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Unformatted text preview: and would be more agreeable to all his subjects than that of the emperor; as securing them from the danger of falling under the dominion of a great and distant potentate, who might bring them into subjection, and reduce their country to the rank of a province: But the barons were displeased, that a step so material to national interests had been taken without consulting them; k and Henry had too sensibly experienced the turbulence of their 1128. disposition, not to dread the effects of their resentment. It seemed probable, that his nephew’s party might gain force from the encrease of the malcontents: An accession of power, which that prince acquired a little after, tended to render his pretensions still more dangerous. Charles, earl of Flanders, being assassinated during the celebration of divine service, king Lewis immediately put the young prince in possession of that county, to which he had pretensions, in the right of his grandmother Matilda, wife to the Conqueror. But William survived a very little time this piece of good fortune, which seemed to open the way to still farther prosperity. He was killed in a skirmish with the landgrave of Alsace, his competitor for Flanders; and his death put an end, for the present, to the jealousy and inquietude of Henry. The chief merit of this monarch’s government consists in the profound tranquillity, which he established and maintained throughout all his dominions during the greater PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 191 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 part of his reign. The mutinous barons were retained in subjection; and his neighbours, in every attempt which they made upon him, found him so well prepared, that they were discouraged from continuing or renewing their enterprizes. In order to repress the incursions of the Welsh, he brought over some Flemings in the year 1111, and settled them in Pembrokeshire, where they long maintained a different language, and customs, and manners, from their neighbours. Though his government seems to have been arbitrary in England, it was judicious and prudent; and was as little oppressive as the necessity of his affairs would permit. He wanted not attention to the redress of grievances; and historians mention in particular the levying of purveyance, which he endeavoured to moderate and restrain. The tenants in the king’s demesne lands were at that time obliged to supply gratis the court with provisions, and to furnish carriages on the same hard terms, when the king made a progress, as he did frequently, into any of the counties. These exactions were so grievous, and levied in so licentious a manner, that the farmers, when they heard of the approach of the court, often deserted their houses, as if an enemy had invaded the country;l and sheltered their persons and families in the woods, from the insults of the king’s retinue. Henry prohibited those enormities, and punished the persons guilty of them by cutting off their hands, legs, or other members.m But the prerogative was perpetual; the remedy applied by Henry was temporary; and the violence itself of this remedy, so far from giving security to the people, was only a proof of the ferocity of the government, and threatened a...
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