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and active courage: his character was full of promise, because, being born to dignity, he had sullied himself by no arts to attain it. There was a generous ardour in his actions which compelled admiration. When Edward raised him to his father's dignities, he gave new lustre to his family, and obtained all the influence to which his father had aspired (1).
When Harold received the honours of Godwin, his own dignities in Essex and East Anglia were given to Algar, the son of the deserving and patriotic Leofric. But Algar's rise to power was no pleasing omen to the family of Godwin. Within less than three years afterwards he was made a victim by being banished without a fault (2).
But Algar was too injured to be inactive: he fled to Ireland, collected eighteen piratical vessels, and interested Griffith, the king of Wales, in his favour. With this aid, he suddenly appeared in Hereford with great success; and though Harold went to oppose him, yet such was the state of Edward's court and councils, that Algar, though rather by violent than legal measures, regained his patrimony and power. His allies went to Leicester, and were remunerated by his father. In 1058, he was exiled again, and by the same means restored (3). The great were now dividing into new factions.
The Welsh made several efforts against the Anglo-Saxons in this reign. If any other feeling than personal ambition had actuated the British leaders, they must have discerned, that however feeble the Saxon king's government from the new political parties may have been, yet, from the comparative state of the two nations, transient depredations were the utmost that the valour of Wales could achieve. Such bounded triumphs were, however, certain of being followed at last by a powerful revenge. Griffith, for some years, molested, with good fortune, the counties near Wales, and for some years his aggressions escaped unchastised. In the year after he first reinstated Algar, his new insults, which occasioned the death of Harold's priest, just raised to a bishopric (4), were again connived at by a peace; and in 1058 he again restored Algar; but in 1063 Harold resolved to repress him, and there was nothing to restrain the full exercise of his ability. He marched into Wales with adequate force; Griffith fled; Harold burnt his palace and ships,
(1) The great wealth of the family may be seen in Domesday-book, where Godwin's possessions are often mentioned.
(2) Flor. 416. MS. Tib. 1. Bulan ælcan gylte, and MS. Tib. B. 4. for neh butan gylte. The printed Chronicle says, that he was charged with treason, p. 169. Ingulf gives to Algar the aid of a Norwegian fleet, p. 66.
(3) Flor. 417-420.
(4) Flor. 418. The MS. Tib. B. 1. says of this bishop, that he would forego his spiritual arms, and take to his sword and spear, and go against Griffith: "Se forlet his crisman and his hrode, his gastlican wæpna and feng to his spere and to his sweorde, æfter his biscuphade, and swa for to fynde ongean Griffin", etc.
and returned. In the beginning of summer he circumnavigated Wales with a marauding fleet, while his brother Tostig marched over it by land. The Welsh submitted with hostages and tribute, and banished the obnoxious Griffith, who soon after perished (1).
The means by which Harold obtained such immediate and decisive success are stated to have been a change of the armour of his soldiers. In heavy armour, the Saxons were unable to pursue the Welsh to their recesses. Harold observed this impediment to their success, and commanded them to use leathern armour and lighter weapons. By this arrangement, wherever the Britons could retreat, his men could pursue. He crossed their snowy mountains, defeated them on their plains, and spread destruction around, till terror and feebleness produced general subjection (2). He raised heaps of stones wherever he had obtained victory, with this inscription: "Here Harold conquered." Such a depopulation of Wales ensued from his invasion, that to this disastrous cause Giraldus ascribes the tranquil acquiescence of the Britons under the Norman yoke (3). Harold closed his efforts by a law, that every Briton found beyond Offa's Dike with a missile weapon, should lose his right hand (4).
Macbeth, the usurper of Scotland, condemned by the genius of Shakspeare to share for ever our sympathy and our abhorrence, was partly contemporary with Edward. In 1039, Duncan, after a five year's reign, was assassinated by Macbeth (5).
The two sons of Duncan, Malcolm, surnamed Ceanmore, or the Great-head, and Donald, called Bane, or the Fair, fled from Scotland. Malcolm sought refuge in Cumberland, and Donald in the Hebrides (6).
Macbeth defeated by Siward.
Eleven years after his usurpation, Macbeth is mentioned by the chroniclers of England, as distributing money at Rome (7). In 1054, while Macduff, the thane of Fife, was exciting 1054. a formidable revolt in Scotland, the celebrated Siward, by some called the Giant, from his large size, and whose sister had been Duncan's queen, conducted his Northumbrians against Macbeth. A furious conflict followed, in which thousands of both ar
(1) Flor. 424. Ingulf, 68. MS. Lamb. Sax. Chron. 170. The head of Griffith was brought to Harold.
(2) Ingulf, 68. This invasion is fully stated by the elegant John of Salisbury, whose writings reflect so much credit on the twelfth century. See his De Nugis Curialium, lib. vi. c. 6. p. 185.
(3) Giraldus Cambriensis de illaudab. Walliæ, c. vii. p. 431.
(4) Joan Salisb. de Nugis. Cur. p. 185.
(5) Mailros, 156. Duncan, in 1035, had been foiled in an attack upon Durham. Sim. Dun. 33. Lord Hailes says:
"It is probable that the assassins lay in ambush, and murdered him at a smith's house in the neighbourhood of Elgin." Annals, p. 1.
(6) Hailes's Annals of Scotland, p. 2.
(7) 1050. Rex Scotorum Machethad Romæ argentum spargendo distribuit." Flor. Wig. 409. So Sim. Dun. 184. and Hoveden, 441. Mailros, who names him Macbeth, p. 157., has a similar passage.
mies perished; but Siward, though he lost his son and nephew, defeated the usurper. He returned with great plunder, having made Malcolm king (1).
The glory of a warrior was the renown most precious to Siward. On his return at York, he felt that internal disease was consuming his vital principle, and he sighed for the funereal trophies of a field of battle. "I feel disgraced that I should have survived so many combats, to perish now like a cow: clothe me in my mail, fasten on my sword, and give me my shield, and my battle-axe, that I may expire like a soldier (2). "
In 1057, England lost Leofric, the duke of Mercia, by whose wisdom the reign of Edward was preserved from many perils and disorders, which the ambition of others would have introduced. His councils and government have been much celebrated (3). His son Algar succeeded to his dukedom.
On Siward's death, in 1055, Tostig, the brother of Harold, was appointed earl of Northumbria. By inducing the queen to cause some Northumbrian nobles to be treacherously killed, by repeating the same atrocity himself at York, and by exacting a large tribute from the country, Tostig so alienated the minds of the provincials, that they revolted in 1065, expelled him, and seized his treasures. The insurgents invited Morcar, the son of Algar, and chose him for their earl. At the head of the men of Northumberland, Morcar marched southward, and was joined by an armed force from other counties, and from Wales. Harold met him at Northampton with military array, but it was deemed prudent to comply with a request so powerfully supported; Morcar was confirmed in the earldom, and the laws of Canute were restored. Tostig fled with his wife and friends to Flanders, where Baldwin entertained them (5).
(1) MS. Chron. Tib. B. 4. Lamb. MS. Flor. Wig. 416. MS. Tib. B. 1. Lord Hailes, from Fordun, states, that " Macbeth retreated to the fastnesses of the North, and protracted the war. His people forsook his standard. Malcolm attacked him at Lunfanan in Aberdeenshire. Abandoned by his few remaining followers, Macbeth fell, 5th of December, 1056." Annals, p. 3. Until this period the ancient kings of Scotland usually resided in the Highlands. It was this Malcolm Cean-more who removed the capital to the Lowlands. Dumstaffnage, on the northwest coast of Argyleshire, whose ruins still remain, is supposed to have been his Highland palace. From this place, he removed his court to Scone, in the lowlands of Perthshire; an important revolution, which made the southern provinces of Scotland to assume in time so distinct a character, and such a superior civilization as they have since displayed.
(2) Rad. Dic. 477.
(3) Flor. Wig. 419. Ingulf, 66.
(4) Leofric had another son, named Hereward, whose life seemed devoted to the task of supplying incidents to the genius of romance and heroic song.-See a further account of him in the chapter on the Anglo-Saxon chivalry, in the third volume of this work. Hereward is also mentioned in the book de Pontificibus, 3 Gale, 372.
(5) See the printed Saxon Chronicle, p. 171. Flor. Wig. 427. the MS. Chronicles, Tib. B. 1. and B. 4.
Edward, whose passive and peaceful disposition 1066, seems to have left his nobles to their own quarrels without any interposition from himself, soon after these transactions began to sicken. At Christmas he held his court in London, and dedicated the church of St. Peter at Westminster which he had rebuilt. On the eve of the Epiphany his malady assumed a fatal aspect, and he was buried the day following at Westminster (1).
In person, Edward was tall and well made; his hair and skin were remarkably white; his complexion rosy (2). His mind was gentle, if not weak; but, in general, unless acted upon by others, his disposition was well meaning. He was averse to the imposition of taxes; abstinent in his diet; and on the public feast days, though, by the care of the queen, he was sumptuously arrayed, he assumed no haughtiness of manner in his pomp. His piety was sincere and fervent. His time was chiefly divided between his prayers and hunting, to which he was greatly attached. His charities were frequent and extensive (3); and though his reign displayed no intellectual energies, and reflected no honour on his ancestry, he was so fortunate as to escape any striking disgrace.
The Reign of Harold the Second, the Son of Godwin, and the last of the Anglo-Saxon Kings.
Edward had intended to appoint his cousin Edward, the son of Edmund Ironside, the successor to his crown. This prince had continued in Hungary since Canute had sought his life. Called from thence by Edward the Confessor, he came to England in 1057, but died soon after his arrival (4).
The death of this prince confirmed in two men the tween Harold and hopes of attaining the Anglo-Saxon sceptre. Harold, and William duke of Normandy, after this event, looked forward to the splendid prize with equal ardour.
Harold had sworn to William to assist him in ascending the throne of England; but afterwards pleaded that his oaths had been extorted by irresistible force, as William, having had him in his power, compelled him to swear. This charge thus repelled, the rivals
(1) MS. Tib. B. 1. and B. 4.; Flor. Wig. 427.; and Sax. Chron. 171. Both the MS. Chronicles have a long addition in Saxon, which follows his death. It begins, “Her Edward kinge, Engla, hlaford, sende sothfeste," etc. This is not in Lamb. MS.
(2) Malmsb. 91. Rossi Hist. Reg. Angl. 105.
(3) Malmsb. 91. His memory was canonized, and many monkish miracles have been appended to it.
(4) Flor. Wig. 419.
were in other respects on a level. Both claimed from Edward a gift or testamentary appointment in his favour (1); both had been in Edward's friendship, and the family of Harold, as well as the family of William, had been connubially allied to him.
There is perhaps no great event in our annals in which the truth is more difficult to be elicited, than in the transaction between Harold and William in the lifetime of Edward. We will state first the account of Harold and his friends, and contrast it with the Norman story.
In revolving the history of the friends of Harold, we meet with the unpleasing circumstance of two narrations upon the subject, which counteract each other. According to some, Harold accidentally sailed in a little fishing excursion from Bosham in Sussex, and was driven, by a sudden tempest, on the opposite shore (2). According to others, Harold went to the Continent not accidentally but deliberately. Two of his brothers had been committed by Edward, during the rebellion of Godwin, to the care of William. Harold wished to procure their release, and for that purpose is said to have requested permission of Edward to visit William in Normandy. The appendage to this account is, that Edward dissuaded him in vain and that when Harold returned, and stated to him that William had detained and made him swear to give him the English crown, the king reminded him, that he had foreseen the misfortune (3).
The Norman historians declare, that on the death of the son of
(1) That Harold was appointed by Edward to succeed him, is asserted or intimated by the printed Saxon Chronicle, 172. By Flor. Wig. 427. Hoveden, 447. Sim. Dun. 194. Al. Bev. 122. Malmsbury informs us that this was the statement of the English (Angli dicunt a rege concessum, 93.), but he thinks it was rather the rumour of partiality than of judgment. On the other side, the Annales Margenses, p. 1.; Wike's Chron. p. 22.; Malmsb. 93.; and the Norman writers, declare that Edward gave the kingdom to William. The MS. Chronicles which affirm this are, Peter de Ickham, Domit. A. 3. (Willo duci Normanniæ consanguineo suo sicut ei prius juramento promiserat regnum teste dedit). So Will. Sheepheved, Faust. B. 6. (adoptavit in regnum Willielmum ducem Normannorum). So Th. Elmham, Claud. E. 5. (Willielmum ducem Normanniæ adoptavit heredem). So Hermannus says, it was the rumor plurimum that Edward appointed the kingdom to William. Many other MS. Chronicles affirm as much, as Chron. ab adv. Sax. ad Hen. 4. Nero, A. 6.; Chron. S. Martini de Dover a Bruto ad Hen. 2. Vespasian, B. 11.; Chron. de Bruto ad 1346. Cleop. D. 2.; Chron. de Hale's ab initio mundi ad 1304. Cleop. D. 3.; Annales de Gest. Angl. ad 1377. Cleop. D. 9.; Hist. brevis. ending temp. Ed. 2. Domit. A. 8.; the Hist. Abb. Claud. B. 6. We may add the words of William himself, who, in one of his charters, says: "Devicto Haraldo rege cum suis complicibus qui mihi regnum prudentia domini destinatum et beneficio concessionis domini et cognati mei gloriosi regis Edwardi concessum, conati sunt auferre." Faustina, A. 3. The authorities are too contradictory to decide the question.
(2) Matt. Paris, p. 2. Matt. West. 426.; and from him Bever, in his MS. Chron. in the Harleian Library, 641. Malmsbury mentions it as a report.
(3) Eadmer, 4. Al. Bev. 125. Sim. Dun. 195. Bromton, 947. Rad. Dic. 479. Walt. Hemingford, 456. I believe Hemingford's Chronicle to be the Chronica Will. de Giseburne, in the Cotton Library, Tiberius, B. 4.
same with the Higden, 283.