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Godwin. To prevent a civil war, the witan met at Oxford, and decided that Harold should have all the country north of the Thames, including London; while the remainder should belong to Hardicanute. The latter, however, still lingered in his continental dominions, leaving his mother Emma and Godwin to govern his insular territory. Edward, the eldest surviving son of Ethelred, now attempted to establish his claims to his father's throne; and sailing from Normandy, landed at Southampton; but he was compelled to abandon the enterprise, being opposed by a body of troops raised against him by his own mother.

Emma now became reconciled with Harold, and went to reside in London at the court of her children's enemy. From this place a letter was sent, in her name, to the two princes, who were living in Normandy, informing them that the Anglo-Saxons, disgusted with Harold's government, were disposed to throw off his yoke. She therefore invited them to repair promptly and secretly to England, in order to confer with her and their friends on the means of asserting their rights to the crown. Alfred, the younger of the two brothers, accepted the invitation; and at the head of a few troops landed near Canterbury, where he was met by Earl Godwin, who promised to conduct him to his mother. Instead, however, of leading him to London, the earl took him to Guildford, where he quartered Alfred's escort among the inhabitants; and during the night, a body of Harold's soldiers entered the town, fell upon the strangers as they lay asleep, and made them prisoners. At daybreak they were collected to the number of six hundred, and barbarously murdered, with the exception of every tenth man, and a few who were reserved as slaves. Alfred was tied half-naked on a wretched horse, and taken to Ely, where he was condemned to lose his eyes; and the sentence was executed with such barbarity, that he died a few days after. The unnatural Emma, who is said to have been banished from England by Harold's command, retired to the court of Baldwin, earl of Flanders. It is stated that she died in Italy in extreme poverty and distress.

5. HAROLD, exulting in the success of his bloodstained policy, seized on Hardicanute's possessions, and was proclaimed king of all England. Ethelnoth, archbishop of

Canterbury, at first refused to perform the ceremony of his coronation, and placing the crown and sceptre on the altar, exclaimed: "Canute intrusted to me these ensigns of royalty: I will neither give them to thee, nor prevent thee from taking them; but I will not bless thee, nor shall any bishop consecrate thee." It is believed, however, that the scruples of the haughty archbishop were overcome by a few timely presents, and that the coronation was afterwards solemnly performed. Harold died in 1040, after a reign of four years.

HARDICANUTE, his half-brother, was unanimously chosen to fill the vacant throne; and one of the first acts of his reign was to exhume the corpse of his predecessor, and throw it into the Thames. The mutilated body was picked up by some fishermen, and secretly interred in the churchyard of St Clement, the burying-place of the Danes. Earl Godwin, who felt conscious of being considered an accomplice in the murder of Alfred,—a crime committed to serve the cause of Harold,—is said to have willingly assisted in this barbarous treatment of his late sovereign's remains, hoping thereby to allay suspicion. He was nevertheless publicly charged with the crime; but the present of a stately ship, superbly gilt and ornamented, with a figurehead of pure gold, and a crew of eighty chosen men, is said to have softened the king's wrath, and smoothed the road to the earl's acquittal.

Hardicanute's exactions to support his numerous army weighed heavily upon the nation; and the discontent became so great, that at Worcester two collectors of taxes fell victims to the popular fury. The exasperated monarch vowed the destruction of the city; and after subjecting it during four days to the pillage of his licentious soldiery, he ordered it to be set on fire. The inhabitants had retired to the adjacent island of Bevereye, and defended themselves so energetically, that the king was at length constrained to pardon them, and allow them to resume possession of their ruined dwellings.

This event showed that the spirit of independence was not entirely extinguished in the Anglo-Saxons. The oppression under which they groaned was hard to bear, and often awoke in them a recollection of their ancient liberty.

Treated as a vanquished nation, they longed earnestly for an opportunity of shaking off the yoke of their oppressors; and on the death of the king, which took place before he had completed the second year of his reign, they hoped that the time had at last arrived for their emancipation. Hardicanute, the last of the Danish monarchs, having attended the marriage-feast of one of his nobles at Lambeth, fell down suddenly, as he was raising the wine-cup to his A. D. lips, and expired soon after he was carried to an inner chamber.


6. EDWARD THE CONFESSOR.-The son of Ethelred succeeded his half-brother, Hardicanute, almost without opposition, and received the crown from the hands of Archbishop Edsy, in the cathedral of Winchester. He rewarded the services of Earl Godwin on this occasion, by raising his sons to the highest dignities, and by marrying his daughter Edith, according to a promise he had made when the earl declared in his favour. The new king was then forty years old; and twenty-seven years of exile had impressed his character with so much mildness and moderation, that his subjects looked confidently forward to a period of happiness and repose. The principal objects of his government were the preservation of peace, the diminution of taxes, the just administration of the laws, and the promotion of religion.

The first act of Edward's administration was one which, though commonly attended with dangerous consequences, did not affect his popularity. It was the resumption of all the grants made by his immediate predecessors, which the poverty of the crown rendered absolutely necessary; and as the loss fell principally upon the Danes, who had received these grants for their services in subduing the country, the English rather rejoiced in seeing them stripped of their possessions.

When Edward, the descendant of a long race of native kings, ascended the throne, the English flattered themselves that they would be delivered from the dominion of foreigners; but they soon found that the evil had only been diverted into another channel. During his sojourn on the continent he had become habituated to foreign manners and customs, and on his return to England he bestowed all

his confidence on the Normans who accompanied him. It was no doubt natural that he should retain an affection for those among whom he had passed the best part of his life, and with whom he had found an asylum when abandoned by his own friends and kindred; but there were other reasons for the partiality he so strongly manifested. During the reign of his predecessors, the English nobles had made serious inroads on the prerogatives of the crown, and within their respective territories were more powerful than the king himself. They even raised troops, levied taxes, and administered the laws as independent sovereigns. At the same time they were much behind the Normans in the refinements of civilized life; while they were the objects of Edward's jealousy on account of their formidable power and large possessions. The consequence was, that the English court soon became filled with Normans, who, under favour of the king, effected great changes in the country. The French language quickly rose in public estimation, and the Saxon nobles not only learned to speak the new dialect, but imitated the customs and amusements of the foreigners. The lawyers adopted the new idiom and handwriting in their deeds and papers; while the long and ample cloaks of the Anglo-Saxons were abandoned for the short mantles of Normandy. Edward, however, did not carry his partiality so far as to exclude the Saxons from all civil and military employments; yet a large share fell to his favourites, and many of the highest dignities and important offices in church and state, including the sees of London, Dorchester, and Canterbury, were confided to men of foreign birth, who soon obtained great influence in public affairs.

7. The English could not view without jealousy this large influx of strangers, who seemed to require no other passport to royal favour than that of being Norman adventurers; and Earl Godwin in particular became alarmed for the stability of his power. He placed himself in open hostility to the Norman courtiers, and endeavoured by every means within his reach to influence the minds of his countrymen against them. Nor was it long before an event occurred which promised to favour his cause. In 1051, Eustace, count of Boulogne, who had married Edward's

sister, having been on a visit at the English court, passed through Dover on his return homewards; and his followers being insolently quartered upon the inhabitants, a Frenchman, who endeavoured to take forcible possession of his lodging, was killed in the fray. Upon this a fierce conflict ensued, in which about twenty were slain on each side, and Eustace with difficulty escaped and made his way to Gloucester, to lay his complaint before the king. Edward espoused the cause of his relative, and ordered Godwin, in whose states the city lay, to chastise Dover with military execution. The earl proposed that the magistrates should be cited in a legal manner to give an account of their conduct; but the king would not listen to this reasonable proposition, and threatened Godwin with banishment and confiscation. Under these circumstances the earl gathered his forces together, and being joined by a large body of the people who voluntarily took up arms, he marched against the king, demanding that Eustace and his companions should be given up, and the Norman favourites immediately dismissed. Edward was taken by surprise, but wisely endeavoured to gain time by negotiation, during which he collected his troops, and was speedily in a condition to take the field. The effusion of blood was however prevented by the adoption of moderate measures, and an armistice was concluded, by which it was agreed to refer all differences to a witenagemot or meeting of the witan, to be held at London in the following autumn. This delay was fatal to the cause of Godwin, for his forces dwindled away, and at length he and his family were compelled to flee from England. All their property was confiscated; their honours were conferred upon foreigners; and Edith, the queen, after being deprived of her dower, her jewels, and her money, was confined in the nunnery of Wherwell in Hampshire.

8. The ruin of Godwin's power left Edward free to follow the bent of his inclination, and he welcomed all the Normans who chose to take up their abode in England. At the beginning of the insurrection he had solicited the assistance of William, duke of Normandy, who appeared on the English coast just as peace was restored. The king, though no longer requiring the aid of his powerful neighbour, invited him to land, and William, accompanied by a bril


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