« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
as it were, to the continent, by the addition of Normandy, there have been as frequent traverses of war as have happened between any two nations ; for, of those twenty-eight kings and queens, which have reigned here, from William the first to William the third, there have been but a very few of them free from actual wars with France; yet, in so long a tract of time, when the French were at their highest pitch of power, they never did nor had any adequate power to invade England; it is true that they took footing once or twice in the Isle of Wight, but it quickly grew too hot for them. And touching Lewis the French king's son, who did stay, and sway the sceptre here about two years, whereof they so much vaunt: That was no invasion but an invitation, being brought in by the discontented barons in England; so that, in a manner, France was the theatre of the war between the two nations, down from William the first to the present time.
As for the great battles which were fought from time to time, it is confessed by the French historians themselves
, that the English were at most but half in number to them in almost all engagements; insomuch that, by pure prowess and point of sword, the English possessed two parts of three in that populous kingdom, and, how all came to be lost again, will appear by the sequel of the story: but bere I cannot omit one remarkable accident, that was concomitant with the English arms in France, and that is, that, when the English were at the height of their conquests in that kingdom, the Pope came to reside at Avignon in France, and there was a common saying which continues still in memory among the vulgar, 'Ores! le pape est devenu Francois, & Christ est devenu Anglois,'i.e: Lo! the Pope is become a Frenchman, and Christ an Englishman; which related to the marvellous exploits and successes the English had in that kingdom, which were such that Sir Walter Raleigh, speaking of the famous Punick wars, puts this query: If one should ask, which was the valiantest, the Roman or the Carthaginiani one might answer, the Englishman, who performed greater feats of arms than either of them ;' insomuch that some foreign authors give this character of France, that it was the stage whereon the English acted their valour so often.
It is true that in canvassing of treaties, in subtleties or shuffling the cards, and mental reservations, they were mostly too hard for the English, who naturally use downright dealing, and real integrity; but, in point of performance of what was stipulated, especially if the article related to money, whereof we drew from them vast sums, they seldom exactly performed the capitulation of any treaty, as foreign writers observe; so that part of king John's ransom is yet behind, besides the money which was to be paid for Tournay, in Henry the eighth's time; the five hundred-thousand crowns, which Edward the sixth was to have for Bologne; and those great expences which queen Elisabeth was to have for sending her armies to aid Henry the fourth, and the French reformists, two parts of three are not paid to this day; but of these and other things more hereafter in their proper place.
'NGLAND, exclusive of Scotland, which had but very little ern, and best part of the island of Great Britain, heretofore called Albion and Britannia; it lies, together with Wales, in the form of a great triangle, whereof the southern shore is the base, and Berwick the opposite angle; it was divided by the Romans into five parts, by the Saxons into seven kingdoms, and now, Wales included, into fifty two shires or counties. It is a fruitful country, full of valiant and industrious inhabitants; but, in regard to its boundaries, bears no proportion to France, even considered in its narrowest limits, over which, notwithstanding, it has so often and so gloriously triumphed, as will manifestly appear in the series of the ensuing history.
But because, the wars with France, in the time of the Saxons, are very obscurely recorded as to their time, cause, and effects, we will, therefore, begin with,
W HO was invidiously termed the conqueror, by the monks of
those times, as the learned Sir William Temple has well observed; though it is as true, he could not claim in right of successi on, himself being illegitimate, and Edgar Atheline, of the Saxon blood royal, to take place before him, but must, therefore, reign by virtue either of a compact or previous choice of the people of England, the sword which he had then in his hand, no doubt, powerfully disposing of them also to such an election; he proved to be a warlike king of England, as he had been a successful duke of Normandy. But, though he had wonderful success in the battle of Hastings, which was fought, October the fourteenth, an. 1066, and got the day with the slaughter of above sixty-thousand of his English enemies, yet things did not succeed so well with him in his Kentish ex. pedition; for, directing his march towards Dover, with a design to reduce Kent first under his obedience, as considering this country to be the key of England, and that what he had already done, would be of little account, if this were not accomplished : The Kentish men, upon report hereof, assembled to archbishop Stigand, at Canterbury, and, after serious consultation, resolved to arm, and to force the conqueror either to confirm their ancient liberties, or to die valiantly in the field in defence of them; and so, under the command of the archbishop and the abbot Eglesine, rendezvoused at Swanescomb, where, it was agreed, all the passages should be stopped, and that they should make use of the adjacent woods for a covert from the discovery of the enemy, till he were fast within their net. The duke, next day, expecting no such ambuscade, in his march, finds himself with part of his army surrounded all of a sudden, with numerous squadrons of horse, and battalions of foot; which seemed the more surprising to him, because that, every man for a signal, as it was agreed upon, carrying a green bough in his hand, they appeared unto him like a moving wood, wherein' be was in danger of quickly losing himself. Stigand approaches to the duke, tells him
'the occasion of such an assembly, what their demands were, and what their resolves, if refused. The duke, wisely considering the danger, grants all their requests, and, upon that, was admitted into Rochester, and had the earldom of Kent and Dover castle yielded to him.
The former part of this king's reign, as may he well imagined, was taken up in n aking provision for bis adventurers, and in subduing, settling, and modelling of his new English subjects, amongst whom were frequent tumults and insurrections, occasioned mostly thro' the insults of the Normans, that but too readily provoked them upon every occasion, presuming, no doubt, very much upon the favour of the king their countryman, wbo, on times, shewed too much partiality in that regard. It is true, he had not been a year inthroned, before he was obliged, upon commotions there, to pass over into Normandy; but we do not find, till about ten years after, that he bad any foreign wars, when, passing over into Bretagne, he laid siege to the castle of Dolence, belonging to Earl Ralph; which engaged Philip, king of France, into the quarrel, and so with a mighty army marches against king William, who, finding himself hereby much streightened for provision, broke up his siege, not without loss, both of men and horses, and of some of his baggage, and hereupon ensiled an accommodation; but, not a year after, Robert, the king's eldest son, to whom, upon his assuming of the English crown, he had assigned the dukedom of Normandy, in the presence of king Philip of France, because now his father, as he pretended, would not suffer him to enjoy the said dukedom in quiet, went into France, and, being by the said king Philip assisted with forces, committed great ravages in Normandy, burning many towns, and, at length, engaged with the king his father in battle, near the castle of Garbery, in France; the king, according to his usual manner, charged with great resolution, and spared not to expose his person to all dangers, insomuch that he had in this action, first, the misfortune to be unhorsed himself, his son William wounded, and many of his family slain, and, as an addition hereunto, through intemperate anger to curse his son Robert, who, it was observed, never prospered after. Things, after this, continued in a tolerable state of amity between Philip and this king, till the last year of his reign, when residing in Normandy, and being grown very corpulent, the French king was pleased to speak reproachfully of him, saying, “The king of England lieth at Roan, and keeps his chamber as lying-in women do, and there nourisheth his fat belly,' did so offend king William, that he said, 'Well, when after my delivery I go to church, I shall offer a thousand candles to him, and sware to the same by God's resurrection and his brightness ;' and this he made good the latter end of August, the same year, when he entered France, with fire and sword, and burnt down the city of Meaux, together with the church of St. Mary, and two friars inclosed therein, who superstitiously persuaded themselvss they ought not forsake their cell in such extremity, though to the apparant hazard of their lives. This king died at Roan, Anno Dom. 1087, when he had reigned twenty the queen, as it was said, hy the help of a clew of thread, finding of her out at last, and so used her that she lived not long after: And no less to be mentioned for the troubles he met with, from that proud prelate Thomas a Becket; to whose shrine, after his murder, much blind devotion has been paid even by the greatest potentates. Though his son llenry, who was crowned king in his life-time, and died before him, gave him much disturbance, yet when he found, after his death, that others, and particularly his son Jolin conspired against him, he was so stricken with grief that, cursing his son and the day of his own birth, he died July 6, 1189, aged 61, having reigned thirty-four years, and almost seven months.
The Causes of the war were, that king Lewis did incite the prince
bis son against the laws of nature to opposé Henry his father. In the war time Lewis had promised, upon the word of a king, to meet him in order to a treaty, but he failed for his own advantage, whereupon Henry, being sensible of the fraud, sought him out with his army, and made him give ground; thereuponi another interview being appointed, bet wixt Terwin and Arras, bistories relate that, as the two kings were busy in conference, there fell a clap of thunder between them, and meeting the next day, the like accident happened; which struck a consternation in both armies, as inclined the kings the more to an accomodation.
RICHARD I. .WHO for his valour was sirnamed Cæur de Lion, was the third son of Henry the second, but the eldest when his father died, aged 35 years when he began his reign, the former part whereof was spent by him in the wars, in the Holy Land, William Longshamp, bishop of Ely, and chancellor of England, governing the kingdom during his absence. In this war, he signalised bis valour to a wonder, having first taken Cyprus in his way thither; and, at Acon in Syria, so behaved himself, that he became an object of envy to other Christian princes, especially to king Philip of France, as you shall see hereafter; wherever he went, terror was his forerunner, insomuch that it grew common, amongst those Eastern people, to terrify their children with the apprehension of king Richard's coming. In his return, being driven upon the coast of Dalmatia, and thinking to pass home by land, incognito, he was made prisoner by the duke of Austria, who brought him to the emperor Henry, and was detained by him in custody for a year and five months, till he paid a great ransom. His unparalleled valour and bravery was the occasion of this misfortune. These and other princes bearing him envy, especially the French king, who invades Normandy during his absence, which obliged Richard to make a peace with Saladine for three years, much to the disadvantage of the cause they fought for. Philip attacked Gisors and had it surrendered to him and many other places, and then hasted
to lay siege to Roan, but found such a vigorous defence made by the valiant and noble earl of Leicester, that he was forced to quit his enterprise, and so returned into France. On the 12th of March, 1194, king Richard landed at Sandwich, was recrowned again, reduced the kingdom entirely to his obedience, which was much divided because of bis brother John's pretensions in his absence, and, hearing the king of France had besieged Verneuil, he passed over into Normandy, and arrived at Harfleur with a hundred ships full of horsemen, armour, &c. the noise whereof so frighted the Monsieur, that he left the siege and went his ways. Whereupon Richard enters the French dominions, and takes in several strong places, but the noble Leicester had the misfortune to be taken prisoner, who afterward paid a great suin of money for his ransom, and soon after ensued a truce for a short time; which was no sooner ended, but Richard takes the field, possesses himself of the castle of Brisen, Novencourt, &c. the French king, in the mean time, besieging Albemarle, whither Richard hastening to succour the place, a sharp battle was fought between both armies, wherein the French prevailed, chiefly upon the account of the English being wearied with their hard march. But Richard had no sooner recruited and refreshed his soldiers, but he laid siege to Miligio, took it, and burnt it down to the ground, whereupon ensued some overtures of peace; Albemarle, in the mean time, fell into the French hands, and ran the same fate with Miligio. Some three years after, Richard turned his arms against the barons of Poictiers that rebelled against him, with prosperous success, till at last besieging the castle of Chaluz, and having brought it to that extremity, that he would grant no other conditions but a surrender at discrétion, he was shot in the left arm out of a cross-bow, with an invenomed dart by one Bertram de Gordon, of which wound he died the 6th of April 1199, after he had reigned nine years and nine months, and was buried at Fonteverault, at his father's feet.
The causes were, that, while Richard went on so prosperously in the
Holy Land, the French king out of envy, and contrary to bis sacramental oath, invaded Normandy, which forced king Richard to make peace with Saladine, su much disadvantageous to all Chrtstendom.
JOHN. THE brother of Richard, who died without issue, and youngest son of Henry the II, succeeded his brother to the prejudice of Arthur, Geoffrey his elder brother's son, who was the real heir of course. This Arthur in right of his mother was earl of Bretagne n France, so that, by this exclusion, England lost one of the best provinces in that kingdom; and, by advancing John to the throne, we not only lost almost all our possessions in France, but England itself became vassal to the Pope, the clergy of those times growing strangely bigotted to Rome, and perverse to the king. King John was in Normandy, when his brother died, and though he wafted over into England, with all possible speed, to take possession