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refusal, the champions of the cross advanced to the siege of Jerusalem, which they regarded as the consummation of their labours. By the detachments which they had made, and the disasters which they had undergone, they were diminished to the number of twenty thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse; but these were still formidable from their valour, their experience, and the obedience which, from past calamities, they had learned to pay to their leaders. After a siege of five weeks they took Jerusalem by assault; and, impelled by a mixture of military and religious rage, they put the numerous garrison and inhabitants to the sword without distinction. Neither arms defended the valiant, nor submission the timorous: no age or sex was spared: infants on the breast were pierced by the same blow with their mothers, who implored for mercy: even a multitude, to the number of ten thousand persons, who had surrendered themselves prisoners, and were promised quarter, were butchered in cool blood by those ferocious conquerors". The streets of Jerusalem were covered with dead bodies; and the triumphant warriors, after every enemy was subdued and slaughtered, immediately turned themselves, with the sentiments of humiliation and contrition, towards the holy sepulchre. They threw aside their arms, still streaming with blood: they advanced with reclined bodies, and naked feet and heads to that sacred monument: they sung anthems to their Saviour, who had there purchased their salvation by his death and agony: and their devotion, enlivened by the presence of the place where he had suffered, so overcame their fury, that they dissolved in tears, and bore the appearance of every soft and tender sentiment. So inconsistent is human nature with itself! and so easily does the most effeminate superstition ally, both with the most heroic courage and with the fiercest barbarity!

This great event happened on the fifth of July, in the last year of the eleventh century. The christian princes

M. Paris, p. 34. Order. Vitalis, p. 756.

a Vertot, vol. i. p. 57. Diceto, p. 498.



Accession of

and nobles, after choosing Godfrey of Bouillon king of Jerusalem, began to settle themselves in their new conquests; while some of them returned to Europe, in order to enjoy at home that glory which their valour had acquired them in this popular and meritorious enterprise. Among these was Robert, duke of Normandy, who, as he had relinquished the greatest dominions of any prince that attended the crusade, had all along distinguished himself by the most intrepid courage, as well as by that affable disposition and unbounded generosity which gain the hearts of soldiers, and qualify a prince to shine in a military life. In passing through Italy, he became acquainted with Sibylla, daughter of the count of Conversana, a young lady of great beauty and merit, whom he espoused: indulging himself in this new passion, as well as fond of enjoying ease and pleasure after the fatigues of so many rough campaigns, he lingered a twelvemonth in that delicious climate; and though his friends in the north looked every moment for his arrival, none of them knew when they could with certainty expect it. By this delay he lost the kingdom of England, which the great fame he had acquired during the crusades, as well as his undoubted title, both by birth and by the preceding agreement with his deceased brother, would, had he been present, have infallibly secured to him.

Prince Henry was hunting with Rufus in the new forest, when intelligence of that monarch's death was brought him; and being sensible of the advantage attending the conjuncture, he hurried to Winchester, in order to secure the royal treasure, which he knew to be a necessary implement for facilitating his designs on the crown. He had scarcely reached the place when William de Breteuil, keeper of the treasure, arrived, and opposed himself to Henry's pretensions. This nobleman, who had been engaged in the same party of hunting, had no sooner heard of his master's death, than he hastened to take care of his charge; and he told the prince, that this treasure, as well as the crown, belonged to his elder brother, who was now his sovereign; and that he himself,

for his part, was determined, in spite of all other preten- 1100. sions, to maintain his allegiance to him. But Henry, drawing his sword, threatened him with instant death if he dared to disobey him; and as others of the late king's retinue, who came every moment to Winchester, joined the prince's party, Breteuil was obliged to withdraw his opposition, and to acquiesce in this violence".

Henry, without losing a moment, hastened with the money to London; and having assembled some noblemen and prelates, whom his address, or abilities, or presents, gained to his side, he was suddenly elected, or rather saluted king; and immediately proceeded to the exercise of royal authority. In less than three days after his brother's death, the ceremony of his coronation was performed by Maurice, bishop of London, who was persuaded to officiate on that occasion; and thus, by his courage and celerity, he intruded himself into the vacant throne. No one had sufficient spirit or sense of duty to appear in defence of the absent prince: all men were seduced or intimidated: present possession supplied the apparent defects in Henry's title, which was indeed founded on plain usurpation: and the barons, as well as the people, acquiesced in a claim, which, though it could neither be justified nor comprehended, could now, they found, be opposed through the perils alone of civil war and rebellion.

But as Henry foresaw that a crown usurped against all rules of justice would sit unsteady on his head, he resolved, by fair professions at least, to gain the affections of all his subjects. Besides taking the usual coronation oath to maintain the laws and execute justice, he passed a charter, which was calculated to remedy many of the grievous oppressions which had been complained of during the reigns of his father and brother. He there promised, that, at the death of any bishop or abbot, he never would seize the revenues of the see or abbey during the vacancy, but would leave the whole to be reaped by

c Order. Vitalis, p. 782. d Chron. Sax. p. 208. Order. Vitalis, p. 783.
Chron. Sax. p. 208. Sim. Dunelm.
p. 225.


the successor; and that he would never let to farm any ecclesiastical benefice, nor dispose of it for money. After this concession to the church, whose favour was of so great importance, he proceeded to enumerate the civil grievances which he purposed to redress. He promised that, upon the death of any earl, baron, or military tenant, his heir should be admitted to the possession of his estate, on paying a just and lawful relief; without being exposed to such violent exactions as had been usual during the late reigns: he remitted the wardship of minors, and allowed guardians to be appointed, who should be answerable for the trust: he promised not to dispose of any heiress in marriage, but by the advice of all the barons; and if any baron intended to give his daughter, sister, niece, or kinswoman in marriage, it should only be necessary for him to consult the king, who promised to take no money for his consent, nor ever to refuse permission, unless the person, to whom it was purposed to marry her should happen to be his enemy: he granted his barons and military tenants the power of bequeathing by will their money or personal estates; and if they neglected to make a will, he promised that their heirs should succeed to them: he renounced the right of imposing moneyage, and of levying taxes at pleasure on the farms which the barons retained in their own hands: he made some general professions of moderating fines; he offered a pardon for all offences; and he remitted all debts due to the crown: he required that the vassals of the barons should enjoy the same privileges which he granted to his own barons; and he promised a general confirmation and observance of the laws of king Edward. This is the substance of the chief articles contained in that famous charter 8.

To give greater authenticity to these concessions, Henry lodged a copy of his charter in some abbey of each county; as if desirous that it should be exposed to the view of all his subjects, and remain a perpetual rule for the limitation

'. f See Appendix II. 8 M. Paris, p. 38. Hoveden, p. 468. Brompton, p. 1021. Hagulstadt, p. 310.

and direction of his government: yet it is certain that, after the present purpose was served, he never once thought, during his reign, of observing one single article of it; and the whole fell so much into neglect and oblivion, that, in the following century, when the barons, who had heard an obscure tradition of it, desired to make it the model of the great charter which they exacted from king John, they could with difficulty find a copy of it in the kingdom. But as to the grievances here meant to be redressed, they were still continued in their full extent; and the royal authority, in all those particulars, lay under no manner of restriction. Reliefs of heirs, so capital an article, were never effectually fixed till the time of Magna Charta; and it is evident that the general promise here given, of accepting a just and lawful relief, ought to have been reduced to more precision, in order to give security to the subject. The oppression of wardship and marriage was perpetuated even till the reign of Charles the second; and it appears from Glanville', the famous justiciary of Henry the second, that in his time, where any man died intestate, an accident which must have been very frequent when the art of writing was so little known, the king, or the lord of the fief, pretended to seize all the moveables, and to exclude every heir, even the children of the deceased: a sure mark of a tyrannical and arbitrary govern


The Normans, indeed, who domineered in England, were, during this age, so licentious a people, that they may be pronounced incapable of any true or regular liberty; which requires such improvement in knowledge and morals, as can only be the result of reflection and experience, and must grow to perfection during several ages of settled and established government. A people so insensible to the rights of their sovereign, as to disjoint,

h Glanv. lib. ii. cap. 36. What is called a relief in the Conqueror's laws, preserved by Ingulf, seems to have been the heriot; since reliefs, as well as the other burthens of the feudal law, were unknown in the age of the Confessor, whose laws these originally were. i Lib. vii. cap. 16. This practice was contrary to the laws of king Edward, ratified by the Conqueror, as we learn from Ingulf, p. 91. But laws had at that time very little influence: power and violence governed every thing.


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