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by Ethelred's troops, and the inhabitants of Danish origin were put to the sword. Canute soon after reappeared on the south-eastern coast, and landed near Sandwich, where he was informed of the slaughter of his countrymen. He immediately caused the sons of some of the noblest families in England, whom his father had received as hostages, to be brought before him, and after cutting off their noses, hands, and ears, abandoned them on the shore, and returned to Denmark for reinforcements.

Misfortune had not improved Ethelred; and it was soon discovered that he had brought back from Normandy the same indolence and cruelty that had marked the previous thirty-five years of his reign. Many nobles of Danish descent were sacrificed to his revenge. On one occasion Sigeferth and Morcar, two of the most distinguished lords of Mercia, and chiefs of the Five Burghs, were invited to a banquet, and as they were raising the wine-cup to their lips, they fell beneath the daggers of Ethelred's assassins. Their followers, in alarm, took refuge in a church; but the sacred edifice afforded them no protection, for it was immediately set on fire, and they perished miserably in the flames. Alienated by such base conduct, the king's friends now began to desert him; and Thurkill, who had so valiantly defended him against Sweyn and Canute, profited by the opportune receipt of 20,000 pounds of silver to return to Denmark and become reconciled with his sovereign. This chieftain afterwards headed Canute's invading army, which reached England just as death closed the long A.D.? and calamitous reign of Ethelred. He left three sons 1016. by his first wife, Edmund, Edwy, and Athelstan ; and two by his second, Edward and Alfred, who were confided to the care of their uncle, Duke Richard II. of Normandy.

Under King Ethelred, a toll was levied upon every boat arriving at Billingsgate; and the imports were wine and fish from France, with cloth, pepper, gloves, and vinegar from Germany and Flanders. One of the most important Anglo-Saxon exports was wool, of which the Flemings were the chief purchasers. Other exports were horses and slaves, Ireland being a favourite market for the latter commodity. A curious fact shows how trivial was the

home-trade of England: No person was allowed to buy anything above the value of twenty pennies, except within a town, and in the presence of the chief magistrate or of two witnesses. This regulation, no doubt, principally concerned the raising of the king's revenue, the buyer and seller each paying a certain toll on the value of the purchase. Communication between distant parts was comparatively easy: four great roads which had been made by the Romans still existed, and canals were cut in some places.

6. EDMUND, surnamed Ironside, had hastened to London at the first intelligence of the king's illness, and was proclaimed by the citizens immediately after his father's decease. He vigorously opposed Canute, whom he twice compelled to raise the siege of the capital. After many sanguinary battles, the rival princes agreed to divide the island between them, the northern portion to be ruled by Canute, and the southern by Edmund, the latter retaining a nominal superiority over the portion of the former. This treaty was hardly concluded when Edmund suddenly died (1017), leaving two infant children, Edward and Edmund.


1. What was the nature of Ethelwald's claims to the crown? Was the succession to the Saxon crown in the direct hereditary order of modern times? Mention other instances which show the nature of this succession. In whose reign did Dunstan become conspicuous ? Describe the acts done by him and Odo.

2. What was the public character of Edgar? And what was his private character? What was his conduct to Athelwold? Describe the nature of Dunstan's projects during this reign.

3. What was the designation given to King Edward? Describe his death. What events occurred in the reign of Ethelred? Who were Olave and Sweyn, and what acts did they do? Give an account of the Dane-geld and its purpose.

4. Describe the actions of Sweyn on his second landing. What was the conduct of Ethelred? What was done at the cathedral of Canterbury? Describe the circumstances that preceded and accompanied Sweyn's triumphal entry into London.

5. Under what circumstances was Ethelred recalled to the throne? Whose advice did he promise to take? How did he fulfil his engagements? What were his acts of cruelty? What were the imports during Ethelred's reign? What were the exports? Describe a regulation showing the smallness of the trade of the Saxons.

6. Who succeeded Ethelred on the throne? By whom were his claims contested? What agreement was entered into between Edmund and Canute? Did Edmund long survive the treaty ?




1. CANUTE, immediately upon Edmund's death, convoked the witan, by which he was unanimously raised to the vacant throne. The first care of the new monarch was to get rid of all the members of the Saxon royal family who might become his rivals, and also of those chiefs who had formerly opposed his claims. Having murdered Edmund's brother Edwy, he seized the two infant sons of the deceased monarch, and sent them to his brother Olave, king of Sweden, with a request that they might be so disposed of as to cause no farther trouble. Olave, however, unwilling to stain his hands with innocent blood, conveyed them to the court of Stephen, king of Hungary, by whom they were educated as his own children. Edward afterwards married the Princess Agatha, daughter of the Emperor Henry II., and became the father of Edgar Atheling and Margaret. Margaret became the wife of Malcolm of Scotland, through whom the claims of the line of Alfred were transmitted to Malcolm's descendants after the Norman Conquest.


Canute, having no longer any thing to fear from the geny of his predecessor, now turned his attention to the sons of Ethelred by Emma. The two princes were still in Normandy, and he knew that Duke Richard II. was preparing an armament to enforce their claims to the crown of England. But Canute had the wisdom to avert the impending danger by demanding the hand of Emma their mother; and the widow, forgetting the wrongs of her family in the dazzling prospects of royalty, readily gave her consent to the marriage, which was soon after solemnized with great pomp and splendour.

2. To recompense the warriors who had so ably served him, Canute divided England into four governments: East Anglia he gave to Thurkill, with the title of duke; Northumbria to Eric; Mercia to Edric, the faithless favourite of Ethelred and Edmund; and Wessex he administered in


person. He had soon, however, cause to suspect the fidelity of these governors; and at a Christmas festival held in London, at which Edric imprudently boasted of his services, he ordered him to be assassinated, and his body thrown into the Thames. Thurkill and Eric were some time after expelled from the kingdom; and the lands of the slain or banished Saxons received new proprietors from among the crowd of Danish adventurers. But the hatred of the natives followed these foreign possessors of the soil, and anxious to enjoy in peace the fruits of their labour, many of the Danes sold their estates, and returned to their own country. Such a system of emigration was readily encouraged by Canute, who, foreseeing that the animosity which existed between his English and Danish subjects would only increase by the prolonged sojourn of the latter in England, and that eventually it would endanger his throne, determined to send away all who were not necessary to the consolidation of his power. He therefore imposed on the city of London a tax of about 15,000 pounds of silver; and on the rest of the nation, the sum of 72,000 pounds. This money he apportioned among the soldiers whom he disbanded and sent back to Denmark, reserving only 3000 picked men as a body-guard. He commanded. these in person, and subjected them to a severe code of regulations, chiefly with a view to the prevention of quarrelling, which was very common among them, and generally ended in bloodshed. From these regulations he did not exempt himself; and it is related that having killed a soldier in a moment of passion, he appeared before the assembled guard, without either crown or sceptre, and declared his willingness to submit to any chastisement they should impose. In accordance with the usage of the period, a pecuniary fine was deemed sufficient compensation, and he voluntarily paid nine times the amount of the penalty. Such a monarch was soon understood by his new subjects, and they bore his heavy taxes without a murmur. 3. Being now in peaceable possession of the throne, Canute applied himself to heal the wounds which had been inflicted on the country during the long internal wars. He confirmed the laws enacted during the reign of Edgar, and promulgated a new code based on the enactments of pre

vious sovereigns. The natives and his Danish followers were placed upon a footing of perfect equality, the highest offices in the state being impartially divided among them. Nor did he neglect those acts of piety which the monks recommended as most meritorious. He built a church at Assington in commemoration of the victory which placed him on the throne; endowed monasteries, restored St Edmund's Abbey, which Sweyn had burnt, and gave large sums of money to defray the expense of masses for the souls of those who had fallen in his battles.

The king had now become the favourite of the clergy, and conducted numerous missionaries to Denmark, by whose exertions the Christian religion was rapidly propagated in that country. But in his anxiety for the spread of religion, he did not forget his claims to the sovereignty of Norway and Sweden; and having fitted out a fleet of fifty vessels, manned principally by his Anglo-Saxon subjects, he succeeded in reducing these countries to obedience. His last warlike demonstration was against Malcolm of Scotland, who refused to acknowledge his supremacy over A.D. Cumbria, on the ground that he was a usurper; but 1031. negotiations prevented an appeal to the sword, and Duncan, the grandson of the Scottish king, agreed to do homage for the territory.

Canute, now at the height of prosperity, determined to visit Rome, with a wallet on his back and a pilgrim's staff in his hand. Wherever he halted, he left some evidence of his liberality; and, on his return through the city of Pavia, he gave a hundred talents of silver and as many of gold for the arm of Saint Augustine, which he afterwards presented to the church of Coventry. He survived his pilgrimage three years, which was an acceptable period of repose to his subjects. He died at Shaftesbury in 1035, and was buried at Winchester.

4. Canute left three sons, Sweyn, Harold, and Hardicanute, of whom the last only was legitimate, and among them he wished his empire to be divided. Sweyn was to receive Norway; Hardicanute, Denmark; and Harold, England; which last was esteemed by far the best portion. But the people of the south declared in favour of Hardicanute, whose cause was espoused by the great Earl

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