M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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ed that fome of thefe Merchants traded as far as the Eaft- Eaft-ir.d...
Indies, from whence they imported feveral things, before SaJC " An "*
unknown to the Englijh (9).

After this great Prince had thus regulated Matters, he Alfred to-
turned his thoughts to the Arts and Sciences, which the""'"' I '*■'
Wars had almoft entirely frighthed from the Land' To : f ",
this end he invited over from foreign Countries learned A*
Men, to whom he gave Penfions, and difperfed them in
the feveral Diocefes, to inflrud the People. But not fa-
tisfied with this, and defirous of having in his own King-
dom a Nurfery of Learning, he founded four Schools, or
Colleges at Oxford. In the firft, the Abbot Ncots and g86 4
Grtmbald read Divinity. In the fecond, Ajfcrius, a Bene- lie funds
dieline Monk, taught Grammar and Rhetorick. In the'"'
third, John, a Monk of St. David's, fet up a Chair for^'/ *'
Logiek, Arithmetic^, and Mufuk. In the fourth, Johannes
Scotus profefled Geometry and Ajlronomy. This laft was
firnamed Erigena, that is, the Irijhman, from the word
Erin or Irin, the true name of Ireland. He was alfo called
Scotus no doubt upon the fame Account, the Inhabitants
of Ireland being then termed Scots. It is related of this
Johannes Scotus, i~o famous in the republick of Letters,
that he was flabbed to death by his Pupils with Pen-knives.
But fome fay, he taught in Malmsbury-Abby, and not at

(1) With the Decalogue at their Head. See them in JVilkins Leg. Saxon, and Lambard. Thefe Lines of Alfred were tifed at il'eftminjhr, as low as the
Reign of F.diaard IV. Spelman. p. 99. Note.

(2) And likewife E'hilbirt King ot Kent, who was the firft that reduced the Saxon Lotus into Writing.

(3) If King Alfred, as is fuppoled, drew up a complcat Body of Laws, 'tis new Ml ; for thofe lately publifh'd by Dr. IVil'nins, (who has given us all the
Laws extant from Etke'.bcrt, the firft Chriftian Lawgiver in England, down to the Magna Cbarta of limy III) fill (hort ot' r.n entile Sj (km of Laws
Alfred 1 1 Laws are rank'd under two Heads, 1. The Laws if Alfred, forty in Number. 2. The League ietktttm All' id -'id Guhnrm, which ferns to be
no more than Articles of Paeifieatien, and Conditions oil which Cuthurm was to hold Eaft-AngUa. The 37th Law fecures the Entail of Eftates, and
enacls, That theft ivbo have Buk-Land (or Eftates in Land) left tbem by their Parent!, ftxmldr.it annihilate it from their Heirs, provided there .
proof made that he that firft granted the Eftate, fettled it Upon condition of Non-alienation. Another Law foibids the buying a Mar., d Horfe, or an Ox,
without a Voucher to -warrant the Sale. The Occaficn of this Law was this: When the Danes firft fettled in England, it was a common Practice between
the two Nations, not only to ileal Horfes and Oxen, but alfo Men and Women, and fell them to one another. By which menm. Owners nu enly loft their
Cattle, but Men were wrongfully made Slaves. To remedy which this Law was enacted. Afterwards Fairs and Markets obtained the fame Privilege of
Combers. But as to Horfes, the Frauds were fo common, that the Statute of 31 Elrx. 12, reviv'd the exprefs Law of Alfred,

(4) The 40th Law fcts a certain Value upon every Limb and Member, as well as upon every Perfon, from a King to a Bend-Slave.

(5) He us'd to re-examine 'the Caufes tried in his Abl'encc, and in cafe he found any Jn/ufticc dene cut cf Favour or Intereft, he punimed the Ju:i;:s
fevcrely If they pleaded Ignorance, he /harply repiimai.dcd them, and ask'd how they durft prefume to take a Commiffirn to determine about Li'i and
Property, when they knew themfelves fo wretchedly urqualincd! and ordered them either to know better or quit their Pcft. Thus the Earls and (< ■ .:
Men, rather than be turn'd out of their' Office with Diigr;ce, applied themfelves to Study. See Mirror cf Juftite, c. 2c. and Malm. 1. 2. p. 2;. /

ton fays, Juftice was fo ftrielly adminiftrcd in Alfred's Reign, that though there were gold Biacclcts hung up at the parting of leveral Highways, no Man
durft touch them, p. 818.

(6) From the Saxon Word Siyre, i.e. to branch or divide. Spclttan fays, that Alfred was not the tuft that divided the Kingdom into Shires, but cn!y
fix'd their Number and Limits Rapin.

(7) There is much the fame Regulation in China. See Hift. of Minaaca. Rapin.

(3) Spelman afcribes alfo to Alfred the Inftitution of Sheriff's, Undo -jherijfs, and Original IVrits, Sec. p. 113, 114.,

(9) It is not likely they traded to the Indies by Sea, at a time the Mariner's Compafs was not found out. Rapin. Vcu have a laige Account of \Ki
Matter in Spelman s Life of Alfred, 1. 2. c. 23. Malmibury fays, he fent a Prefent to the Indies in hi ncur of St. Ib.mai. Sigelin B.lhcp 0: Shtrbtrn
was employed to deliver it, who performed the Voyage fuccefsfully, and biought back precious Stores, Perfumes and ether Ccir.moduies, *hich were then
great Curiofities in England. It was thought Atjred caufed with thefe Diamonds a more Auguft and Imperial fort of Crown than h^d been ufed be?: re to
be rompofed. For in the arched Roof in the Cloiftcrs of fVcftminfter-Abby, where the ancient Regalia of the Kingdom arc kejt, upon n Box, the C '
of the moft antient Crown, there are thefe Word - , Hie eft prineipalior Corona am Qua ttranabantUT Kites Alfredus, Edwardus, C„ This Crown is of a
very ancient Work, with Flvwcrs adorned with Stcncs of fcoicwhat a plain Setting. Sftlman,




Vol. I.


Original of

i fi 'jeral

Oxford (i). We find moreover amoiig the learned Men
encouraged by Alfred, Plegmund a Mercian, who became
Archbiihopof Canterbury, and Come others, whofe Names,
as they will not ferve to make them more known, it is
needlefs to repeat. It is alfo unneceflary to ftay to exa-
mine, whether the Colleges founded by Alfred were the firft
Foundations oF the Univerfity of Oxford, or whether
before that, there were at a Place called Greeklade the like
Schools, which were removed from thence to this City.
Bcfides that the difpute would lead me too far, it would
he of little ufe to examine it throughly, confidering how
few are concerned in it. It is enough to obferve, that from
thefe fmall beginnings, the Univerfity of Oxford, famous
throughout all Europe, has grown up to its prefent Height.
Though Alfred was very capable himfelf of knowing the
beft means of promoting his Defigns for the good ot his
People, yet he confulted others, eminent for their Abilities,
and paid a great deference to their Opinions. He had or-
dered matters fo that all refolutions relating to the publick
were to pafs thro' three feveral Councils. The firft was a
Cabinet Council, to which none but thofe the King had a
particular Efteem for, were admitted. Here all Affairs
were firft debated that were to be laid before the fecond
Council, which confifted of Bijhops, Earls, Vifcounts, Judges,
and fome of the principal Thanes, called afterwards Barons.
This refembled the prefent Privy-Council. None belonged
to it but thofe the King was pleafed to appoint. The
third was a general Councilor Ajfcmbly of the Nation, call-
ed in Saxon, IVittena-Gemot, to which Quality and Office:
gave a right to fit, independent of the King. This Af-
fembly, ftiled at prefent the Parliament, a name taken
from the French, was compofed of the two Archbifhops of
Canterbury and York, the Bifhops, Earls, Vifcounts or High-
Sheriffs of the Counties, and the Thanes of the firft rank
or Barons. It is now difputed with great warmth, whe-
ther the People had a right to fend Representative: to this
Affembly. But this point (hall be difcuffed in another
Place. However this be, we behold in thefe three Councils
the original of the Cabinet and Privy Councils, as well as
the Antiquity of Parliaments. Thefe Councils, and particu-
larly the IVittena-Gemot, which wasconven'd generally once
a Year, being for the moft part held at London, it is eafy to
conceive that the City received by it a greater air of fplendor
than before. The Danes, who had been Mafters of it for
fome time, had demolifhed it in fuch manner that it was
hardly to be known. It was a pleafure to Alfred to beautify
it and augment its Privileges. The Figure it afterwards
made, and ftill continues to make, is in fome meafure
owing to the caie of this Prince (2).

Matters of greater moment being fettled as well as could

£Sw«jbedefired, Alfred, ever mindful of what might be advan

of building

•with f. i

*W Slot
Alto. I


tagious to Jus People, believed he ought not to be forget-
ful of one thing in itfelf ufeful and to the Kingdom very
ornamental ; and that was to induce the Engl/Jli to build
their Houfes for the future in a ftronger and more regular
manner, than they had been ufed to. At that time, there
were fcarce any but Timber-Houfes. It was a rarity to
fee a Houfe built with other Materials. Alfred having
mifed his Palaces with Stone or Brick, the Nobility by
degrees began to follow his Example. But this Cuftom
did not become general 'till feveral ages after. The Mo-
nafteries, we may believe, that were deftroyed by the
Danes, and afterwards rebuilt, had their fhare of this Im-
provement, as places that were held in ftill greater venera-
tion in the following than in the prefent Century. The
religious Houfes however did not begin to be inhabited
again 'till the following Reigns. At the time I am
fpeaking of they were almoft forfaken, for the Lands
defigned for the maintenance of the Monks being waft-
ed by the Dani/h Wars, there was fcarce a Man to be
found willing to embrace a monaftick Life ; which is a
clear Evidence, that it was not fo much Devotion, as the
hopes of being maintained without Labour, that filled
the religious Houfes. During the Reign of Alfred, the
backvvardnefs to a monkifh Life was fo great, that the
King was forced to ftock the Monafteries with Foreigners,
there being fcarce fuch a thing as a Monk in the Kingdom.
But after his Death, when the Lands were reftored to the

Monafteries, the zeal for that way of Life began to re-
kindle. Whereas in Alfred'i Days, there were more Mo-
nafteries than Monks, in a few years after the Mfmks
were grown fo numerous, and encreafed daily in fuch a
manner;, that there were not religiuus Houfes enough to
contain them.

Hitherto we have confidered Alfred fo taken up with Bif private,
the care of the publick, that he feems to have had no time J''
or leifure for his own private concerns. But we muft have
a very different Idea of this Prince. He was one of thofe
happy Geniufes that feem born for whatever they do, and
are continually employed, without appearing to be fo. He
knew too well the value of time, to lofe any part of it.
So far was he from being like moft Princes, who imagine
their high Station gives them a Privilege of fpending all
their time in diverfions and trifles, that he endeavoured to
improve every moment. Whilft he lay concealed in the ' r ■• DiJhH
Ifle of Athelney, he made a vow to dedicate to the Service i,"J-,J lm
of God, the third part of his time, as foon as he fhould be
reftored to a State of Tranquillity. Accordingly he was Arter.
punctual to his Vow, and allotted eight hours every day to
acts of Devotion, eight hours to publick Affairs, and as
many to deep, ftudy, and neceffary refreftiment. As
the ufe of Clocks and Hour-Glaffcs was not as yet intro-
duced into England, he meafured the time by means of
Wax-Candles, marked with circular lines of divers Co-
lours, which ferved as fo many Hour-lines (3). And to Origin of
prevent the wind from making them burn unfteadily, it is ,„' j n j r a " j;
laid he invented the expedient of enclofing them in Lan-
thorns (4). But it is a queftion whether this Invention be
of fo modern a date.

His Charities were very extraordinary confidering hh His Chark
Revenues, and fo much the more praife-worthy, as they ""1
were done privately, or at leaft without Oftentation. He
educated, at Court or at Oxford, a great many young No-
blemen, who were inftrucled in all things neceflary to ren-
der them one day ferviceable to their Country. But this ""d hcii-
was not his only method to caufe the Arts and Sciences toV^j"/"
flourifh : His own Example greatly contributed towards it,
for never was Prince more given to his Studies. The
progrefs he made in Learning, notwithftanding his being
fo long employed in his Wars and the adminiftration of the
Government, demonftrate how well he improved his In-
tervals from publick Bufinefs. The Author of his LifeAiTcr.
affures us, he was the beft Saxon Poet of his time, an ex-
cellent Grammarian, Orator, Philofopher, Architecl, Geo-
metrician, and Hijiorian. He compofed feveral Works, Ethdwerli
that were in great Efteem. Among others, he translated
into Saxon, Gregory's Pajloral, Boetius de Confolatione (5),
and Bede's Ecclcfiajlical Hijiory (6). What a fhame and
reproach was it for the Engliflj Nation to be fo ignorant,
when they had fo learned a King at their Head ? This ex-
cellent Prince complained bitterly (7) that from the Homier
to the Thames there was not a Prieft that underftood the Li-
turgy in his Mother Tongue, and that from the Thames to
the Sea, there was not one that knew how to tranflate the
eafiett Piece of Latin. This univerfal Ignorance, and
the little rclifh the Englijh had then for the Arts and Sci-
ences, caufed the King to feek all occafions, of earneftly in-
viting into his Dominions Foreigners that were eminent in
their Profeffions. He took particular care to have always
about him the moft noted Workmen and Architecl:, and
to keep them employed, with the fole view of improving
their Skill. He placed in the Chair: at Oxford, Men fa-
mous for their Learning, and allowed them handfome Sala-
ries. His aim was to ftir up the Emulation of the Englijh,
and provoke them to ufe their Endeavours to come out of
that ftate of grofs ignorance they were in. The Fame of
his great Wifdom and Piety reaching as far as Rome, tne
Pope fent him a large Quantity of Rellck:, and upon his
account granted fome new privileges to the Englijh College.
Abel Patriarch of Jerufalem, willing alfo to fhow him A(r
marks of his Efteem, fent him a prefent of Relicks, which
the King received with great Satisfaction.

It is time now to take a view of the manner of his or- Bit Dijiri.
dering his Dome/lick Concerns, where his Prudence was no *'''"" $"*
lefs confpicuous than in his Management of State Affairs. Affett
He made three Divifions of his Attendants, who were to

(1) Camden fays, Alfred founded but three Ralh or Schools^ the firft at the end of Rigb-flreet for Grammarians, was called Littie-Uni-vt.fity-Hall r ; the
fecond in Scbool-Jirect for Pbilofopby, was ftiled Left Uni-verJity-Hall \ and the third in Rigb-firtet, more to the Weft than the firft, for Divinity, was named
Great V ni'ver fit y -Hall , now Univcr/ity-Coffege.

[%) He repaired alio, or rebuilt Wincbefier and Norwich, Spdman, p. 162, 164.

1 jj He ordered juil i'uch a quantity of Wax to be mad..- into fix Candles, each twelve Inches long, with the Dlvificn of the Inches mark 'd cut diftinctly.
Tlseic being lighted one after another, did orderly bum four Hours apiece, that is, every three Inches an Hour, fo that the whole fix Candles lalted juft
twenty four Hours, the watching of which was committed to the Keepers of his Chapel, whofe Office it was to put him in mind how each Hour paffed.

(4) Clafs was th°n a great Rarity in England, (o that the King was frre'd to order fome fine white Hern to be fcraprd fo thin as to become tranfparent,
»r.d put into clofe Frames of Wood, which defended the Candles from the injury uf the Wind. Thus Lar.tbtrns, tho* of vulgar Ule and Ettimation, were
the Invention of a King. Spdman. Affer* *vit. Alfr. p. 20.

(5) Publilhcd Tit Oxford, An* 1698, 8m by Cbrifnpber RaivUnfon, Gentleman-Commoner of Queen's College- Some fay it was transited by Wtref 'rid,
Bifliop of rVorce/hr} but Dr. Pi'et tcils us Alfred did it at JVoodflock. Alfred was fo delighted with this Book, that he always carried it about h:m in his

(6) Publilhcd at Cambridge in 1644, by Mr. Wbelock, who obferves, 'tis rather a Paraphrafc than a Trazflation. He is Iikewifc faid to have translated
the Old and New Te/hnxnt. However 'tis on all Hands agreed he undertook a Vcrfton of the Pfa'ms, but died when it was about half fi/ufhed, See Sfeftr.an's
Life ot Alfred, 1. 3. c. 100. For an account of the reft of his Works, fee the fame Author, p. 210, 211, 212.

In his Preface to Grtgvrft Paftoralj which fee in Spdman, p. 141, &c, and at the end of Ajfer'% Life tf^glfret

7 Wait

Book IV.

7. EDWARD the UldeK


Wait monthly by turns : A Cuftom* which tho' not prac-
tifed then in other Courts, was afterwards followed by other
Princes. As for his Revenues, he divided them in two Parts,
one whereof was wholly affigned for charitable ufes, and
fubdivided into four Portions. The firft for Alms to the
Poor: The fecond for the maintenance of the Monafteries
he had founded : The third for the Subfiftence of the Pro-
feflbrs and Scholars at Oxford: The fourth for poor Monks,
as well Foreigners as Englijh (1). The other half was
thrown into three divifions; one was expended in his Fa-
mily ; another in paying his Architects, and other curious
Workmen ; and the reft was beftowed in Petitions upon
Strangers, invited to his Court for the encouragement and
inftrudtion of his Subjects. When I (peak of his Reve-
nues, I mean his own hereditary Eftate. It was not cu-
ftomary in thofc days, for Princes to levy Taxes upon the
People, in order to fquander the Money in Luxury and

What has been faid of this illuitrious Prince, may
fuffice to make known the principal events in his
Reign, and to give an Idea of his perfonal Qualities.
I might add many more particulars, lince his Life alone
affords matter for a large Volume. But I believe I
may venture to flop here, without injuring the memory
of this Monarch, who is jultly diftinguifhed with the
Sirhame of Great. No Hiftorian charges him with
any Vice, but all unanimoufly agree to reprefent him

as one of the mod glorious Princes that ever wore the
Crown (2).

He died in 900, and in the ;zd vcar of his Age, after a 900*
reign of twenty-eight years and fix months (3 j, thegreateft"" Duub>
part whereof was fpent in wars and troubles, and the reft
in peace (4). His Hiftory flicws, that botli in War and
Peace, he govern'd with prudence and ftcaJinefs. But what
chiefly dillinguifhes him from the generality of Princes,
was his fincere and conftant love for his People. Of this
he gave demonftration, not by words only, as is too com-
monly the cafe, but by rial and fubftaniial deeds. Ac-
cordingly never was Prince better beloved by his Subjects.
No doubt this mutual Affection contributed to deftroy in
the Danes, fettled in England, all hopes of (baking dY h'n
Yoke, when once they had fubmitted to it.

Alfred had feveral Children by Aljwitha his Queen; U7i CUUrSk
Some of them, particularly Edmund his eldeft Son, whom A ' r - r>
he defigned for his Succcllbr, died before him. Of thole
that furviv'd him, Edward mounted the Throne after him.
Ethelward, who was bred a Scholar at Oxftnd, was a very
learned Man, and died in the fortieth year of his Age, in
922. E/feda, his eldeft Daughter, Wife to Ethclrcd Earl
of Mercia, became very famous in her Brother Edward'%
Reign. Aljwitha or Ethelfwitha, called alio Eltrude by the
Flemijh Writers, married Baldwin Earl of Flanders. Ethel-
githa, who chofe to be a Nun, was made Abbefs of Shaft f-
bury Nunnery, founded by the Kiiig her Father (5).

lit Stale rf

tbt Kingdom.


pretends to
tbe Crmun.

Sax. Ann.
H. Hunt.

7. EDWARD the Elder.

WHEN Edward afcended the Throne, Etig- ragement from the Englijh. Doubtlefs, the great Venera-
land was almoft equally divided between the tion they had for Alfred's Memory, made them adhere to
Englijh and Danes. The Danes inhabited Nor- his Son, or it may be, they did not queftion Ethelwulph'3
thumberland and Eajl-Anglia, from whence power of fettling the Succeffion as he pleafed. The an-
they had driven the Englijh during the wars. The Englijh cient Hiftorians not having ex prefled themfelves clearly
were ftill in pofleffion of JVlffex, containing the ancient upon this point, it would be difficult to decide the matter
Kingdom of Effex, and all the Country lying South of the by the publick Laws of the Saxons, which are not fuffici-
thames. As for Mercia, it was peopled with a mixture ently known. And therefore, to confine my felf to the
of Danes and Englijh, but in fuch manner, that the Englijh bare relation of Facts, I fhall only fay, that Ethelward^
were fuperior in the South and Weft Parts, and the Danes finding his Countrymen unwilling to fupport his Title,
rn the Eaft and North. During the latter part of Alfred's was fore'd to apply to the Danes, who probably had put
Reign, the Danes had remained- very quiet, out of fear of him upon this undertaking.

provoking that Prince to invade their Pofl'effions. Befides, Ethelward began his defign upon the Crown, with feiz- Ethelivard

they were very well pleafed to enjoy fome repofe, in order ing Winburn, a fortified Town in Dorfctjhire (6). He ex- •'"*" Win "
to fortify their Settlements in England, For this reafon,
the retreat of their Countrymen was to them rather an
occafion of Joy than Sorrow. Indeed, they could never
have attained to their ends, if the War had been continu-
ally renewed by the at rival of other Danes, who under
the name of Friends, would have been as incommodious
to them as to the Englijh themfelves. The retreat of thefe
dangerous Guefts, and the profound Tranquillity fpread
over the whole Kingdom, by Alfred's juft Adminiftration,
having given them time to cultivate their Lands, and aug-
ment their Riches by Commerce, they began to entertain
thoughts of Ihaking off" the Englijh Yoke. Accordingly,
they embraced the firft favorable occafion to excite new
Troubles in England, not doubting in the leaft but they
would prove the means of putting their defign in Exe-

I have obferved that King Ethelbert, elder Brother to
Alfred, left two Infant Sons. Ethelward, the eldeft, being
grown, at the death of Alfred, to Man's Eftate, thought it
time to affert his right to the Crown. He pretended,
that Ethclwulph his Grandfather could not with Juftice refolve to do his utmoft to put an end to the War, before
fettle the Kingdom upon all his Sons fucceflively, to the the Danes had time to fend for their Countrymen to their
prejudice of the Children of the eldeft. That granting Affittance. Immediately after the taking of li'lnburn,
he had a power to do this, there was no reafon the Sue- he marched towards Northumberland (1 6) , at the head of
ceffion, after the death of the four Brothers, fhould con- his Army, which daily encreafed, by Troops coming in
tinue in the Family of the youngeft, when the Heirs of from all Parts. The Danes were aftonifhed at this Ex- 902.
the fecond were alive. That befides, at moft he could but pedition, and finding themfelves in no condition to relift ^ ^"y*
int'ail the Kingdom of Kent, which he was in pofleffion him, were conftrained to abandon and banifh from their J;
of, and not the Kingdom of IVejfex, which belonged not Country, the Piince they had undertaken to protect,
to him when he made his Will. Thefe reafons appeared They had foon reafon to repent of efpouling his Caufe,
very plaulible ; yet Ethelward could meet with no encou- or not defending it better. This fruitlefs attempt oi

(1) He fent Money to (lie Monafteries throughout his Dominions ; and alio in Wales, Iniard, Ftanee, America, &c. Afjir. p. 20.

(2) We have the Sum of his Character given us by a gnat Man, to the following Effect : Alfred, the Wonder and Artonuhmcnt of all Ages! If w;
reflect «n the devout part of him, he feems to have lived always in a C/cyJier. If on his Candid and Exploits in the Field, one would think h:- had fp..>nt
his Days in a Camp. If on his Writing* and Studies, one would conclude the Univerjity had engroffed him. And Jartly, if we regard his Prud.uee- and
Skill in the Adminiftration of Government, ho feems to haie made Law and Pehtieks his whole Study.

ii) Atf^' Sax. jinn. Ficr. IVigcrn. &c. fay, he reigned twenty-nine years and a half} and the two laft place his death under the year 901.

(4) He was horn at IVar.aiing, now Wantage in Berh&ire, which was formerly a Rival Mancr. His Btdy was buried firft at fPlstebffla; nextrcra:ved
into the Church of the New Monajiery; and tartly, his Body, Monument, Chunh and Monallerj were all removed [abeut two hundred years aitu) without

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