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lowing extract from a letter which he addressed to them while on his journey to Rome, and which may be considered as a sort of public proclamation : “Now, therefore, be it known to you all, that I have dedicated my life to the service of God, to govern my kingdom with equity, and to observe justice in all things. If, by the violence and negligence of youth, I have violated justice heretofore, it is my intention, with the help of God, to make full compensation. Therefore I beg and command those to whom I have confided the government, as they wish to preserve my friendship, or save their own souls, to do no injustice, either to rich or poor. Let all persons, whether noble or ignoble, obtain their rights according to law ; from which no deviation shall be allowed, either from fear of me or through favor to the powerful, or for the purpose of supplying my treasury. I have no need of money raised by injustice.”

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Saxons. In the eleventh century, the Anglo-Saxons, originally the fiercest nation of the North of Europe, had become changed into a submissive and unwarlike people by the combined influences of luxury, a great landed aristocracy, and a richly endowed hierarchy. Their sovereigns had become men of feeble minds; their nobles were factious and effeminate ; the clergy corrupt and ignorant, and the people servile and depressed. All the venerated forms of the Saxon institutions existed, but their spirit had evaporated. Their towns were increasing in population ; their freedmen were multiplying; and their lands were subject to the ferd, or military expedition, an effective obligation for the national defence. But, amid all these means of prosperity, an intellectual torpidity had, since the days of Athelstan, pervaded the country. Canute had, indeed, impressed a new feature of grandeur and energy

on the aspect of the court, but his example was solitary and its effect transient. His children and successors disgraced his name; and after his death the AngloSaxons sunk into a lethargic and sensual state. Eng. land was slumbering in this decline, when the Norman Conquest, like a moral earthquake, suddenly shook it to the centre, broke up and hurled into ruin all its ancient aristocracy, swept away the native proprietors of the soil, overturned the corrupt habits of the population, kindled a vigorous spirit of life and action in all classes of society, and raised from the mighty ruins with which it overspread the country an entirely new character of government.

William, Duke of Normandy, was the leader of this great enterprise. Personal resentment concurred with ambition to stimulate him to the invasion of England. He claimed the crown by legal right, on the death of Edward the Confessor ; but Harold, Duke of Northumberland, violating his oath, had possessed himself of the throne. William determined to resort to arms to enforce his claim. He applied to the Pope to sanction his undertaking. The Pope sent him a consecrated flag, and a bull authorizing the descent upon England, in the year 1066.

William published his war-ban in the countries adjacent. He offered a large sum of money and the pillage of England, to every man of tall and robust stature who would serve either with the lance, the

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sword, or the crossbow; and a multitude poured in from all parts, from far and near, from north and from south, from Maine and from Anjou, from Poitou and from Brittany, from Flanders, from Aquitaine, and from Burgundy, from Piedmont, and the borders of the Rhine. All the adventurers by profession, all the brave and vagabond spirits of Europe, came eagerly at his call. Some were knights, and captains of war; others simple foot soldiers, and “servants at arms,” such was the phrase of the time. Some demanded money in hand, others were content with their passage, and all the booty they could gain. Many wished for an estate in England, a domain, a castle, a town; while others simply bargained for a Saxon wife. William refused no one; and during the spring and the summer, in all parts of Normandy, workmen of every kind were employed in building and equipping vessels.

During these preparations, William presented himself, at St. Germain, before Philip, king of France, and, saluting him with a deference which his ancestors had not always paid to their sovereigns, “ You are my seigneur,” said he ; “if it please you to aid me, and that God give me grace to obtain my right in England, I promise to do you homage for that realm, as if I held it of you.” Philip assembled his council of barons and freemen, without whom he could decide no important affair. The barons were of opinion that he could in no wise aid William in his conquest.

You know,” said they to their king, “ how little the Normans obey you now, — they will obey you less, if they possess England. Besides, it will be a great expense to aid the Duke in his enterprise ; and, if it fail, we

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shall have the English for our mortal enemies." Wil. liam, thus repulsed, retired in discontent from Philip.

The rendezvous for the vessels and men-at-arms was at the mouth of the Dive, a river which falls into the sea between the Seine and the Orne. month the winds were contrary, and the Norman fleet was detained in the harbour. At length a southern breeze carried it to St. Valery near Dieppe. Then the bad weather recommenced, and it was necessary to cast anchor, and wait several days. During this time the tempest shattered several vessels, and many of their crews perished. At this accident, murmurings arose among the troops already fatigued with their long delay. The soldiers, idle in their tents, passed the day in conversing upon the dangers of the voyage, and the difficulties of the enterprise they had" undertaken. “ There has yet been no battle,” said they, “and already several of our companions are no more !” Then they fell to examining and calculating the number of dead bodies which the sea had thrown upon the shore. These sights abated the ardor of the adventurers who had enlisted with so much zea and some broke their engagement and retired.

Very foolish,” said the soldiers, 5

very foolish is the man who pretends to conquer another's land ; God is offended at such designs, and now he shows his anger by refusing us a favorable wind !” At last, perhaps from real superstition, perhaps for the mere purpose of diverting their followers from unwelcome thoughts, the Norman chiefs conducted the relics of St. Valery in great pomp, and with a long procession, through the camp. All the

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