Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

names

[merged small][ocr errors]

Says Sir F.

[ocr errors][merged small]

proper sense of the term, are now Another unfounded notion respecting surrendered by the French philologists the Normans relates to purity of lineto the Normans. The phenomenon age.

To read some historians, you of the organs of speech yielding to might come to the conclusion that the social or moral influences, and losing Normans were an unmixed race, and the power of repeating certain sounds, that they prided themselves on the was prominently observable amongst blueness of their blood, and were the the Normans. No modern French most exclusive of peoples. Nothing of gazette-writer could disfigure English the kind. Like most peoples who have

more whimsically than the done much, the Normans were a mixed Domesday Commissioners. To the

race. They took to themselves all who last, the Normans never could learn to would come to them, who were worth say · Lincoln,' — they never could get the taking. The old Roman lay of the nearer than 'Nincol,' or Nicole.?" asylum on the Palatine Hill might The “chivalry” of Virginia and the almost serve as matter for a Norman Carolinas our Southern Northmen sirvente, for the policy which it attrib

- might cite this last fact in evidence utes to Romulus, and which was fol-
of their tongues having a Norman lowed by his successors, was the pol-
twang. They never have been able to icy adopted by Rollo, and which his
say Lincoln,” though they make a successors maintained.
nearer approach to proper pronuncia- Palgrave, “When treating of the · Nor-
tion of the word than was vouchsafed mans,' we must always consider the
to the genuine Normans when they appellation as descriptive rather than
say “Abe Linkin.” That the Normans ethnographical, indicative of political
cherished the thought of their Northern relations rather than of race. Like
origin is a modern error. Sir F. Pal- William the Conqueror's army, the
grave, with literal accuracy, assures us hosts of Rollo were augmented by ad-
that they “dismissed all practical recol- venturers from all countries. Rollo ex-
lection in their families of their original hibited a remarkable flexibility of char-
Scandinavian ancestry.

Not one of

acter; he encouraged settlers from all their nobles ever thought of deducing parts of France and the Gauls and his lineage from the Hersers or Jarls England, and his successors systemator Vikings who occupy so conspicu- ically obeyed the precedent." Most ous a place in Norwegian history, not such adventurers in any age of the even through the medium of any tradi- world must be of the most ancient of tional fable. Roger de Montgomery families, the families, to wit, of “ robdesignated himseli as Northmannus bers and reivers,” the enlisted rascalNorthmannorum'; but, for all practical ity of the earth, but none the worse purposes, Roger was a Frenchman of workmen because their patron is St. the Frenchmen, though he might not Cain. There is a great deal of work like to own it. This ancestorial remi- to be done that can be done only by niscence must have resulted from some such fellows.

It is sagely said that peculiar fancy; no Montgomery pos- the world would be but ill peopled if sessed or transmitted any memorial of none but the wise were to marry. It is his Norman progenitors. The very certain that the world would get forward name of Rollo's father

, “Senex quidam very slowly if none but the mild ind in partibus Daciæ,' was unknown to

the moral were active in its business. Rollo's grandchildren, and if not known, There is an immense amount of busiworse than unknown, neglected.” *

ness to be accomplished that the mild * The History of Normandy and of England,

cannot do, and which the moral will Vol. I. pp. 703, 704. One of the greatest historical works of a country and an age singularly rich in his. humously published in 1964. – Sir Francis died in torical literature, but incomplete, like the works of 1861, - are well edited by the author's son, Me Macaulay, Niebuhr, and Arnold, and the last work Francis Turner Palgrave, who honorably upholdof Prescott. The third and fourth volumes, post the honored name he inherits,

not do. How can it be expected of All remembrance of their national pomild men that they should cut human etry was as completely obliterated throats, when they cannot be trusted among the posterity of the Northmen even to stick the sheep which they in France, as if, in traversing the ocean, have no hesitation in eating? How they had drank of the water of Lethe. unreasonable it would be to expect This total oblivion of their original moral men to become soldiers, and home they have in common with the the soldier's trade is the only per- West Goths, who in Castilian poesy manent pursuit, save the pursuits of the have not left the faintest trace of their grave-digger and the hangman, - when original manners and opinions. The so exemplary a personage as the great same remark has been applied to the Duke of Wellington gravely said, on Vareger, who founded a royal dynasty his oath and on his honor, that the ar in Russia, and to whom that country, my is no place for moral and religious as a Russian author remarks, is not men? The felons who flocked to indebted for a single new idea. The Rollo's standard wellnigh a thousand causes are here the same with those years ago were recruited from the that effected a complete oblivion of ' dangerous classes” of those remote their mother tongue, namely, their indays, and were probably as useful in ferior civilization, their intermixture the task of civilizing the world as, ac with the natives, their marriages with cording to the assertion of one of the the women of the country, who knew most eminent of English divines and no other traditions than those of their historians, are rough and lawless men native land. In Normandy, too, the in that of Europeanizing Polynesia.* Christian clergy must have suppressed Dr. Lappenberg, whose authority is every memorial of the ancient

mygreat in all that relates to the history of thology."

."* Further, “Whatever parthe Normans, confirms what is said by tiality the Normans may have enterSir F. Palgrave of the ignorance of the tained for history, they nevertheless North and the indifference to it which betrayed an almost perfect indifference characterized the Normans. Speaking for their original country. The hisof the Norman literature, he observes: torians of Normandy describe the "In vain we seek herein imitations of heathen North as a den of robbers. the old Norse poesy, or allusions to After an interval of two centuries, they the history or customs of Scandinavia. knew nothing of the events that had There may, perhaps, exist more resem

* A History of England under the Norman blance between the heroic sagas of Kings, etc., pp. 84, 85, and 87. Dr. Lappenberg is the North and the romances of chiv

emphatic on the subject of the formation of the

Norman race through the junction of various races. alry of the South of Europe, both hav

“Rolf (Rollo) and his companions were like those ing for subjects wonderful adventures, meteors which traverse the air with incredible swiftand the praise of heroism and beauty; ness,” he says, “and in vanishing leave behind them but from this resemblance it cannot be long streams of fire which the eye gazes on with

amazement. The Northmen who settled in Neusconcluded that the Anglo-Norman poets tria gradually became lost among the French, a have borrowed their fictions from the mixture of Gauls and Romans, Franks and Bur. Norman skalds. We have not a single gundians, West Goths and Saracens, friends and

foes, barbarians and civilized nations.

Ten sorts of proof that they were acquainted with language, and with them, perhaps, as many forms of any saga or any skaldic composition. government, were lost amid this mass of peoples.

French and foreigners have visited Normandy in * Merivale, History of the Romans under the search of some traces of the old Scandinavian colonies, Empire ; Vol. IV. p. 297, note : “The civilization or at least of some testimonial of their long sojourn of barbarians, at least their material cultivation, has there, and one or other memorial characteristic of been generally more advanced by instructors whose this daring people. All have admired the prosperity moral superiority was less strongly marked, than of the province, to which the fertility of the soil and where the teachers and the taught have few common

its manufactures and commerce have contributed; but sympathies and points of contact. Thus, in our own vainly have they sought for the original Northmen times, rough whalers and brutal pirates have done in the present inhabitants. With the exception of more to Europeanize the natives of Polynesia than some faint resemblances, they have met with noththe missionaries."

ing Norsk." — pp. 65, 66. VOL. XVIII. NO. 108.

30

caused the founder of their ruling learning acquired, or their taste infamily to forsake the North ; they did formed ? Amongst the eminent men not even know where Denmark and who gloriously adorn the Anglo-NorNorway lay. Benoît de Ste More be- man annals, perhaps the smallest numgins his chronicle with a geographic ber derive their origin from Normandy. sketch, in which he takes Denmark for Discernment in the choice of talent, Dacia, and places it at the mouth of and munificence in rewarding ability, the Danube, between the extensive may be truly ascribed to Rollo's succountries of the Alani and the Getæ, cessors ; open-handed, open-hearted, which are always covered with ice, not indifferent to birth or lineage, but and surrounded by a chain of moun- never allowing station or origin, nation tains." The excellent chronicler's or language, to obstruct the elevation geographical notions seem to have of those whose talent, learning, knowlbeen about as clear as those of Lolah, edge, or aptitude gave them their pawho tells Katinka that

tent of nobility.” * The Normans won “Spain 's an island near

their fame, as the Romans their emMorocco, betwixt Egypt and Tangier." pire, through aid of various races, and The earliest Norman chroniclers by borrowing and assimilating whatshow that the Normans, or rather the ever they found of good among all the Northmen, bore much ill-will toward peoples with whom they came in conthe French; and this prejudice, it has tact, - meaning by good what was correctly been said, “probably lasted useful for the promotion of their puras long as their Northern physiog- poses. nomy, their fair hair, and other char- The old Northmen in Neustria did acteristics whereby they were distin- not give way without a struggle, not guished from the French." But they for existence only, but for victory, of soon became the flower of French races, which at one time their prospect was and were regarded as Frenchmen in by no means bad. The Danish party all the lands to which they were led by was strong in the time of Rollo, and it their valor, their enterprise, their am- might have established itself over Norbition, and their avarice. They con- mandy in the early years of his son, tinued to avail themselves of the tal- William I., who deemed his Norman ents of other races long after North- sovereignty lost, and who at one time men had been converted into Normans, showed the white feather in a very ungreatly to their own advantage, and Norman-like manner, and in quite the considerably to the advantage of oth- reverse fashion to that adopted by Heners. “Inclination, policy, interest,” says ri IV. at Ivry. At length he recovered Palgrave, strengthened the impulse his courage, and, delivering battle, be given by the diffusion of the Romane won a complete victory, which was ruinspeech. Liberality was the Norman ous to the vanquished. They were virtue. “Norman talent,' or “Norman exterminated, and Riulph, their leader, taste,' or • Norman art,' are expres- was captured, and blinded by William's sions intelligible and definite, convey- orders. It is supposed he died under ing clear ideas, substantially true and the operation. William's cruelty is yet substantially inaccurate. What, for attributed to his earlier cowardice, and example, do we intend when we speak it is an old saw that no one is so cruel of Norman architecture? Who taught as a victorious coward; but cruelty the Norman architect? Ah, when you was not so uncommon a thing in the contemplate the structures raised by year 933 that there should be any Lanfranc or Anselm, will not the re- necessity for attributing the Norman's ply conduct you beyond the Alps, and * The History of Normandy and of England, lead you to Pavia or Aosta, — the cit- Vol

. I. pp. 704.705. Lanfranc, who was made Archies where these fathers of the Anglo- bishop of Canterbury by the Conqueror

, was a native savageness to the reaction from fear. guished adventurers of an adventurHe probably had called his cowardice ous age. There is nothing more rocaution. His success settled the char mantic than the history of the Noracter of Normandy, which became, or man family of Hauteville, which sent rather continued to be, a French coun- forth a number of men whose exertions try; and its people were Normans, the in Southern Europe had great effect result of a liberal mixture of many in the eleventh century. Foremost of races, from whom were to issue the his countrymen in courage and caparulers of many lands. The combat of city was the adventurer Robert de the Pré de la Bataille took place just Hauteville, better known as Robert four generations before Hastings, and Guiscard, substantially the founder of had its issue been different the current that Neapolitan kingdom which we of history might have run in a very have seen absorbed into the new kingdifferent direction from that in which dom of Italy. His daughter married it has set for eight centuries, but a son of one of the Byzantine Emperthe consequences of such a change ors, who was dethroned ; and Robert “must be left to that superhuman was thus enabled to enter on a series knowledge which the schoolmen call of Eastern conquests, which would media scientia, and which consists in have ended in the taking of Constanknowing all that would have happened tinople had not imperative circumhad events been otherwise than they stances compelled him to return to have been.” The question at issue Italy. A few years later he resumed was whether the Normans should live his Oriental schemes, but died before as Frenchmen or disappear; and Wil- he could complete them, and when liam's triumph secured the ascendency everything promised him success. Had of the Romane party, who alone could a Norman dynasty been established establish Normandy. When his son, at Constantinople, at the close of the Richard sans Peur, became chief of eleventh century, by so able a man as the Normans, A. D. 943, Normandy was Robert Guiscard, it is probable the a power in Europe, and virtually a free Lower Empire would have renewed its state, — for its rulers were “indepen- life, and that the Normans would have dent as the kings of France, whose become as influential in the East as their superiority they acknowledged, but contemporary conquest of England had whose behests they never held them- made them in the West. The feudal selves bound to obey."

of Pavia, and Anselm, his successor, a native of Norman Church were nurtured, their Aosta.

system, of which they were the great The Normans soon made themselves masters, might as easily have been infelt in Europe. They became the fore- troduced into Greece as it was into most of Christian communities, and England, and with the effect of prowere distinguished in arts and arms ducing an order of men who would and letters. They were the politest have proved themselves more than a people of their time, and in their man- match for any force that the Mussulners and modes of life they presented man could have brought against the strong contrasts to the general coarse- new nation. There would have been ness of the period in which they a regular flow of Normans and other flourished. Their valor seemed to in- hardy adventurers to Byzantium, and crease with their culture; and if they the Turks never would have been were admired by the few because of allowed to cross the Hellespont to their intellectual superiority, they were establish themselves in Europe, and dreaded by the many because of their would have been fortunate had they dauntless bravery and the energy and been able to keep the Normans from success which characterized their mil- crossing the Hellespont to establish itary exploits. Though often fighting themselves in Asia. Thousands of at great odds, they were rarely defeat- those fanatics who were so soon to ed. They furnished the most distin- cover the Syrian sands with their bones, as Crusaders, would have been sentiment of perpetuity, inherent in the attracted to Greece, and would have Norman mind, to which everything was done Christendom better service there valueless that shared not in some dethan ever they were allowed to render gree its own enduring character. Abit under the Godfreys and Baldwins horrent alike of despotism and license, and Raymonds, the Louises and Rich- they imparted this love of institutions ards and Fredericks, who piously fought wherever they came. In their days for the redemption of the Redeemer's the world was passing through a fierce sepulchre. Indeed the Holy Sepulchre ordeal. A stern necessity lay on the could best have been freed from infidel whole system of things, a necessity pollution by operations from Greece, which may be expressed in this brief had Greece renewed her life under a formula, -- the sword. In their several dynasty worthy of the Greeks of old; missions, if I may so speak, the Norand Asia, the Land of Light, might mans were forced to use the appointhave been relieved from the thick ed instrument of the hour ; but the darkness under which it has so long readiness with which the sword was labored, had Norman genius and Nor- sheathed, the facility with which the man valor been authoritatively em- soldier changed into the citizen, shows ployed to direct the Christian pop- how deeply they felt that a state of ulations of the East, reinforced by hostilities, bloodshed, and disorder the surplus adventurers of the West, could not be the normal condition of against the Mussulmans. The West man. And so we see them pass at might have liquidated its debt to the once from the battle-field to the counEast, by restoring Christianity to it. cil-chamber. The fierce warrior of

All this was on the cards, had Robert yesterday is the thoughtful legislator Guiscard lived a few years longer,

of to-day. The first interval of repose and he was one of many sons of a was ever employed in devising means poor and petty Norman baron, and su- for giving stability to their acquisitions, perior to thousands of his countrymen and a constitutional form to the socieonly in the circumstance that he was ty in which they were to be vested. more favored by Fortune. We are not Among the Teutons, such a task was to judge of what might have been ef- never referred to the wisdom of any fected by a Norman dynasty in Greece one leader, however successful, - any by the miserable failure of that Latin oligarchy of chiefs, however eminent. empire of which Greece was the scene From time immemorial, the provisions in the thirteenth century, and which from which their laws were derived, and grew out of the capture of Constanti

their societies were based, nople by the French and the Vene- were the emanations of free public tians.

That empire had not the ele- opinion. Their armies were triumments of success in it; and it was phant, because the soldier yielded up established too late, and on foundations his will implicitly to his general; their too feeble, to meet the demands of the societies were vigorous and stable, betime. Its founders lacked that legisla- cause, when the soldier became a cititive capacity with which the Normans zen, he resumed that will again. No were so liberally endowed. Though sooner had conquest and peace transwe cannot subscribe in full to Mr. muted the army into a society, than Acton Warburton's enthusiastic esti- the dominant sentiment appeared, mate of the Norman race, we believe

the sentiment of rational indepenhim to be substantially correct in what dence, — resulting, as the community he says of their legislative genius. He formed, in liberal institutions."* Had dwells with unction on the strong ten

this legislative spirit been applied to dency to institutions that ever charac

Greece at the close of the eleventh terized them. This tendency," he ob

* Rollo and his Race; or, Footsteps of the Norserves, strongly indicates "the profound mans, Vol. II. pp. 107-109.

on whi

« FöregåendeFortsätt »