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Unformatted text preview: St. Gervais, while William was breathing his last, he arrived in England, before intelligence of his father’s death had reached that kingdom.b Pretending orders from the king, he secured the fortresses of Dover, Pevensey, and Hastings, whose situation rendered them of the greatest importance; and he got possession of the royal treasure at Winchester, amounting to the sum of sixty thousand pounds, by which he hoped to encourage and encrease his partizans.c The primate, whose rank and reputation in the kingdom gave him great authority, had been entrusted with the care of his education, and had conferred on him the honour of knighthood;d and being connected with him by these ties, and probably deeming his pretensions just, declared that he would pay a willing obedience to the last will of the Conqueror, his friend and benefactor. Having assembled some bishops and some of the principal nobility, he instantly proceeded to the ceremony of crowning the new king;e and by this dispatch endeavoured to prevent all faction and resistance. At the same time, Robert, who had been already acknowledged successor to Normandy, took peaceable possession of that dutchy. But though this partition appeared to have been made without Conspiracy against any violence or opposition, there remained in England many the king. causes of discontent, which seemed to menace that kingdom with a sudden revolution. The barons, who generally possessed large estates both in England and in Normandy, were uneasy at the separation of those territories; and foresaw, that, as it would be impossible for them to preserve long their allegiance to two masters, they must necessarily resign either their ancient patrimony or their new acquisitions.f Robert’s title to the dutchy they esteemed incontestible; his claim to the kingdom plausible; and they all desired that this prince, who alone had any pretensions to unite these states, should be put in possession of both. A comparison also of the personal qualities of the two brothers led them to give the preference to the elder. The duke was brave, open, sincere, generous: Even his predominant faults, his extreme indolence and facility, were not disagreeable to those haughty barons, who affected independance, and submitted with reluctance to a vigorous administration in their sovereign. The king, though equally brave, was violent, haughty, tyrannical; and seemed disposed to govern more by the fear than by the love of his subjects. Odo, PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 164 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 bishop of Baieux, and Robert earl of Mortaigne, maternal brothers of the conqueror, envying the great credit of Lanfranc, which was encreased by his late services, enforced all these motives with their partizans, and engaged them in a formal conspiracy to dethrone the king. They communicated their design to Eustace, count of Bologne, Roger earl of Shrewsbury and Arundel, Robert Belesme,...
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- Spring '08