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the wrongs he had suffered, and those he was going CHAP. to suffer. Henry was alarmed, but did not re- IV.L nounce his design. He was to the last degree jealous A. D. of his prerogative; but knowing what immense 1103. resources kings may have in popularity, he called on this occasion a great council of his barons and prelates; and there, by his arts and his eloquence, in both which he was powerful, he persuaded the assembly to a hearty declaration in his favour, and to a large supply. Thus secured at home, he lost no time to pass over to the Continent, and to bring. the Norman army to a speedy engagement; they fought under the walls of Tenchebray, where the 1106. bravery and military genius of Robert, never more conspicuous than on that day, were born down by the superiour fortune and numbers of his ambitious brother. He was made prisoner; and notwithstanding all the tender pleas of their common blood, in spite of his virtues, and even of his misfortunes, which pleaded so strongly for mercy, the rigid conqueror held him in various prisons until his death, which did not happen until after a rigorous confinement of eighteen, some say twenty-seven, years. This was the end of a prince born with a thousand excellent qualities, which served no other purpose than to confirm, from the example of his misfortunes, that a facility of disposition, and a weak beneficence, are the greatest vices, that can'




BOOK enter into the composition of a monarch, equally ruinous to himself and to his subjects.

A. D.


The success of this battle put Henry in possession 1-107. of Normandy, which he held ever after with very little disturbance. He fortified his new acquisition by demolishing the castles of those turbulent barons, who had wasted, and afterwards enslaved, their country by their dissensions. Order and justice took place, until every thing was reduced to obedience; then a severe and regular oppression succeeded the former disorderly tyranny. In England things took the same course. The king no longer doubted his fortune, and therefore no longer respected his promises or his charter. The forests, the savage passion of the Norman princes, for which both the prince and people paid so dearly, were maintained, increased, and guarded with laws more rigorous than before. Taxes were largely and arbitrarily assessed. But all this tyranny did not weaken, though it vexed, the nation, because the great men were kept in proper subjection, and justice was steadily administered.

The politicks of this remarkable reign consisted of three branches:-to redress the gross abuses, which prevailed in the civil government and the revenue; to humble the great barons, and keep the aspiring spirit of the clergy within proper bounds. The introduction of a new law with a

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new people at the Conquest had unsettled every CHAP. thing; for whilst some adhered to the Conqueror's regulations, and others contended for those of St. A. D. Edward, neither of them were well executed or 1108. properly obeyed. The king, therefore, with the assistance of his justiciaries, compiled a new body of laws, in order to find a temper between both. The coin had been miserably debased, but it was restored by the king's vigilance, and preserved by punishments, cruel, but terrifying in their example. There was a savageness in all the judicial proceedings of those days, that gave even justice itself the complexion of tyranny; for whilst a number of men were seen in all parts of the kingdom, some castrated, some without hands, others with their feet cut off, and in various ways cruelly mangled, the view of a perpetual punishment blotted out the memory of the transient crime, and Government was the more odious, which out of a cruel and mistaken mercy, to avoid punishing with death, devised torments far more terrible than death itself.

But nothing called for redress more than the disorders in the king's own household. It was considered as an incident annexed to their tenure, that the soccage vassals of the crown, and so of all the subordinate barons, should receive their lord and all his followers, and supply them in their progresses and journeys, which custom continued for some

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BOOK ages after in Ireland, under the name of Coshering III. But this indefinite and ill-contrived charge on the 4. D. tenant was easily perverted to an instrument of 1198. much oppression by the disorders of a rude and

licentious court; insomuch that the tenants, in fear for their substance, for the honour of their women, and often for their lives, deserted their habitations, and fled into the woods on the king's approach. No circumstance could be more dishonourable to a prince; but happily, like many other great abuses, it gave rise to a great reform, which went much further than its immediate purposes. This disorder, which the punishment of offenders could only palliate, was entirely taken away by commuting personal service for a rent in money; which regulation, passing from the king to all the inferiour lords, in a short time wrought a great change in the state of the nation. To humble the great men, more arbitrary methods were used. The adherence to the title of Robert was a cause, or a pretence, of depriving many of their vast possessions, which were split or parcelled out amongst the king's creatures, with great injustice to particulars, but in the consequences with general and lasting benefit. The king held his courts according to the custom at Christmas and Easter, but he seldom kept both festivals in the same place. He made continual progresses into all parts of his kingdom, and brought the royal authority and person home to the


doors of his haughty barons, which kept thein in CHAP strict obedience during his long and severe reign. on IV.

His contests with the Church, concerning the A. D. right of investiture, were more obstinate and more 1108. dangerous. As this is an affair, that troubled all Europe as well as England, and holds deservedly a principal place in the story of those times, it will not be impertinent to trace it up to its original. In the early times of Christianity, when Religion was only drawn from its obscurity to be persecuted; when a bishop was only a candidate for martyrdom; neither the preferment, nor the right of bestowing it, were sought with great ambition. Bishops were then elected, and often against their desire, by their clergy and the people; the subordinate ecclesiastical districts were provided for in the same manner. After the Roman Empire became Christian, this usage, so generally established, still maintained its ground. However, in the principal cities, the emperour frequently exercised the privilege of giving a sanction to the choice, and sometimes of appointing the bishop; though, for the most part, the popular election still prevailed. But when the barbarians, after destroying the empire, had at length submitted their necks to the Gospel, their kings and great men, full of zeal and gratitude to their instructors, endowed the Church with large territories and great privileges. In this case it was but natural, that they should be the patrons of those dignities

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