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given to gluttony, venery, and oppression; the common sort to drunkenness and all disorder. And they say, that in the last action of Harold at Stamford, the bravest men perished; and himself growing insolent after the victory, retaining the spoils without distribution to the soldiers, made them discontent and unruly; or peradventure being not inured to be commanded by martial discipline, they were of themselves unmanageable; and that coming to the battle of Hastings with many mercenary men, and a discontented army, there was not that valour and resolution shewed as was meet in so important an occasion. Besides, the Normans had a peculiar militia, or fight with bows and arrows, wherein they were excellently practised ; and the English, unacquainted with that weapon, were altogether unprovided for the defence. And thus they excuse the shame of our nation.
REIGN OF WILLIAM THE FIRST.
§. 12. By these advantages William, the base son of Robert duke of Normandy, having gotten the victory in the battle near Hastings, marched without any opposition towards London; where the earls Edwin and Morcar, brothers of eminent dignity and respect in the kingdom, laboured with all their power in soliciting the people for the conservation of the state, and to have established Edgar Etheling, next of the royal issue, in the sovereignty; whereunto the rest of the nobility had likewise consented, had they not seen the bishops averse or wavering. And all men generally transported with fear, or corrupted with new hopes, running from themselves and their endangered country, and striving who should be first to entertain the present fortune, sought to preoccupate each other. For straight upon his approach to London, the gates was set all open; the archbishop of Canterbury, Stigand, with other bishops, the nobility, magistrates, and people, all rendered themselves and their obedience unto him; and he, returning plausible promises of his future government, was within a short time after crowned at Westminster, by Aldred archbishop of York; for that Stigand was not held canonically invested in that see, and yet was thought to have been a principal adherent to this enterprise.
S. 13. Here, (according to the accustomed form,) in his coronation, the bishops and barons of the realm took their oath to be his true and loyal subjects; and he reciprocally being required thereunto by the archbishop of York, made his personal oath before the altar of St. Peter, to defend the
holy church of God and the rectors of the same ; to govern the universal people subject unto him justly; with care to establish equal laws for the preservation of justice, and upright judgment to be used amongst them: and taking hostages for his more security, and order for the defence and government of his kingdom.
§. 14. At the opening of the spring then next following he returns into Normandy; so to settle his affairs there, as they might not distract him from his business in England, which required his whole powers. And to leave all sure behind him, he committed the rule of the kingdom in his absence to Odo bishop of Bayeux, his half-brother by the mother's side, and to his cousin Fitz-Osborn, whom he had made earl of Hereford : taking with him the chiefest men, natives of the state, who were likeliest to be heads to a revolt; as the archbishop Stigand, lately discontented, Edgar Atheling, a titular, Edwin and Morcar, with many other bishops and noblemen. In his absence, which was all that whole summer, nothing was here attempted against him, but only that Edric, surnamed the Forrester, in the county of Hereford, called in the kings of the Welsh to his aid, and foraged only the remote borders of that country. The rest of the kingdom stood quiet, expecting what would become of that new world, wherein as yet they found no great alteration; their laws and liberties remaining still the same, they did and might hope by this accession of a new province the state of England would be enlarged in dominion abroad, and not impaired in profit at home, by reason the nation was but small, and being a plentiful and not overpeopled country, they were not likely to impester them.
§. 15. The king now grown to this power, soon settled his estate in Normandy, which in his youth he had always found turbulent within and overhardly neighboured abroad, and secured him of that side of the world ; wherein he was much advantaged by the time. For Philip the First, then king of France, was a child ; who otherwise would never have suffered the Normans, being so stubborn and little affectionate to that crown, to have grown to such greatness; and besides, was under the curature of Baudovin earl of Flanders, (his uncle by the mother,) whose daughter king William of England had to wife; which alliance indeed gave him the greatest means to his conquest. Besides, he had made the pope most sure unto him, by promising if he subdued this kingdom to hold it of the church ; for which Alexander upon his enterprise sent him a banner, and a hair of St. Peter. He held strict amity also with the princes of France, that bordered upon him, and might interrupt his affairs; as with the earls of Anjou, Poictou, Main, Ponthieu, Bologne, and others; to every one of whom he had promised lands in England, upon their aids lent him. And to keep fair with the state of France in general, he engaged himself to their king to hold this kingdom from him, and to do him homage for the same; by which means he so strongly underset himself, as made his fortune such as it was.
§. 16. And now having disposed his affairs in Normandy, he returns towards winter into England; where he was to satisfy three sorts of men : first, the especial adventurers in the action : secondly, those of his own people, whose merits or nearness deserved recompense; whereof the number being so great, many must have their expectations fed, though not satisfied : thirdly, the people of this kingdom by whom he must now subsist. For being not able with his own nation so to people the same as to defend it, if he should proceed to a general extirpation of the natural inhabitants, he was likewise to give them satisfaction: wherein he had more to do than in his battle at Hastings; seeing all remunerations, with discharge of monies, must be raised out of the stock of the kingdom, (which could not be pleasing to the state in general.) And all preferments and dignities conferred on his, must be either by vacancies, or displacing others; which needs must breed very feeling grievances in particular. And yet we find no great men thrust out of their rooms, but such as put themselves out by their revolting after his establishment in the crown.
§. 17. In the second year of his reign no exaction was made to raise treasure for these satisfactions ; so that it seems he contented himself and his for the time, only with what he found here ready; and with filling up their places who were slain in these two last battles, or fled (as many were) out of the kingdom with the sons of Harold. But the English nobility, incompatible of these new concurrents, found notwithstanding a disproportion of grace, and a darkening of their dignities, by the interposition of so many as must needs lessen their light. And doubting daily to be more impaired in honour and estate, all the chiefest of them conspired and fled; some into Scotland, some into Denmark, to try if by aid from abroad they might recover themselves and their greatness again at home.
§. 18. Amongst these the chiefest was Edgar Atheling, (entitled England's darling, which shewed the people's zeal to his blood,) and with him (besides his mother Agatha, and his two sisters, Christine and Margaret) fled the earls Edwin and Morcar, Marleswin, Hereward, Gospatric, and Siward, and shortly after Stigand and Aldred, the two archbishops, with many other noblemen, and divers of the clergy. Those that fled into Scotland were all hospitably received of king Malcolm, whom it concerned to look to his own, his neighbour's house being thus on fire, and to succour a party against so dangerous an incomer : which made him not only to entertain them, but to enter league with them for the public safety. And to combine himself the more firmly, he married Margaret, the sister of Edgar, by whom the blood of our ancient Saxon kings was conjoined with the Norman in Henry the Second, and so became English again.
g. 19. These noblemen, with the aid of the Scots and Danes, in the third year of this king's reign, raised great commotions in the north beyond Humber, and wrought very valiantly themselves to recover their lost country. But now it being too late, and the occasion not taken before the settling of the government whilst it was new and brand