M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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ceffaries for his fubfiftence (3).

Canute would have been very glad to be freed with the
fame cafe, from the trouble occaiion'd by Alfred and Ed-
ward, Brothers of King Edmund, who were retir'd into
Normandy with their Mother. But he knew not how to
get them out of the hands of Duke Richard II, their
uncle. He was even apprehenfive, the Duke, whofe
forces were not to be defpis'd, would one day efpoufe
their caufe. To prevent this danger, he bethought him-
felf of gaining the Duke of Normandy to his intercfts, by

demanding in marriage his Sifter Emma, widow of Ethel-
red 11, and by offering him at the fame time EJlritl.a one
ot his Sifters. Thefe Propolals being accepted, the two
marriage-folemnitics were celebrated in a magnificent man-
ner. If Emma w.i, pleas'd with being once more Queen
of England, it was not lb with Alfred and Edward her
Suns, who openly fhew'd their diflike. Edward efpeci-'
ally, never forgave her for thus fcandaloufly cfpoufing the
mortal enemy of her firft Husband. Both of them
were alfo extremely incens'd againlt her for confenting,
the fucceffion to the Crown of England fhould be fettled, Ma'filtl.
by the marriage-artic les, on the Heirs of her body by Ca- Article?,
nute. This was cutting off", as far as lay in her power,
from the family of Ethelred, all hopes of ever mountin"
the throne.

After Canute had by thefe precautions fecured himfelf Canute dif-
from all datlgers from the Saxon Princes, he thought it time t""< h " f°*"
to get rid of fome Lords, whofe fidelity he fufpected, or L "f't'T"

.,. it' _, * • ' jcai'jut 0/.

whole power made him uneafy. I he three principal ones Sax. Ann.
were, the Duke of Mereia, the Duke of ' Eaji-Anglia, and Ma| n>fl*
the Earl of Northumberland. Thefe Lords had done him HuminB<i -
fignal Cervices; but this was the thing that rendcr'd them
formidable to him, being fenfible how it lay in their
power to Jmrt him, if they fhould undertake it. He
knew I'.drie Streon was a Villain, and as he could not rely
on his fidelity, fince he had fo often betray'd the two for-
mer Kings, notwithftanding the obligations that ought to
have attached him to their intercfts, he refolvcd to begin
with him. He quickly found a fair opportunity to exe-
cute this defign, by even doing an act of Juliice very ac-
ceptable to the Englijli, This Lord, having one day the Brompt.
infolence to upbraid him publickly, for not rewarding him M- Weft,
for his paft fervices (4), and particularly for freeing him Km S htom
from fo formidable a rival as Edmund, afforded him the
pretence he had fome time been feeking. Edric had no
fooner dropt thefe words, but the King anfwer'd in a
rage, fincc he was fo audacious as openly to avow fo black
a trcafon, of which he had hitherto been only fuf-
pected, he fhould receive his due punifhment. At the Edric Streon
fame intrant, without giving him time to reply, he com- t""° death.
manded him to be immediately beheaded, and his body ^""P 1,
thrown into the Thames (;). It is faid he ordered his
Head to be fix'd on the higheft part of the Tower of
London (6), that he might perform his promile to the
traitor, to raij'e him above all the Peers of the realm.
Thus Edric received at laft the juft reward of his trea-
cheries. Erie, Earl of Northumberland, was banifhed
the kingdom fhortly after, under fome pretence. Tur-
kil, Duke of Eaft-Anglia, frighted by thefe examples, and
perhaps by the King's emiffaries, voluntarily abfented
himfelf (7), for fear fomething worfe might befal him.
Several other Lords of lefs note falling in like manner a
facrifice to the King's jcaloufy or fufpicions, their pofts
were fill'd with thole in whom he placed greater confi-
dence. From this time the Englijh began to enjoy a ftate
of tranquillity, which appear'd the fweeter to them, as
they had been many years ftrangers to it, and had no rea-
fon to expect it. However they were forced to pay a tax 1018.
of fourfcore thoufand pounds (8) for the arrears due to
the Danijlj army, great part of whom were fent back to
Denmark (9).

Canute finding the whole kingdom in profound tran-
quillity, and having no reafon to fear a revolt, refolv'd Canute^'m
upon a voyage to Denmark ( 1 o). His pretence was abfo- » Denmark,
lately neceflkry there, on account of the Danes and Van-"'' 1 "'"'
dais being at war. He took with him fuch of the vandals.
Englijh Lords as he fufpected, left his abfence fhould Sax. Ann.
encourage them to raife difturbances in the kingdom. Huntmgd.
Eor this reafon alfo he carried with him the flower of
the Englijh troops, under the command of Earl Good-
win, Son of Ulnoth, mentioned in the reign of Ethel-
red II. Goodwin, who was a perfon of great experience, Ahold Ac-
fignalized himfelf in this war, by a very bold though fuc- "°" 'fJ~ ar '
cefsful action. The two armies of the Danes and Fan-
dais being near one another, Canute defigned to attack the
enemies early the next morning. Whillt his troops were
refrefhing themfelves, in expectation of the battle, Good-
win privately withdrawing from the Camp, with the

(1) This was done by a Wittcna-Gcmot at Oxfoid. Brompt. p. 90S.

(2) All the Englijh Hiftorians affirm, That IValgar (tor that was the Dumeftick's name) had orders to carry them to the King of Sweden, Swaicrm*
et Summon. Htsued p. 436. M.Wejim. p. 206. Flor. rVorc. p. 619, CSV.

(3) Thefe two Edity's are confoundjd by fcvcral Hiftorians ; but they are plainly diitinguiftied in the Saxon Annals, and in the Genealogy at the end
of the Hiitory at Alfred, written by Spelman. Rapin. As alfo in 11. Huntingdon, who calls the firit Edwiadelinge, and the fecond Edic-icbcorleging,
p. 363. Malmjhury fays, Edtvy-adclinge was buried at lavijiock in Devmjbire.

(4) He upbraided him for having deprived him of the Earldom of Mcrua. M.Wrfim. p. 402.

(5) He was beheaded in the King's Palace, and his Body tiung out ot a Window, into the 'Thames. Maln1Jb.ts.j3. M. If'ejlm. p. 402. So that the
King's Palace flood clofe to the 'Thames. Other Hiftorians fay, That the Body was call upon the Wall of the City, and left there unbuiicd. i". Dur.elrr..
p. 177. Moved. Brompt. 908.

(6) That could not be, fince the Tower of London was not built till the Reign of IVilliamX. Huntlngd. fays, he ordered it to be fixed en the brgbeji
lower m London, p. 363. and Brompton on the highejl Gate in London, p. 908.

(7) He went to Denmark, where, as foon as he landed, he was taken, and put to death. Malmjb. p. 73.

(8) The Saxon Annals, Anno MXV1I1. fay, it was feventy-two thoufand pounds, Huntingd. and Brompt. eighty thoufand pounds, befides eleven
(Florence lays riftecji) thoufand paid by the City of London. Hence may be feen the riourilliing condition of that City in thofe days, fince it could pay al-
nloft a iixth part of tiiis great Tax.

(9) By the perfuafion 01' *^ueen Emma. M. IVejlm. p. 40;. Canute kept forty Ships in England. Sax. Ann.

(10) Wacre ne wintered. S. Dunclm. p. 117,

N° 7. V o l. I. I i Body

I 26







Bodv under his command, fell upon the Vandals in
ni<*ht, and putting; them in diforder by this Hidden attack,
made' great (laughter of them, and routed the w'
army. At break of day, Canute preparing for the battle,
and not finding the Englijh at their ibtion, did not que-
stion but they were revolted to the enemy. While he
was perplexed in his thoughts at this unexpected accident,
he law the Englijh General arrive, who was come him-
felf to bring him news of hi. Victory (1). Though this
action was of a dangerous confequence, the Kifig however
was very willing, upon this occafion, to dilpenfe with
the rules of military difcipline, which requir'd that Good-
win fhould be punim'd for daring to fight without or-
ders. He received him with abundance of cardies, and
as a reward for fo lignal a fervice, created him Earl of
Kent. I fliall have frequent occafion hereafter to fpeak
of this Earl, who became at length the greateft Lord in

of his Father Sweyn's being kill'd by that Saint, or rather,
was willing to (tide the report. However this be, he built
a (lately Church over the grave of that Prince, and very
much enlarged the town where his body lay buried, which
from him had the name of St. Edmundsbury. The Mo-
naftery, which was in the fame place, and call'd Breadicf-
worth, had been endow'd by Edward the Elder. Canute
enlarging the building, and augmenting the revenues, this
religious houfe became one of the fineft and richeft in the
kingdom (6).

After he had (hewn, as he thought, vifible marks of his '°3 3 -
devotion, he refolved upon a journey to Rome, which he i^,_4° c '.' '
perform'd in 1031. Whilft he ftaid there, he made many Sax. Ann.
rich prefents to the ^Churches, and confirmed all the Malraft.
grants of his predeceffors to the Church of Rome and the
Englijh College. He obtain'd, for his part, certain privi-
leges for the Englijh Churches, and fome advantages for
thole who came to vifit the Tombs of the Apojlles. But the

Sax. Ann
S. Dun.


This war being happily ended, Canute returned into moil material privilege procur'd for the Englijlj, was an

England, where immediately after his arrival he convened
the great council (2), to confirm the Danifo laws, which,
for fome time, had been obferved in part of the kingdom,
Three [on, of and particularly in Northumberland. There were then in
Laws in England three forts of laws, namely, the Wejl-Saxon,
England. Mercian, and Danijh laws (3). But thefe laft had not
the (auction of publick authority, till Canute, at his re-
turn from Denmark, put them upon a level with the an-
tient laws of England.

Canute, after his return into England, lived in profound
tranquillity, wholly employed in caufing juftice and peace
to flourifh, and rendering his Subjects happy. But fome


0/ Canute
again/I the
Six. Ann.
M. Weft.

He becomes

Majier of


Sax. Ann.



Sim. Dan.


Cjnute tun
I ■. :. -:'r>
:. .4.1 ' of

dc Gelt.


ime after he was obliged to difcontinue thefe pacifick cm-
ployments, and take a fecond voyage to Denmark, then
invaded by the Swedes. This expedition was not very
profperous. The Englijli trocps he carried with him were
great fufferers ; and he had the mortification to meet with
misfortunes he had not been ufed to.

Two years after, unmindful of his ill fuccefs in the
laft war with the Swedes, he entered into another, which
made him ample amends for his former lodes. He refol-
ved to revive fome old pretenfions to Norway, which had
never been fully clear'd. Olaiis, who then fat on the
throne of Norway, was a weak and unwarlike Prince.
Canute thought it would be eafier for him to profecute his
pretenfions in the reign of fuch a Prince, than at any
other time. He began the execution of his defign with
privately forming a (trong party among the Norwegian
Lords (4). As foon as matters were ripe, he fail'd for
Denmark with a confiderable body of Englijh troops (5),
and fuddenly landed them in Norway. Olaiis, who had
no intelligence of his practices, furpriz'd at this attack,
and more fo, to fee the major part of his Subjects fide with
the enemy, found there was no remedy but to abandon his
kingdom, and fave himfelf by flight. Upon his retreat,
Canute was crown'd King of Norway, regardlefs of the
right, fo long as he had the power in his hands. Two
years after the'difpoflefled Prince attempting to recover his
dominions, was (lain by his own Subjects, and Canute
remain'd peaceable Pofleffor of the kingdom. Ola'us, af-
ter his death, was ranked among the Saints, and honoured
with the glorious title of Martyr.

i The conqueft of Norway fully fatisficd Canute's ambi-
tion. From that time, laying afide all thoughts of war-
like affairs, he gave himfelf up to acts of devotion:
That is to fay, he made it his principal bufinefs to enrich
the Churches and Monafteries ; as if the usurpation of
two kingdoms, and all the confequent evils could be re-
paired by fo (light a fatisfaction. Among other things
he took particular care to give publick marks of his re-
fpect to St. Edmund, formerly King of Eajl-Anglia, (lain
by the Danes. Perhaps he gave fome credit to the ftory

exemption from paying any Toll as they palled through

Italy. The Emperor Conradus I, who was then at Rome,

and with whom he had contracted a (trie! friendfhip,

granted him the fame privilege. The King of France was

plcafed alio on his account, to grant the fame favour to

the Eno-lijlj in his dominions. By this means the Englijh

pilgrims and travellers were eafed of a great expence, and

freed from a thoufand infults and opprefiions to which they

were moll liable in France, Italy, and Germany. We have

a large account of thefe matters in a Letter writ by this th " E " g '['nJ*

Monarch from Rome, to the Affembly-General of the En- ingulph.

glijh Nation, informing them what he had done in favour Maimib.

of his Subjects. In this letter he profefles a great piety, F ' 7

and a fix'd refolution to govern his kingdom after the molt

exact rules of juftice, defiring withal his nobles to aflift

him in this good defign (7).

As foon as he came back to England, he applied himfelf to Htntunu u
the dedication of the Church of St. Edmund, which he had' En5l;,Ej -
begun before his journey to Rome. In fine, having fpent ^

fome years longer in continual acts of devotion (8), he di- Hc dlcs _ '
ed in 1036, in the nineteenth year of his reign (9).

Hillorians have not failed to give this Prince the firname m t Cb»-
of Great, a title, which feems peculiar to conquerors, as «*r«
if true grandeur confided in invading the rights and pro-
perties of others. But, not to confine grandeur within
fuch narrow bounds, Canute may be faid to merit this
glorious title, if we confider only the latter part of his
reign. The end of his life was very different from the
beginning. One would have thought he had not been the
fame Prince, who, to gain kingdoms that belonged not
to him, had caufed fo much blood to be fpilt, and tramp-
led upon Religion and Juftice. Some years before his
death, he became humble, modeft, juft, and truly religi-
ous. If there be no exaggeration in what Hiftorians (ay
of him, from the time he was thoroughly fettled on the
throne of England, he gave daily marks of Piety, Matmft.
Juftice, and Moderation, which gained him the affection
of his fubjects, and an univerfal efteem among foreigners.
We have the following ftory of him, which (hews at once
his good fenfe, and to what height Courtiers are apt to
carry their Flatteries. One day, as he was walking by
the Sea-fide ( 1 o), his attendants extolled him to the skies, Hummed,
and even proceeded to compare him to God himfelf. Of- jJ'wcfl
fended at thefe extravagant praifes, and willing to con-
vince them of their folly and impietv, he ordered a
chair to be brought, and (eating himfelf in a place where
the tide was about to flow, turn'd to the Sea, and faid ;
Sea, thou art under my dominion, and the Land I fit on
is mine : / charge thee not to prefume to approach any fur-
ther, nor to dare to wet the feet of thy Sovereign. Having
faid this, he fat (till for fome time, as expecting the Sea
fhould obey his commands. But the tide advancing as

himfelf advanced as far as the Enemies camp, where he found nothing but Slaughter, SV.

Omncs leges abantiquis rcgibus latas obfervari praecepit. Enjoined the Obfcrvanec of the Lav. 1 : made

:. fays it was at Oxford, and that the Englijh and Danes unanimoufiy agreed to obfervc the Laws of Edgar ,

(1) Htinttngd. and Brompt. fay, that Cam,

(2) At Cirencefier, at Eafter: and there -
by bit Predeeeffirs. Malmjb. p. 75. Flor.Ji
p. 619.

(3) tFefl-Saxenlaga, Mercbcnlaga, and Beimlaga. Bilhcp Nieolft n in his Letter to Dr. Jl'1/tins, prefix'd to his Edition of the Saxon Laws, makes it
appear that this threefold divifion of the Englijh Laws is imaginary', and proceeded from the Norman Interpreters miftaking the meaning of the Wora
Laga, which they thought was the fame with Ley or Lain. Whereas Laga fignifies Regi *, territory or Province, as is plain from leveral places in the
Saxon Laws, wherein Denalaga means the fame a"s among the Danes, or in the Territories of the Danes. See p. 53. and 135, of Dr. tTiWni's Anglo-Saxon
Laws. The Author of the Dialogue DeScaccario, was the firft that led the way in this Error, 1. 1. c. 16.

(4.) By fending them large Sums of Money. S. Dunelm. p. i 7 ». (■,) With forty Ships. S. Dunelm. Brompt. p.911. with fifty. Flo-. Wore.

(6) Leland, who was an Eye-witnefs of this Town and Monalrery in their Splendor, gives this defcription ot them. A Cty more mealy Jutted the Sur.
never jaw, hanging upon a gentle Defceut, with a little River on itt Eaji -fide j nor a Monajiery more great and (lately , whether toe confidcr the Endowments.
Largencl's, and unparallellel Magnificence. The Monajiery itfelf looks like a City, Jo many < Utes it I. as (fane whereof are Brcijs) fo many Tee-.cers, and a Church,
than which nothing can he more flate/y , to which as Appendages, there are three more of admirable Beauty and Workmanjhtp in the fame Church-yard. There
are two ftill entire ; viz. St. Mary's and St. James's ; the third, whiih lies in ruins, was the great Church of the Mcnaftery. Belidcs the immenfe va-
lue „i the Gifts at St. Edmund's Tomb, the Revenues at the DifTolution am. unted to one thoufand five hundred and fixty pounds a year j a large Sum in
tiiofe davs. See Camden in Suffolk.

(-) This Epiftle, whieh is extant in Malmjhury, wasfent into England by I.k : ng:,s Abbot of Tavi/ioci. It wasaddrcfied thus ; To ^thelnoth Bijhop
^Canterbury to Alfric of York, with all the Bijhops and Primates ; and to all the Englillv-A',m'o>!, as well Nobles as Plebeians, Health, Sec. In it he gives
an account of the valuable Prefents made to him, whilft there, in Gold and Silver Veffels, in curious Garments, £?c. by the Emperor, and other Princes

win, were there at that time. ■ : - . , , ,. T 1 l m l jjw , n <• ,. ,

(S) He founded alio the noted Abbv of St. Bennel's in Holme in Norfolk. He gave rich and extraordinary Jewels to the Church of // .-i< ,; ! ,r, ofwhich

or.ei recorded to bca O/j, worth one year's revenue of the kingdom. It was confunied with the Abbv by Fire in Henry I.'; Time. He "..vcalfoto Cs-

veitry the Arm of it. Augu/lm the great Doctor, which he bought at VtKlia in his return from Rome, and is faid tc give for it a hundred talents of Silver

andoncofGold. Malmjb. p. 7 v Brompt. ..,.„-,„ , , . e ,

la) He died at Shaftjhury the 12th of November, and was buried in UK old Monalttr) infrimtejler. (10) At Southampton.


Book V.

1 8. HAROLD I.

I 2'

ufual, he took occafion from thence, to let his bafc Flat-
terers know, that the titles of Lord and MujUr belong
only to him whom the Land and the Sea obey. He is
faid, from that moment, never to wear his crown again,
but ordered it to be put on the head of the Cruciji.\ ac

He left three Sons, all of a fit age to govern, to whom
he bequeathed his three kingdoms by will. Sweyn the
R. dc Dkcto eldcft, and a baltard, had Norway for his (hare: Some
Brom(.t. affirm he was not his Son, but imi>os'd upon him for
Knighton. f ucn Jjy t ] lc Mother (l). To Harold his fecond Son,
by the fame woman, he gave England ; and to Ca-
nute or Hardicanute, whom he had by Emma of Nor-
mandy, the kingdom of Denmark. Qunilda his daugh-
ter by the fame Princefs, was wife of the Emperor
Henry IV.

As I (hall foon have occafion to mix the affairs of Nor-
mandy with thofe of England, it will not be improper to
give fome account beforehand ot what palled among the

Richard II. Duke of Normandy, dying in 1026, Richard
III. his Son fucceeded him, who reigned but one year, and
by his death left the dukedom to Robert his brother ; who
was no fooner in polleflion, but he fhew'd an inclination
to efpoufe the intereft of Alfred and Edward his coufins,
Robert Duke Sons of his aunt Emma and Ethclred II. As they were
s/Normandy j^jj a( . |,j 6 cour t, and he could not help pitying their cafe,
twBntbm he believed his recommendation might procure them fome
(/■Edmund, favour in England. Perfuaded of this, as foon as he heard

Affairs of
W. Gcmit
cenfis, 1- 5.

O. 10.

of the distil of Edmund's Son, he fent ambafTadors to Ca-
nute, to intreat him to give the two Princes ibme part of
the kingdom of their ancelfors. This Ambalfy arriv'd
in England, when Canute found himfelf io firmly lea ted
in his throne, that be thought he might fafely difrcgard
the felicitations of the Duke of Normandy. Robert was
fo incenfed at hu refufal, that he relolv'd to compel him
to do juflicc to tlie Englijh Princes. To that purppfe
he fitted out a powertul fleet, and embarking with a
numerous army, refolved to make a defcent upon Eng-
gland, where lie did not queftion but the Englijh would "" '■''•;' '•'
readily join him. But meeting with a violent ftorm, ^'^^
he had the mortification to behold the greateft part of
his fleet periih ; a lols which could not be eafily retrie-
ved. In the mean time, thefe preparations (atisfying Ca-
nute, that the Duke of Normandy really intended to at-
tempt the rcftoration of his coulins, he endeavoured to
amufe him with offering them part of the kingdom of
IVcffcx. But Robert would not have been impoled up-
on by this offer, had not his misfortune at Sea conftrain-
ed him to fufpend the execution of his defign, as it in-
duced Canute alfo to go from his word. Some time af-
ter, Robert took a refolution to go in pilgrimage to fern- ?,""'!*.

r I J r 11 1 • 1 • ■ 1 1 • r J r" futeieded

Jalem, deferring, till his return, his intended invahon Or £,, William
England. But he died in his way home. He left only ait BajlarJ.
a natural Son, called William, on whom, before his de-
parture, he fettled the fuccelfion. This is the fame Wil-
liam the Eajlard, whom we (hall fee hereafter ai'cend the
throne of England.

18. H ARO LDl. Sirnamed Hare foot, the
third Danijh King of England.




Hirold pro-
claimed in
Sax. Ann.

and Hardi-
canute in
Sax. Ann.

WHEN Canute efpoufed the Princefs of Nor-
mandy, it was agreed, that the Children by
this marriage (hould fucceed to the crown
of England. Notwithftanding this agreement,
Canute left England to his Son Harold born in Denmark,
and gave Denmark to Hardicanute, his Son by Emma ot
Normandy (z). In all appearance, he did not think the
Englijl) had been fufficiently inured to the Danijh yoke, to
venture to place on their throne his youngeft Son, who
was not above fifteen or fixteen years of age, and of no
great genius. However this be, that article of his will
met with great oppofition from the Englijh. They look-
ed upon Hardicanute, born in England, of a lawful wife,
widow of one of their Kings, as the only perfon capable
of fucceeding ; whereas Harold was confidered but as a
Foreigner and a Ballard. The Danes, on the contrary,
were firmly bent to perform Canute's lall will and tefla-
ment. This difference might have been of ill confequence,
if Harold had not with the utmoft expedition feiz'd the
treafure laid up by the King his father at IVincheJler (3).
By the help of this, he was enabled to make himfelf fear-
ed, and to gain feveral of his oppofers. Confequently, in
a General Aflembly in Mercia (4), he fecured a majority
of voices, and got himfelf proclaim'd King of England.
The Danes were all for him to a man, and of courfe, the
Englijh Mercians, or the inhabitants on the North of the
Thames, who looking upon the Danes as their Matters,
durft not directly oppofe their will.

Mean time, the IVeJi-Saxons, who did not think them-
felves conquer'd, as foon as they came home, conven'd
an aflembly of the States of JVeJJex, and by the manage-
ment of Earl Goodwin, Hardicanute was elected and pro-
claimed King of JVeJJex, the IVcJl-Saxons leaving the
Mercians free to acknowledge Harold for their King (5).
For the better underftanding this matter, it muft be re-
membred, there were Danes, or people of Danifo extrac-
tion, difpers'd all over England, but their chief fettle-
ments were in Mercia, Eajl-Anglia, and Northumberland.
And therefore, in all the country north of the Thames,
called then by the general name of Alercia, there were
more Danes than Englijh. On the contrary, in JVeJJex,

Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 52 of 360)