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Unformatted text preview: , without concert, without a leader, astonished at the present incident, and anxious only for their personal safety, durst not oppose the united voice of the nation. But this concurrence of circumstances in favour of Edward, might have failed of its effect, had his succession been opposed by Godwin, whose power, alliances, and abilities gave him a great influence at all times, especially amidst those sudden opportunities, which always attend a revolution of government, and which, either seized or neglected, commonly prove decisive. There were opposite reasons, which divided men’s hopes and fears with regard to Godwin’s conduct. On the one hand, the credit of that nobleman lay chiefly in Wessex, which was almost entirely inhabited by English: It was therefore presumed, that he would second the wishes of that people, in restoring the Saxon line, and in humbling the Danes, from whom he, as well as they, had reason to dread, as they had already felt, the most grievous oppressions. On the other hand, there subsisted a declared animosity between Edward and Godwin, on account of Alfred’s murder; of which the latter had publicly been accused by the prince, and which he might believe so deep an offence, as could never, on account of any subsequent merits, be sincerely pardoned. But their common friends here interposed; and representing the necessity of their good correspondence, obliged them to lay aside all jealousy and rancour, and concur in restoring liberty to their native country. Godwin only stipulated, that Edward, as a pledge of his sincere reconciliation, should promise to marry his daughter Editha; and having fortified himself by this alliance, he summoned a general council at Gillingham, and prepared every measure for securing the succession to Edward. The English were unanimous and zealous in their resolutions; the Danes were divided and dispirited: Any small opposition, which appeared in this assembly, was brow-beaten and suppressed; and Edward was crowned king, with every demonstration of duty and affection. The triumph of the English, upon this signal and decisive advantage, was at first attended with some insult and violence against the Danes; but the king, by the mildness of his character, soon reconciled the latter to his administration, and the distinction between the two nations gradually disappeared. The Danes were interspersed with the English in most of the provinces; they spoke nearly the same language; they differed little in their manners and laws; domestic dissentions in Denmark prevented, for some years, any powerful invasion from thence, which might awaken past animosities; and as the Norman conquest, which ensued soon after, reduced both nations to equal subjection, there is no farther mention in history of any difference between them. The joy, however, of their present deliverance made such impression on the minds of the English, that they instituted an annual festival for celebrating that great event; and it was observed in some counties, even to the time of Spellman.w The popularity, which Edward enjoyed on his accession, was not destroyed by the first act of his a...
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course CHIN 101 taught by Professor Dr.yu during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .
- Spring '08