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Unformatted text preview: (generated January 22, 2010) 159 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 deer or boar, or even a hare, was punished with the loss of the delinquent’s eyes; and that at a time, when the killing of a man could be atoned for by paying a moderate fine or composition. The transactions, recorded during the remainder of this reign, may be considered more as domestic occurrences, which concern the prince, than as national events, which regard England. Odo, bishop of Baieux, the king’s uterine brother, whom he had created earl of Kent, and entrusted with a great share of power during his whole reign, had amassed immense riches; and agreeably to the usual progress of human wishes, he began to regard his present acquisitions but as a step to farther grandeur. He had formed the chimerical project of buying the papacy; and though Gregory, the reigning pope, was not of advanced years, the prelate had confided so much in the predictions of an astrologer, that he reckoned upon the pontiff’s death, and upon attaining, by his own intrigues and money, that envied state of greatness. Resolving, therefore, to remit all his riches to Italy, he had persuaded many considerable barons, and among the rest, Hugh earl of Chester, to take the same course; in hopes, that when he should mount the papal throne, he would bestow on them more considerable establishments in that country. The king, from whom all these projects had been carefully concealed, at last got intelligence of the design, and ordered Odo to be 1082. arrested. His officers, from respect to the immunities, which the ecclesiastics now assumed, scrupled to execute the command, till the king himself was obliged in person to seize him; and when Odo insisted that he was a prelate, and exempt from all temporal jurisdiction, William replied, that he arrested him, not as bishop of Baieux, but as earl of Kent. He was sent prisoner to Normandy; and notwithstanding the remonstrances and menaces of Gregory, was detained in custody during the remainder of this reign. Another domestic event gave the king much more concern: It 1083. was the death of Matilda, his consort, whom he tenderly loved, and for whom he had ever preserved the most sincere friendship. Three years afterwards he passed into Normandy, and carried with him Edgar Atheling, to whom he willingly granted permission to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was detained on the continent by a misunderstanding, which broke out between him and the king of France, and which 1087. War with was occasioned by inroads made into Normandy by some French France. barons on the frontiers. It was little in the power of princes at that time to restrain their licentious nobility; but William suspected, that these barons durst not have provoked his indignation, had they not been assured of the countenance and protection of Philip. His displeasure was encreased by the account he received of some railleries which that monarch had thrown out against him...
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