Sidor som bilder

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

* History of the Four Conquests of England,

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of his father's sin. In all history, Wil liam received developed his faculties, liam is the only individual to whom and made him one of the chief men of such an epithet has adhered through his age ; and in 1066 he prepared to out his life and fortunes. Was the assert his right to the English crown. word of affront ever applied to Alphonso, the stern father of the noble house third son of Edward III., who was son of Edward

II., who was son of Edward I., who was son of of Braganza, by any one except a Cas

Henry III., who was son of John, who was son of tilian ? Not so William ; -a bastard Henry II., who was son of Matilda (by Geoffrey was William at the hour of his birth;

Plantagenet, Count of Anjou), who was daughter of

Henry I. (by Matilda of Scotland, sister of Edgar a bastard in prosperity; a bastard in

Atheling, and therefore of the Saxon blood royal), adversity ; a bastard in sorrow; a bas who was son of William the Conqueror. Thus tard in triumph ; a bastard in the ma

Queen Victoria is descended legitimately from the

Conqueror, not only through Lionel, Duke of Clarternal bosom ; a bastard when borne

ence, Edward III.'s third son, but also through that to his horror-inspiring grave. “Wil monarch's fifth son, Edmund, Duke of York, whose liam the Conqueror' relatively, but

second son, the Earl of Cambridge, married the

great-granddaughter of the Duke of Clarence. Had William the Bastard’ positively; and the great struggle of the English throne in the fifa bastard he will continue so long as teenth century been correctly named, it would stand the memory of man shall endure." in history as the contest between the lines of Clar

ence (not York) and Lancaster, In virtue of her Sir Francis seems to have forgotten

descent from Henry VII., Queen Victoria shares the Bastard of Orleans. Nevertheless, “the aspiring blood of Lancaster," which was so and in spite of his illegitimacy, William

mounting that it brought the worst of woes on Eng

land. Henry VII. was the son of Margaret Beaubecame ruler of Normandy when he

fort (by Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond), who was but a child, his father abdicating was the daughter of John, Duke of Somersel, who the throne, and forcing the Norman

was the son of John, Earl of Somerset, who was

the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth baronage to accept the boy as his suc

son of Edward III. ; but the mother of the Earl of cessor; and that boy thirty years later Somerset was, at the time of his birth, not the wife, founded a royal line that yet endures

but the mistress of the Duke of Lancaster, though

he married her late in life, and in various ways obin full strength, Queen Victoria being

tained the legitimation of the children she had borne the legitimate descendant of William of him, - facts that could not remove the great fact of Normandy.* The training that Wil their illegitimacy, if marriage is to count for any

thing, and which no good historian ever has treated * The legitimate descent of Queen Victoria from with respect. Lord Macaulay calls the Tudors “a the Conqueror is sometimes disputed, because it is line of bastards," and ranks them with the " succesnot correctly traced, in consequence of the line of sion of impostors” set up by the adherents of the descent being carried back through Henry VII., in White Rose. Froude's great work has created a stead of being carried through his wise, née Eliza new interest in the question of the English succesbeth Piantagenet. It may not be uninteresting to sion, for he bases his peculiar view of the character state the royal pedigree, which is at times rather of Henry VIII., and his justification of all his acts intricate, and full of sinuosities, - in part due to of heartless tyranny, on the necessities that grew the occurrence of political revolutions, Eng. out of that perplexing question, which troubled lish statesmen never having paid much regard to England for two centuries, thus forming a practical political legitimacy, which is a modern notion. satire on that theory which represents that the pecuQueen Victoria is the daughter of Edward, Duke liar excellence of hereditary monarchy is found in of Kent, who was son of George III., who was son its power to prevent disputes for the possession of of Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was son of government, and to promote the preservation of soGeorge II., who was son of George I., who was son ciety's peace, –a theory which has often been of the Electress Sophia (by Ernest Augustus, Elec thrown into the teeth of republicans, and particutor of Hanover), who was daughter of Elizabeth larly since the occurrence of our unhappy civil Stuart (by Frederick V., Elector Palatine and troubles. Yet one would think that Gettysburg and “Winter King" of Bohemia), who was daughter of Shiloh were not worse days than Towton and BarJames I. (Sixth of Scotland), who was son of Mary, Those persons who are interested in the EngQueen of Scots (by Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley!, lish succession question, and who would see how who was daughter of James V., who was son of wide a one it was, and how far and how long and Margaret Tudor (by James IV.), who was daughter variously it affected the politics of Continental Euof Elizabeth Plantagenet (by Henry VII.), who rope as well as those of England, should read the was daughter of Edward IV., who was son of Rich chapter on the subject in Miss Cooper's “Life and ard, Duke of York, who was son of Anne Mortimer Letters of Arabella Stuart," a learned and lively (by Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, son of work, and not the least meritorious of those admiraEdmund, Duke of York, fifth son of Edward 111.), ble historical productions which we owe to the genius, who was daughter of Roger, Earl of Marche, who the industry, and the honesty of English women, was son of Philippe (by Edmund, Earl of Marche), Agnes Strickland, Caroline A. Halsted, Lucy Aiken, who was daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, Mrs. Everett Green, Elizabeth Cooper, and others,


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

afternoon they were repulsed ; and says the Norman chronicle, and satis had the Saxons been content to hold fied every one as well as he could. He their ground, victory would have been gave, beforehand, a bishopric in Eng- theirs. But they left the position they land to a monk of Fescamp, in return had so valiantly maintained, to pursue for a vessel and twenty armed men.” the Normans, when the latter feigned The Pope was William's chief support to fly. Even then they fought with er. Harold and all his adherents were heroic resolution, and might have reexcommunicated, and William received gained the day, had not Harold fallen. a banner and ring from Rome, the Soon after, the English position was - whose writings do honor to the sex, and fairly en

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

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

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

tire English army.

The event of the battle of Hastings II. over the Italians, that the House placed all England, ultimately, at the of Hohenzollern has triumphed over disposition of the Normans, though the House of Hapsburg, that President many years elapsed before the coun- Johnson rules at Washington, and that try was entirely conquered. Had the Queen Victoria sits in the seat of Akbar English possessed a good government, or Aurungzebe, are facts which must all or leaders who enjoyed general confi- be attributed to the decision made by dence, their defeat at Hastings would the sword at Hastings, no matter what not have reduced them to bondage, or may have been the particular process have converted their country into a of events after that battle. It is possinew world. But they, who were even ble that the misery consequent on the slavishly dependent on their govern- victory of the Normans has been exagment for leading, had no government; gerated, though a great deal of sufferand they were just as destitute of chiefs ing must have followed from it. But who were competent to assume the lead there can be no exaggeration of the at so dark a crisis. Taking advantage general consequence of the success of of circumstances so favorable to his the Normans. That determined the purpose, William soon made himself future course of the world, and will king, but had most of his work to do continue to determine it long after long after he was crowned. The bat- the Valley of the Amazon shall be tle of Hastings, therefore, was decisive far more thickly inhabited, and better of the future of England and of the known, than to-day is the Valley of British race. Saxon England disap- the Danube. peared; Norman England rose. The There is one popular error with rechange was perfect, and quite warrants gard to the Norman Conquest which Lord Macaulay's emphatic assertion, it may not be amiss to correct. It is that “the battle of Hastings, and the taken for granted by most persons who events which followed it, not only have written on it, that the triumph of placed a Duke of Normandy on the William was the triumph of an arisEnglish throne, but gave up the whole tocracy over a people, and we often population of England to the tyranny hear the Saxons spoken of as demoof the Norman race," — and that “the crats who were subdued by aristocrats. subjugation of a nation by a nation This is an entirely erroneous view of has seldom, even in Asia, been more the whole subject. So far as there was complete.” The nation that finally was a contest at Hastings between aristoformed by a union of the Saxons and crats and democrats, the Normans were the Normans, and which was seven or champions of democracy, and the Saxeight generations in forming, was a ons of the opposite principle. The very different nation from that which Saxon aristocracy was very powerful, had been ruled by the Confessor. It and its power was steadily increasing was a nation that was capable of every for generations before the Conquest; form of action, and had little in com- and had there not been a foreign invamon with the Saxons of the eleventh sion, it is altogether probable that the century. It matters nothing whether English system soon would have bethe Conqueror introduced the feudal come strictly oligarchical. One of the system into England, or whether he chief causes of Harold's failure was his found it there, or whether that system inability to command the prompt supis almost entirely an imaginary crea- port of some of the greatest nobles, as tion, as most probably is the fact. We Earls Edwin and Morcar, who paid know that the event called the Nor- bitterly for their backwardness in after man Conquest wrought great changes in days. Something of this may be attribEngland, and through England in the uted to the weakness of his title to the world; and that Napoleon III. reigns crown, but the mere fact that such men over the French, and Victor Emanuel could so powerfully influence events at

a time when the very existence of the English more, than to see the fair and country was at stake, is enough to noble English maidens and widows show how strong were the insular aris- compelled to accept these despicable tocrats; and it was this selfish aris- adventurers as their husbands. Of this tocracy that was destroyed by the Nor- we have an example in Lucia, the mans, most of whom were upstarts, the daughter of Algar, for Talboys seems very scum of Europe having entered to have been a person of the lowest deWilliam's army.

We doubt if ever gree.” Ivo Talboys, or Taillebois, was there was a greater triumph effected by one of the Conqueror's followers, and the poor and the lowly-born over the rich his chief gave him lands in the fen and the well-born, than that which was country, near the monastery of Croygained at Hastings, though it required land; and this chance of a locality some years to make it complete. “Ac- may have had something to do with cording to the common report,” says Sir the reputation he has, for it brought F. Palgrave, “sixty thousand knights him under the lash of the famous Inreceived their fees, or rather their liv- gulphus, Chronicler of Croyland, (if he ings, to use the old expression, from the was that Chronicler,) who charges him Conqueror. This report is exaggerat- with all manner of crimes, — and with ed as to number; but the race of the reason good, for he bore himself with Anglo - Danish and English nobility great harshness toward the brethren and gentry, the Earls and the greater of the great Croyland monastery, — an Thanes, disappears; and with some unpardonable offence. Low as he was exceptions, remarkable as exemplifying by birth, Taillebois received the hand of the general rule, all the superiorities of Lucia, sister of the Saxon Earls Edwin the English soil became vested in the and Morcar, and became very wealthy. Conqueror's Baronage. Men of a new From this union came “the great line race and order, men of strange man- whence sprang the barons of Kendal ners and strange speech, ruled in Eng- and Lancaster.” The last descendant land. There were, however, some of this Norman baron of William's great mitigations, and the very suffer- creation and of the Saxon Lucia died ings of the conquered were so inflicted in 1861, a pauper in the workhouse of as to become the ultimate means of Shrewsbury, – Emily Taillebois, a girl national prosperity; but they were to of eighteen. be gone through, and to be attended There were thousands of such fellows with much present desolation and mis- as Taillebois in William's army, and, ery. The process was the more pain- though all were not so lucky as he, many ful because it was now accompanied of them drew good prizes in the lottery by so much degradation and contumely. of war, and founded, at the expense of The Anglo-Saxons seem to have had the noblest Saxons, families from which a very strong aristocratic feeling, -a men are proud to be descended. Sir great respect for family and dignity of Walter has used this fact in “ Ivanhoe," blood. The Normans, or rather the when he makes the usually silent Athhost of adventurers whom we must of elstane reply with so much eloquence necessity comprehend under the name to De Bracy's insolent remark that the of Normans, had comparatively little; princes of the House of Anjou conand not very many of the real old and ferred not their wards on men of such powerful aristocracy, whether of Nor- lineage as his. “My lineage, proud mandy or Brittany, settled in England. Norman,” replied Athelstane, “ is drawn The great majority had been rude, and from a source more pure and ancient poor, and despicable in their own coun- than that of a beggarly Frenchman, try,—the rascallions of Northern Gaul: whose living is won by selling the these, suddenly enriched, lost all com- blood of the thieves whom he assempass and bearing of mind; and no one bles under his paltry standard.

Kings circumstance vexed the spirit of the were my ancestors, strong in war and

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