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elements flow on together in the mighty stream of modern society. We must go back to the past, examine the confluent forces at the moment of their meeting, and trace their conflict downward, yielding more and more as they advance to a peaceful homogeneousness and a patriotic unity. It was thus that Sir Walter Scott, whom an high authority has pronounced "the greatest master of historical divinitation that ever existed,” was enabled to produce his Ivanhoe. In this splendid creation of his unrivalled genius, he exhibits the Normans and Saxons, conquerors and conquered, still trembling before one another 120 years after the Conquest.
" The novel of Ivanhoe places us four generations after the invasion of the Normans. At this period the historian Hume can only present to us a King of England, without telling us what a king is or what he means by England; while Walter Scott, entering profoundly into the examination of events, shows us classes of men-distinct interests and conditions—two nations--a double language-customs which repel and combat each other ;-on one side tyranny and insolence, on the other misery and hatred-real developments of the drama of the Conquest, of which the battle of Hastings was only the prelude. Many of the vanquished have perished, many yielded to the yoke, but many still protest against it. The Saxon slave has not forgotten the liberty of his fathers, nor found repose in bondage. To him his masters are still foreign usurpers. He feels his dependence, and does not believe it to be a social necessity. IIe knows what were his rights to the inheritance which he no longer possesses. The conqueror, on his side, does not yet disguise his domination under a vain and false appearance of political aristocracy. He calls himself Norman, not gentleman. It is as a Norman soldier he reigns over those who submitted to the sword of his ancestors. We find in him the vain and distrustful conqueror, attributing the origin of his fortune to the superiority of his nature ; believing himself of a better race and purer blood; qualifying his race with the epithet of noble ; employing, on the contrary, the name of Saxon as an injurious epithet--saying that he kills a Saxon without scruple, and ennobles a Saxon woman by disposing of her against her will ; pretending that his Saxon subjects possess nothing that is not his; and threatening, if they became rebellious, to scalp them."-(THIERRY.)
Hume relates that when Count de Varenne, who possessed 28 towns and 288 manors, was questioned as to his right of property, he drew his sword and said, “ These are my titles. William the Bastard was not alone when he took possession of this soil; my ancestor was of the expedition." Let us, then, take a rapid view of the most striking and interesting features of this great revolution, which has left such deep traces in our national character, and in the political constitution of our country. We may thus learn more real history in a few pages than in many vo
lumes of dry details, unpervaded by the influence of great primitive and vital facts.
William Duke of Normandy was in his park near Rouen, trying a new bow and arrows, when he received tidings of the death of Edward King of England, and of the elevation of Harold, son of Godwin, to the vacant throne. He suddenly became thoughtful, passed the bow to one of his men, crossed the Seine, and repaired to his hotel at Rouen. There he paced the great hall backwards and forwards, now sitting down, now hastily rising again, agitated by a mighty thought which would not let him rest any where. " Sire," said one of his officers most familiar with him, “ why should you conceal from us your news? It is commonly reported in the city that the King of England is dead, and that Harold, breaking his faith with thee, has seized the kingdom.”—“ They say true; my chagrin is caused by Edward's death, and the wrong done me by Harold.”—“Well, Sire, do not be angry about a thing which can be mended : For Edward's death there is no remedy; but for Harold's wrong there is. Your's is the good right and you have valiant knights. Undertake boldly; that which is boldly undertaken is half accomplished.”
Soon after this a messenger from Norinandy addressed King Harold in these words :-" William, Duke of the Normans, sends to remind thee of the oath which thou hast sworn to him with thy mouth and with thy hand upon good and holy relics.”“ 'Tis true,” replied the Saxon king, “ that I took an oath to William; but I took it under constraint. I promised what did not belong to me--a promise which I could not in any way perform. My royal authority is not my own. I could not lay it down against the will of the country; nor can I against the will of the country take a foreign wife. As for my sister, whom the Duke claims that he may marry her to one of his chiefs, she has died within the year: Would he have me send her corpse ?"
The first step William took for the establishment of his claim to the crown of England, was to arraign the King for sacrilege before the Roman court, demanding that England should be laid under an interdict, and declared the property of him who should first take possession, subject to the Pope's approval. Though Harold disdained to defend himself before a foreign tribunal against one who had violated hospitality and converted holy things into a snare, the question was solemnly adjudicated by the cardinals, at that time guided and controlled by Hildebrand, to whose gigantic scheme of universal temporal as well as spiritual domination this quarrel might be made subservient. The sentence pronounced was, that William Duke of Normandy had a right to enter England, and bring it into obedience to the Holy
See, and to re-establish for ever the tax of Peter's pence. Harold and all his adherents were excommunicated by a papal bull, which was transmitted to William by the hands of his envoy, with the gift of a banner, which had received the “ Apostolic" blessing
In the meantime, say the Chronicles, William convoked a great assembly of the men of all classes in Normandy, of warriors, priests, and merchants, who possessed the greatest wealth and consideration. To them he unfolded his project, and solicited their assistance. Having retired for deliberation, there arose among them violent difference of opinion, and words ran high. The majority declared—“ Whatever he has to perform in his own country we will assist him in as it is our duty to do ; but we are not bound to aid him in conquering the country of others. Besides, if we were once to offer him double knight's service, and to follow him beyond the sea, he would make it a custom and right for the future, and would use it to oppress our children. It cannot and it shall not be so !" Groups of ten, twenty, and thirty, began to collect together and dispute; the tumult became general, and the meeting separated without coming to any decision.
William, though surprised and enraged at this result, suppressed his feelings, and adopted a plan which has rarely failed in the hands of men in power to overcome popular -resistance. He sent for the leaders of the opposition, and conversed with them separately, entreating them as a personal favour to assist him in the expedition, and promising them rich rewards. No one had heart, when thus solicited, to refuse his sovereign in such an emergency. One subscribed for vessels, another for well-appointed men-at-arms; and many promised to accompany him in person. The priests gave their money, the merchants their stuffs, the country people their provisions. At this juncture the consecrated banner, authorizing the invasion, arrived from Rome. This visible token of what that age considered divine sanction, added sacredness to the cause, and kindled the enthusiasm of the multitude. Mothers now sent their sons to enlist for the salvation of their souls. William had his proclamation of war speedily published in the neighbouring countries, offering good pay and the plunder of England to every tall and stout man who would serve him with spear, sword, or cross-bow. A multitude came by all roads from far and near-from Maine, Anjou, Poitou, Brittany, France, Aquitaine, Burgundy, Piedmont, and the banks of the Rhine.. " All the adventurers by profession, all the outcasts of Western Europe, came eagerly and by forced marches. Some were cavaliers; others simply foot soldiers. Some asked for pay in money--others only for a pas
sage and all the booty they could make. Many stipulated for land among the English-a demesne, a castle, or a town, while others would be satisfied with some rich Saxon woman for a wife. William rejected no one, but promised favours to all, according to his ability.” One Remi of Fescamp fancied a Saxon bishoprie, and William gave him one in prospect on his furnishing a ship and 20 men-at-arms.
The fleet assembled at the mouth of the Dive, where it was detained a month by unfavourable winds. During this dispiriting delay, sickness and death began to thin the Norman ranks. The soldiers murmured and repented of the enterprize-exclaiming, “. Mad and foolish is the man who seeks to possess himself of another's kingdom; God is offended at such designs, and shews his displeasure by refusing us a fair wind.” Even the strong mind of the Duke became the prey of anxiety. He had the dead secretly buried at night, and added ardent spirits to the rations of the men. Policy also suggested the expediency of a grand procession of relics, in order to revive the drooping faith of his followers. By a lucky coincidence the wind suddenly changed the sun shone out through the clouds in splendour, and the fleet put out to sea, led on by the Duke's vessel, bearing at the masthead the banner of the Pope, and having the Norman ensign, of three lions, painted on the many-coloured sails. : On the 28th of September 1066, William reached the English shore with 700 ships, and 60,000 fighting men. They landed at Pevensey, near Hastings, three days after king Harold's victory over their friends the Norwegians. First came forth the archers with their short babits and shorn heads. The cavaliers appeared next, clad in coats-of-mail, and wearing helmets of polished iron, nearly of a conical shape, armed with long and heavy lances, and straight two-edged swords. After these came the workmen of the army, pioneers, carpenters, and smiths; and, last of all, the destined conqueror himself, who, in setting his foot on the land, made a false step, and fell on his face. serve us! a bad omen !" cried the multitude. 66 What is the matter with you ?" promptly demanded the Duke; “ I have seized on this land with both my hands, and, by the splendour of God, as much as there is of it, it is yours! The army then marched to the town of Hastings, near which they encamped, erected their tents and wooden castles, and furnished them with provisions. In the meantime, bodies of soldiers overran all the neighbouring country, plundering and burning as they went. The English fled from their homes, concealed their furniture and cattle, and flocked to the churches and church-yards, which they naturally thought the most secure asylums from enemies who
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were Christians like themselves. But they found the sanctity of places a poor defence against the cupidity of the human heart.
Harold, though weary and wounded after his victory, hastenod from York to defend his country, which he rashly resolved to risk in a battle with an army four times as numerous as his own. Against this, several of his chiefs remonstrated, advising him to retire to London, ravaging the country by the way, in order to reduce the enemy by famine. But the generous Harold answered, “ Shall I ravage the country which has been entrusted to my care? Upon my faith, it would be an act of treason! I will rather try the chances of a battle, with the few men I have, and trust to my own valour and the goodness of my cause." One of his officers said, “ We must fight; they come not only to ruin us, but to ruin our descendants also, and to take from us the country of our ancestors." The English promised, by an unanimous oath, to make neither peace, nor truce, nor treaty with the invader, but either to die or expel the Normans.
On the ground which thenceforward bore the name of Battle, the Anglo-Saxon lines occupied a long chain of hills, fortified with a rampart of stakes and osier hurdles. In the night of the 13th October, William announced, that next day would commence the battle. The priests and monks, in great numbers, attracted like the soldiers with the hope of booty, began to say prayers and sing litanies, while the fighting men were preparing their arms. This done, they confessed their sins, and received the sacrament. On the other side, the English diverted themselves with great noise, singing their old national songs around their watch-fires, and drinking freely of wine and beer. In the morning, the Bishop of Bayeux, who was the Duke's half-brother, celebrated mass in the Norman camp, and solemnly blessed the soldiers. He then mounted a large white horse, seized a baton of command, and drew up the cavalry in line of battle. William, mounted on a Spanish charger, the most venerated of the relics, sworn on by Harold, suspended from his neck, and the standard consecrated by the Pope borne by his side--thus addressed the troops when about to advance to the charge :
“ Remember to fight well, and put all to death; for if we conquer, we shall all be rich, What I gain, you will gain. If I conquer, you will conquer. If I take this land, you shall have it. Know, however, that I am not come here only to obtain my right, but also to avenge our whole nation for the felonies, perjuries, and treacheries of these English. They put to death the Danes, men and women, on St. Brice's night. They decimated the companions of my kinsman, Alfred, and took his life. Come on, then, and let us, with God's blessing, chastise them for all