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it nowise derogatory from his other great characters of sovereign, legislator, warrior, and politician, thus to lead the way to his people in the pursuits of literature.

Meanwhile this prince was not negligent in encouraging the vulgar and mechanical arts, which have a more sensible, though not a closer connexion with the interests of society. He invited, from all quarters, industrious foreigners to repeople his country, which had been desolated by the ravages of the Danes". He introduced and encouraged manufactures of all kinds; and no inventor or improver of any ingenious art did he suffer to go unrewarded. He prompted men of activity to betake themselves to navigation, to push commerce into the most remote countries, and to acquire riches by propagating industry among their fellow-citizens. He set apart a seventh portion of his own revenue for maintaining a number of workmen, whom he constantly employed in rebuilding the ruined cities, castles, palaces, and monasteries". Even the elegancies of life were brought to him from the Mediterranean and the Indies; and his subjects, by seeing those productions of the peaceful arts, were taught to respect the virtues of justice and industry, from which alone they could arise. Both living and dead, Alfred was regarded, by foreigners, no less than by his own subjects, as the greatest prince after Charlemagne that had appeared in Europe during several ages, and as one of the wisest and best that had ever adorned the annals of any nation.

Alfred had, by his wife, Ethelswitha, daughter of a Mercian earl, three sons and three daughters. The eldest son, Edmund, died without issue, in his father's lifetime. The third, Ethelward, inherited his father's passion for letters, and lived a private life. The second, Edward, succeeded to his power, and passes by the appellation of Edward the elder, being the first of that name who sat on the English throne.

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THIS prince, who equalled his father in military talents, though inferior to him in knowledge and erudition, found, immediately on his accession, a specimen of that turbulent life, to which all princes, and even all individuals were exposed, in an age when men, less restrained by law or justice, and less occupied by industry, had no aliment for their inquietude, but wars, insurrections, convulsions, rapine, and depredation. Ethelwald, his cousin-german, son of king Ethelbert, the elder brother of Alfred, insisted on his preferable title; and arming his partisans, took possession of Winburne, where he seemed determined to defend himself to the last extremity, and to await the issue of his pretensions. But when the king approached the town with a great army, Ethelwald, having the prospect of certain destruction, made his escape, and fled first into Normandy, thence into Northumberland; where he hoped that the people, who had been recently subdued by Alfred, and who were impatient of peace, would, on the intelligence of that great prince's death, seize the first pretence or opportunity of rebellion. The event did not disappoint his expectations: the Northumbrians declared for him; and Ethelwald, having thus connected his interests with the Danish tribes, went beyond sea, and collecting a body of these freebooters, he excited the hopes of all those who had been accustomed to subsist by rapine and violence". The East Anglian Danes joined his party: the Five-burgers, who were seated in the heart of Mercia, began to put themselves in motion; and the English found that they were again menaced with those convulsions, from which the valour and policy of Alfred had so lately rescued them. The rebels, headed by Ethelwald, made an incursion into the counties of Glocester, Oxford, and

d W. Malms. lib. ii. cap. 5. Hoveden, p. 421. 100. f Ibid. p. 100. H. Hunting. lib. v. p. 352. p. 100. H. Hunting. lib. v. p. 352. Abb. St. Petri de Burgo, p. 24.

e Chron. Sax. p. 99, g Chron. Sax. h Chron. Sax. p. 100. Chron.


Wilts; and, having exercised their ravages in these places, they retired with their booty, before the king, who had assembled an army, was able to approach them. Edward, however, who was determined that his preparations should not be fruitless, conducted his forces into East Anglia, and retaliated the injuries which the inhabitants had committed, by spreading the like devastation among them. Satiated with revenge, and loaded with booty, he gave orders to retire: but the authority of those ancient kings, which was feeble in peace, was not much better established in the field; and the Kentish men, greedy of more spoil, ventured, contrary to repeated orders, to stay behind him, and to take up their quarters in Bury. This disobedience proved in the issue fortunate to Edward. The Danes assaulted the Kentish men; but met with so vigorous a resistance, that, though they gained the field of battle, they bought that advantage by the loss of their bravest leaders, and among the rest, by that of Ethelwald, who perished in the action. The king, freed from the fear of so dangerous a competitor, made peace on advantageous terms with the East Angles*.

In order to restore England to such a state of tranquillity as it was then capable of attaining, nought was wanting but the subjection of the Northumbrians, who, assisted by the scattered Danes in Mercia, continually infested the bowels of the kingdom. Edward, in order to divert the force of these enemies, prepared a fleet to attack them by sea; hoping that, when his ships appeared on their coast, they must at least remain at home, and provide for their defence. But the Northumbrians were less anxious to secure their own property than greedy to commit spoil on their enemy; and concluding that the chief strength of the English was embarked on board the fleet, they thought the opportunity favourable, and entered Edward's territories with all their forces. The king, who was prepared against this event, attacked them on their return at Tetenhall, in the county of Stafford, put them to rout,

k Chron. Sax. p. 102.

i Chron. Sax. p. 101. Brompton, p. 832. Brompton, p. 832. M. West. p. 181.

recovered all the booty, and pursued them with great slaughter into their own country.

All the rest of Edward's reign was a scene of continued and successful action against the Northumbrians, the East Angles, the Five-burgers, and the foreign Danes, who invaded him from Normandy and Brittany. Nor was he less provident in putting his kingdom in a posture of defence, than vigorous in assaulting the enemy. He fortified the towns of Chester, Eddesbury, Warwick, Cherbury, Buckingham, Towcester, Maldon, Huntingdon, and Colchester. He fought two signal battles, at Temsford and Maldon'. He vanquished Thurketill, a great Danish chief, and obliged him to retire with his followers into France, in quest of spoil and adventures. He subdued the East Angles, and forced them to swear allegiance to him: he expelled the two rival princes of Northumberland, Reginald and Sidroc, and acquired, for the present, the dominion of that province: several tribes of the Britons were subjected by him; and even the Scots, who, during the reign of Egbert, had, under the conduct of Kenneth, their king, increased their power, by the final subjection of the Picts, were, nevertheless, obliged to give him marks of submission". In all these fortunate achievements he was assisted by the activity and prudence of his sister Ethelfleda, who was widow of Ethelbert, earl of Mercia, and who, after her husband's death, retained the government of that province. This princess, who had been reduced to extremity in childbed, refused afterwards all commerce with her husband; not from any weak superstition, as was common in that age, but because she deemed all domestic occupations unworthy of her masculine and ambitious spirit". She died before her brother; and Edward, during the remainder of his reign, took upon himself the immediate government of Mercia, which before had been intrusted to the authority of a governor. The Saxon Chronicle fixes the death of this

Chron. Sax. p. 108. Flor. Wigorn. p. 601. Hoveden, p. 421. n W. Malms. lib. ii. cap. 5. gulph. p. 28. Higden, p. 261. • Chron. Sax. p.

m Chron. Sax. p. 110. M. West. p. 182. In110. Brompton, p. 831.


prince in 925P: his kingdom devolved to Athelstan, his natural son.

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P Page 110.


THE stain in this prince's birth was not, in those times, deemed so considerable as to exclude him from the throne; and Athelstan, being of an age, as well as of a capacity, fitted for government, obtained the preference to Edward's younger children, who, though legitimate, were of too tender years to rule a nation so much exposed both to foreign invasion and to domestic convulsions. Some discontents, however, prevailed on his accession; and Alfred, a nobleman of considerable power, was thence encouraged to enter into a conspiracy against him. This incident is related by historians with circumstances, which the reader, according to the degree of credit he is disposed to give them, may impute either to the invention of monks, who forged them, or to their artifice, who found means of making them real. Alfred, it is said, being seized upon strong suspicions, but without any certain proof, firmly denied the conspiracy imputed to him; and in order to justify himself, he offered to swear to his innocence before the pope, whose person, it was supposed, contained such superior sanctity, that no one could presume to give a false oath in his presence, and yet hope to escape the immediate vengeance of heaven. The king accepted of the condition, and Alfred was conducted to Rome; where, either conscious of his innocence, or neglecting the superstition to which he appealed, he ventured to make the oath required of him, before John, who then filled the papal chair. But no sooner had he pronounced the fatal words, than he fell into convulsions, of which, three days after, he expired. The king, as if the guilt of the conspirator were now fully ascertained, confiscated his estate, and made a present of it to the monastery of Malmsbury; secure that no doubts would

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