon the [Page 121] other Inhabitants, and Spoil of the Countries where he passed, till en­tring into a Woody Part of Kent, and advancing with his Vanguard before the rest of his Army; he found himself almost environed with mighty Numbers of the Ken­tish Men, who had concealed them­selves in the Wood by carrying e­very Man a great Bough of a Tree, like a Shield in his Hand. But when they saw the Norman Troops, and the Duke at the Head of them, within their Danger, they began on a sudden to march like a moving Wood, till approaching their Ene­mies, they threw down their Boughs, and discovered on all Sides a Multitude of brave armed Men, ready to charge the Normans that stood surprised and amazed at the Strangeness of the Sight, which appeared as if a Wood had been, by [Page 122] some Enchantment, transformed into an Army: But the Kentish Men approaching, made a Halt, and sent the Abbot of St. Austins, to tell the Duke, that all the Men of that Province were there assembled to defend their Country and their Li­berties, or to sell their Lives as dear as they could; that if he would swear to preserve them in those an­cient Laws and Customs, under which they and their Ancestors had so long lived; they were all ready to lay down their Arms, and become his Subjects; if not, he must prepare to fight with Men that had resolved to lose their Lives rather than their Liberties and Laws. The Duke finding he was too far advanced to joyn the Body of his Army before he en­gaged, and unwilling to venture all his Fortunes and Hopes against [Page 123] such numerous Bands as these ap­peared, and of so desperate Men, granted to all the Inhabitants of the Province of Kent, the Preservation and free Enjoyment of all their an­cient Laws and Customs under the Saxon Reigns; swore the Obser­vance of his Grant, received their Homage, and so pursued his March. This is represented as a forc'd Pre­lude to a subsequent voluntary Act of this Prince, whereby he made or confirmed the same Concession, in general to all the rest of the Kingdom. And though this Ad­venture of the Kentish Men be not recorded with great Evidence of Truth or Agreement of Circum­stances or of Time (for some Wri­ters place it before his first Arrival at London, others after, and upon an Expedition to reduce the Castle of Dover) yet it is related by so ma­ny [Page 124] Authors, and is so generally received by vulgar Tradition, that it seems not to be omitted: But when, or however it happen­ed, or whether at all or no, is not material to the History of this Prince, or to the following Acti­ons or Institutions of his Reign.

In the City of London, besides the great Numbers and Riches of the Inhabitants, were retired most of the great Nobles of the King­dom, both Ecclesiastical and Secu­lar, who had not been engaged in Action of either Side, and attend­ed, what would be the Issue of this strong and violent Convulsion of the State. Upon Decision of the last Battel, they all consulted toge­ther with the Citizens, what was best to be advised and done for their common Interest and Safety, as well as of the whole Kingdom, [Page 125] which was like to run their Fate, by following their Example: Many of the secular Nobles were for col­lecting what Forces they could, and making a stand, either in the Field or in the Town, and thereby trying their Fortunes, or at the worst making Conditions, for they could not bear, that their great Possessions and Lands should lie at the Mercy of a Prince, whose Will might be as boundless as his Power, and who had so great a Train, to be rewarded at their Cost, and by the Spoils, if he pleased of the whole Kingdom.

The Citizens feared the hostile Entrance of an incensed Army, up­on a weak Resistance, and the sud­den Loss of their Possessions, which consisting chiefly in Moveables, might be seized in a Day, and dis­sipated, past any Recovery by [Page 126] the very Grace of the Prince, or succeeding Composition between him and the rest of the Kingdom: They thought no Forces could be collected, either in Time upon so sudden an Approach, or with Strength enough to make Oppo­sition in a Body that had lost so much Blood, and without a Head to command them, or upon any Treaty to manage their common Interests to the best Advantage, and so they were disposed to submit to what they esteemed the Fate of the Kingdom: The Arch-bishops, Bi­shops, and the rest of the Clergy were a sort of State apart, within the State it self, having a Jurisdi­ction independent (as they pretend­ed, and were usually allowed in that Age) upon the secular Pow­er; they held their Lands and Pos­sessions in the Kingdom, by ano­ther [Page 127] Tenure than the Laiety pre­tended, and feared not to lose them under any Prince that was a Chri­stian, which made them more in­different of what Race, or by what Title he held the Crown, and so more easie to fall in with the Stream of any Changes or new Re­volutions: Besides, they were pos­sess'd with the Fame of this Prince's Piety, and the Opinion of his Right having been determined by the Pope's approving and assisting it with his Benediction: They thought, as well as the Citizens, that this Torrent was not to be re­sisted, that a faint and fruitless Op­position would but exasperate the Duke, and make him [...] continue as well as begin his Reign, like a Conqueror, and therefore esteemed the wisest Part, was to acknow­ledg his Right, and thereby tempt [Page 128] or perswade him into a safer and easier Form of Government, both for himself and his Subjects, as a just and lawful King.

The Clergy was in very great Authority at this Time, and a­mong all sorts of People in the Kingdom, having enjoyed and exer­cised it here, during the whole Course of the Saxon Reigns after those Kings became Christians in this Island; nor could any other Authority rise so high, and spread so far, as growing from so many Roots: They were allowed to be the Guides and Instructors of Man­kind in all spiritual Worship and Divine Service, and even the Di­spencers of those Graces and For­feitures upon which depended the Rewards or Punishments of a future State; which being greater and longer than those of this Life, [Page 129] gave them more Influence upon the Minds of Men, than any secular Jurisdiction that can extend no fur­ther: They had mighty Possessions in Lands throughout the Kingdom, as well as other Riches, from the Bounty of pious Princes, of devout and innocent People, and from ma­ny others, who thought to expiate Crimes, or cover ill Lives by these kinds of Donation to the Church. These Possessions were esteemed sacred, and, as much went into this Stock every Age, so nothing ever went out; and all the Lands in the Kingdom might in the Course of Ages, have held of the Church; if this Current had not been stopped by the Statute of Mortmain in the Time of Edward the first. 'Tis recorded, that of sixty two thousand Knights Fees that were reckoned in England du­ring [Page 130] the Reign of this first Norman King, there were in that of King Iohn twenty eight thousand in the Hands of the Church. This gave the Clergy (by the Dependances of those that held under them in so great Numbers) a secular Power annexed to their Ecclesiastical Au­thority: They had besides, all the little Learning which was in those ignorant Ages, and passes for Wis­dom among those who want both, gives a Faculty, at least of discour­sing, though perhaps not of judg­ing better than others, and gains more Attention, and easier Ap­plause from vulgar Auditors: Last­ly, they were united more than a­ny other State upon one common Bottom, and in pursuit of one com­mon Interest, which was always pretended to be the Greatness of the holy Church, but indeed was their [Page 131] own, and the Honours, Power, and Riches of the Church-men, ra­ther than of the Church. By these Circumstances, and the Advantage of such a complicated Strength, the Clergy came to such an Authority, that they were Arbiters, if not of all Affairs, at least of all Contests in the Kingdom, and turned the Bal­lance which way soever they fell in, were still applied to by the weak­er, and often by the unjuster Side; had the chief Sway, and were the chiefest Instruments in all those ma­ny Revolutions of State, irregular Successions, and even Usurpations of the Crown that happened be­tween the Time of the Conquest, and the Reign of Henry the third; which may easily be observed and cannot easily be wondered at by all who read the Story of those Reigns, and consider what has been said up­on [Page 134] this Subject, important enough to excuse this Digression.

But to return to our Conqueror, upon his March to London, and the Consultations there how to receive him. The Opinions and Councils of the Bishops and Ecclesiasticks easily prevailed, and seem to have had more Reason, as well as Au­thority, than the rest: So it was unanimously resolved, not only to submit to a Power they could not oppose, but to acknowledge a Ti­tle they would not dispute. The Duke, upon his Approach to the City, was received with open Gates and open Arms, at least without the Appearance of any Reluctance or Discontent, any more than of Resistance: He claim­ed the Crown at his Arrival, by the Testament of King Edward the Confessor, without any mention [Page 133] of Conquest, which was infinitely grateful to all the Nobles and Com­mons of the Realm, whether it was a Strain of his own Prudence and good natural Sense, or a Per­swasion of those English, who had either assisted or invited his Invasi­on, or Apprehension of so great and brave a People, if offended by the Name of Conquest, and irrita­ted by the Dangers or Fears of a lawless Arbitrary Power, to which they had not yet their Hearts or Strength broken enough, easily to submit.

He was crowned King at West­minster by the Arch-bishop of York, who with Stigand Arch-bishop of Canterbury, had been the great Pro­moters of those Councils, by which he entred upon so peaceable a Be­ginning of his Reign. At his Co­ronation he took the Oath, usual [Page 134] [...] [Page 133] [...] [Page 134] in the Times, both of the Saxon and Danish Kings, which was, To protect and defend the Church, to observe the Laws of the Realm, and to govern his People justly: After which he caused Fealty to be sworn to him by all the Bishops, Barons, and Nobles, with the Ma­gistrates of the City, who had as­sisted or attended at his Coronati­on, and thereupon found himself on a sudden settled in a calm and quiet Possession of a Crown he had so long aspired to, and so lately won by one single, though violent Blow.

This King was about two and Fifty Years old upon his Accession to this Crown, and is perhaps the only Instance found in Story, ei­ther before or since, in this Island or the rest of the World, that be­gan and atchieved any great and fa­mous Enterprise after that Age: [Page 135] Whether the Decline of Nature leaves not Vigor enough for such Designs or Actions; or Fortune, like her Sex, have no Kindness left for old Men, how much soever she favoured them when they were young: But the Talents of Age, which are Prudence and Modera­tion, learnt best in the School of Experience, and seldom joyned if consistent with the warm Passions of Youth, were now as necessary to this Prince, for the Conservati­on of his Kingdom, as his long in­dustrious Application and bold Ex­ecution had been for acquiring it, and how much he excelled in these Qualities will be seen by the Se­quel of his Reign.

He considered very wisely, that though he had gained the Crown by the Assistance of foreign Forces, and by the Decision of Arms, [Page 136] yet these might not always be so prosperous, if too often tried, and the Number or Strength of his Foreigners, bore no Proportion to those of so brave and populous a Nation, if they should unite on a­ny Bottom of common Discontents, of Dangers, or of Fears, and that the Safety and Peace of his new ac­quired Dominion could be preser­ved only by the general Satisfacti­on and Security of his English Sub­jects: And this was his first Care, and was the best provided for by the two first Actions of his Reign; one was, That as he had claimed the Crown, only from the Testa­ment of King Edward, and wholly avoided that odious Name of Con­quest, so he expressed upon all Oc­casions, his Resolution to govern the Kingdom as a legal Prince, and leave the ancient Laws and Liber­ties [Page 137] of the English Nation, as they had before enjoyed them: The o­ther was, that as he drew no Blood but what was spilt in the Field, so he seised only the Lands and E­states of those who had been in Arms against him, before his Ac­cession to the Crown or after that Time, by any Revolt or new Op­positions.

This wise Counsel made a clear and sudden Distinction betwen those English that were to feel any ill Effects by this late Revolution, and the rest who were left out of Danger, and in the same State they enjoyed under the Race of their former lawful Kings, and so but little sensible of the Change: The forfeited Estates and Lands were indeed seized with great Severity, but the greatest Part of the Pro­prietors were silent in the Grave, [Page 138] having been slain in the Battel of Hastings, and Pursuit of that Victo­ry, those who remained alive, be­ing at once despoiled of all their Possessions, were broken in their Hearts, maimed in their Interest a­mong their Neighbours, and being but few throughout the Kingdom, in Comparison of those that were safe, their Losses or Complaints were little regarded by the rest, but like wounded Deer, were deserted, and even avoided by the Herd.

Upon the Coronation of the King at London, with the Concur­rence of Nobles and People in that City, and his Care in publishing throughout the several Countries; these two Resolutions concerning the Safety of their Properties and Laws: All the Inhabitants of both the adjacent and remoter Counties, and of what Degree soever, not on­ly [Page 139] with universal Consent, submit­ted to his Government as to a De­cree of Heaven, but most of them began to express, or al least pretend a common Joy at the Fate of the late Usurper, and the prosperous Fortunes of the present King.

His next Care was the Satisfa­ction of those many and brave Ad­venturers and Soldiers, who had followed him in this Expedition, which he endeavoured to make with Justice to his Promises, and to their several Merits, as far as the forfeited Lands and Reve­nues would reach, or any Treasures or Debts he found here belonging to the Crown: The Lands of the English Barons who had opposed him, he divided among the Norman Barons that had attended him; those of the Commoners among the Sol­diers, what Offices were vacant, [Page 140] he supplied with such as he had not Lands or Money to reward; such of the Normans as he could not clear Accounts with at present by any of these Ways, he distribu­ted into the rich and numerous Ab­beys of the Kingdom, to be there entertained till new Employments should fall, or new Forfeitures or new Supplies should come into the King's Coffers by the large Reve­nues of the Crown, or the wise Ma­nagement of his Treasures, which had always been a Virtue of this Prince, and exercised in his lower Fortunes, as far as could agree with the Bounty of his Nature, towards those who deserved it by their Me­rits or their Services.

The Provision he made for so many poor Normans, by disposing them among the rich Monasteries to share in their Plenty, seemed at [Page 141] least a temporary Imposition upon the Clergy, and a Breach of those Immunities they had enjoyed in the Saxon Reign: For though one chief End of the large Donations made by so many Princes and pi­ous Subjects to the Church, was intended for charitable Uses, by Relief of the Poor, and the hospi­table Entertainment of Passengers, Pilgrims, and Strangers, yet this Use was left voluntary, and at the Choice of those who possessed these Revenues: The Normans sent a­mong them were indeed Strangers and Poor, but yet the most chari­table Monks had little Mind to re­lieve them, or if they had, were not willing to receive them within their Convents, to be, not only Sha­rers of their Provisions, but Ob­servers of their Actions; however, they complied at present, with the [Page 142] Desires of the King, or the Neces­sity of the Times, yet they gene­rally took it ill of the King, and for a Diminution of those Immuni­ties, or of that Favour they had enjoyed under former Reigns: Some thought he had an envious Eye at the vast Riches of the Cler­gy; others, that he was jealous of their Power, and suspected their Affections to his Person and Go­vernment, and apprehended as ea­sie a Change among them, upon the Approach of any new Revolu­tion as they had shewed upon the last, in his own Favour. That for these Reasons he had dispersed his Normans as so many Guards, or at least as so many Spies among them: Whetever it was, 'tis cer­tain this Action bred the first Un­kindness of the Clergy towards this King, and being followed by two [Page 143] other Strains of the same Nature (which will be observed in their Time) left an Imposition upon him Memory, of Hardship, Cruel­ty, Oppression, or Exaction, which he deserved as little as other Prin­ces, that have a fairer Character in Story and common Opinion. For the Monks having been the only Writers remaining of those Times, as well as some succeeding Reigns, have left a Tincture of their Passions upon the Actions of the first Kings of this Norman Race, and painted their Virtues and Vices in fairer or fouler Colours, accor­ding to the Ideas they had framed of them and their several Dispositi­ons or Actions in Favour or Pre­judice of the Church, that is, of Ecclesiastical Persons or Privi­leges: Such an Authority have the Pens of learned Writers, always [Page 144] claimed nad possessed, as to pass the definitive Sentence upon the Memories of the greatest Princes in the vulgar Opinion of Posterity. Nor is it evident whether the invi­dious Name of Conqueror which this King had so carefully avoided, were entailed upon him by the Flattery of his Friends or the Ma­lice of his Enemies, among whom, the Monkish Writers seem to have been the chief and most invete­rate.

Whatever Motions were raised upon this Occasion in the Minds of the Clergy, none appeared in the rest of the Body of the Realm, or Mass of the People, most were sa­tisfied because they either liked their new King, or hated the last Usurper; some were indifferent to both, while their Estates and Liberties were out of Danger, and [Page 145] such who were displeased with ei­ther, disguised their Resentment, or were not taken notice of in the Crowd. All conspired to make so great a Calm succeed in the King­dom, as is usual after a great Storm is over; That the King having pas­sed some Months here in the Cares and for the Settlement of his new Dominions in England, made a Journy to visit his old in Normandy about the beginning of the Sum­mer, having been crowned at West­minster on Christmas-Day.

Whether this was undertaken upon any Necessity of his Affairs on that side, or to settle them so as not to interrupt him here, where he intended to reside, is not known; or whether he took a Pleasure and a Pride to show both his Subjects and his Neighbours Princes, how secure he esteemed himself in his [Page 146] new acquired Dominions; but it looks like a Strain of his usual Boldness and fearless Temper, and succeeded well, like the rest of his Counsels and Resolutions; yet was not this Journy undertaken with­out Prudence and Caution, in the Choice of those Hands with whom he left the Government in his Ab­sence, and of those Persons he en­gaged to accompany him in the Voyage. He committed the Rule of the Kingdom to his Brother O­don Bishop of Bayeux, and to Fitz Aubar his near Kinsman, whom he had lately made Earl of Hereford, He took with him into Normandy, Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury, who though a great Instrument in his easie and peaceable Admission to the Crown, yet had been discon­tented at his Coronation, which had been perfomed by the Arch­bishop [Page 147] of York, upon Pretence of some Fault or Question about the other's Investiture; with him he took several other Bishops; the Earls Edwin and Morchar, two Persons of great Power and De­pendances, with many other En­glish Noblemen, of whose Faith or Affections he was the least confi­dent; and besides these, he took with him a greater and much more considerable Hostage for the Qui­et of England, though under Co­lor of honouring him, or being ho­noured by his Company; This was Edgar, surnamed Atheling, Ne­phew to Edward the Confessor, and designed by him for Successor, as was divulged among those of his Subjects, that neither favoured the Right or Pretensions of Harold, or the Norman Duke. He had many Disadvantages to ballance and [Page 148] weigh down his Right which was undisputed, as his foreign Birth and Breeding, which was in Hungary during his Father's Exile under the Reign of Hardy-Cnute; The Perse­cution and Hatred of his Grand­mother Emma, a Woman celebra­ted in her Time, for the Suspicion and clearing of her Chastity by the Saxon Trial of Fire Ordeal, but who having married Hardy-Cnute after the Death of her first Hus­band, had ever after more Inclina­tion to the Danish than the Saxon Race: Bedsies, Edgar, though of so good and virtuous Dispositions as made him be stiled England's Darling, yet they were such as seemed to become an excellent pri­vate Person rather than a Prince, or at least to have adorned an easie and peaceful Possession of a Crown, ra­ther than to force his Way to a [Page 149] legal Right through the Difficul­ties and Opposition of two power­ful Pretenders. However, an un­disputed Right (which they say ne­ver dies) had left him so many Friends in the Kingdom, that the King thought it not safe to leave him behind, upon his going into Normandy, nor wise to tempt either him or his new English Subjects with such an Opportunity of rai­sing any Commotions upon so fair a Pretence.

Besides these Cautions, he took with him most of his French Adven­turers into Normandy, finding they were not very agreeable here, ei­ther to the English or to the Nor­mans, and pretending he was not able to clear his Accounts with all that assisted him, out of the Reve­nues or Forfeitures here, and that he would find out Ways of satisfy­ing [Page 150] them, either in Normandy, or by his Credit and Recommendations to other Princes, where his own Bounty or Abilities could not reach.

During his Stay in Normandy, which was no less than the whole Summer, his new Government in England continued quiet and peace­able, though one Erick, called the Forester, endeavoured to disturb it, by calling in some loose Forces of the Welsh, his Neighbours, in­to Herefordshire; but he was soon suppressed, and they easily forced back into their own Mountains by the Vigilance of the Governours, and the Vigour of those Forces he had left here, disposed with such Order, into the several Countries, as to give Way or Time to no growing Dangers that should arise in any one Corner or from any [Page 151] single Discontent, while the gene­ral Humour of the People was calm, and either satisfied with the Change, or at a Gaze how this new World was like to end. So that the King, after having settled his Affairs in Normandy to his Mind, returned before Winter to enjoy the Fruits of so many Dangers and Toils as his Life had been engaged in, resolving to spend the remain­der of it in England, as the nobler Scene and greater Dominion, and to cultivate with Care, an Acqui­sition, he had gained himself with much Hazard and Pains, and with greater Glory.

The King at his Return into England, finding his new Domini­on had continued calm and peace­able under the Authority of his Brother and Council, had Reason to believe it would be easily pre­served [Page 152] so, under his own. For, as the Absence of an ill Prince sel­dom fails of raising Disquiets and Commotions among the People in a Government which is obeyed only from Fear; so nothing con­tributes more to the Satisfaction and Obedience of Subjects, than the Presence of a good King, and this is the Reason why all distant Provinces, governed by Commissi­ons or subordinate Authorities are so subject to frequent Seditions and Revolts, how lawfully soever they are inherited, or how well soever they are established after any new Conquest or Acquisition; the Force and Influence of Authority growing still weaker by the Change of Hands and Distance of Place: This disposed the new King to the Resolution he took at this time, of making England the [Page 153] Seat of his Person, as well as Em­pire, and governing Normandy by his Lieutenants, thereby forcing the common Affections of Birth, or Education and Custom, to yield and comply with Reasons of State, and preferring a foreign to his natural Soil, though perhaps seated in a better Climate, and at that time more adorned and civi­lized by the Commerce of France, and other Countries upon the Con­tinent.

With this Resolution, and in this Security, he applied himself at his Return to the Arts of Peace, and the Orders of his State, where­in he as well excelled as in those of War, and was framed, not only for a great Prince but for a good, to which he was inclined by the Bounty and Clemency of his natu­ral Dispositions by the Strength [Page 154] and Soundness of his Judgment, and by the Experience of his Age: His first Care was to provide for the due Administration and Exe­cution of Laws and Justice, throughout his Realm, and the next was to introduce Order into the common Course of his Reve­nue, and manage it with so great Proportion of his Expence to his Receipts, as might neither leave the Crown in Necessities, nor the Subjects in Fears of new or lawless Exactions and Oppressi­ons; Justice being the very Foun­dation of Government, as Trea­sure is said to be the Sinew of War.

For the first; As he had sworn at his Coronation, to govern by the Laws of the Realm; so he continued the ancient Customs and Liberties of the People that [Page 155] were called the common Law of the Kingdom, which he caused to be in Substance observed, both in what concerned the Crown and the Subject, though he introduced several new Forms in the Admini­stration or Execution of them: Be­sides the ancient Laws or Customs that concerned the Descent of pri­vate Inheritances, or the Penalties upon several Crimes; There were two fundamental Laws of the Sax­on or English Kingdom; The Tri­al by Juries of twelve Men, wherein consisted the chief Safe­ty of Mens Properties and Lives: And the Burrough Law, which was the greatest Security that had been invented by the Wisdom of our Saxon Ancestors, for the Peace and Order of the Realm. The first, I know, is by some Authors mentioned as having been intro­duced [Page 156] by this Norman King out of the Laws of that Country: But I think it evident to have been an In­stitution very ancient among the Saxons, and to have been derived and observed, during the whole Succession of the English Kings, and even in the Danish Reigns, without any Interruption. Nor does there want some Traces or Appearance of it, from the very Institutions of Odin, the first great Leader of the Asiatick Goths or Ge­tae into Europe, and the Founder of that mighty Kingdom, round the Baltick Sea, from whence all the Gothick Governments in these North­west Parts of the World were de­rived by the spreading Conquests of those Northern Races.

'Tis recorded, that upon the beginning of his Expedition, he ordained a Council of twelve Men, [Page 157] who should judge and decide all Matters that came in Question, and there being then no other Laws e­stablisht among those vast Num­bers of rough People, going to seek out new Conquests, and thereby Seats to inhabit: It is probable these twelve Men judged all Cases upon Evidence or matter of fact, and then gave their Sentence and appointed Penalties according to what they esteemed most agreea­ble to Justice and Equity, so as the twelve Men were at first both Jurors and Judges: Their Judgments in Cau­ses both real and criminal being ge­nerally approved as just and equita­ble grew into President to succeed­ing Judges, and being received by ge­neral Submission, introduced the Cu­stom of certain Sentences being pro­nounced in certain Causes and cer­tain Punishments being usually in­flicted [Page 158] upon certain Crimes. In Process of Time and Multiplicity of Business, the matter of Fact continued to be tried by twelve Men, but the Adjudgment of the Punishment, and the Sentence thereupon came to be given by one or two or more Persons cho­sen out of such as were best versed in the Knowledge of what had been usual in former Judgments upon like Cases, and as the first Part was left to the Equals or Neighbours of the Persons accused (as most likely to do Justice to one of their own Rank or Acquain­tance) so the other was commit­ted to Persons of Learning or Knowledge in the ancient Cu­stoms, Records or Traditions of what had long passed in the Course of Justice among that Na­tion: Thus we find it evident that [Page 159] in the Saxon Reigns in England, Causes were adjudged by the Aldermen and Bishop of the several Shires, with the Assistance of twelve Men of the same County, who are [...] said to have been Judges or As­sistants to the two first, by such as affirm or pretend this manner of Trial, to have been drawn by the Conqueror himself out of Norman­dy, who is thereby said to have in­troduced in this, as well as some other Forms, the Norman Laws in­to the common Law of England. 'Tis true, that the same Custom or Trial was used in Normandy be­fore the Conquest, and it is most probable that neither the English received it from the Normans, nor these from the English; but that both Nation deriving their Origi­nal from those ancient Goths, a­greed in several Customs or Institu­tions, [Page 160] deduced from their com­mon Ancestors, which made this Trial by Juries continue uninter­rupted in England, not only by the Normans, but by the Danes also, who were but another Swarm of that great Northern Hive. 'Tis true, the Terms of Jury and Ver­dict were introduced by the Nor­mans with many others, in the Stile and Practice of our Laws, but the Trials by twelve Men with that essential Circumstance of their una­nimous Agreement, was not only used among the Saxons and Nor­mans, but is known to have been as ancient in Sweden, as any Records or Traditions of that Kingdom, which was the first Seat of the Gothick Dominions in the North­west Parts of Europe, and it still remains in some Provinces of that Country. However, King William [Page 161] caused this to be observed as the common Law of the Kingdom, and thereby gave great and univer­sal Satisfaction to the Body of the People, both English and Normans.

The Burrough Law had been likewise anciently establish'd a­mong the Saxons, whereby every Shire was divided into so many Hundreds or Burroughs, consist­ing at first of one hundred Fami­lies therein usually inhabiting; e­very Hundred into so many Tith­ings consisting of ten Families. If any Person committed or were accused of any Crime, the Tith­ing to which he belonged was bound to produce him to Justice before the Court of the Hundred or County: If he fled, they were to swear they were not Complices of the Fact, and that they would procure the Criminal whenever [Page 162] they could find him, if this failed, in a certain time they would disco­ver all the Goods he was possess'd of within their Tithing, to satisfie the Damage done to a Subject, or a Fine to the King upon such an Offence: If neither Person nor Estate appeared, then the Tith­ing was answerable to a certain Proportion, and if that were not sufficient, then it was laid upon the Hundred: By this means it be­came every Man's Interest as well as Duty, to prevent all Crimes and Misdemeanors among their Neigh­bours, and to discover the Crimi­nals, since they were otherwise to share in the Penalty, and as the rest of the Tithing was bound for the Behavior of every Freeman a­mong them, so every Lord or Ma­ster was bound to answer in the same manner for their Servants.

[Page 163] I know not whether any Con­stitution of Government, either ancient or modern, ever invented and instituted any Law or Order, of greater Wisdom, or of great­er Force to preserve the Peace and Safety of any State, and of equal Utility to the Prince and People, making Virtue and Innocence of Life so necessary, by the easie Ap­prehension or Discovery, and cer­tain Punishment of Offenders. This Law the King caused like­wise to be severely observed during his Reign, finding therein his own Interest as well as his Peoples, and the great Security of his new set­tled Government.

He confirmed all Mens Proper­ties, Inheritances, and Successi­ons, invading none, either for his own Benefit, or Reward of his Norman Forces, or Friends, ex­cepting [Page 164] the Possessions of such as had opposed his Claim to the Crown, which he pretended to be a lawful Right, as derived from the Testament of Edward the Con­fessor, and thereby was made a Pretence of legal Forfeiture in all that resisted him: But this Blow to so many Estates and Families was given at once, and no more re­newed: On the contrary, Justice was administred equally to the En­glish Men, upon the Injuries of the Normans, who presume upon the King's Favour, in Prejudice of Right, and of those Laws he had confirmed or established. Where­of one memorable Instance remains upon Record, even in those Wri­ters who were most severe upon the Actions and Memory of this Prince: It was an Action between Warren a Norman, and Sherburn an [Page 165] English Man: The first, by Vir­tue of a Grant from the King had entered upon the Lands of the o­ther, who came into Court, and pleaded, That he had never bore Arms against the King, nor oppo­sed his Title or Accession to the Crown, but had lived always peaceably upon his own Lands, and so was liable to no Forfeiture by the common Law, but was further secured by the King's De­claration, immediately after his coming to the Crown: Upon which Plea a just Sentence was given in favour of Sherburn, his Lands restored, and Warren the Norman cast and condemned to the Costs of the Suit.

He appointed Justices to pre­serve the Peace, and administer Ju­stice in every County, pursuant to that which was used in the Saxon [Page 166] Reigns. For the Pleas of the Crown, and those of greater Moment be­tween the Subjects, he created Judges of the most learned and a­ble he could find, and ordained four Terms each Year consisting of a certain Number of Days, wherein Justice should be duly ad­ministred, and all Suits heard in such Places as the King should ap­point and find most convenient. Besides these Orders he instituted the Courts of Chancery and Ex­chequer, the first for tempering the Rigor of Laws according to the Dictates of Conscience and E­quity; and the other for determin­ing all Actions concerning the Re­venues of the Crown, and punish­ing Exactions or irregular Proceed­ings in the Officers who levied or received them as well as Defaults or Delays in those from whom it was due.

[Page 167] For Taxes or Impositions unu­sual, it does not appear, that he levied any excepting one of Six Shillings upon each Plow-land throughout the Kingdom, nor is it well agreed, at what Time or up­on what Occasion this was raised, whether by consent of a general Assembly, or by his own Regal Au­thority: By this indeed he imposed Danegelt upon the Invasion of the Danes, which happened once or twice in this Reign, though with little Progress or Success.

This Tax was first raised by Ethelreld upon the first Enterprise of the Danes upon England, and afterwards used by several of his Successors upon the like Danger, sometimes to repulse them by Force and Arms, sometimes to evade them by Bargains and Money, wherewith they compounded for [Page 168] the present Dangers, but invited o­thers to come by such mean De­fences.

This Tax grew odious to the People whenever it was raised up­on any other Pretence than a Da­nish Invasion, and though it was sometimes levied, yet very seldom and cautiously, by some few of the Saxon Kings, and but once or twice by this Norman Prince, and then most probably upon the true natu­ral Occasions, which had given it the first Original: Thus, I sup­pose, it is confounded with the Tax before mentioned, and with­out applying it to the Danish Inva­sions, by some Writers, who seem to take all Occasions of defaming the Actions and Memory of this King, and to avoid all just Excu­ses of any that were ill resented: And this proceeded from the ill [Page 169] Talent of the Monkish Writers, who measured the Virtues and Vi­ces of Princes, by the Opinion of their Favour or Disaffection to the Clergy, whom they accounted or stiled the Church, though this general Appellation is known to comprehend not only such Persons as were anciently chosen to admi­nister the Offices of divine Wor­ship, but also all believing Chri­stians that composed such Assem­blies, to whom those Offices were administred: Of this the King seemed to be sensible, for though he was a Prince of known and great Piety, and so approved by the se­veral Popes during his Reign; yet he appeared very little favoura­ble, if not something hard to the Ecclesiasticks of this Kingdom, and perhaps something bold with their Privileges so long enjoy'd under the devout Saxon Kings.

[Page 170] For the rest, he contented him­self with the usual Revenues of the Crown; and by his great Or­der and Management, as well as Moderation in his constant Ex­pence, gained much Ease to the Crown, and Satisfaction to his People.

The chief and ancient Branches of the Crown Revenue consisted of, First, the Lands of old reser­ved as a Provision for the King's Houshold, and so reckoned as Crown-Lands: These at first yielded only certain Quantities of Provisions, as Beefs, Sheep, Wheat, Hay, Oates, according to the Na­ture of the Lands, the Tenures by which they held, and the Quanti­ty of Provisions found necessary for the King's Houshold; What Overplus remained, was com­pounded for and paid in Money, [Page 171] according to Rates usual and agreed. The next was a Duty reserved an­ciently out of every Knight's Fee, which at first was constantly paid as a Quit-rent, but being small, came in time to be neglected by the Kings, that contented them­selves with the Military Attendance of the Knights in their Wars, and with levying sometimes a great­er Duty upon great or urgent Oc­casions, under the Name of Es­cuage, which was burthensom and odious till the Proportions and Oc­casions came to be ascertained. Those Authors, who will make the Conquerour to have broken or changed the Laws of England, and introduced those of Normandy, pre­tend this Duty of Escuage with the Tenures of Knights Service and Baronage, to have come over in this Reign, as well as the Trial [Page 172] by Juries: But as enough has been said to clear the last, so it needs no Proof, that these with the other Feudal Laws, were all brought into Europe by the ancient Goths, and by them settled in all the Pro­vinces which they conquered of the Roman Empire, and among the rest, by the Saxons in England, as well as by the Franks in Gaul, and the Normans in Normandy; where the use of their States or general Assemblies were likewise of the same Original.

The last common Branch of the King's Revenue consisted of For­feitures, both of Lands and Goods, in Cases of Treason, and Fines or some known mulctuary Punish­ments upon other Crimes, which were distinctly prescribed in the Saxon Laws, even for Manslaugh­ter and Murther it self; the Rigour [Page 173] of those Times not extending to Blood, except in those Cases where the common Safety of the King­dom was concerned, by the danger of the King.

By all these Orders and Institu­tions, and the Clemency as well as Justice, wherewith they were ad­ministred; the King how new so­ever his Reign, how disputed his Title, and how disagreeable his Person by a foreign Birth, yet so far gained the general Affections and Satisfaction of the Commo­ners of the Realm, who ask no­thing but Security in their Estates and Properties, that no Commoti­ons afterwards raised by the No­bles and Clergy against his Govern­ment, though in Favour of a bet­ter Right and Title, were ever supported by the Commons, who compose the Mass and Bulk of a [Page 174] Nation, and whose general good or ill Humour, Satisfaction or Discontent will ever have the most forcible Influence for the Preserva­tion or Ruin of any State.

Besides the good and profitable Institutions and Orders of this King, already mentioned, so gene­rally approved, and so grateful to the Commonalty of the Realm, there were others of a different Nature, and which had a contrary Effect by distasting and disobliging many of the chief Nobility, and most or all of the Clergy, though some were so cautious as not to lose their Dignities or Revenues by expressing their Resentments.

The Offences taken by these last, were, first, the abrogating or surceasing the Judiciary Power, exercised by the Bishops during the Saxon Times in each County, where [Page 175] Justice was administred, and the Bishop with the Alderman or Earl of each Shire, sate as Judges in those Courts, which encreased, not only their Authority, but their Revenues too, by a Share they had with the King in all Fines rais'd from the Issue of Causes there determined: But all this was abolished by the King's Institution of Justiciaries, to administer Ju­stice upon all Pleas of the Crown, and others among Subjects at four Terms of the Year.

This gave particular Offence to the Bishops, but another to the whole Clergy; for whereas be­fore they held all their Land by Franc Almonage, and subject to no Duties or Impositions, but such as they laid upon themselves in their Ecclesiastical Assemblies: This Prince finding above a third Part [Page 176] of the Lands of the Kingdom in Possession of the Clergy, and the Forces of the Crown, which con­sisted in Knights Service, lessened in Proportion by their Immunity. He reduced all their Lands to the common Tenure of Knights Fees and Baronage, and thereby sub­jected them to the Attendance up­on the King in his Wars, and to other Services anciently due, and sometimes raised upon all Lands that held in fee from the Crown. This Innovation touched not only the Bishops, but all the Abbots throughout the Kingdom, many of whom were endowed with so great Lands and Revenues, that in Right thereof they were upon the regular Constitutions of Parli­aments, allowed Session with the Bishops as Barons in the House of Lords.

[Page 177] The whole Clergy exclaimed against this new Institution, not only as an Indignity and Injustice, but as an Impiety too, and Viola­tion of the sacred Rights of the ho­ly Church, but their Complaints were without Redress, though not without ill Consequence.

The Discontents among many of the great Nobles arose chiefly from two Occasion; The first was the Rigor of the Forrest Laws, and of their Execution; And the other was, the King's too apparent Partiality to his Nor­mans.

To know the Ground or Pre­tence of these Forrest Laws, it will be necessary to run up to their Original. In the first Seisures and Distributions made of the Bri­tish Lands by the conquering Sax­ons, besides those reserved to the [Page 178] Kings, or divided among the Peo­ple, and held by the Tenures, ei­ther of Knights Service or of Book-land as it was termed among the Saxons, and thereby distin­guish'd from that of Villenage. There were many great Tracts of barren, wild, or woody Lands, left undisposed, and in a manner waste, so great Numbers of Bri­tish Inhabitants having been extin­guish'd by the Wars, or retired into Wales, Cornwal, Britanny, and Scotland, and the new Saxons not content to share among them, any Lands, but such as were fruitful and fit to be cultivated: These were enclosed or improved as well as inhabited by the new Proprie­tors, and the others left wast as well as undisposed to any certain Owners: The whole Country was, as has been observed, very [Page 179] full of all Sorts of wild Game in the Time of the Britains, who lived at large, without any Inclo­sures, little Property, and subsi­sted much upon Hunting, Fish­ing and Fowling, which they had all in common. Upon the enclo­sing or cultivating of the fruitful Lands by the Saxons, the wild Beasts naturally afraid of Neigh­bours, whom they found to be all Enemies, fled into the wild, woody, and desolate Tracts of Land, where they found Shelter, and fed, though hardly, yet out of common Sight and Noise: And hereby all those Parts became replenish'd with all Sorts of Game, especially with Red and Fallow-Deer, and made all those several Extents of Ground, which were afterwards called Forrests.

[Page 180] The Saxon Kings esteemed these to belong to the Crown, by their Right to all Possessions that have no certain Owner, and by their never having been disposed upon the first Divisions of Land in the Saxon Kingdoms, nor after­wards by any Grants of the Crown. This Right was not dis­puted, nor any Use of it made, further than for the King's Plea­sure, which yet was not by them restrained from the Nobles or Knights that were Borderers upon the Forrests, who were so mode­rate in those more simple Ages, as to commit no Excesses or destroy the Game, which it was their In­terest to preserve both for their Sport and the Quarry, and for some use made of it for common Pasturage among all the bordering Neighbours.

[Page 181] William the Conqueror not only seised upon all these Forrests as Part of his own Demesns, but made a very large one in Hampshire, besides those he found, by laying wast, and leaving uninhabited great Extents of Land which he pretended to be fallen to the Crown, by ancient Succession or by new Forfeitures; and this he called the new Forrest, which Name after so long a Course of Ages, it still retains.

In all these Forrests he pretend­ed an absolute Right and Domini­on, and in Pursuance thereof in­stituted new and arbitrary Laws of his own, unused and unknown before in this Kingdom, and very dif­ferent from the Moderation of the Saxon Government. He confined all hunting or fowling in these Forrests to himself, or such as should have [Page 182] Right to it by his Concessions or Permissions. He imposed Fines upon all Trespasses committed in them according to his own Plea­sure, and which seemed much to exceed the Fault or Value of the thing. These he caused to be le­vied with great Rigor and Exacti­on, and thereby debarred not only his Commoners, but his Nobles too, from a Liberty they had be­fore always enjoy'd, Though he took care not to provoke the Com­moners, by leaving Pasturage free for such of the Neighbours who lived most upon their Stock, and thereby took no greeat Offence at the Restraint from their Sport which they had not Time from their Labour much to follow; yet the Nobles and Knights, who va­lued their Sports more than com­mon Gains, and made use of their [Page 183] Riches but for Encrease of their Pleasures; resented this Restraint as a sensible Injury, as an Invasion of their Liberties, and even as an Affectation of an Arbitrary Power in this Particular, and from the Exercise whereof he was only re­strained, by the Regards of his Safety and Interest, in others of more Moment and Consequence: The great Nobles resented it yet further, as an Indignity by le­velling their Privileges with the Liberties of the Commoners, from whom they esteemed themselves distinguished by the usual Regards and Respects paid them from the Princes in their Degree, as well as from the People. Nor does it appear whether this violent Institu­tion of the Forrest Laws proceed­ed from his passionate Love of hunting (the only Pleasure to [Page 184] which this Prince was addicted) or from his Avarice, by so many Fines to encrease his Treasure, or from a Desire of being absolute and arbitrary in one Part of his Government, which he found he could not be with any Safety in the rest.

For his Partiality to the Nor­mans, though it was disguised, or at least not evident in the common Forms of his Justice, which run a free and even Course, yet it was easily discovered in that of his Graces and Favour; the Civil Offices, Ecclesiastical Benefices, Places of most Trust about his Person, and in his Realm, were conferred generally upon his Nor­mans, and besides these Advantages and those of the Forfeitures that fell upon his Entrance; they ap­peared to have his Countenance, [Page 185] his Conversation, his Confidence, so that whatsoever the English pos­sessed of the Kingdom, the Nor­mans alone seemed to possess the King.

This might have been more ex­cusable if the English had consider­ed the King as much as themselves, and many of his Circumstances as well as their own: They were Strangers to him, or but new Ac­quaintance; they differed in Lan­guage, in Manners, in Customs; they had very lately differed in In­terest, and from Enemies in War, were indeed now become Sub­jects, but rather as to a Conqueror than a lawful Prince: The Nor­mans spoke his Native Tongue, were trained up in the same Cu­stoms, acquainted with his Per­son from his Youth, had attended him in his Court, followed him [Page 186] in his Wars, at Home and A­broad, and thought it but just they should share in his Fortunes as they had in his Dangers.

However, many of the great aspiring Spirits among the English Nobles could not bear this Partia­lity of the Kings: They thought the Normans ought to be provided of Rewards or Honours in Nor­mandy, but those of England should be conferred upon English: Besides, they resented the com­mon Testimonies of his Inclinati­on to the Normans, as much as they could have done Injuries to themselves, like generous Lovers, who are more jealous and spited to see their Rivals gain the Inclinati­on of their Mistress, than the Pos­session, and had rather they should have her Body than her Heart.

[Page 187] Upon all these Causes the Dis­contents of many chief English No­bles and Prelates were grown to such a Height, swelling more within, the more they were sup­pressed; that they wanted only a fair Occasion to draw them to a Head and make them break out with Violence, and much Pain and Danger to the State.

This furnish'd them, either by Fortune or Design, in the third, fourth, or fifth Year of the Conqueror's Reign; for the Au­thors are neither distinct, nor a­greed in assigning the Causes or the Times of this King's Actions in War, or Institutions in Peace, by which their true Nature, and that of the Prince would have been best discovered; whereas they content themselves to display their Eloquence, or vent their [Page 188] Passions by relating general or par­ticular Events, what was done, and what was suffered in his Reign; by which some of the Norman Writers endeavonr to repre­sent him as a God, and some of the English like a Devil, and both unjustly.

Edgar Atheling was Nephew to Edward the Confessor, and the un­disputed as well as undoubted Heir of the Kingdom from the Saxon Race: It was generally thought that he had likewise been designed by King Edward, a just and pious Prince, to succeed him in the Throne, and that his Decla­ration pretended by Harold, or Te­stament by the Duke of Normandy, were fictitious, or at least neither of them evident from any clear and undoubted Writings or Testimo­nies. Edgar was besides from the [Page 189] Bounty of his Nature, the Excel­lence of his Temper, the Preroga­tive of his Birth, and the Com­passion of his unjust Fortunes, much and generally beloved and e­steemed among all the English both Nobles and Commons, yet he neither opposed Harold's Usurpation, nor the Normans Conquest, whether for want of Spirit to attempt so great an Adventure, or upon Pru­dence, not to oppose such Powers, as he found unresistable, and in which so many Circumstances had conspired, choosing rather to con­tent himself with the Shades of a private Condition, out of Danger and Envy, or at least to attend some future Occasions that might open a more probable Way to his Hopes and his Fortunes.

He was at London among many other Nobles, when the famous [Page 190] and decisive Battle was fought at Hastings, and the News brought of the Duke's Victory, and of Ha­rold's Death: Those of the No­bles, who were for opposing the Conqueror, were for declaring Edgar Atheling King; the Citizens of London were at first disposed to the same Resolution; but the Bishops and Clergy who had the greatest Sway among both those Orders, prevailed in this general Council for a general Submission to the Fate of the Kingdom.

In Pursuance of this Resoluti­on, Edgar Atheling with Stigand, and Alred Archbishops of Canterbu­ry and York, Edwin and Morchar, two of the greatest English Lords, the rest of the Nobles and Bishops who had attended the Victorious Duke upon his Way to London, was well received by him, and treat­ed [Page 191] with Bounty as well as Huma­nity, so that the young Prince, at­tended frequently at Court, ac­companied the King into Normandy, returned with him into England, and lived there for some time like one who had forgot his Birth and his Title, though they were by the English well remembred: But at length, either weary of Rest, or roused by other Spirits more unquiet than his own, he resolved, or at least pretended to make a Journey into Hungary, where he was born during his Father's Ex­ile, had lived long and was much beloved: He embarqued for Flan­ders with his two Sisters, Marga­ret and Christine, but forced by a Storm and contrary Winds, or al­lured by fairer Hopes he was dri­ven upon the Coasts of Scotland, the first was given out, but the [Page 192] last suspected, from the Event of this Voyage. He was received by Malcolm, the King, with great Kindness, and Compassion of his Disasters both at Sea and Land, was resorted to by all the Nobles and Gentlemen who had sheltered themselves in that Kingdom, upon Hate or Fear of the Conquest in England, and was by them ac­knowledged and honoured as the true lawful Heir of that Crown: Soon after his Arrival, the King of Scotland, enflamed either with the Beauty of the young Lady, or with the Hopes of her Brother's Fortunes, or upon former Concert with the English Nobles, residing in Scotland, and Intelligence with others, discontented in England, married the Lady Margaret, eldest Sister of Edgar, and thereby be­came newly engaged in the Inte­rests [Page 193] and Family of this noble but unfortunate Prince.

The Fame of this Adventure was no sooner divulged in England, than it raised a great, though diffe­rent Motion in the Minds of all Men there, who were either well or ill affected to the new King, filling one Party with new Hopes' and the other with new Fears, and reasonably enough in both, from all common Appearances. Many Persons of great Note and Autho­rity in England, repaired immedi­ately upon it into Scotland, some by easie Passages out of the Nor­thern Counties, and others out of the remoter Parts of the Realm, by more difficult Escapes, either by Sea or Land. Among these were the Earls, Edwin, Morchar, Hereward, Seward, Gospatrick, Men of great Estates and Power, [Page 194] as was believed in England, with many other Nobles and Gentle­men: But that which seemed yet of greater Influence and Authority, was the Repair of Stigand Archbi­shop of Canterbury, and Alred of York, with divers other Bishops and Prelates, who having been the chief Instruments in making Way for the easie Accession of Duke William to the Crown, and for the general Submission of the English to his Reign, were presumed now likely to prove of as great Moment and Importance for the Restorati­on and Support of a just English Title in Edgar, as they had been for the Admission and Establish­ment of one disputed and forreign, of the Norman Dukes: Besides, the Clergy being accounted the wise and learned Men of that Age, were esteemed most likely to [Page 195] judge best of the Rights, and best to foresee the Events in Disputes of the Crown, and unlikely to em­bark themselves in a Bottom un­sound, upon either the Regards of Justice or Success.

Edgar, exalted with such a Concourse of Nobles out of En­gland, and the Hopes they gave him of a greater from the People there, when he should appear a­mong them, resolved to lay claim to that Crown, and with stronger Arguments than those of a bare Title or Right of Succession, how just soever: For the Scotch King had now assisted him with a great Army, being induced to en­gage openly in his Quarrel, not only by the Charms of his Wife, or Compassion of her Brothers hard Fortune, but by Reasons of State as well as of Justice and Af­fection; [Page 196] he feared the dangerous Neighbourhood of so powerful, aspiring and fortunate a Prince, and apprehended his Ambition would not cease with the Con­quest of England, but extend it to that of Scotland too, and reducing the whole Island of Britain under one Dominion, for which it seem­ed by Nature to have been framed; he thought it both wise and neces­sary to give some Stop to this growing Power, before it became too well setled at home, and there­by prepared for new Enterprises a­broad, and that it was better car­rying a War into England, than expecting it in Scotland. He was glad of so fair an Occasion to justi­fie his Quarrel, and by advancing the Fortunes of Edgar to secure his own; he had taken Measures with Swayn King of Denmark, to [Page 197] enter the Humber with a powerful Navy, whilst he with his Army entred the Northern Provinces by Land, and with the Sons of Ha­rold, at the same Time to invade the West by the Assistance of Forces to be furnished by Drone King of Ireland, to whom they had fled upon the Norman Victory. He presumed upon great Insurrecti­ons among the English in Favour of Edgar, and by the Authority of the Nobles his Associates, who had represented the common Dis­contents in England to be as great as their own.

These Hopes were not ill groun­ded, nor the Designs ill laid; for the Danish Fleet was ready to sail, and the Sons of Harold with their Irish Forces, landed and raised a Commotion in the West, at the same Time that Edgar with those [Page 198] out of Scotland, invaded the North, where he found at first no Opposi­tion, but instead of Enemies, met with many Friends prepared to receive him, and increase his Strength: He made himself Ma­ster of Northumberland, Cumber­land, and the Bishoprick of Dur­ham, by the Defeat of Robert Count of Mortain, who was there slain, with seven hundred Normans. From thence he marched without Resi­stance as far as York, which was defended by a strong Garrison of Norman Soldiers. He besieged this City, the Capital and Defence of all the Northern Counties, and assaulted it with that Fury, that he carried the Town by Storm, where all the Normans were put to the Sword by the Rage and Re­venge of the English Nobles in his Army, many in the Heat of the [Page 199] Assault, and the rest, after they were entred and found no more Resistance. After this Success, Edgar remained some time at York to refresh his Army, after so long a March, and so warm an Action, which had cost him the Lives of many brave Men, and the Wounds of many more. Besides, he ex­pected here to see his Army soon increased by the Repair of many Friends and Discontents out of the Southern Provinces of England, and by the Arrival of the Danish Fleet in the Humber, according to the Concert before agreed, and for which he knew all had been pre­pared.

King William thus surrounded with Dangers from the West and North, and with Jealousies of his new Subjects, of whose Affecti­ons he had yet made no Trial, fur­ther [Page 200] than some few Years Submis­sion to his Government, was yet undaunted at the News of all these Attempts, nor any ways distracted by such various either Dangers or Fears. He applied himself to those which were nearest by send­ing the Forces he had ready, im­mediately into the West, under experienced Commanders, and prepared a greater Army both of English and Normans, to march himself into the North, after the Commotions in the West should be appeased: This happened to be easier and sooner than he ex­pected; for the Attempt of Ha­rold's Sons with their Irish Forces, proved weak and faint, though successful in the first Encounter, wherein Ednoth, a brave Com­mander on the King's side was slain, with several of his Follow­ers, [Page 201] but the Sons of Harold being defeated in a second Engagement, and failing of any considerable Re­course or Insurrection of the En­glish there, (upon which they had grounded their chief Hopes) much disappointed and thereby discoura­ged, were easily broken by the brave Norman Troops, and forced to return with the Remainder of their Irish Forces into Ireland.

King William upon the happy End of this Adventure, after the best Orders taken for the Security of the Southern Parts, in his Ab­sence, marched at the Head of a brave Army in the North, enga­ged the Forces of Edgar in a set Battel, and by the Valour of his Troops, the Discipline and Order of his Army, and his own excel­lent Conduct, defeated entirely the united Strength of his Enemies, [Page 202] sieged and took again the City of York, defended by Waltheof, Son to the Earl Syward, a young Gen­tleman of great Valour, and much admired in this Action, being said to have stood firm at a Breach made in the Wall, and with his Sword to have cut of the Heads of many Normans, as they pressed to enter, and could do it but one by one, by the Narrowness of the Breach, so bravely defended.

After this Defeat, and the Sur­render of York, Edgar retired into Scotland with those of his Depen­dants, who were most desperate and impatient of the Norman Conquest. The rest of the English Nobles, who had escaped the Battel, sub­mitted themselves to the King, and came in upon publick Faith, took a new Oath of Allegiance, and were thereupon all pardoned, and [Page 203] many restored, not only to their Estates, but to Favour with the King, who had found Erick the Forrester, that had first rebelled against him after his Coronation, express great Fidelity, after his Pardon obtained, and perform good Service in this Northern Ex­pedition. He made Gospatrick Earl of Northumberland, and employed him against the Dangers and Incur­sions he apprehended from the Scotch. He was so charmed with the Valour and Constancy that Waltheof had shewed in the De­fence of York (though so much to his Cost and the Loss of so many Normans by his Sword) that he resolved to gain him at what Rate soever he valued himself, showing the Nobleness of his own Courage and Virtue, by loving and honour­ing them in his Enemies. He [Page 204] married this young Gentleman to Iudith his Niece, gave him great Possessions, besides those to which he was Heir, and used him with much Confidence, which was for some time returned with Service and with Faith.

Most of the other Nobles that came in upon Pardon of their Lives, he despoiled of their Estates and Offices, and bestowed them upon his Norman Friends and Followers,; some he kept Prisoners, whom he thought most dangerous, as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and Edwin, a Man of the greatest Power and Dependences, whose Earldom and great Possessions in Yorkshire were given to Alain Earl of Britain, as were those of several others at the same time, to others of his Kindred or Friends. In the room of Stigand he made Lanfranc [Page 205] Archbishop of Canterbury, an Itali­an born, but an Abbot in Norman­dy, a Person of great Wisdom and Temper, as well as Learning: Thomas, his Chaplain, he made Archbishop of York, and obtained the Approbation of the Pope, for their Succession in those Sees (du­ring the Lives of the other two) upon Representation of other Crimes, or at least Vices, besides their Rebellion against a King, whose Title had been confirmed by the Pope, as well as encouraged.

'Tis not agreed at what Time the Danish Fleet arrived upon the Coasts, but 'tis certain they enter­ed Humber with about two hun­dred Sail, some write that they returned again without making a­ny Attempt upon the Shore; that their Commanders were enriched with great presents from the [Page 206] King, and their Soldiers supplied with Provisions, and all treated rather like Friends than Enemies; whether their Arrival out of Time, made them despair of any Success, and whether that were occasioned by cross Winds at Sea, or cross Purposes in the Danish Court, is not well known: For William the Conqueror, after he was seated in the Throne, feared no Insult from abroad but by Danish Powers, and Pretensions they had still upon En­gland, and the Preparations (as was divulged abroad) of Swain their King, for invading it with a Navy of a thousand Ships. Here­upon he endeavoured to ward this Blow, by slight rather than Force, thinking his Safety on that side, bet­ter purchased with Treasure than with Blood. He practised private Intelligences in the Danish Court, [Page 207] and by Force of Presents and Pen­sions, gained to his Devotion some Persons of Credit, and among the rest, Adelbert Archbishop of Ham­burg, a Man of great Authority in those Parts, and whose Advices were much used and esteemed by the Danish King. It was believed the Artifices and Practices of these Men eluded the first great Design of a mighty Invasion, changed it into an Assistance of the disconten­ted here, with smaller Forces, de­layed them till the Time was past, and disposed their Commanders to return without Action, and their Master to receive their Excuses with Approbation, or at least with Impunity.

Yet there are other Writers who say, the Danes landed in England, made great Spoils, joyned Prince Edgar's Forces, wintered in this [Page 208] Kingdom, and returned in the Spring, by the King's private Practi­ces and Rewards among the Com­manders as well as Bounty to the Soldiers.

The King after having establish­ed his Affairs in the North, re­turned triumphant to London, where the first Action he perform­ed was to take a new personal Oath, before Lanfranc the new Archbishop, and all the Lords then present in that City; to ob­serve the ancient Laws of the Realm established by the Kings of England his Predecessors, and par­ticularly those of Edward the Con­fessor.

This Action of the Kings was the more applauded, and the bet­ter accepted by the English, be­cause it was unconstrained by any Necessity of his Affairs, or Ap­pearance [Page 209] of any new Dangers, a­gainst which he might have Rea­son to provide. And 'tis certain, his Oath taken at his Coronation, of preserving the ancient Laws of the Realm, had been the chief Occasion of his Safety in the late and dangerous Convulsion of the State, together with the ill chosen Time of the Scotch Invasion, and the Revolt of the Lords in Favour of Edgar. For if such Attempts had been made soon after the Con­quest, while the Minds of the Peo­ple were generally in Motion, and in Fear of what might succeed to the Danger of their Properties, and their ancient Liberties, upon that new Revolution, his Throne had not been only shaken, but in evi­dent Danger of being overthrown by such a violent Concussion. But the People having lived quietly [Page 210] some Years, under the Protection of their ancient Laws, and in an equal Course of known and com­mon Justice, grew indifferent to the Change which had been made in the Rights or Succession of the Crown, or to any new one that might succeed. Besides, though they were well affected to Edgar, yet they disliked the Com­pany with which he came attended, and hated the Entrance of a Scotch Army into England, more than they loved Edgar. They thought if he succeeded, the Dominion would fall under the Scotch, whilst he only retained the Name; and if they must be governed by Strangers, the best was to have those they were already used to, and so feared least. The common Subjects of a Kingdom are not so apt to trouble themselves about the Rights and [Page 211] Possession of a Crown as about their own, and seldom engage in the Quarrels of the first, but upon some general and strong Apprehen­sions, that the last are in Danger. So the Discontents and Insurrecti­ons of the Nobles in England, though encouraged and supported by forreign Forces, yet failed of Success against this new King and his Government, because they were not followed by any general Com­motion or Sublevation of the Peo­ple, which left all safe and quiet in the Southern Parts, and main Bo­dy of the Kingdom, whilst he marched with his Army against his Enemies in the North: Nor is the Safety of a Prince so firm and well established upon any other Bottom, as the general Safety, and thereby Satisfaction of the common Peo­ple, which make the Bulk and [Page 212] Strength of all great Kingdoms, whenever they conspire and unite in any common Passion or Interest. For the Nobles, without them▪ are but like an Army of Officers without Soldiers, and make only a vain Show or weak Noise, unless raised and encreased by the Voice of the People, which for this Rea­son is in a common Latin Proverb called the Voice of God.

No Prince ever made greater or happier Experience of this Truth than William the Conqueror, both in the Events of the last and formi­dable Dangers, which he so easily surmounted, and in the whole Course of his subsequent Reign, which was infested by many new Troubles, either in England or in Normandy, that would have proved fatal to him, if he had been distract­ed by the common Discontents or [Page 213] Insurections of his English Subjects; for his present Calm was not of long Continuance, the Clouds soon gathered again and threatned another Storm, and from the same Winds, by which the last had been raised.

Malcolm, King of Scotland still persisted in the Envy and Fear of his neighbouring Power and Great­ness, still esteemed it his own In­terest to joyn with those of Edgar and his Dependants in England; and thereby weaken the Force, or disturb the Quiet of the Norman Go­vernment in England, before it should by the Favour of Time, and calm Seasons, take too deep Root, to be afterwards shaken. He raised a greater Army than be­fore, with which he threatned a­gain to invade England, and led them himself, though still in Fa­vour [Page 214] only of Edgar's Title and Ad­vancement to the Crown. He en­tered into new Practises with seve­ral of the English Nobles who had followed him, though unfortunate­ly in the last Expedition, and were resolved to repair their former Losses by venturing greater, rather than give over the Game. Nor could the Hopes of the discontented English ever die while the Root was alive, and they were fomented by the Malice, and encouraged by the Forces of so powerful a Neigh­bour, joyned with so just Pretensi­ons as those of Edgar were general­ly esteemed.

When the Preparations in Scot­land, and Intelligences in England were ripe for Execution, the Earl Edwin made his Escape, and fled towards the North, but was by the Way murdered by some of his [Page 215] own Retinue. The Earls Morchar and Hereward, who were already upon the Wing, for the same Flight, discouraged by this Misad­venture, durst not pursue it, but yet already engaged too far to make a Retreat, they made Way to pos­sess themselves of the Isle of Ely, fortified there the best they could, and hoped the Scotch Invasion would divert the King's Forces from at­tempting them before Winter, and that the Season and Scituation to­gether would there cover them for some Time.

On the contrary, the Scotch King was discouraged from beginning his March, by the News of these Dis­asters among his Confederates in England, and chose rather to send the Bishop of Durham and Earl Syward out of Scotland to relieve and animate those Lords, retired [Page 216] to the Isle of Ely than to enter En­gland without Hopes of their mak­ing some Diversion. But the King, who never feared or slighted any Dangers, and knew they were like Diseases, to be taken in time, marched immediately with his Forces to the Isle of Ely, beset it upon one side with a great Number of flat bottom Boats, and on ano­ther, made a Bridge of two Miles long, with incredible Diligence and Labour, and with such Speed, as both surprised and terrified his Enemies within. So as despairing of further Resistance, they all sub­mitted to the King's Mercy, ex­cept Hereward, who with some few Followers escaped through the Fens, and through many Dangers arrived safe in Scotland. The rest of the Lords were sent Prisoners to several Parts of the Kingdom, [Page 217] where some remained during the King's Life, and others dyed be­before him, with whom they could not be content to live.

The King, after this small Ad­venture so happily atchieved, and the present Peace of his Kingdom restored, yet considering the Root of all his Dangers was in Scotland, and unwilling to take up present Quiet and Safety, at too great an Interest of Dangers to come, re­solved to march into Scotland with a powerful Army, and endeavour to secure himself on that Side, ei­ther by a Peace or Victory. He first sent Roger a Norman, then Gos­patrick Earl of Northumberland, with Part of his Forces into the North to oppose the Scotch Army that was already entred those Provinces, with great Spoils and Ravages of the Country, and to keep them at [Page 218] a Bay till the King came up with the rest of his Army. In the mean time he assembled his Forces at York, with the best Choice of Men and Officers, and such Numbers as he judged necessary for such an Expedition, composed of English and Normans, whose Emulation he encouraged, with Promises of Re­ward, and Hopes of establishing their common Safety by the Suc­cess of this Enterprise. From York to Durham he met with many Hard­ships and Difficulties from the Wants of his Army, in a Country which had been so lately wasted by the Scotch Forces and his own, and with which he was then contented to prevent another Invasion. But having surmounted all by his own Care, and the Patience of his Men from the Example of their Leaders, he marched near the Borders with­out [Page 219] any Opposition, though com­mon Fame had made him expect the Scotch would give him Battle in England, and not the Trouble of so long a March.

But Malcolm their King, now destitute of Hopes or Assistances from any forreign Confederates, or any Insurrections in England, after the late Disasters of the discontent­ed Lords, began to cool the Heats of his Blood, and instead of fur­ther invading England, changed his Counsels, and resolved only upon a defensive War. At the News of King William's Entrance into the Northern Provinces, he quitted Northumberland, and with good Or­der retreated back to the Borders, and there encamped his Army to the best Advantage, without mak­ing any further Incursions into the English Territories, either to secure [Page 220] his Provisions, or not to provoke his Enemies, and render all Terms of Reconcilement desperate, or not to endanger his Retreat in Case of any Disaster.

The King of England approach­ing the Borders, and thereby the Scotch Army thought fit likewise to encamp his own, both to refresh his Soldiers, harassed by so long and difficult a March, as also to disco­ver the Forces of the Enemy, ob­serve their Countenance, their Or­der, and their Motions, and thereby judge of their Designs, and direct his own to the best Advantage: So that for some Days the two Ar­mies stood at a Bay, seeming both prepared for a fierce Encounter, and yet both content to delay it, from a mutual Respect they had for one anothers Forces and Dispositi­ons. They were indeed not much [Page 221] unequal in Numbers, nor in the Bravery and Order of their Troops; both Kings were valiant and wise, having been trained up in Arms, inured to Dangers, and much em­broiled at home in the Beginning of their Reigns. They were now animated to a Battle, by their own Courage as well as their Soldiers, but yet both considered the Event, in the Uncertainty and the Conse­quence; the Loss of a Battle might prove the Loss of a Crown, and the Fortune of one Day determine the Fate of a Kigdom, and they knew very well, that whoever fights a Battle, with what Number and Forces, what Provisions and Or­ders or Appearances soever of Suc­cess, yet at the best runs a Ven­ture, and leaves much at the Mer­cy of Fortune, from Accidents not to be foreseen by any Prudence, [Page 222] or governed by any Conduct or Skill. These Reflections began to dispose both Kings to the Thoughts of ending their Quarrel by a Peace rather than a Battle, and though both had the same Inclina­tion, yt each of them was unwil­ling first to discover it, least it might be interpreted to proceed from Apprehensions of Weakness or Fears, and thereby dishearten their own Soldiers, or encourage their Enemies. The Scotch at length began the Overture, which was received by King William, with a Show of Indifference, but with a concealed Joy, and the more reasonable, as having the greater Stake, the less to win, and the more to lose by the Issue of a Battle. The first Parley was followed by a Treaty, and this, after some De­bate, by a Peace, concluded as be­tween [Page 223] equal Forces, so upon equal Conditions; each King to content himself with the ancient Bounds of their several Kingdoms, whereof the Borders were agreed. Neither to invade one anothers Dominions, nor to assist the Enemies, or re­ceive and protect the Rebels of each other; Prisoners in the last or this War to be on both sides released, and Subjects who desired to return, to be on both sides restored to their Country and Possessions.

Edgar, the Principal or most appearing Cause of the War, was included and provided for in this Treaty, to return into England, make his Submission to the King, renounce any further Claim to the Crown, and thereupon, not only to be restored to his own Possessi­ons, with his Friends and Follow­ers, but to be provided of a large [Page 224] and honourable Maintenance from the King during his Life. And thus this Storm, which threatned both Kingdoms, with such fatal Dangers, and long▪ Consequences, was of a sudden blown over; a ge­neral Calm restored in the whole Island of Britain, and the two Kings returned to enjoy the Fruits of a Peace, to which they had both contributed, by their equal Tem­per and Prudence, as well as by their equal Preparations for a War.

Soon after the King's Return, Edgar repaired into England, where he was very favourably received, and all Conditions of the Treaty performed, and ever after observed with great Faith and Sincereness on both Parts. He had his Provi­sions and Revenues (agreed by the Treaty) fairly established; but [Page 225] being desirous to go to the Wars of the Holy Land, which was the common Humour of idle or devout Princes in that Age: He was fur­nished by the King with great Sums of Money, to prepare and maintain a noble Equipage for that Journey. He there gained much Honour and Esteem, after which, returning into England, he passed the rest of his whole Life in the Ease and Security of a large but private Fortune; and perhaps hap­pier than he might have done in the Contests and Dangers of Ambiti­on, however they might have suc­ceeded. A rare Example of Mode­ration in Prince Edgar, and of Mag­nanimity as well as Justice and Cle­mency in this King, and very diffe­rent from several of his Successors, who defamed their Reigns by the Death of innocent Princes, for ha­ving [Page 226] only been born to just Rights of the Crown, without any ap­pearing Means or Attempts to pur­sue them, or endanger the Posses­sors; thereby staining their Memo­ries, with the Blots both of Cruelty and Fear. For as Clemency is produ­ced by Magnanimity and Fearless­ness of Dangers, so is Cruelty by Cowardise and Fear, and argues not only a Depravedness of Nature, but also a Meanness of Courage, and Imbecillity of Mind; for which reason it is both hated by all that are within its Reach and Dan­ger, and despised by all that are without.

The King, upon his Return, began again to apply himself to the Arts of Peace, which consist chief­ly in the preventing of future, as those of War, in the surmounting of present Dangers. And as no­thing [Page 227] raises the Power of a Crown so much as weak and private Con­spiracies against it, rashly under­taken by some few Discontents, un­supported by any general Defecti­ons of the People, faintly pursued, and ending without Success; so this Prince found his Throne and Authority more firmly established in all Appearance, by the happy Issue of the two late Wars, and the unfortunate Events of his re­volted Nobles: And now esteem­ed himself more at Liberty from those Regards of his English Sub­jects and their Laws, which his un­settled State had made necessary up­on his first Accession to the Crown? He was provoked by the Rebel­lions of so many of the greatest En­glish Nobles after their Fealty sworn to him: He was perswaded of the general Disaffection of the rest▪ [Page 228] and that the late Insurrections would have been found much deep­er rooted and farther spread, if they had been attended with any Success. He thought the English Lords and Bishops had too great Dependance of their Tenants and Vassals upon them, and had them­selves too little upon the Prince: Since they esteemed themselves nei­ther bound to attend him in the Wars unless they pleased, nor to furnish the Expences unless by their own Consent in their general Assemblies; nor was he satisfied to have them judge of his Necessities, whom he thought likeliest to en­crease them or at least to desire them. He believed the English in general would, as long as they re­tained the Saxon Laws and Forms of Government, ever be affected to the Race of their Saxon Kings: And [Page 229] for this Reason he was thought to have encouraged the Voyage of Ed­gar for the Holy Land, by so large Supplies of Treasure, under Pre­tence of that Prince's Honour, but from true Intentions of his own Safety. Besides, he found his Treasures exhausted by the great Charges of his two last Expediti­ons, and the just Rewards he had promised both his Normans and those of the English, who had well and faithfully served in them. Though he had once or twice (for 'tis left in doubt) levied the Tax of Dane-gelt upon the Threats of a Danish Invasion, and by an ancient Prerogative of the Saxon Kings, pretended or exercised upon that Occasion; yet he found it was not raised without great Murmur and Reluctancy of the People as well as the Nobles, who pretended [Page 230] to ancient Liberties, of paying no Taxes imposed without the Con­sent of their general Assemblies, which began in this King's or his Son's Time, first to be stiled Par­liaments, according to the Norman Phrase, whereas they had by the Saxons been called Gemoots, and by their Latin Writers, Common Councils or general Assemblies of the Kingdom, though how com­posed is left uncertain, and has raised much Argument and Dis­pute.

All these Considerations either moved or augmented at this Time, a Design or Inclination of this King to change the whole Frame of the English Government, to abolish their ancient Laws and Customs, and introduce those of Normandy, by which he thought he should be more absolute, and too powerful [Page 231] to be again disturbed by any Insur­rection at home, or any Invasions from his Enemies abroad.

So soon as he had digested and began to discover this Resolution, 'tis not to be imagined what a uni­versal Discontent, and indeed Con­sternation it raised among all his English Subjects, who under so great a King, attended by his victo­rious Norman Forces, reckoned up­on no other Safety, but from the Preservation of their ancient Laws, whereof he had hitherto assured them. Whereupon the whole People, sad and aggrieved, as well as the Nobles, in an humble Man­ner, but with universal Agreement tendred an earnest Petition to the King. Beseeching him, in Re­gard of his Oath made at the Co­ronation, and by the Soul of St. Edward, from whom he had the [Page 232] Crown and Kingdom, under whose Laws they were born and bred, that he would not change them, and deliver them up to new and strange Laws which they un­derstood not.

Upon this humble, but earnest Application of the whole English Nation, united in their Desires upon this Occasion; the King, before he resolved, thought at least it was of Weight to deserve the best Deli­beration, and thereupon fell into serious Consultations upon it with his Council, whom he found much divided in their Debates. The Normans among them were for his executing with Vigor what he had determined, for abolishing wholly the English Laws, introducing the Norman, and maintaining his Crown and Government, by the same means he had gained them, [Page 233] which was by Force and Arms. They were encouraged in this Opi­nion by presuming it agreed with the Kings Inclination, and were confirmed by the pressing Argu­ments and Advices of his Brother Odon, Bishop of Bayeux, a Man of a violent Nature, arbitrary Humour and Will; who in the Time of the King's Absence, and his being left Vice-gerent, had exercised many Op­pressions and cruel Exactions upon the People, and had raised more Cla­mour and Hatred against the King's Government, than any Councils or Actions of his own.

This ambitious Prelate aspiring at the Papacy upon the next Electi­on, and despairing to obtain it by any other Means than the Force of Money, neglected or refrained no Ways of heaping up Treasure, thought none so sure of encreasing [Page 234] his own as by advancing the King's, by an absolute Power over the Per­sons and Purses of his Subjects.

The English of the King's Coun­cil were of a different Opinion, but being Parties in the Case, had been little considered without the Sup­port of Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury, who being born an Itali­an, was impartial to English and Normans, esteemed much by both, and more by the King. He was a Man of sound natural Sense and universal Goodness, of general Knowledge, known Virtue, long Experience, and approved Wis­dom; free and disinteressed, and in all Councils considering the King more than himself, and his true Service and Welfare of the Crown more than his Humour or his In­clination. The King ever advised with him in all the weighty Affairs [Page 235] of his Reign, allowed his Liberty and encouraged it, knowing him to be not only wise and good, but faithful to his Interests, and affecti­onate to his Person. Happy in the Choice or Fortune of such a Coun­sellor, and more in the Dispositi­on of hearing and weighing such Advises as were never so different from his own Opinions or Inclina­tions. Nor is any thing more dangerous for a Prince than to con­sult only with Persons that he thinks are of his own Mind, or will be so when they know it, nor more pernicious in a Counsellor than to give only such Advices as he thinks most agreeable to him that asks or receives them.

Lanfranc, upon this great and weighty Occasion, represented to the King, how much his Safety de­pended upon the general Satisfacti­on [Page 236] of his Subjects. That of these the English were much the greater Part, both in Strength and Num­bers, that no People could be ea­sie under any Laws, but such wherein they were born and bred: That all Innovations were odious, but none could be more so than this, as appeared by so universal A­greement of the English, in their Petition. That the Humility and Calmness of it was more dangerous than if any thing had been done in hot Blood, and the Refusal would be the more resented. That the Laws and Constitutions of this Realm had been digested by the wisest Councils, and confirmed by a long Succession of their Kings. That under them the Saxons had been good and loyal Subjects, and their Kings, who ruled by these Laws, never troubled with any [Page 237] Seditions or Insurrections of their People. That besides Reason and Experience, Religion was concern­ed in this Resolution, since the King had already twice sworn so­lemnly, to observe them, so as a Change of them now would be taxed not only of Injustice, but Impiety. That nothing was of so much Moment to a Prince as Re­putation, and none more than that of being a Religious Observer of his Word and Promise, but especially of his Oaths, without which he could never be trusted by his Sub­jects or his Neighbors.

The King heard and weighed all their Reasons, and by them formed his own Judgment, which he ever trusted in the last Resort. Upon mature Deliberation, as the Case required, he at length resolved, not only to continue the Laws and [Page 240] Customs of the Realm, but to give the People new, and more evident Assurances of this resolution, in pur­suance whereof he granted and con­firmed them by a publick and open Charter, and thereby purchased the Hearts, as well as Satisfaction of his English Subjects, whereof he reaped the Fruits, in his succeeding Troubles in Normandy, and his Wars with France.

Yet he could not refrain show­ing the Kindness he retained for his own Country and Language, introducing by Connivance or by Countenance, several Norman Cu­stoms, and endeavouring to intro­duce that Language to be general in the Kingdom. To this End he caused many Schools to be set up for teaching that Tongue which was a Bastard French, not well un­derstood by the French themselves, [Page 241] and not at all by the English. He caused the Laws of the Kingdom, which had been anciently written in Saxon, and by Edward the Con­fessor published also in Latin, to be now translated into Norman. He ordered all Pleas in the several Courts to be made in the same Lan­guage, and all Petitions presented the King, and all Business of Court to be likewise in Norman. This in­troduced new Terms, new Forms of Pleading and of Process, new Names of Offices and of Courts, and with them all the litigious Cu­stoms and Subtelties of the Nor­man Pleas and Conveyances (who were a witty but contentious Peo­ple) instead of the old English Sim­plicity in their common Suits, Pleas, or Conveyances, which were plain, brief; without Per­plexities, made with good mean­ing, [Page 240] kept with good Faith, and so followed by little Contention, and that determined by speedy Ju­stice, and Decision of Monthly Courts in every County.

Among the Saxons it was usual to grant Lands and Houses by bare Words, and with the Delivery of some trivial Gift, as an Horn, a Sword, an Arrow, a Helmet, and yet the simple Honesty of those Times and People left such Grants little subject to any Disputes or Contentions. But the Conqueror reduced all Grants to Writing, to Signature, and to Witnesses, which brought in Cavils, and Actions grounded upon Punctilious Errors in Writing, Mistakes in Expressi­on, which in much writing must sometimes happen, either by Hast, Weakness, or perhaps by Fraud of Conveyancers, and with Design [Page 241] to leave matter of Contentions, by which they subsist as Physicians by Diseases.

Notwithstanding all these Arts of the Prince, and Industry of his Ministers to introduce the Norman Language in England, yet all was frustrated by the Over-ballance of Numbers in the Nations, in Pro­portion to the Strangers, and assist­ed by a general Avertion in the English to change their Language, which they thought would be suc­ceeded by that of their Laws and Liberties: So that in this very Reign, instead of the English speak­ing Norman, the Normans began ge­nerally by Force of Intermarriages, ordinary Commerce and Conversa­tion, to use the English Tongue, which has ever since continued and composed, the main Body of our Language, though changed like [Page 242] others, by Mixture of many new Words and Phrases, not only in­troduced by this great Revolution, but by the Uses and Accidents of each succeeding Age.

It seems very remarkable, and very different what happened in Scotland about this Time, and up­on this Subject, for upon the great Recourse of English Nobles and Gentlemen into Scotland seeking Refuge from the first Dangers and and Terrors of the Norman Conquest; and afterwards of many more who fled there in Pursuit of Edgar's Pre­tensions, and joyned with the Scots in two Invasions of England; but chiefly upon Malcolm's fond Af­fection of his English Wife, Sister to Prince Edgar, his Learning and commonly using or favouring her Language, the usual Compliance and Conformity of Courtiers to the [Page 243] Customs of their Prince, and the general Humour of Kindness in the Scots, at that time to the Per­son or Rights of Edgar, and to all his Adherents, that lost their own Country to follow his Fortunes; the English Language grew in this King's Reign to be generally spo­ken, not only in the Court of Scot­land, but in several Counties there­unto adjacent, and among most of the Nobles in remoter Provinces, and so it has ever since remained, as have many English Families in those Parts, habituated, and with Time naturalized among them; and the ancient barbarous Scotch Tongue has been left current, only in the more Northern or North­west and mountainous Parts of that Kingdom, and in the Islands that seeem to have been first and most entirely possessed by the Scyths or [Page 244] Scots, who so long ago invaded and conquered the Northern Parts of Britain and Ireland.

The contrary of this unusual Change in Language, appears to have succeeded in England, since in a little time nothing remained of the Norman Language in common Use, besides the Translation of our common Law, which though de­duced from the ancient Saxon Streams, yet the Sound, and Forms, and Practice came to be Norman, like Rivers which still run from their original Sources, but yet often change their Taste, from the Soils through which they take their Course, and sometimes from Accidents of great Inundati­ons, which for the present change them, but leave them to return to their natural Streams. A singular and instructive Example, how [Page 245] strange a Difference there is in the Compliance of a Nation, with the Humour of a Prince they love, or of one they fear.

Besides these Changes in the Language of our Laws, and the Forms of Pleas which were gene­rally disaffected by the English Sub­jects; this Norman King, either up­on Pretence of Justice and Piety, or else of Necessity and Safety, a­bolished several ancient Saxon In­stitutions, and made several new, which how reasonable or how use­ful soever, yet bred ill Blood among the Nobles and Clergy of England, though the People contented them­selves with the Continuance of their ancient Laws, and thought all they did or suffered for the King's Service, well rewarded, while they might preserve what they called the Laws of Edward [Page 246] the Confessor: And the King was so wise as often to renew his Oath, to maintain them for the general Satisfaction of the People.

For the rest, he took all Juris­diction and Judgment in civil Cau­ses wholly out of the Hands of the Bishops, where it had been placed in the whole Saxon Succession, after their Conversion to Christianity. And restrained the Clergy to the Exercise and Administration of their Ecclesiastical Power. He endeavoured to abolish two ancient Forms of Trial used among the Sax­ons with great Reverence, even during their Christian Worship, though they were but Remainders of their old Pagan Superstition, but so rooted in the Opinion of the People, as not to be dispossessed by new Reason or Religion; These were the Trials Ordeal, and of Camp-fight. [Page 247] The first was either by Fire or by Water, and used only in Criminal Cases, where the Accusa­tion was strong, the Suspicions great, but no Proofs evident. In that of Fire the Person accused was brought into an open Place upon even Ground, several Plow­shares heated red hot were laid be­fore them, at unequal Distances, over which they were to walk blindfold, and if they escaped any Harm were adjudged innocent; if their Feet were burned by treading upon the hot Irons, they were con­demned as guilty. In the other of Water the accused were thrown into the Water, if they sunk im­mediately they were esteemed inno­cent; and guilty if they swam, ei­ther because it seemed against the Nature of heavy Bodies, or that the clear Element would not re­ceive [Page 248] them, but rejected them as polluted Persons. The first Trial was for those of better Condition, and the other for those of inferiour, and both were chiefly used upon Accusations of Unchastity, of Poysoning or of Sorcery.

These Trials, though grounded upon no Reason, yet were thought approved by long Experience, and the rather I suppose, because any sncceeding Proofs of Innocence were as difficult to find, as any precedent Evidence of Guilt. And they were commonly called the Judgments of God, and performed with solemn Oraisons, and other Ceremonies that amused or rather enchanted the ignorant People in­to an Opinion of their being sacred as well as just.

The Trials of Camp-fight were performed by single Combat, in [Page 249] Lists appointed for that Purpose, between the Accuser and Accused, and were usual in Actions both re­al and criminal, where no evident Proof of Fact appeared from Wit­nesses or other Circumstances: The Victor was acquitted, and the Vanquished, if not killed up­on the Field, was condemned. These were performed with great Solemnities, and either in Presence of the King who granted the Com­bat, or of certain Judges, by him appointed for that particular Case: Both these Sorts of Trials this King abolished as unchristian and unjust, and reduced all Causes to the Judg­ment of Equals or of a Jury of twelve Neighbours, and by legal Forms: Yet the last was some few times used in succeeding Reigns.

[Page 250] In the Beginnings of his Reign the Kingdom had been much infe­sted by Outlaws and by Robbers, and many Normans were secretly murthered by the Hatred of the En­glish, as they passed alone upon the Ways or the Fields, especially in the Night. To remedy this last Mischief, he imposed a heavy Fine upon the Hundred where the Body of any Norman should be found slain, whether any Discove­ry were made or no of the Author or Complices of the Fact. For all Rapes and Robberies, he caused them to be punished so severely by cruel Mutilations of Members, and Hardships of Labour, as left them miserable Spectacles or Warnings of their Crimes, during the rest of their Lives. By the Rigour of these Courses, and cutting off the chief Cause of such Offences which [Page 251] grow from Idleness and Expences; he reduced the whole Realm to such Security, that 'tis recorded in his Time, how a fair Maiden with a Purse of Gold in her Hand, might have travelled through the Realm without any Danger offered to her Honour or her Money.

Besides, to prevent any Crimes that might be committed by Fa­vour or Encouragement of the Night. He ordered a Bell to be rung in each Parish at eight a Clock in the Winter, and nine in the Summer, after which every Man was to cover his Fire, and stir no more abroad that Night: And this was for that Reason call­ed the Corfew or Couvrefew Bell.

For the Safety of his State he e­rected several Castles in many Pla­ces most convenient of the King­dom, among which was the Tow­er [Page 252] of London, and New-Castle upon Tyne (either built or by this King much enlarged) and garrisoned them by Norman or English Soldi­ers, but all such as he most trusted, and who were ready in Arms upon all Occasions. Yet these Forts were look'd upon by the English as unnecessary in the Times of Peace, and as Bridles upon the Liberties of the People, rather than Preven­tions of Dangers of the Crown.

After these Institutions he ap­plied himself to the Increase, Or­der and Establishment of his Re­venue, and having (as he believed) satisfied the People in general, by the Confirmation of their ancient and beloved Laws; he thought he might be bolder with the Clergy whom he knew to be generally his Enemies, and whose Clamours he the less feared, from his own known [Page 253] Piety, in frequenting Divine Wor­ship, in building and endowing several Monasteries, in Presents to many Churches both in England and Normandy, but especially in great Treasures which he sent frequently to Rome. Therefore, upon Pre­tence of his Enemies in the two last Revolts (and such as were design­ed to be their Complices) having conveyed their Plate, Money, and Jewels into the several Monasteries throughout the Kingdom; he caused all the rich Abbies to be searched, their Money, Plate, and Jewels which were not necessary or of common Use in Divine Service, to be seized; and thereby brought at once a mighty Treasure into his Coffers, but an inveterate Hatred of the Clergy upon his Person and Reign; and this was the last of those Actions that by the enve­nomed [Page 254] Pens of the Monkish Wri­ters of that Age, left such a Charge upon the Memory of this Prince, by the Imputation of Cruelty, Oppression, Violence, Exaction, and the Breach or Change of Laws of the Kingdom either Human or Divine, though the same Authors little consider how ill this agrees with the high Characters they themselves give of his Personal Qualities and Virtues. Nor is it probable that so vicious Actions should proceed from so virtuous Dispositions, or that so noble and excellent Qualities of any Prince should be esteemed by the present Age, or celebrated to Posterity, which had been accompanied by cruel, infamous or depraved Acti­ons during his Life.

Having with these Spoils of the Clergy, as well as by the many [Page 255] Forfeitures of the revolted Nobles, replenished his Coffers for the pre­sent, he extended the Care of his Revenue, not only to what might arrive in his own Life, but also in the Times of succeeding Kings. To this End he sent Commissioners into all the several Counties of the whole Realm, who took an exact Survey, and described in a Censu­al Roll or Book, all the Lands, Titles and Tenures throughout the whole Kingdom. In this were distinctly set down, not only eve­ry Barony, each Knight's Fee, e­very Plow-land, but also what Owners, by what Tenures, at what Rents or Duties they held, and what Stock they were posses­sed of, and how many Villans upon their respective Estates. All Lands that held anciently of the Crown, or were by this King dis­posed [Page 256] upon Forfeitures, he subje­cted to the usual Tenures of Baro­nies or Knight's Fees, reserving in all the Dominion in chief to him­self, some Quitrents or Fines up­on Death and Alienation, and like­wise the Custody of all Heirs of such Lands as were left under Age, and the Disposal of their Fortunes, besides what was assigned for their Maintenance till they came to Years of disposing their Estates and them­selves.

This Book was composed after two old Examples of the same kind, in the Times of Ethelbert and Alfred, and was laid up as sa­cred in the Church of Winchester, and for that Reason as graver Au­thors say, was called Liber Domus Dei, and by Abbreviation, Domes­day Book. The vulgar Account is, that the Name was derived from [Page 257] the Nature, and so called because every Man was to receive his Doom by that Book, upon any Dispute about the Value, Tenure, Payments, or Services of his Lands, upon Collection of the King's ordinary Revenue, or the raising of any extraordinary Taxes or Impositions. And to make a President for the future, or to satis­fie the great Expences the King had been at, for the compiling this great Roll of the Kingdom, six Shillings was raised upon every Plow-land, which made the De­sign of it less agreeable to the Peo­ple, though every Man's Right thereby received a new Evidence, and no Injustice was complained of, in the Digestion of so difficult a Work, and of so various a Nature. By this means the King came to an easie and exact Knowledge of [Page 258] his whole constant Revenue, and so proportioned it to his Expences, and the necessary Cares of having al­ways a Fond or Reserve of present Treasure in his Coffers; that after this Time we never find him plun­ged in any Difficulties, for want of Money to supply many great Occa­sions that ensued in his Reign, nor tempted to impose any Taxes upon his Subjects, or other Duties than what were common and known, and paid without Pressure or Dis­content among the Commonalty of the Realm; so as after all these Institutions, he passed several Years in great Tranquility at home, as well as Honour from all his Neigh­bour Princes.

About the thirteenth Year of his Reign, he went into Normandy, leaving his Brother Odon, Bishop of Bayeux, and created Earl of [Page 259] Kent, his Vice-gerent in England; and little apprehending any Storm after so long a Fit of fair weather, or that He had left any ill Blood behind him, that was like to ga­ther to a Head; with such an Inflamation, and so dangerous Symptoms, as soon after appeared. But no Condition of Human Life is ever perfectly secure, nor any Force of Greatness or of Prudence, beyond the Reach of Envy, and the Blows of Fortune. Princes as well as private Men, are often in most Danger at those Times, and in those Parts, they think them­selves the safest, as strong Towers are sometimes taken on those sides that are thought impregnable, and so left undefended or little regard­ed. This conquering King esteem­ed himself now at Ease, for the re­mainder of his Life, and not only [Page 260] safe in his own Strength, but the Satisfaction of his Subjects. The English he had pleased in general, by the Preservation of their ancient Laws; the bravest and warmest Blood of their Nobles was drawn in the Battle of Hastings, or the Wars with Scotland; their Power was weakened by so many Confis­cations, and the Retreat of many more into Scotland and Ireland. The Normans were strong and nu­merous in England, and were his own by Birth and by Interest; the Ballance of these two Parties seemed the Safety of the whole, and it was not to be imagined, that both should combine in any Dan­ger to the Crown. Besides, there was left no Pretension of any bet­ter Right or Title than his own, since Edgar had laid down his, not only in Shew, but with [Page 261] firm Resolutions never to resume them.

But many of the English Nobles still hated the Name of a Con­quest, resented the Change of Forms and Language in their Laws, the Introduction of any new Customs, but especially the Rigor of the Forrest Laws, which they knew to be arbitrary, and e­steemed not only a restraint of their innocent Liberties, but an Indig­nity in particular to themselves. Some of the chief Norman Lords, who had obtained great Possessions by the King's Bounty, and the Confiscations of the English being now invested in their Lands and their Titles, began to grow fond of their Laws, as the safest Te­nure, and though they had gained their great Estates by the Favour of the King, yet they were not wil­ling [Page 262] to hold them at his Pleasure, and so joyned with the English No­bles in the Complaints of too great Power, exercised by the King, and the Jealousies of greater yet de­signed, to the Prejudice of the an­cient Constitutions of the King­dom, and Diminution of the Au­thority or Dependances of the No­bles. Some of both Nations, and equally ambitious Spirits, who had been most favoured and advan­ced by the King, yet valuing their own Merits too high, or their Re­wards too low, thought they had nothing, because they had not all they pretended, esteemed the King's Favour or Bounty to any others, as Injury to themselves, and were as unsatisfied with what they had gained, as others with what they had lost.

[Page 263] These Dispositions floating at first in the Minds of several great Nobles, both English and Norman, and enflamed by such of the Ec­clesiasticks, who had Credit in the great Families of both Nations, grew at length to downright Con­spiracy, of dispossessing the King of his Crown, and introducing the Danes, who were allied to many great Lords in England, and were esteemed by the Normans of the same Race with their Ancestors. The chief of this Conspiracy were the Earls of Norfolk and Suffolk, of greatest Power among the English Nobility; Fitz-Auber, a Norman, of near Kindred to the King, and who had assisted him with forty Ships, upon his English Expedition, and been recompenced with migh­ty Possessions in England, and cre­ated Earl of Hereford. The Earl [Page 264] Waltheof, who had been pardoned his Revolt, upon the Scotch Invasi­on, married to the King's Niece, and ever since intimately trusted, as well as favoured by the King. These entred secretly into Intelli­gence with Swain, King of Den­mark, and with Harold's Sons, who were still refuged in Ireland: The first ingaged to invade the Northern Parts with a Navy of three hundred Sail, the last, by the Assistance of Drone King of Ireland, to attempt the Western Coasts with sixty Ships, and the discontented Lords to make a strong Insurrection in some of the Northern Provinces, upon Ap­proach of the Danish Fleet, which was concerted to be soon after the Kings intended Journey into Nor­mandy.

[Page 265] These Measures were laid with such Caution, and pursued with such Secrecy, that all was ready to be executed, before the King in Normandy, or his Ministers in En­gland, had either Notice or Sus­picion of any such Dangers or De­signs. Fitz-Auber had asked the King's Leave some Months before his Norman Iourney, to marry his Sister to the Earl of Norfolk, and pretended some small Discontent at his Refusal. Not long after his Departure, he declared the Marri­age, and the Day appointed to consummate it in Norfolk with great Solemnity, and the Recourse of the nearest Relations, and most intimate Friends on both sides, a­mong whom were the Earl Walthe­of and Eustace Earl of Bologne, who came over on Purpose, to assist at the Consultations here designed. [Page 266] At this meeting all was agreed in what Parts of the Kingdom, un­der what Leaders the several In­surrections should be made, upon what Pretences, and the Time ap­pointed to be when the Danish Fleet should appear upon the Coast.

But some Delays intervening, which are fatal to all Conspiracies that are trusted into many Hands, this was discovered some Days be­fore the Danes arrived, but by whom of the Accomplices is left uncertain, though some write that it was by Earl Waltheof, upon the Conscience of so great an Ingrati­tude to the King.

After the full and particular Discovery of the whole Plot, and all the chief Conspirators; Odon the Vice-gerent, with the Assi­stance and Advice of the King's [Page 267] Council, immediately dispatched away several Parties of the King's best Troops, into the several Parts where the Insurrections were in­tended to begin, seised upon many of the Conspirators, before others had Notice of the Discovery, broke the rest before they could draw to a Head; took Earl Waltheof and Fitz-Auber Prisoners, who were beheaded upon this Occasion, and many others imprisoned. Whe­ther this Execution was by the King's Command out of Normandy, or by the Rigor of his Brother O­don, and upon Pretence of Neces­sity in so dangerous a Conjuncture, is not recorded; but 'tis agreed, that these two were the only No­bles that were executed in England during the Reign of William the Conqueror, notwithstanding so many Revolts, and so much Pow­er [Page 268] to punish and revenge them; which serves to make up that Cha­racter of Clemency of Nature, that is allowed this Prince, among his other Virtues, even by those Wri­ters who are severest upon his Me­mory.

Both the Danes and the Irish Fleets were upon the English Coasts, when they first received the News of their Cenfederates Discovery and Disasters, upon which they returned to Denmark and to Ireland, and after this Time the Danes never again attempted a­ny Invasion upon England, nor was this Conqueror any more infe­sted or disturbed by any of his En­glish Subjects, during the rest of his Reign, finding the Conspiracy wholly suppressed, and the King­dom in perfect Tranquility upon his Return, which he had yet [Page 269] hastened out of Normandy, upon the Intelligence of his Danger in England, and Ignorance how deep it was rooted, or where it might end.

Nor was it easie to conjecture, since it was believed by wise Men in that Age, that the Weakness and ill Success of this Conspiracy proceeded chiefly from the Want of some popular Pretension, that might have raised a Commotion of the People in Favour of the Lords, and that if this had been designed in Defence of Edgar's known Rights to the Crown, and spirited by that Prince at the Head of so many English and Norman Lords, as were engaged in it, the Throne had been endangered by this last Shake. But the unfor­tunate Prince Edgar had made his first Pretensions too late, and his [Page 270] last Submissions too soon; and the Danish Title was hated by the Commons of England, though fa­voured by many of the Nobles, and thereby wanted the Foundation, proper and necessary to raise any firm Building. Thus the Infelici­ty of some Princes may be occasi­oned only by ill timing their Coun­cils, when to attempt, and when to desist, in the justest Endea­vours; and the Greatness of others may be raised and preserved by un­foreseen Accidents, where the greatest Reach of Foresight and Conduct might have failed. For had Edgar been at Liberty to pur­sue his Rights, upon this Conjun­ction of the English and Norman Nobility, he might probably have gained the Crown; and had not some of the chief Complices disco­vered the Conspiracy, the Conque­ror [Page 271] might as probably have lost it.

However these Fortunes came to attend him, thus far of his Reign, yet here the Curtain may be drawn over the happy Scenes of this Prince's Life, for the next that must open, will represent him in the Decline of his Age, im­broiled in Domestick Quarrels, which could neither end in Glory nor in Gains, assaulted by his own Children, opposed by his Native Subjects, forced to use Strangers to reduce them to Duty and Obedi­ence, after two dangerous Revolts, and when these Troubles were ap­peased, after much Anguish of Mind, and many Dangers, enga­ged by a trivial Accident, and without any Design in a foreign War with a powerful Prince, which though pursued with his u­sual [Page 272] Vigor and Fortune, it first cost him his Health, and at last his Life.

William the Conqueror had by his Wife Matild, Daugter to Bald­win, Count of Flanders, four Sons, Robert, Richard, William, and Hen­ry, besides several Daughters. Richard was a Prince of the greatest Hopes, but unfortunately killed by a Stag, while he was hunting in the new Forrest; his untimely Fall was much lamented by the King, but less by the People, who interpreted it as a Judgment upon him for the mighty Wasts he had made to extend the Bounds of that Forrest, and for the Rigor and Oppression of the Forrest Laws. The other three survived their Fa­ther, but with very different For­tunes as well as Merits, and very unequally distributed.

[Page 273] The King, before his Expediti­on into England, had promised his eldest Son Robert the Duke­dom of Normandy, in case he con­quered the Kingdom he then pre­tended, this Promise was made before the King of France, and challenged by Robert after the King's first Establishment upon the English Throne. But the King, though he denied not the Promise he had made, yet long delayed the Performance, upon Pretence of his unsettled State in England, from the Discontents of his Nobles and the Scotch Invasions, which made it necessary for him to keep Normandy as a Retreat upon any great Misfortune, or Revolution in England. Duke Robert seemed content with these Reasons, whilst they were justified by the Appear­ances of any Dangers in England, [Page 274] but perceiving they were ceased, and yet the Delays continued, he grew at length impatient, and a­bout the fourteenth Year of the King's Reign assumed the Govern­ment of Normandy, as sovereign, and in his own Right, caused the Barons to swear Fealty to him, as to the Duke, and not as his Fa­ther's Lieutenant, and was received and obeyed by the Normans, who grew weary of a subordinate Go­vernment, and thought they deserved the Presence of their Prince among them, which they had enjoyed since the first Esta­blishment of their Possessions in France.

Besides, Robert was generally be­loved, as a Prince courteous, gene­rous, and brave, though withal, ambitious, unquiet, and uncertain, yet these Dispositions, both of [Page 275] Prince and People, had not alone induced him to engage in so bold a Resolution, with such a Breach of his Duty and his Trust, without the Practises and Instigations of the King of France, who grown jealous of King William's Greatness, and envious of his Felicity, found no better way of lessening both, than to kindle this Fire in his own House, and thereby the most sen­sibly to disquiet his Mind, as well as to disjoynt his State, and divide his Power. He therefore, not on­ly encouraged Robert, but combined with him in this Attempt, and en­gaged to support him with his Forces, if his Father disputed lon­ger, the Justice of his Claim.

The King, though at first dis­composed at the News of this In­solence in his Son, yet believing it had no deeper Root, but what [Page 276] would soon wither or be cut off, by his Presence in Normandy, ga­thered immediately what Forces he could raise, and with an Army of his English Subjects, sailed over now to invade Normandy, as he had done before to invade England with his Normans. A strange Revolu­tion, to befal one Prince, in so short a Period of Time, and which made as great a Change in his Dis­positions as his Fortunes; for the great Alacrity and Faithfulness which the English expressed towards him in this Expedition, gained so far upon his Affections and Confi­dence, that in the rest of his Reign and his succeeding Wars, he seem­ed to place his chief Trust in the Courage and Loyalty of his English Subjects.

Duke Robert, informed of his Fa­ther's Preparations, neglected not [Page 277] his own, and though surprised at the Suddenness of his Arrival, to which the Winds had conspired, he could not oppose his Landing; yet soon after he was in the Field at the Head of a brave Norman Army, and of two thousand Men at Arms which the King of France had sent to his Assistance. With these Forces he marched against the King, fell upon his Vanguard, and by the Success of an Ambush he had laid in an advantageous Pass; he broke them, killed some, and put the rest to Flight; then he ad­vanced against the main Body, where the King commanded, and by an unnatural Chance, he charged his old Father with such Fury, that by the Stroak of his Launce, he wounded him in the Arm, and o­verthrew him to the Ground. The King calling out upon his Fall, his [Page 278] Son immediately knew his Voice, and stung upon the sudden, with the Conscience of his Crime and his Duty, he leaped from his Horse, raised his Father up from the Ground, fell down upon his Knees, begged Pardon of his Offence, with Offers upon it, to return to his Duty and Obedience. The King moved by the same Force of Na­ture, received his Submissions, for­gave him, and embracing him, end­ed an Adventure in Tears of Joy, which had begun in Blood. The Armies were as easily reconciled as their Leaders, and all together marched to Rouen, where the King was received with all Demonstrati­ons of Joy, and the Duke compli­plimented upon his happy Recon­cilement with his Father, nor were those the last in this Croud of Re­joycers, who had been the chief in [Page 279] promoting the Quarrel between them.

The King made no long Stay in Normandy, dissembling the Know­ledge or Resentment of what Part the French King had played in this Affair, but after having re-establish­ed the Quiet and Order of the Pro­vince, returned with his whole Forces into England, left his Son in the Government of Normandy, trusting to his Duty, and the Loy­alty of his Subject there, as if no­thing had passed to give him the least Suspicions of either. A true Strain of the noble and fearless Nature of this Prince, who was rather made to surmount all Dangers he encountred, by brave Actions and judicious Councils, than either to invite or anticipate his Misfor­tunes, by Distrust and vain Ap­prehensions, which are but the [Page 280] Distractions of weak and timorous Minds.

Yet this Sincereness and Confi­dence of the King had not the Re­turn they deserved, for Duke Robert having once tasted the Sovereign Power, could not long digest any Dependance upon another Will, and lying still open to the Practises of France, upon his Levity and Am­bition, relapsed the next Year into his former Distemper, and assumed again the Sovereignty of Normandy, and as Duke thereof in his own Right, which was again acknow­ledged and obeyed by the Normans.

The King upon the News of this second Defection in his Son and his Subjects, fell into great Passi­on, and in it is said to have cursed his Son, and the Hour wherein he begat him, but soon returning to himself, with his usual Judgment [Page 281] and Composure of Mind, gave pre­sent Orders for preparing a much greater Army and Navy, than he had used in last Years Expedition; and though both were shattered by great Storms, he met with at Sea, yet upon his Arrival in Normandy, either the Fame of his Forces, or the Lightness of his Son's Disposi­tions, or Remorse of his Duty, pre­vailed with Duke Robert, to offer again his Submissions, and Obedi­ence to his Commands. The King again received them, pardoned both his Son and his revolted Subjects, but forced now to more Caution than he had used before, after ha­ving settled once more, the Peace and Quiet of Normandy, and placed the Government in safer Hands, he took his Son with him into England, and imployed him in the hard rough Wars of Scotland against Malcolm, [Page 282] who upon the King's Absence and Confidence of being long detained by the Norman Revolt, and Diver­sion of France, had taken Occasi­on to pass the Borders with an Ar­my, and ravage the Northern Pro­vinces of England.

Though Duke Robert gained no great Honour by this Expedition, yet the King gained his End: For the Scotch disheartned by his unex­pected Return, and more by his perfect Reconcilement with his Son, returned home, upon the Ap­proach of the English Army, and renewed the Peace which lasted the rest of the two Kings Lives.

About the same time, incensed against the Welsh, for many Inroads and Spoils upon the Frontier Coun­ties; he sent an Army against them, subdued the plain and accessible Parts of their Country, drove them [Page 283] to the fast Holds of their Moun­tains, forced them to sue for Peace, which he granted upon Homage done him by their Prince, and upon Hostages given for Performance of the other Conditions.

This fortunate and victorious King seemed now to have passed all the tempestuous Seasons of his Life, and secure of Repose for what remained, which was neces­sary, or most agreeable to the great Decline of his Age. He was at Peace with all his Neighbours, o­beyed and honoured by his Sub­jects, feared by his Enemies, and the Troubles of his Family were wholly appeased, so that it was hard for any Man to conjecture from what Side any new Storm should arise. But the Decrees of Heaven are wrapped up in the Clouds, and the Events of future things, hidden [Page 284] in the Dark, from the Eyes of Mor­tal Men. The wisest Councils may be discomposed by the smallest Accidents, and the securest Peace of States and Kingdoms may be di­sturbed by the lightest Passions as well as the deep Designs of those who govern them: For though the wise Reflections of the best Historians, as well as the common Reasonings of private Men, are apt to ascribe the Actions and Councils of Princes to Interests or Reasons of State, yet whoever can trace them to their true Spring, will be often forced to derive them from the same Passions and personal Dis­positions which govern the Affairs of private Lives, as will be evident in the Sequel of this King's Reign.

The Normans were desirous to have a Prince of their Race reside among them; the King was unwil­ling [Page 285] to venture again, the ill Con­sequences of his Son Robert's Am­bition or Inconstancy, and there­fore sent him over into Normandy, but joyned in Commission with his youngest Son Henry, whose Duty and Affection he most relied on, both to observe the Actions, and temper the Levity of his eldest Brother.

These two Princes agreed better than is usual to Associates in Pow­er, and governing the Province with Moderation and Prudence, re­duced Affairs there to such Order and Tranquility, that having little Business at home, they went to seek some Diversion abroad, and made a Visit to the King of France then at Constance, who received them with great Honour and Kind­ness, and as was thought, not with­out Design of renewing old Pra­ctises [Page 286] with Duke Robert, to his Fa­ther's Prejudice: Whatever Affairs might busie the Thoughts of that King and the Duke, those of Lewis the young Dauphin, and Prince Henry were taken up with the com­mon Entertainments of Youth and of Leisure, Love, Hunting, Play, and other such Divertisements, wherein the Similitude of Age and of Customs made them constant Companions. It happened one Evening, that the Dauphin playing at Chess at the Prince's Lodging, lost a great many Games, and much Money to Prince Henry, and grew thereupon first into ill Humour, and at length into ill Language, which being returned by the Prince, the Dauphin fell into Passion, cal­led him Son of a Bastard, and threw some of the Chessmen at his Head: Upon which Prince Henry [Page 287] enraged, took up the Chess-board, and struck the Dauphin with such Fury on the Head, that he laid him bleeding on the Ground, and had killed him if his Brother Robert had not retained him, and made him sensible how much more it concern­ed him to make his Escape than pursue his Revenge, and thereupon they went down immediately, took Horse, and by the Help of their Speed, or their own good Fortune, got safe to Pontoise before they could be reached by the French that pur­sued them,

The King of France, exasperated by this Accident and Indignity to his Son, which revived an invete­rate Malice or Envy he had against King William, first demanded Sa­tisfaction, but at the same time prepared for Revenge, both by rai­sing an Army to invade Normandy, [Page 288] and taking private Measures with Duke Robert, to divest his Brother Henry of his Share in the Govern­ment, and leave the Dominion of that Dutchy to the Duke according to his former Pretensions, ground­ed upon his Father's Promise, wherein the King of France, as a Witness, still pretended to be con­cerned.

The King of England seeing the War inevitable, enters upon it with his usual Vigor, and with incredi­ble Celerity transporting a brave English Army, invades France, and takes several Towns in Poictou, whilst the French took the City of Vernon, by which Hostilities on both sides, the first War began between England and France, which seemed afterwards to have been entailed upon the Posterity and Successors of these two Princes, for so many [Page 289] Generations, to have drawn more noble Blood, and been attended with more memorable Atchieve­ments than any other National Quarrel we read of, in any ancient or modern Story.

King William, after taking of several Towns, and spoiling much Country in Poictou and Xantonge, returned to Rouen, where, by the Benignity of his own Nature, and Levity of his Son's, he was the third time reconciled to Duke Ro­bert, and thereby disappointed those Hopes, the King of France had con­ceived, from his Practises with that Prince (and, as some write, with his Brother Henry too) and defeated his Pretext of assisting his Right in the Dominion of Nor­mandy.

But Philip bent upon this War, by other Incentives, than those which [Page 290] appeared from the Favour of Duke Robert's Pretensions, or Revenge of the Dauphin's Injury, and moved, both with the Jealousie of the King's Greatness, and the Envy of his Glory and Felicity, resolved to prosecute obstinately the Quarrel he had rashly begun, and not e­steeming the sudden though violent Motions of a youthful Heat be­tween the two Princes, a Ground sufficient to bear the Weight of a formal and declared War; upon the News and Spight of Duke Ro­bert's Reconciliation with his Fa­ther, he sent to the King to de­mand Homage of him both for Normandy and England: King Wil­liam answered that he was ready to do him the Homage accustomed for Normandy, but would do him none for England, which he held only of God and his Sword. The [Page 291] French King hereupon declared open War against him, which was be­gun and pursued with great Heats and Animosities on both sides, with equal Forces, but unequal Fortune; which favoured either the Justice of the King's Cause, the Valour of his Troops, or the Con­duct of their Leader upon all En­counters.

He marched into France, took Nantes and burnt it, with many Villages about it, saying, That to destroy the Wasps, their Nests must be burnt. In the Heat of this Action, and by that of the Fires, which he too near approached, he fell into a Distemper which forced him to retire his Army, and return to Rouen, where he lay sick for some time, with ill Symptoms, that gave his Friends Apprehensi­on, and Hopes to his Enemies. [Page 292] During the Expectation of this E­vent, both sides were quiet, by a sort of tacit and voluntary Truce between them. The King of France talking of his Sickness, and mocking at the Corpulency to which he was grown of late Years, said, King William was gone only to lay his great Belly at Rouen, and that he doubted he must be at Charge to set up Lights at his up­rising. The King of England be­ing told this Scoff, sent King Phi­lip Word, That he was ready to sit up after his lying in, and that when he was churched, he would save him the Charge of setting up Lights, and come himself, and light a thousand Fires in France.

No Injuries are so sensible to Mankind in general, as those of Scorn, and no Quarrels pursued between Princes, with so much [Page 293] Sharpness and Violence, as those which arise from personal Animosi­ties or private Passions, to which they are subject like other Mortal Men. The King recovered, ga­thers the greatest Forces he could raise, both of English and Normans, marches into the Isle of France, with Fire and Spoil, where-ever he came, approaches within Sight of Paris, where that King was re­tired. There King William sent him word that he was up and a­broad, and would be glad to see him abroad too.

But the French King resolved to let this Fury pass, and appeared not in the Field, which was left to the Mercy and Ravage of his Ene­mies. The King, riding about to observe his Advantages, and give his Orders, and straining his Horse to leap a Ditch in his Way, brui­sed [Page 294] the Bottom of his Belly against the Pommel of his Saddle, with such a Weight, and so much Pain, as gave him a Relapse of his Illness so lately recovered, forced him to march his Army back into Nor­mandy, and to go himself to Rouen. Here his Bruise turned to a Rup­ture, and his Sickness encreasing with the Anguish of his Wound, gave too soon and true Apprehensi­ons of his Danger: Yet he lan­guished for some time, which he made use of to do many Acts of great Charity, and give other Te­stimonies of Piety and Resignati­on to the Will of God, as well as to dispose the Succession and Affairs of his State; leaving by his Testa­ment the Dutchy of Normandy to his eldest Son Robert, the King­dom of England to William his se­cond Son, and all his Treasures, [Page 295] which were very great, to Henry his third. After this he ended his Life in the full Career of Fortune and Victory, which attended him to his Grave, through the long Course of more than threescore Years Reign. For he began that in Normandy about ten Years old, and continued it above fourty Years before his English Expedition, after which he reigned above twenty Years in England, and died in or a­bout the seventy second Year of his Age, and the Year of our Lord 1087.

Several Writers show their ill Talent to this Prince, in making particular Remarks, how his Corps was immediately forsaken by all his Friends and Followers, as soon as he expired; how the Monks of an Abbey he had founded, were there­by induced to come of Charity, and [Page 296] take the care of his Body and his Bu­rial, which he had ordered to be at Caen in Normandy, and in a Church he had there built. How the Ground that was opened to receive him was claimed at that instant, by a Knight of the Country, who alledged it had belonged to his An­cestors and himself, and was vio­lently or unjusty seised from them by the King, so that his Funeral was fain to be deferred till an A­greement was made, and the Value of the Ground paid to the Claimer, with other invidious Circumstances, which may argue the Ingratitude, Avarice, or other Vices of his Servants or Subjects then living, but not defame the Memory, or obscure the Glory of the Dead.

Thus ended all that was Mor­tal of this noble King, and this re­nowned Conqueror; for his Fame [Page 297] will never die, but remain for ever in the most lasting Records of Time, and Monuments of Glory, among the Princes most celebrated for their brave Atchievements in War, their wise Institutions in Peace, the Length and Prosperity of their Lives and their Reigns. In all which he must with Justice be confessed not to have been equal­led by many, if indeed by any we read of in Story.

I have made no mention of any great Councils or Assemblies held in this King's Reign, because I find no clear Evidence of the Na­ture or Constitution, the Times or the Occasions of them, whether like those used in the Saxon Reigns, or like the Parliaments in Norman­dy, or whether that Style was in­troduced here, in this King's Time or that of his Sons who succeeded [Page 298] him. It appears, that he often assembled the Nobles and Barons of the Realm; but whether upon the Solemnity of some great Festi­vals, or some Occasions of more Importance, either for the Honour of his Court, or Consultation of his Affairs, I find not so well re­corded, nor so easie to determine as some will have it. It is agreed only that there were two general Assemblies of the Clergy; one a­bout the sixth Year of his Reign, upon a Controversie between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York about the Primacy, which was therein determined in favour of the first: The other about erecting some new Bishopricks, or transla­ting their Sees from some decayed and smaller Towns, to others grown in that Age more populous and opulent. The Lichfield Chro­nicle [Page 299] also relates how in the fourth Year of his Reign he summoned out of every County, the Nobles, the Wise Men, and such as were learned in their own Law; that he might from them learn what were their ancient Laws and Customs. After which the Laws of St. Ed­ward were conserved, and by him confirmed throughout the whole Kingdom.

I have not been so particular as other Writers, in the Names of Places or of Persons, or Distincti­on of Years; because in such Anti­quity of Times and Variety of Au­thors, I find them very hard to be ascertained. Besides, the Disagree­ment among Writers is so great, in assigning the Years to the several Actions of this Prince, that so im­portant an Affair, as that of fra­ming the Doomesday Book, is by [Page 300] some referred to the eighth, by o­thers to the thirteenth, and by some to the nineteenth Year of his Reign: And many others are left in the same Uncertainty.

I have likewise omitted the Ac­counts and Remarks wherein some Writers have busied their Pens, of strange Comets, Inclemencies of Seasons, raging Diseases, or de­plorable Fires, that are said to have happened in this Age and King­dom, and are represented by some as Judgments of God upon this King's Reign. Because I rather e­steem them Accidents of Time or Chance, such as happen in one Part or other of the World, per­haps every Age, at some Periods of time, or from some Influence of Stars, or by the conspiring of some natural or casual Circumstan­stances; and neither argue the Vir­tues [Page 301] or Vices of Princes, nor serve for Example or Instruction to Po­sterity, which are the great Ends of History, and ought to be the chief Care of all Historians.

For this Reason, as well as to comply with common Custom, it may not be improper or unnecessa­ry to end the wise, politick, and prosperous Reign with the just Character of this renowned Prince. Since all great Actions in the World, and Revolutions of States may be truly derived, from the Genius of the Persons, that con­duct and govern them, so as by comparing both together, and ob­serving the Causes as well as Events; it may be easie to discern, by what Personal Qualities and Dispositions of Princes, the happy and glorious Successes of their own Fortunes, with the Greatness and Felicity of [Page 302] their States, are generally atchie­ved; for, to attribute such great Events to Time or to Chance, were to destroy the Examples, and con­found the Consequences of all Vir­tues and Vices among Men.

William, surnamed the Conque­ror, was of the tallest Stature a­mong those common in his Age and Country; his Size large, and his Body strong built, but well proportioned: His Strength such, as few of his Court could draw his Bow: His Health was great and constant, which made him very active in his Business and his Plea­sures, till about the Decline of his Age he grew something corpulent; from all which, I suppose came the Story in some Norman Writers▪ that he was eight Foot high, or the Size of Hercules.

[Page 303] As he was of goodly Personage, so his Face was lovely, but of a Masculine Beauty, the Loins being strong rather than delicate; his Eyes were quick and lively, but when moved something fierce; his Complection Sanguine, his Coun­tenance very pleasant, when he was gay and familiar; when he was serious something severe.

His Pastimes were chiefly hun­ting and feasting; in the first he spent much Time, used great Ex­ercise, and yet much Moderation of Diet. In his Feasts, which were designed for Magnificence or Conversation, to know or to be known among his Nobles, and not for Luxury; he was courteous, affable, familiar, and often plea­sant, and which made him the more so to his Company, was easie at those Times in granting Suits and Pardons

[Page 304] It is by all agreed, that he was chaste and temperate, which, with a happy Constitution, and much Exercise, preserved not only his Health but Vigor to the last De­cline of his Age.

He was of sound natural Sense, and shewed it not only in his own Conduct and Reasoning upon all great Occasions, but also in the Choice of his Ministers and Friends, wherein no Prince was happier or wiser than he.

He talked little, never vaunted, observed much, was very secret, and used only Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury, with an universal Confidence, both as a Counsellor and a Friend, to whom he was ever meek and gentle, though to others something austere, as if this Conqueror had been himself subdu­ed by the Wisdom and Virtue of that excellent Man.

[Page 305] In his Purposes he was steddy but not obstinate, and though constant to his Ends, yet appliable to Occasions, as appeared by his favouring and trusting the Normans in his Troubles of England, and the English in those of Normandy; and was either very wise or very happy in the Arts of gaining Enemies and retaining Friends, having never lost but one, which was Fitz-Auber.

He was a Prince deep in his De­signs, bold in his Enterprises, firm in his Prosecution, excelling in the Order and Discipline of his Ar­mies, and choice in his Officers both of his Army and his State. But admirable in Expedition and Dispatch of Civil as well as Mili­tary Affairs, never deferring till to Morrow, what should be done to Day.

[Page 306] Above all, he was careful and prudent in the Management of his Treasure, and finding a Temper between the Bounty of his own Nature, and the Necessity of his Affairs, proportioning always the Expences of his Gifts, his Build­ings, his Enterprizes, to the Trea­sure he was master of for defraying them, designing nothing out of his Compass, and thereby compas­sing all he seemed to design.

He was religious in frequenting Divine Service, giving much Alms, building Abbies, and en­dowing them, sending Presents of Crosses of Gold, rich Vestures and Plate to many other Churches, and much Treasure to Rome.

He was a great Lover of Learn­ing, and though he despised the loose, ignorant Saxon Clergy he found in England, yet he took [Page 307] Care and Pleasure to fill Ecclesi­astical Dignities here with Persons of great Worth and Learning from abroad, as Lanfranc, Durand, An­selm, with many more.

He was a Lover of Virtue in o­thers, and Hater of Vice, for be­ing naturally very kind to his half Brother Odon Bishop of Bayeux, having made him Earl of Kent, given him great Revenues, entru­sted him in his Absence with the Government of the Realm, yet finding him a Man of incurable Ambition, Avarice, Cruelty, Op­pression, and Prophaneness, he at length wholly disgraced him, and kept him in Prison during all the rest of his Reign; which seems to have been a just Punishment of his Crimes, and Sacrifice to the En­glish, he had cruelly oppressed in the King's Absence, rather than a [Page 308] greediness of his Treasures, as some envious Writers would make it appear.

Yet by the Consent of them all, and the most partial or malicious to his Memory, as well as others; He is agreed to have been a Prince of great Strength, Wisdom, Cou­rage, Clemency, Magnificence, Wit, Courtesie, Charity, Tem­perance, and Piety. This short Character, and by all agreed, is enough to vindicate the Memory of this noble Prince and famous Conqueror, from the Aspersions or Detractions of several malicious or partial Authors, who have more unfaithfully represented his Reign, than any other Period of our English History.

Having taken a full View of this King in his Actions and his Person, it remains only that we [Page 309] consider the Consequences that both of them had, upon the Con­dition of this Kingdom, which will be best discovered by the Sur­vey of what it lost, what it pre­served, and what it gained by this famous Conquest.

England thereby must be con­fessed to have lost; first, very great Numbers of brave English Men, who fell in the Battle of Hastings, and in two Wars afterwards by the Revolt of the Nobles, and Invasi­on of the Scots in Favor of Edgar Atheling. Likewise many Nobles and Gentlemen who disdaining all Subjection to a forreign and con­quering Power, retired into Scot­land, Ireland, Denmark, and after the Extinction of their Hopes, by the Suppression of all Endeavours in Favour of Edgar's Right, never returned, but left their Families [Page 310] habituated in those Countries, choosing, if they must live under a forreign Dominion, to do it ra­ther abroad than at home.

In the next Place, England lost the true Line of their ancient Sax­on Kings, who were a Race of just, good, and pious Princes, governed by such known Laws, and with such Moderation, and were so beloved of their People, as makes it obser­ved by Writers that no popular In­surrection ever happened in any of the Saxon Reigns.

Lastly, England by the Conquest lost in a great Measure, the old Plainness and Simplicity of the Saxon Times and Customs of Life, who were generally a People of good Meaning, plain Dealing, con­tended with their own, little cove­ting or imitating their Neigh­bours, and living frugally upon the [Page 311] Product of their own fruitful Soil: For the Profusion of Meats at our English Tables came in with the Danes, and the Luxury of them was introduced first by the Nor­mans, and after encreased by the more frequent Use of Wines, up­on the Accession of Guienne to this Crown.

What we preserved is remarka­ble in three Particulars not usual upon great Conquests; for, first, we preserved our Name, which was lost by the Saxon Invasions, but that of England then (succeeding the other of Britain) has ever since con­tinued.

Next; we preserved our Lan­guage, or the old English Tongue, which has made the Body and Sub­stance of what still remains, though much enlarged and polish­ed, since those Times, by the [Page 312] transplanting many Words out of forreign Languages, especially La­tin and French.

In the last Place, we preserved our Forms of Government, our Laws and Institutions, which have been so much celebrated by ancient Writers, and have been so obsti­nately defended by our Ancestors, and are by Chancellor Fortescue, who writ in the Time of Henry the Sixth, averred to have been preser­ved through the five several Govern­ments in this Island; of Normans, Danes, Saxons, Romans, and Bri­tains, and so to have continued for a longer Course of Time, than those of Rome or Venice, or any o­ther Nation known in Story. But this I doubt is not so easily proved as affirmed, though it may be with more Certainty of the three first, which is sufficient to illu­strate [Page 313] the Antiquity of our Consti­tutions, without Recourse to strained or uncertain Allegati­ons.

For what we gained by our Loss in this Conquest, though it seems a Contradiction, yet it may be ob­served in many more Particulars than the other two.

First, England grew much greater both in Dominion and Power abroad, and also in Digni­ty and State at home, by the Ac­cession of so much Territory upon the Continent. For though the Normans by the Conquest gained much of the English Lands and Riches, yet England gained Nor­mandy which by it became a Pro­vince to this Crown.

Next it gained greater Strength by the great Numbers of Normans and French, that came over with [Page 314] the Conqueror, and after his Esta­blishment here; and incorporated with the English Nation, joyning with them in the same Language, Laws, and Interests.

Then we gained much by the great Encrease of our Naval Power, and Multitude of Ships, wherein Nor­mandy then abounded, by the Ad­vantage of more and better Havens, than in later Ages.

This, with the perpetual Inter­course between England and Nor­mandy, and other Parts of the Con­tinent, gave us a mighty Encrease of Trade and Commerce, and thereby of Treasure to the Crown and Kingdom, which appeared first in so great a Mass, as was left by the Conqueror to Prince Henry his younger Son.

England, by the Conquest, gained likewise a natural Right to [Page 315] the Dominion of the narrow Seas, which had been before acquired only by the great Naval Power of Edgar and other Saxon Kings. But the Dominion of narrow Seas, seems naturally to belong, like that of Rivers, to those who possess the Banks or Coasts on both sides: And so to have strengthened the former Title, by so long a Coast, as that of Normandy of one side, and of England on the other side of the Channel.

Besides, by this Conquest we gained more Learning, more Civili­ty, more Refinement of Language, Customs, and Manners, from the great Resort of other Strangers, as well as Mixture of French and Nor­mans.

And lastly, we gained all our Consideration abroad, by carrying [Page 316] our Arms so often and so glorious­ly, as well as extending our Do­minions into forreign Countries; so that whereas our Saxon Kings were little known abroad, further than by the Fame of their Devotion and Piety, or their Journeys, Gifts, and Oblations, made to Rome, af­ter the Conquest, the Crown of England grew first to be feared by our Neighbours, to have constant Intercourse with other forreign Princes, to take Part and be con­sidered, in all the Affairs of Chri­stendom, and by the following Ac­cessions of Anjou and Guien, came in a short time to be esteemed without Controversie, while they possessed those Dominions, the greatest Power of any Kingdom then in Christendom, as appears by so many glorious Adventures, and [Page 317] Successes of their Arms in France, Spain, Brittany, Flanders, Sicily, and the Holy Land.

From all these happy Circum­stances of this Famous Conquest, all the succeding Kings of England seem justly to have done this Con­queror the Honor of dating from him, the first great Period of their Reigns, by which those of the Saxons and other preceding Do­minions or Governments here, are left us in Story, but like so many antique, broken, or defaced Pi­ctures, which may still represent something of the Customs and Fashions of those Ages, though little of the true Lines, Proporti­ons, or Resemblance. But all that has succeeded, since this King's Reign, though not drawn by any one skilful Hand, or by [Page 318] the Life, yet is represented in so clear a Light, as leaves ve­ry little, either obscure or un­certain, in the History of our Kingdom, or the Succession of our Kings.


Books Printed for and sold by Richard Simpson at the Three Trouts, and Ralph Simpson at the Harp in St. Paul's Church-Yard.

MIscellanea; the second Part, in Four Essays. I. Upon Ancient and Modern Learning. II. Upon the Gardens of Epicurus. III. Upon Hero­ick Vertue. IV. Upon Poetry. By Sir William Temple Baronet. In Octavo.

The Young Man's Duty. A Discourse shewing the Necessity of seeking the Lord betimes; as also the Danger and Unreasonableness in trusting to a late or Death-Bed Repentance. Designed es­pecially for Young Persons, before they are debauched by evil Company and evil Habits. The sixth Edition. By Richard Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells.

The Life of Monsieur Des Cartes, con­taining the History of his Philosophy and Works: As also the most remarkable things that befel him during the whole Course of his Life. Translated from the French, by S. R.

[Page] Naval Speculations and Maritime Po­liticks, being a modest and brief Dis­course of the Royal Navy of England: Of its Oeconomy and Government, and a Project for an everlasting Seminary of Seamen, by a Royal Maritime Hospital, with a Project for a Royal Fishery, al­so necessary Measures in the present War with France, &c. By Henry Maydman.

An Account of several new Inventi­ons and Improvements now necessary for England, in a Discourse by way of Letter to the Earl of Marlborough, relating to building of our English Shipping, plan­ting of Oaken Timber in the Forrests, apportioning of publick Taxes, The Conservacy of all our Royal Rivers, in particular that of the Thames, the Sur­veys of the Thames, &c. Herewith is also published at large the Proceedings relating to the Mill'd-Lead-sheathing, and the Excellency and Cheapness of Mill'd-Lead in preference to cast Sheet-Lead for all other Purposes whatsoever. Also a Treatise of Naval Philosophy, written by Sir William Petty. The whole is submitted to the Consideration of our English Patriots in Parliament assembled;

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