M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

The history of England : written in French (Volume 1) online

. (page 68 of 360)
Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 68 of 360)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


to conquer, any ftrong Holds, or Friends, or Correfpan-
dence, whereon to ground the hopes of Succeeding. Even
after he had landed a powerful Army, not a Tingle Lord
declared in his favour. Far from reasonably expecting any
Affiitance from the Englijb, he could not poilibly be ig-
norant how well they flood affected to Harold. Indeed
fome among therh, froiri a Senfe of Juftice and Equity,
might be difplcafed with the new King's ul'urping the
Crown upon Edgar. But they were far enough irom
blaming him for Supplanting the Duke of Normandy,
whole very Pretentions were unknown to them. They
were fo little inclined to reject the King they had cho-



fen, that, on the contrary, they had juft given him fenfib'e
marks of their Fidelity, by their zeal and readinefs in his
defence againft the King of Norway. On the other
hand, the Obstacles Duke William was naturally to ex-
pect from the neighbouring Princes, were no lefs apt
to deter him from his purpofe. Their Intereft required,
that inftead of promoting his Enterprise, they Should op-
pofe his growing Power. The French in particular could
not, without running counter to the moft obvious Max-
ims of Policy, forbear endeavouring to blaft a Defign,
the Succefs whereof would infallibly be very prejudicial
to them. But fuppofing he could have been fure, the
Princes his Neighbours would voluntarily (hut their eyes
againft their own Intereft, how could he expect to fuc-
ceed, fmce the States of Normandy refufed to aiTift him
in an Undertaking, which to them feemed equally unjuli
and rafh ? Laitly, in the execution of this Defign, it is
furprizing to fee, contrary to all expectation, the great-
eft Difficulties infenfibly vanifh before him, and the ve-
ry things which feemed moft oppofite to his DeSigns,
help to accomplish them. The States of Normandy re
fufing him the Affiftance he wants, private Perfons volun-
tarily drain their Purles, and fupply him more plentifully
than he could have expected from the States. The
Court of France lets him act unmoleSted, and even fufters
the French to aid him in procuring a Crown which might
one day render him equal to his Sovereign, or at leait
enable him to dilpute his Superiority. All the reft of the
neighbouring Princes fhive with emulation to forward a
Defign, the fuccefs whereof muft be fatal to them. He
is aiTrSted by the Earls of Brr-tagne(i) and Anjoitj who a
little before were his mortal Enemies. In a word, with-



(i) As an Addition I " • i . p. 140. The Road 1 1 t 1 ut of D'Argmti . : " ( ■■ :i II who waj poifoned by h:s Cham-

i.'lvn that had been bribed by W Warn. ff"W his Son railed a nuin 1 ■ Vrn > to go and aiiifl ft a- ft Son

Jllan Fervtnr, Hi v. 1 rewarded with the Title of Earl' of 1 ■ , « h the Jnheritaii ■..'.. which from h • ,'i"

called tie Her, • fRItBmut. Aftei '" \ ' .. m I returned into their own Gountrjy except' a few of the meats? Sort who ftt-
tlcd in /iiv '■"■■'- D'Sligtatie', u. 173— 177. 1 . .

•! in



1 64



The HISTORY of ENGLAND.



Vol. I.



\



in the rpace of a fe w Months, he lias a numerous Army ( 1 ),
a thoufand Tranfport-Ships, and Money in abundance.
Even Harold's late Vidory over the King of Norway
contributed as much as any one thing to the Duke of
Ps , though feemingly it fhould have
deftroyed all his hopes. In that action, Harold loft his
beft Troops, difpleafed the reft by with-holding the Spoils,
and by his Victory was infpired with a fatal contempt of
the Normans, that proved his ruin. Had it not been for
this Contempt, he would have avoided coming to battle,
according to his Brother's advice ; and fuffered the Norman
Army to dwindle away in an Enemy's Country, where
no Affiftance could be found., And if afterwards, Duke
William, conftrained to fight with difadvantage, had
been vanquished, what could' he have urged to vindicate
the Injuftice and Rafhnefs of his Attempt? But the event
has diipell'd all thefe Reflexions, and determined the Hi-
ftorians to extol an Action they would infallibly have
blamed, had it proved unfuccefsful. Thus, the Founda-
tion on which the Duke of Normandy built his Pretenfions,
the little reafon he had to flatter himfelf with the happy
Ifliie, and the Eafe wherewith he accomplifhed his Enter-
prife, equally deferve our Admiration. Add to all thefe
Confiderations, that, by one iingle Battle he became ma-
fter of a Country, which neither the Dimes, or the Saxons,
nor the Romans themfelves, could fubdue till after num-
berlefs Engagements, and in the fpace of feveral Ages. All
this obliges us to own, he was guided by the hand of the
Almighty, the only Giver of Viitory, and who exalts and
humbles Nations according to his good pleafure. God,
no doubt, was pleated to make ufe of this Conqueror, to
render the Englijh Nation more illuftrious than ever. The
Englijh, hitherto almoft unknown to the left of the
World, began after this Revolution to make a confiderable
figure in Europe. This may be faid to be the firft Step
by which England is arrived to that height of Grandeur
and Glory we behold it in at prefent. This will evidently
appear in the whole courfe of the Hiftory, the principal
Events of which I am going to defcribe. But fince I am
to begin with the Reign of William the Conqueror, it will
not be improper to give fome farther account of this
Prince, who was two and forty years old at the time of
the Battle of Hajlings, and had now been three and thirty
years Duke of Normandy. It will be neceflary therefore,
before we enter upon his Reign, to confider by what de-
grees Divine Providence raifed him to the Throne of
England, of which hl<. JJirth feemed to give him no man-
ner of profpect.
Tbr Affairs Normandy, one of the largeft and mod confiderable
f ra°R 1 ii" dy P rovinces of France, was pollened by the NorJnans ever
1? William fince the forced Grant made by Charles the Simple to Rollo
the Baftaid. the Dane, the firft Duke. Rollo and his immediate Succef-
t?ren Gem ' ( " ors ' c ° ntent witn tms noble Acquilition, were lefs follici-
wair.ng. tous about enlarging their Bounds, than fecuring the Pof-
Upodig. fcflion to their Pofterity. By means of numerous Colonies
of their own Nation, who by reciprocal Marriages were
incorporated with the Natives, they foon caufed the two
Nations to become one People under the common Name
of Normans ; for fo the French called the Foreigners lately
fettled in Neuftria, which from them took alfo the Name
of Normandy. The firft Dukes made it their principal care
to gain the affection of their Subjects, by caufing them to
enjoy as much as poflible, the fweets of Peace, and govern-
ing them with Juftice and Equity. By this prudent con-
duct they not only deftroyed the feeds of Rebellion, which
might lurk in the hearts of the ancient Inhabitants ; but
alfo fcreened themfelves from the fecret Practices of the
Kings of France, who grieved to fee fo noble a Province
torn from their Monarchy. Accordingly, when the French,
at any favorable Juncture, attempted to recover it, they
always found the Dukes of Normandy able to defend them-
felves with their own Forces, becaufe they were allured of
the People's affection.

From Rollo to William the Bajlard there were (even
Dukes, among whom Richard II, who was the fourth,
was one of the moil illuftrious. His firft Wife was Judith
of Bretagne, by whom he had three Sons, Richard, Ro-
bert and William. After the Death of Judith, he made a
double Alliance with Canute the Great, giving him his Sifter
Emma, Widow of Ethelred II, King of England, arTd
taking himfelf Ejirith Sifter to that Prince. How honor-
able foever this Match might be, his Love of a young
Damfel called Pavia, caufed him to divorce Ejirith and
marry his Miftrefs. By this fecond Wife he had William
Earl of Arques, and Mauger Archbifhop of Roan.

After the death of this Prince, his Son Richard III
fucceeded him, notwithstanding the Endeavours of his
younger Brother Robert to fupplant him. Robert, not be-
ing able to accomplifh his defigns, was forced to defift ;
or rather, as fome affirm, went a furer and more ready



Neuftr.



way to work. "Tis faid , he procured his Brother to be
11 d, who, af f er a Reign of two years, left him the
in of the Dukedom he had fo ardently wilhed for.
Whether Duke Robert's crime was never fully proved, or
his juft Government blotted out the remembrance of it,
he lounJ means to gain the affiction o! his People at home
by his Juftice and Liberality, whilft hi.. Valour made him
refpected abroad. By his aid it was that Henry I, King
of France, took poffeflion of the Throne, notwithstanding
the Pretenfions of Robert his younger Brother, who was
fupported by a powerful party. The Intrigues of Queen
Cmjlanc! their Mother, who efpoufed the lntereft of her
youngeft Son, obliging Henry to implore the ailiftance of
the Duke of Normandy, he came to him at Rsan , and ob-
tained an Aid of five hundred Spear-Men. This firft Aid
was foon followed by a more confiderable Supply, led by
the Duke himfelf into France, where he placed Henry on
theThrone, compelling the younger Brother to be fatisfied
with Burgundy. Henry, in a grateful fenfe of fo fi^nal
a Service, protefted, he would have it in eternal remem-
brance : And to give him an effectual Proof of his Sin-
cerity, annexed to the Duchy of Normandy the Cities of
Cbaumont and Pontoife, then in poffeflion of the Crown of
France.

It will not be proper here to enter into the particulars of
Duke Robert's Wars with fome rebellious Norman Lords,
and with the Duke of Bretagne fjr refuiing Homage. 'Tis
fufficient to fay in a word, he was fuccefsful in taming the
Rebels, and reducing the Duke of Bretagne to his Duty.
I have already mentioned his defignof cauling Juftice to be
done to his Coufins, Sons of Ethelred II, and how his
Enterprize mifcarried ; wherefore it is needlefs to fay any
more of it.

It is hard to conceive why this Prince who was a Lover
of his People, fhould never think of marrying, though he
might plainly forefee, in cafe he died without Heirs, great
Confulion and Troubles would enfue. There v/ere in
Normandy feveral Branches of the Ducal Family, who
might pretend to the Succeflion if he died without Chil-
dren. Confequently their feveral Pretenfions would, very
probably, occafion a Civil War, which Robert might pre-
vent by marrying. Notwithftanding this, he was refolved
to live fingle. One would be apt to think, this refolution
was owing to his Infenfibility for the fair Sex, had we not Ma'mft.
a proof to the contrary, in his paffion for a young Damfel, rjm ' ,t "
with whofe graceful Mein he was charmed as he faw her
dancing. The Damfel, who was called Arlotta (2), a
Skinner's Daughter of Falaife, thinking herfelf extremely
honored by the Duke's Addreffes, readily yielded to his
Sollicitations. 'Tis faid the firft night the Duke took her
to his Bed, {he dreamt her Bowels were extended over all
Normandy and England. This Dream was very naturally
interpreted afterwards, if it be true that it was not forged
after the Event.

Robert had by this Miftrefs a Son called William, ofB"* 1 "?
whom 'tis related, that, the Moment he was born, laying M^mlb.
hold of fome Straws, he held them fo faft, that his Fift
was fore'd to be unclinch'd before he would let them go.
This made the good Women fay, he would one day prove
a great Acquirer, fince he began fo early. Robert educa-
ted his young Son with all imaginable care, defigning him
for his Succeffor. But whilft he was laying out his pains ^ n °ct P"-
in his Education, the fancy took him to go in Pilgrimage ^fi* Lr,i£l.
to Jerujalem. This act of Devotion was looked upon as
the effect of his remorfe for the murder of the Duke his
Brother, and of his defire to atone for his Crime by this
fort of Penance. Be this as it will, before he fet out, he
took all neceflary meafures to fecure the Succeflion to his
Baftard Son. He was very fenfible how difficult it would
be for young William to take pofleffion, if the Normans
were not prepared beforehand to acknowledge him. And
therefore, he fummoned the States of Normandy, and com-
municating to them his defign of going to the Holy Land,
conjured them, in cafe he fhould never return, to receive,
after his death, his young Son William for their Sovereign.
The States did all that lay in their power to divert the
Duke from his Journey ; but finding, he was not to be
prevailed upon, gave him their Promife with^an Oath, if
any ill Accident befel him on the road, they wauld con-
form to his Will. To convince him of their Sincerity, Caufa Us
they (wore Fealty to William as the prefumptive Heir of v " 4 ' w i"' an »
the Duke his Father. This Affair being fettled to Robert's y^j Ut
Satisfaction, he appointed Alain Duke of Bretagne, his Re- SmaJJir.
lation and Vaffal, Senejchal of Normandy, giving him power
to govern, in his abfence, with an abfolute Authority.
Then he carried his Son to Paris, and delivered him into Carriatim
the hands of the King of France, who took charge of his * "*■
Education. Before he left the Court of France, he made
young William do Homage to the King, as if he had been
in actual poffeflion of Normandy.






(1) It confifted of fifty thoufand Men, fays P. Daniel, lift, of France. Vol. III. p. 91, 92.

(*j From whence it is faid came the Word Harlu. Malmjhury and Ingulphui fay, Duke Riitri took her to Wife. bldnjb. p. 95.



The



Book VI.



i. WILLIAM //^ Conquer ot\



165



fw*4i«i The Abfence of Duke/^/vv/ occafioned Troubles in bis
Rormandy. Dominions, which obliged the Duke of Bretagn to ufe
fome Severity, and exert the Authority he was intruded
with. But whilft he was earnestly endeavouring to reftore
Peace and Tranquillity, he Was taken offbyPoifbn. This
Accident was foon followed with a Report of the Duke's
being dead on the road. Notwitbllanding the uncertainty
of this News, it was the caufe of Commotions fo much
the more dangerous, as there was no body in Normandy
capable of appeafing them. They who had the Admini-
liration of Allah's in their hands, were themSelves engaged
in Factions, which had been forming ever lince the Duke's
departure 1 , and thereby help'd to increafe the Confufion.
RcWrt'j Whilft things were in this ill Slate, fome of the Duke's

£■_;/. Retinue arrived, and confirm'd the news of bis death.
Upon which feveral of the principal Lord.-., descended from
the antient Dukes, began to cabal openly, to exclude the
Bafiard from the Succeffion. Plaulible pretences were
not wanting; but the States declared, they could not
without Perjury violate the Oath thev had bound them-
wiii'am is felves by. The Resolution being taken of acknowledging
tKittiwleJg- William for Sovereign, Ambailadors were difpati h'd to the
"! D ' King of France to demand the young Prince. After Henry
was informed of the Duke of Normandy's Death, the
Shame of doing an ill Action, and the delire of becoming
malter of Normandy, kept him in fufpence. He was in
hopes the Troubles of that Dukedom would turn to his
advantage , and began to lay his Schemes accordingly.
However, when he found the States of Normandy bad de-
clared in favour of William, he thought proper to defer
the execution of his Defigns, 'till a. more convenient Sea-
fon. He chofe therefore to conceal his Intentions, and
fend home the young Prince. As foon as William came to
Roan, the States fwore Fealty to him, and gave him for
Governor Raoul de dice, Conftable of Normandy.
-,,., .,,,._ The Troubles were not allay'd by the Arrival of the
IfcjmNor- new Duke. The Lords who claimed the Ducal Crown,
roandy. could not refolve to drop their Pretenfrons. They ima-
gined the preferring a Bafiard before them, was a manifell
Clirm. Injuftice. But, as they who held the Reins of the Go-
vernment, were Men of great prudence and interefl, ami
thought to be fupported by France, the Claimants durSt
not openly avow their defigns. Mean time, King Henry
burnt with defire to make an advantage of thefe diflenfi-
ons. The death of Duke Robert made him forget the
the STme of ?, reat Service received from that Prince. In fine, not be-
Fia.n' -..I- ing able to refill the Temptation any longer, he fuddenly
^ , f L ' lard Siege to the Caftle of Ti/liers, to which he had fome
Pretenfions. , This Place being very flrong and well pro-
vided with Ammunition, would have held out a longtime,
if the Duke's Ministers had not ordered the Governor to
frrrrender it, on Condition the Caflle Should be demolished.
Henry very readily agreed to thefe Terms, and command-
ed the Walls to be actually raz'd ; but on fome ambigu-
ous Claufc in the Capitulation, caufed them to be immedi-
diately rebuilt. This good Succefs infpiring him with
great hopes of his Enterprize, he feizes alfo upon Argen-
ion. Then marching to Falaife, he became mailer of the
Town with the fame cafe. He would have made farther
Progrefs, if Raoul de Gacc, having drawn together a
powerful Army, had not compelled him to retire. His
retreat gave the Conftable opportunity of retaking Falaife,
the French not having time to lay in any Stores.
Rtvclt of A.s foon as the Claimants faw, the King of France, in-

Roijti de ft ea d of protecting the young Duke, was making War a-
gainft him, they began to Stir again and profecuted their
refpeclive Pretenfions. The fin'l that appeared, was Ro-
ger dc Tir/hey, Standard-bearer of Normandy, defcended
from an Uncle of Rollo. This Lord, who had amafs'd
great Riches in Spain, where he had long bore Arms againlt
the Saracens, returning home during Duke Robert's Ab-
fence, put himfelf at the head of one of the Factions that
disturbed the State. As foon as he heard of that Prince's
Death, he form'd the Project of Seizing the Dukedom.
But his Apprehenfion of the King of France's arTifting
Duke Tlilliam prevented him then from purfuing his De-
figns. But this Apprehenfion being removed by the Pro-
ceedings of King Henry, he drew fome Troops together,
imagining the Duke's Forces would be fufficiently employed
Malm. againfl France* But he was prefently after defeated and
(lain by Roger de Beaumont, who commanded the Duke's
Army.
Revolt of William, Earl of Arques, Son of Richard II, by Pavia,

ueEarltf was not difcouraged by this Example. As he found him-
" Jues > felf fupported by the King of France who put him upon
action, he boldly lent a Defiance to the Duke. But the
Duke, heading his Army in Perfon, pufh'd him fo vigo-
rously, that he compelled him to lhut himfelf up in the
City of Arques, where he befieged him. Henry, who had



engaged ihe Earl in this Enterprize, thought himfelf ob-
liged in Honour to raife the Siege. To this end he march'd
into Normandy, where he received two Overthrows, and
was constrained at laft to abandon the Rebel, who, upon
the City's being taken, was fent into Exile.

Guy of Burgundy, Sonof a Daughter to Duke #, : ./.,WIf, **' c '
was tire next that appeared on the Stage. He had con-
certed his meafures (o well, that he was like to have fur-
pri/.'d the Duke's Perfon, who was then at I'a/ocones with-
out any Guard, ignorant of what was practifing agair.ft
him. But a certain Fool, whom the Confpirators did notch r. of
niillruSl, hearing their defign, travelled all nighf to give v -

the Duke notice, who had but juff time to put .11 his''
CJoaths, and ride full fpeed to Falaife. What hallc fo-
ever he might make, he was fo clolely ptirli.cd, that he
mult have been taken, his Horfe not being able to carry
him thither, had he not liecn aiiilled by a Gentleman
whom he; accidentally met on the road. This Conspiracy
Seemed to him fo dangerous, that he applied to the King
of France lor Aid. Henry, either out of Generofity, or
tor fome other unknown Reafons, being unwilling to lufler
the young Prince to be oppreiled, brought him fome Troops
himfelf) which enabled him to give his Enemy Battle.
Guy being vanquished and taken Pi doner, Duke William
by an Act of Generofity, which redounded no lefs to his
Honour than the Victory, freely gave him his Pardon.

William Guerland, Earl of Alortagne, and another Wil I

Ham, Earl of Eu, Son to a natural Brother of Richardll, EarlofBu
were likewife for attempting to difpollefs the young Duke.
But being prevented by his Diligence, they were fentenced
to perpetual BaniShment.

The Vigour and Conduct Shown by Duke William du- '"'«"/
ring all thefe Troubles, made his Subjects conceive great '//_'
Hopes of him. His Neighbours began alfo to confider tk Ear/of
him as a Prince of distinguished Merit, and capabls in Anj u .<-
time of giving them trouble. The King of France, in Vv i
particular, grew extremely jealous of him, and blamed
himfelf exceedingly for aflifting him againlt Guy of Bur-
gundy ; but to retrieve that Overlight, he railed him a
trefh Enemy, the Earl of Anjou; whom however he only
privately aSiiSted at firft. Afterwards he openly efpoufed The War
his Quarrel, and made a fierce War upon the Duke, ' '■'
which lafted feveral Years, but in the end turned to the
difadvantage of the two Allies. Duke William gaining
two fucceffive Battles, they fued for Peace, which the
King of France could not obtain but by the Surrender of
the Caflle of Ti/liers, taken by him during the Duke's
Minority.

During this War, as the Duke was beficging Alcncon, He cbaftlfet
fome of the Inhabitants came upon the Walls with Skins'^' ! "f' J ""'
in their hands, by way of Reproach, for his Mother be- ^'^lemon.
ing a Skinner's Daughter. He was fo provoked at this In-
fult, that he fwore by the Splendor of God, his ufual Oath,
he would be reveng'd. Some time after, becoming mafter
of the Town, he accompliSh'd his Oath by putting out
the Eyes, and cutting oft" the Hands and Feet of two and
twenty of the infolent Burghers.

Henry died foon after this War. He was fucceeded by Death of
Philip I. his Son, a Minor, under the GuardianShip of 1 ^ 1 ">y '.•
Baldwin, the fifth Earl of Flanders; who had lately given Fr ,
his Daughter Matilda in Marriage to the Duke of Nor- Philip I.

mandy. The relation the Regent Stood in as well to the J

King his Pupil, as to the Duke his Son-in-law, made him
take all necefiary Precautions to keep up between the two
Princes a good Understanding, which lafted many Years.

Duke William took this Opportunity to extinguish all Duke Wil-
remains of Rebellion among his Subjects. He banifhed ' 'y
great numbers, who, for the moft part, retired into Apulia, a'.iJr.riobtl
to Robert Guifcard, a Norman Gentleman, who made then in Mother' t
a great Figure in that Country ( 1 ). The Duke's Relati- R """ ,u ■
cms by his Father's Side giving him the moft difturbance,
he obliged almolt all of them to quit Normandy. Their
Eftates being confifcated to his ufe, he enriched with them
his Mother's Relations, who 'till then were but in mean
Circumltances. Robert, his uterine Brother, had the Earl-
dom of Alortagne, forfeited by William Guerland. Odo,
his Brother, partook alfo of his Bounty, and moreover
was made BiShop of Bayeux Two of their Sifters were
married to the Earls of Aumalc and Albemarle.

Mauger his Uncle, Archbifhop of Roan, was not only H:a , >."•"
concerned in all the Plots againlt the Duke, but had alfo the . ,',
boldnefs to excommunicate him, on pretence of the too
near Relation between him and Matilda his Wife (2). As
foon as the Duke was in a ftate of Tranquillity, he re-
folved to be revenged on this Prelate. To that end, ha-
ving aSTembled all the BiShops of Normandy at Lifieux, he
caufed him to be accufed before them of feveral Mifde-
meanors, particularly, his felling the confecrated Chalices
to fupply his Luxury. Upon thefe Accufations, fupported



(ll The Norman made thfmfelves Matters of Apulia, Ca'abria, Sicily, Normandy, and Er.gland t in !c."s than two hundred Ycars-
(2) ihe was his full Coufui, being Daughter to Ekonara Duke William's Father's Sifter.

N . 9. Vol. I. T t



trtth



1 66



lie HISTORY of ENGL A N D.



Vol. I.



H

A.-.c Ed-
ward.



S. Dunelm



1066.
/ d. Wil-
liam' ' :
duel after
tb: Battle
f ■ ■ .
W. P.elav



W. PlGav



Knt f<«.
bcfutiLi :
I •

'IJ.nn.



with all the Duke's Irtereft, Miuger was folem'uly deela-
prived and Mauritius elected in his room.

After Duke William had thus humbled, or difperfeJ all
that could create him any Disturbance, his Circumftances
were fuch, that he might have (pent his Days in piofound
Tranquillity, fince he hid nothing to fear either at Home
or Abroad. But as he was of a covetous and ambitious
Temper, this Tranquillity, which only procured him
what he already enioyed, was far from contenting him.
It was probably with a view to new Acquifitions, that he



Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 68 of 360)